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 Melvin Joseph Maas

Melvin Joseph Maas

Birth
Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA
Death 13 Apr 1964 (aged 65)
Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 34, Lot 4-A, Grid VW-12/13
Memorial ID 2997 · View Source
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US Congressman, United States Marine Corps General. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, he grew up in St. Paul, graduating from St. Thomas College in 1919. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1917, but was so anxious to join the World War I effort, that he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a Private. Though he did not see combat during the war, he did earn his wings as a pilot, and in 1925 was commissioned an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve. Elected to Congress as a Republican in 1926, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he expressed great concern about the air defenses of Washington D.C. To dramatize his point, he rented a biplane in 1929 and buzzed the Capitol dome during a joint session of Congress. Upon landing, he stated that with one bomb he could have wiped out the entire government. He caused another stir in the House in 1932. This time, however, it was for his heroics. While he was speaking on the floor, a man brandishing a handgun rose to his feet in the House gallery and demanded that he be allowed to address the House regarding some personal business. He held the floor with his authoritative presence, calmly but sternly informed the gentleman that no one was allowed to address the House while carrying a weapon and ordered him to drop the handgun. The man complied and immediately was taken into custody. For his coolness in this tense situation, he was awarded the Carnegie Silver Medal. He lost his bid for reelection in 1932, but staged a comeback victory, rejoining the House in 1934. While still in Congress, he served in the South Pacific as a Colonel in the Marine Corps. In 1944, after 16 years in the House, he was defeated for reelection and so chose to remain on active duty in the Pacific. It was during an attack on Okinawa that he suffered damage to his optic nerve from fragments of an exploded bomb. The incident caused permanent damage that led to total blindness in 1951. He was not discouraged by his impairment. In 1949 President Harry S. Truman appointed him to the President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, a committee he chaired from 1954 until his death in 1964. During that period, he dedicated his efforts to assisting disabled veterans and served as National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans and the Blinded Veterans Association. In 1952 he retired from the Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Major General.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2997
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Melvin Joseph Maas (14 May 1898–13 Apr 1964), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2997, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .