February 3, 2016

Contact: AHEPA Headquarters
Phone: 202.232.6300

Speaker Paul Ryan greets Lt. Col. James Megellas and his wife, Carole, as Meredith Walker and 
Supreme Vice President Andrew Zachariades look on.
Speaker Ryan Attends AHEPA, Hellenic Caucus Reception for WWII Veteran Lt. Col. James Megellas

Hellenic Caucus acts, urges Army Secretary to review 
Megellas Medal of Honor case

WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation's millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, in cooperation with the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), co-hosted a Capitol Hill reception in appreciation of World War II Veteran Lt. Col. James "Maggie" Megellas (U.S. Army, ret.), Feb. 2, 2016, announced Supreme President John W. Galanis.  Lt. Col. Megellas is the most-decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Nearly 20 members of Congress attended the reception in appreciation for Megellas, who originally hails from Fond du Lac, Wisc., including Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and four House committee chairs, Chairman Pete Sessions, Rules Committee; Chairman Mac Thornberry, Armed Services Committee; Chairman Jeff Miller, Veterans Committee; and Michael McCaul, Homeland Security Committee.  The reception featured remarks from: U.S. Reps. Bilirakis and Maloney, Supreme President Galanis and Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos. More than 75 persons attended.
(L-R): Amb. Panagopoulos, Lt. Col. Megellas and Supreme President Galanis

"We sincerely appreciate the hard work of Representatives Bilirakis, Maloney, and Sessions, and their staffs, who helped to make tonight's appreciation event for Lt. Col. Megellas a wonderful experience for everyone," Galanis said. "We also thank all the members of Congress who took time out of their busy schedules to meet Maggie. We pledge to continue our efforts, working with our allies on Capitol Hill, to ensure Maggie's case for the Medal of Honor is granted review and reconsideration because he most deserves the honor."

Since 2011, AHEPA has backed the effort, including legislation, to authorize the president to award the Medal of Honor to Megellas for acts of valor during the Battle of the Bulge. Currently, Reps. Sessions, Bilirakis and Maloney are circulating a letter, supported by AHEPA, that calls for Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy to grant his urgent consideration and personal review of Lt. Col. Megellas' Medal of Honor case.

About Megellas' Military Service, Acts of Valor

Megellas, an AHEPA life member, is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, Belgian Fourragere, and the Dutch Orange Lanyard. In 2008, the German government honored him for his role in liberating the Wobbelin Concentration Camp, May 2, 1945.  

His acts of valor demonstrated at the Battle of the Bulge, which warrant review because of errors in Army records, are deserving of the Medal of Honor. There, he led a surprise and devastating attack on a much larger advancing enemy force, killing and capturing a large number and causing others to flee, single-handedly destroying an attacking German Mark V tank with two hand-held grenades, and then leading his men in clearing and seizing Herresbach.

In addition to the Battle of the Bulge, Megellas fought in: Africa, Anzio, Operation Market Garden, the Waal River Crossing, and Occupied Berlin.
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Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, on the principles that undergirded its fight for civil rights and against discrimination, bigotry, and hatred felt at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe.  
AHEPA's mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.   
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