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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

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Location: Washington, DC

STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

By Ms. STABENOW:

S. 1834. A bill to waive time limitations in order to allow the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Gary Lee McKiddy, of Miamisburg, Ohio, for acts of valor while a helicopter crew chief and door gunner with the 1st Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War; to the Committee on Armed Services.

Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, today I rise to introduce a bill that would waive rigid time limitations in order to allow the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Gary Lee McKiddy, of Miamisburg, OH, for acts of valor while a helicopter crew chief and door gunner with the 1st Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War. There is a companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 369, which was introduced by Representative Sander Levin and is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of forty-three Members of Congress.

I think it is important that my colleagues hear the heroic story of Sergeant Gary Lee McKiddy. Sergeant McKiddy served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. He was a helicopter crew chief and a door gunner. On May 6, 1970, Sergeant McKiddy's helicopter came under enemy fire and received several damaging blows, causing the helicopter to crash and start burning. Through investigations, the Army arrived at the conclusion that Sergeant McKiddy was thrown free of the helicopter and was out of harm's way, but bravely returned to the burning helicopter and found Specialist Four James Skaggs, who was unconscious, and carried him to safety. Sergeant McKiddy then returned to the wreckage to help rescue the pilot, Warrant Officer Tommy Whiddon, when the aircraft's fuel cells exploded, killing Warrant Officer Whiddon and Sergeant McKiddy.

I think we all can agree that this is an incredible story of bravery, honor, and selflessness. Specialist Four Skaggs wrote in a letter, "Gary McKiddy was awarded the Silver Star for these acts of heroism but not the Medal of Honor because there were no witnesses. I don't understand how he could be awarded the Silver Star based on this information but no the Medal of Honor. There has never been any doubt in my mind about what happened that day. I am totally convinced Gary McKiddy earned and deserves the Medal of Honor."

Sergeant McKiddy's brother, Rick, lives in Warren, MI. Rick McKiddy, other family members, and Specialist Four Skaggs have been fighting for Sergeant McKiddy's Medal of Honor for 20 years to no avail. They've contacted countless persons at the Pentagon and have taken their case to anyone who will listen. They've exhausted their resources. I think that Sergeant McKiddy deserves a second chance. It is time for Congress to act.

As we all know, the Medal of Honor is defined as "the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States." Unfortunately, the time limit for the application for the Medal of Honor ran out before an application was submitted on Sergeant McKiddy's behalf. The bill that I am introducing today waives the time limit on the application and requests that the President award Sergeant McKiddy the Medal of Honor.

With Veteran's Day quickly approaching, I think this is a very fitting way to honor not only Sergeant McKiddy, but all of those men and women who have given their lives for our country.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

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