WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) have introduced the Senate companion legislation of H.R. 4298, the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Memorial Act, which would direct the Secretary of the Army to approve a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery honoring the nearly 5,000 helicopter pilots and crewmembers killed during the Vietnam War. The legislation was first introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV).
“Brave and courageous Vietnam war pilots made incredible sacrifices and this bipartisan effort offers respect for their selfless service,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our Vietnam veterans and their families have earned this recognition and they deserve to be properly honored at Arlington National Cemetery.”
“The brave helicopter pilots and crew of the Vietnam War were crucial to the fight against the North Vietnamese and communist forces, and to the eventual evacuation of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese from Saigon,” said Senator Sullivan. “A five-foot-by-one-foot memorial amid the more than 620-acre cemetery is not an unreasonable request to honor the sacrifices of thousands of fallen service members. With 40 years having passed since the end of the Vietnam War, it is time for family members of these fallen heroes to have a place in our nation’s cemetery to come and pay their respects.”
“Hailing from all branches of the Military, these pilots, crew members, and medics account for almost ten percent of all the casualties in what has come to be known as the ‘Helicopter War,’” said Rep. Amodei. “Vietnam pilots and crew members touched every aspect of the war’s efforts, serving as transportation for soldiers and civilians, and providing critical battlefield support, but the process has failed these veterans – denying them proper recognition for their joint sacrifice. A 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 veterans, who are more than worthy of a memorial, receive the recognition they deserve. I’m pleased to join Senators Sullivan and Baldwin in support of these true American heroes.”
The memorial proposal was submitted by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA). The VHPA has agreed to fund the construction and installation costs for the memorial.