82nd AB WWII hero honored by renamed headquarters

WWII Tank near Arnhem, NE

LTC Jim “Maggie” Megellas, right,  was one of three 82nd Airborne WWII Veterans that we hosted on a 10 day battlefield expedition in May, 2011.  Megellas, now 98 years old, is being honored in his home town of Fond du Loc, WI, with the renaming of the city’s United States Post Office headquarters.  The ceremony date is expected to be this May, during Military Appreciation Month.   Also in the group, Bernie Cheney and Bill Hannigan… seen above at a tank on the grounds of the British Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek, NE, near Arnhem, a city which the 82nd AB helped liberate.

This isn’t the first tribute to “Maggie” in his home state of WI.  In November 2010, as part of their Veterans’ Day recognition, the Green Bay Packers celebrated his service and legacy during halftime of their NFL matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.  Megellas is the most highly decorated officer of the 82nd AB’s WWII service.

During our tour, Maggie and his men shared memories of their service, including the Waals River Crossing, the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Wobbelin Concentration Camp.  The tributes to the American paratroopers are numerous and varied across eastern Holland, at city parks, museums, and even roadside sculptures like this one near Groesbeek.

From radiomen to infantrymen, privates to generals, they all wore “dog tags” and civilian tributes in the USA from bridges to airports, libraries to stadiums,  ensure their service and sacrifice are not forgotten.

WWII Paratrooper memorial