MADISON, WI – The Fond du Lac community and the State of Wisconsin as a whole are saddened to learn of the death of Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas, the most decorated member of the famed World War II 82nd Airborne Division. The Fond du Lac native passed away at the age of 103 in Colleyville, TX.
“Lt. Col. Megellas was a true hero and Fond du Lac is proud to call him one of our own,” said Senator Feyen. “He will always be remembered for his incredible acts of heroism and the sacrifices he made to protect our great nation.”
Lt. Col. Megellas was born in Fond du Lac in 1917 and graduated from Ripon College prior to being deployed overseas.
“It was an honor for my family to have met James Megellas and spent some time with him,” said Representative Thiesfeldt. “He is a true war hero, and even when his military years were over, there could be no greater picture of a public servant. Until the end, he was willing to share important stories of the exploits his unit endured in WWII, so that no one would forget. The name ‘James Megellas’ will live on forever in the rich history of our community, and hopefully he will one day be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor which he so richly deserved. My sympathies to the family as we all mourn the loss of this great man!”
The heroic World War II veteran first saw combat and was wounded in action in Italy. He later parachuted into The Netherlands and made the legendary Crossing of the Waal River. He also served in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Lt. Col. Megellas was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership, valor, and sacrifice. He was also the first American to receive the “Military Order of Willhelm Orange Lanyard” from the Dutch Minister of War.