Amodei Reintroduces Bill to Properly Recognize Vietnam Helicopter Crew Killed in Action
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02) today released the following statement after reintroducing the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act, legislation to place a monument in Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) to honor the nearly 5,000 pilots and crewmembers killed in action while serving in the Vietnam War:
“ANC is a phenomenal and unique national treasure, and this application is a phenomenal and unique request. Hailing from all branches of the Military, these pilots and crewmembers account for nearly ten percent of all Vietnam casualties. A joint sacrifice of this magnitude is worthy of proper recognition – but the process has failed these veterans.
“Any working standard that doesn’t allow a worthy application to make that grade is a working standard, quite frankly, that needs a little bit of help. While this legislation may not change the process, it would ensure that a group of American heroes finally receives proper recognition. I was pleased to see this bill pass the House last Congress, and I’m proud to continue supporting this group of deserving veterans. I ask that my colleagues join me in taking care of business that was rightfully deserved from over 40 years ago.”
The Vietnam War was the first in which the United States Military relied heavily on helicopters for transportation and combat. These pilots and crewmembers touched every aspect of efforts during the war, serving as transportation for soldiers and civilians, and providing critical battlefield support. However, there is currently no national monument honoring the heroic efforts of the nearly 5,000 pilots and crewmembers who died while serving in what has commonly become known as the “Helicopter War”.
In 2015, the year of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) submitted a proposal for a monument to be placed in ANC. However, the Secretary of the Army declined the proposal and instead granted the VHPA a tree marker – which has never been used to honor a common sacrifice of this magnitude– citing the necessity of using available land for grave space. After the proposal was denied, a course of legislative action to honor the pilots and crewmembers that died in combat became necessary.
The Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act seeks to honor these veterans by placing a 5’x 1’x 4’ monument in ANC to properly recognize their common act of valor and sacrifice. The monument will be at no cost to the taxpayer and will be fully funded by the VHPA. Congressman Amodei introduced this bill in the House along with 38 original cosponsors. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).