United States Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced legislation late last night that would posthumously honor Sergeant Gary Lee McKiddy, a Miamisburg, Ohio Vietnam veteran, with the Congressional Medal of Honor. The legislation would waive the statutory time limit that currently prevents Sergeant McKiddy from receiving the award.
"Sgt. McKiddy's selfless rescue effort, which has already become part of Army lore, merits the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor," said Senator Stabenow. "I am proud to be able to spotlight this sacrifice and honor a genuine American hero."
"On May 6, 1970, Sergeant McKiddy made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. His selfless act exemplifies his leadership and commitment to his fellow troops. Sergeant McKiddy was a true American hero and the Congressional Medal of Honor is long overdue," said Senator Brown.
"Sergeant McKiddy proved his heroism when he gave his life in the line of duty, and his legacy continues," Senator Voinovich said. "This award symbolizes the gratitude of a nation forever indebted to him. We welcome this opportunity to express our gratitude to his family by awarding him with the Congressional Medal of Honor - the highest award for military valor."
Sergeant McKiddy was a helicopter crew chief and door gunner with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. On the morning of May 6, 1970, his helicopter came under intense enemy fire causing it to crash. The Sergeant survived the crash and was thrown free of the wreckage. McKiddy returned to the burning helicopter and carried Specialist James Skaggs to safety. Returning a second time to rescue the pilot, McKiddy was caught in the explosion of the craft's fuel cells. The blast killed both Sergeant McKiddy and the pilot, Warrant Office Tommy Whiddon. Sergeant McKiddy was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, but never the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Current law prevents the award since the application for the Congressional Medal of Honor was not submitted prior to the expiration of the statutory time limit in October 1975. This legislation would waive the time limit and request the President award Sergeant McKiddy the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon a service member of the United States Armed Forces.