FOND DU LAC - He's an American hero, born and raised right here in Northeast Wisconsin.
He's 96-year-old James Megellas, born in Fond du Lac.
His actions in World War II have a group of hundreds of people and a local Congressman pushing for Megellas to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
It was in a snowy field in a small town in Belgium in 1945 during the famous "Battle of the Bulge" in World War II where 1st. Lt. James Megellas did something extraordinary.
"All of a sudden out of the city comes a Mark V tank, I got close enough where I could hit it broadside, spun it around and disabled it. And when the turret was open I was able to charge over there and drop a hand grenade in it and that eliminated the tank," Megellas said.
Magellas was awarded the Silver Star for that action. The 96-year-old retired from the Army in 1962 as a lieutenant colonel. Megallas now lives in Texas, but some in his hometown want to see his medal upgraded to the highest military award.
"I was only able to find five instances where a single soldier was able to take on a tank and four of those five men, very deservedly, are holding the Medal of Honor. Jim Megellas is not," said Jim Neumann of Fond du Lac who is helping with the effort.
Neumann and about 300 other friends, family of Megellas have created T-shirts and a website to spread the word. They hope to have one million names on a petition to congress for Megellas to be awarded the Medal of Honor. U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, is also aiding in the effort, introducing legislation on Megellas' behalf in Congress.
"The Belgian government and a number of other foreign governments have given him special awards and we would like to do the same."
Megellas says he appreciates the attention and efforts to get him the medal. And he says if it is awarded to him, it's an honor he'll share with many people.
"It recognizes your buddies with you, his unit, the men who fought with him, it's to his company, to the 82nd Airborne Division, then beyond that it's a recognition of your family, your hometown of Fond du Lac and Wisconsin."
Megellas is the most decorated soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division's history. There's also a documentary about his career in the military. Neumann says the only thing missing is the award many feel he deserves.
"Anything that hits Congress is an uphill battle, but this is certainly something that should draw bi-partisan support."
For a native son who saw more than his share of battles.
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