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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions - S. 2450

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

By Mr. CAMPBELL:

S. 2450. A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to revise the requirements for award of the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medical Badge with respect to service in Korea after July 28, 1953; to the Committee on Armed Services.

Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. President, today I am introducing the Korean Defense Service Combat Recognition Act of 2004 which would amend Title 10, United States Code, to revise the requirements for award of the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medical Badge with respect to service in Korea after July 28, 1953.

The Army awards the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) to recognize members of infantry units who have been engaged in ground combat. The Combat Medical Badge (CMB) recognizes field medics who accompany infantry troops into battle. A 1968 Army regulation makes it much more difficult for U.S. troops serving in South Korea to be awarded the CIB or CMB than for troops serving almost anywhere else in the world. Specifically, infantrymen stationed in South Korea must be in five firefights in order to qualify for the awards. In other combat zones, the requirement is one firefight.

In addition, to be awarded the medals, troops in South Korea must also have served in theater for sixty days in a hostile fire area, be authorized hostile fire pay, and be recommended by each superior up the chain-of-command to the division level.
My bill normalizes the rules so that all troops, no matter where they serve, are subject to the same eligibility requirements for these two prestigious medals.

Unfortunately, the Army regulation has had the unintended consequence of making it extra difficult for infantry and medical units serving along the DMZ in South Korea to earn combat recognition medals. A spokesman for the Korean Defense Veterans of America (KDVA) has described these requirements as making it nearly impossible to be awarded the CIB for infantrymen serving in Korea, short of getting killed in combat. The KDVA is a group of veterans and active soldiers who are serving, or who have served, in South Korea since 1953.

This language is supported by the KDVA and the Combat Infantryman's Association. The Combat Infantryman's Association is a group of Army infantrymen who have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge.

It is unfair and wrong to require five firefights in South Korea, but only one firefight in Grenada, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Laos, Vietnam, and almost every other location in the world. The Korean Defense Service Combat Recognition Act of 2004 normalizes the rules so that all troops, no matter where they serve, are subject to the same eligibility requirements for these two prestigious medals.

I urge my colleagues to support its passage and ask unanimous consent that the text of this bill be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

S. 2450

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Korea Defense Service Combat Recognition Act".

SEC. 2. REQUIREMENTS FOR AWARD OF COMBAT INFANTRYMAN BADGE AND COMBAT MEDICAL BADGE WITH
RESPECT TO SERVICE IN KOREA AFTER JULY 28, 1953.

(a) STANDARDIZATION OF REQUIREMENTS WITH OTHER GEOGRAPHIC AREAS.-(1) Chapter 357 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

"§ 3757. Korea defense service: Combat Infantryman Badge; Combat Medical Badge

"The Secretary of the Army shall provide that, with respect to service in the Republic of Korea after July 28, 1953, eligibility of a member of the Army for the Combat Infantryman Badge or the Combat Medical Badge shall be met under criteria and eligibility requirements that, as nearly as practicable, are identical to those applicable, at the time of such service in the Republic of Korea, to service elsewhere without regard to specific location or special circumstances. In particular, such eligibility shall be established-

"(1) without any requirement for service by the member in an area designated as a 'hostile fire area' (or by any similar designation) or that the member have been authorized hostile fire pay;

"(2) without any requirement for a minimum number of instances (in excess of one) in which the member was engaged with the enemy in active ground combat involving an exchange of small arms fire; and

"(3) without any requirement for personal recommendation or approval by commanders in the member's chain of command other than is generally applicable for service at locations outside the Republic of Korea.".

(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

"3757. Korea defense service: Combat Infantryman Badge; Combat Medical Badge.".

(b) APPLICABILITY TO SERVICE BEFORE DATE OF ENACTMENT.-The Secretary of the Army shall establish procedures to provide for the implementation of section 3757 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), with respect to service in the Republic of Korea during the period between July 28, 1953, and the date of the enactment of this Act. Such procedures shall include a requirement for submission of an application for award of a badge under that section with respect to service before the date of the enactment of this Act and the furnishing of such information as the Secretary may specify.

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