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Hirono-Sponsored Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Army ‘Dustoff’ Crews Passes Senate with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

~ Legislation Recognizes Extraordinary Heroism of Vietnam War Veterans ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, applauded the passage of a bill she supported to collectively award a group of Vietnam War veterans known as “Dustoff Crews” with the Congressional Gold Medal. The legislation, led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), received bipartisan support from 69 members of the U.S. Senate.

This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended U.S. combat operations in the Vietnam War. The moniker “Dustoff” refers to the radio call sign of the helicopter-borne medical evacuation teams that landed in hostile conditions to save wounded Americans and our South Vietnamese allies. Between 1962 through 1973, Dustoff crews were responsible for transporting 17,700 United States casualties. During this period, soldiers assigned to Dustoff crews had a one-in-three chance of being wounded or killed.

In addition to Senators Hirono, Cornyn, and Warren, the bill was also cosponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Bob Casey (D-PA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Steve Daines (R-MT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Katie Britt (R-AL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Barrasso (R-WY), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), Rick Scott (R-FL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Carper (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Todd Young (R-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and the late Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

This bill is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, AMVETS, Association of the United States Army, Army Aviation Association of America, DUSTOFF Association, and Vietnam Dustoff Association.