Two Washington state representatives are working together to reintroduce a bill from the 117th Congress to honor Vietnam War veterans.
The bipartisan bill, if passed, would award the Congressional Gold Medal to Dustoff crew-members — the helicopter pilots, crew chiefs and medics responsible for evacuating 900,000 US, Vietnamese and Allied troops over an eleven-year period beginning in May 1962. March 1973.
“During the Vietnam War, millions of Americans left home to fight in muddy trenches and jungles halfway around the world,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Spokane, said in a statement. “Many have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“Others returned home only to be ostracized and ridiculed,” he continued. “Some were not recognized for their services. That’s exactly what happened to the Dustoff crewmembers who risked their lives to save nearly a million others. They were some of the very best, and their bravery deserves to be recognised.”
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The History and Art Archives of the United States House of Representatives notes that Congress “awarded the Gold Medal as the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievement and contribution.”
“Each medal honors a specific person, institution or event,” says the archive.
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The first recipient of the award by the Continental Congress on March 25, 1776, was none other than George Washington.
To date, few Vietnam War veterans have received the Congressional Gold Medal.
Bill co-sponsor Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, wants to correct this oversight.
“Years after the end of the Vietnam War, many Vietnam veterans have not been adequately recognized for their service and sacrifice,” Kilmer said in a statement. “This is true for the members of the Dustoff crew – who heroically rescued so many.”
“Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Vietnam War Dustoff Crews will be an important step in recognizing the vital role these service members play in saving lives and proudly serving their country.” “I will continue to push to ensure that we show our gratitude on behalf of a grateful nation.”
An earlier version of the bill in the 117th Congress died in committee without passing for a vote.
Syndicated with permission from Center Square.
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