Vows to continue support for Greece and Cyprus, and advocacy for Megellas’s Medal of Honor
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, met today with the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), Daughters of Penelope and Sons of Pericles for the AHEPA Family Annual Capitol Hill Day to address U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus and the efforts to support awarding Greek American and World War II veteran James “Maggie” Megellas with the Medal of Honor.
“Greece and Cyprus are critical strategic allies of the U.S. and our cooperation is essential for global security and economic growth. That is why I have so strongly advocated for U.S. support for Greece’s economic recovery and why I continue to push the United States to remain actively engaged in negotiations to create a unified Cyprus free of Turkish occupation,” said Rep. Maloney.
Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas is a 99-year-old decorated World War II veteran who was recommended for the Medal of Honor based on his actions during the January 1945 Battle of the Bulge in Herresbach, Belgium as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. Megellas led his platoon in an attack killing over 100 enemy troops and capturing 180 Nazi SS troops without the loss of a single American life. He singlehanded destroyed a German tank armed only with his Thompson submachine gun and two gammon grenades. The records that accompanied Maggie’s recommendation for the Medal of Honor mistakenly did not cite his individual act of valor, and the documentation was later destroyed in the 1973 Army records fire. Rep. Maloney and Hellenic Caucus co-chair Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) met with Acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy to request that the Army reopen Megellas’s case for the Medal of Honor. In February 2016, Reps. Maloney, Bilirakis and Sessions led a Congressional letter to Acting Secretary Murphy asking that this situation be granted another review.
“We were all inspired and humbled by Maggie’s story that he shared with us during his Capitol Hill visit. We are working to make sure that the Army sees any new information that would justify another review so that this American hero gets the recognition he so deserves,” said Rep. Maloney.
Rep. Maloney addressed AHEPA members, including AHEPA Supreme President John Galanis, Daughters of Penelope Grand President Connie Pilallis and Sons of Pericles Supreme President Andreas Christou for this morning’s event.
Congresswoman Maloney represents one of the largest Hellenic communities in the United States and outside of Greece and Cyprus.