February 17, 2016

Contact: AHEPA Headquarters
Phone: 202.232.6300

Members of Congress gather with Lt. Col. Megellas including (l-r): Reps. Russell, Titus, Bilirakis, Tsongas, Megellas, Sessions, Marchant, and McCaul at AHEPA, Hellenic Caucus reception. (Photo Credit: Bill Petros)

AHEPA Commends Hellenic Caucus Initiative for Megellas' 
Medal of Honor Review

Speaker Ryan joins 19 members of Congress on letter to Acting Army Secretary

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, icommends a Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues initiative to generate congressional support for Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy to grant urgent consideration and personal review of Lt. Col. James Megellas' Medal of Honor case for acts of valor at the Battle of the Bulge, announced Supreme President John Galanis. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman, House Committee on Rules, also led the effort.

Twenty U.S. representatives, including: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Hellenic Caucus Co-chairs Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who is also vice-chair of the Veterans' Committee, and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Chairman Sessions, signed the February 12 letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Murphy . 

"We are deeply grateful to Hellenic Caucus Co-chairs Bilirakis and Maloney, and Chairman Sessions, for leading this important initiative," Galanis said. "To have significant support from leadership, including the backing of the Speaker and three committee chairs and a ranking member, as well as strong overall bipartisan support for Maggie's case is very encouraging. We are hopeful for a positive response from Acting Secretary Murphy."

Also signing on to the letter were: U.S. Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD),  ranking member, Committee on Budget; Dina Titus (D-NV), member, Veterans' Affairs Committee; Sam Graves (R-MO), member, Armed Services Committee; Niki Tsongas (D-MA), member, Armed Services Committee; Marc Veasey (D-TX), member, Armed Services Committee; Joe Wilson (R-SC), member, Armed Services Committee; Joe Crowley (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Janice Hahn (D-CA) Steve Israel (D-NY), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), David Rouzer (R-NC), and John Sarbanes (D-MD).

AHEPA joined with the Hellenic Caucus and Rep. Sessions to co-host a congressional reception in
Speaker Ryan shares a moment with Megellas at AHEPA, Hellenic Caucus reception. (Photo Credit: Bill Petros)
appreciation for Megellas, an AHEPA Life Member, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 2. Since 2011, AHEPA has backed the effort, including legislation, to authorize the president to award the Medal of Honor to Lt. Col. James Megellas for acts of valor during the Battle of the Bulge. 

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. I n 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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