Texas Connects Us: The Battle of a Lifetime | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Texas Connects Us: The Battle of a Lifetime

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    NEWSLETTERS

    James "Maggie" Megellas, 99, is the most decorated member of the Army's 82nd Airborne, but there's one medal he's still fighting for. (Published Friday, April 1, 2016)

    One glance at the upstairs family room in James Megellas' Colleyville home and you understand why he's so passionate.

    The walls are lined with dozens of military honors and awards.

    "You lead from the front, you command from the rear," Megellas said. "If you're commanding troops, you're not going to get a medal."

    The 99-year-old World War II veteran has been awarded numerous honors, including two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and a Distinguished Service Cross. He's the most decorated member of the Army's 82nd Airborne Unit.

    But the medal many feel he deserves is the Congressional Medal of Honor, the military's highest honor, for his actions on a cold January night in 1945.

    "I was loaded with all the ammunition that I could carry," Megellas recalled.

    His platoon was in Belgium. And from a distance, he saw the enemy coming.

    "It was a German tank," Megellas said.

    And while everyone else watched, Megellas went in, alone.

    "I took out one of these hand grenades and pulled the pin and I got close enough and I flipped it over and it hit and it spun it around and smoked a little bit and the guy who was in the turret just went down and the turret was open," Megellas said. "I charged that tank, got out one of my hand grenades and got there close enough and dropped a hand grenade in there, inside it."

    Megellas single-handily took out a 50-ton Nazi tank.

    For his bravery, he was awarded a Silver Star, though his commander thought he deserved more.

    "'We're putting you in for a Medal of Honor.' Right there he said it," Megellas recalled. "People heard him."

    It's been more than 71 years since the Battle of the Bulge, and Megellas is still fighting for that honor.

    But now, he has the backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who just recently heard the story, too.

    Only time will tell if he will receive the award.

    And if he does, he'll have to make room on his already crowded walls.

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