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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to support legislation I am introducing today to name the Veterans Telehealth Clinic in Craig, Colorado, after Medal of Honor recipient Major William E. Adams. I am pleased that Senator BENNET will join with me in introducing this bill.

Our bill isn't the first effort to honor Major Adams. My good friend Congressman John Salazar introduced this legislation last year in the House of Representatives with the support of the entire Colorado delegation. I would like to see this bill through to passage in this Congress in part to honor John and his efforts to commemorate the heroism of Major Adams and to get the VA clinic established in northwest Colorado.

I'd also like to honor Larry Neu, a local business owner and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 quartermaster, who has been the architect of efforts to commemorate Major Adams. With Larry's leadership and the help of other Craig residents, the Colorado state legislature passed a resolution renaming part of Colorado Highway 13 the ``Maj. William Adams Medal of Honor Highway.'' I know he worked closely with Congressman Salazar in the last Congress to develop the legislation I am introducing today.

Above all, this bill is intended to honor Major William Adams himself and his ``conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.''

A resident of Craig, Major Adams served and lost his life in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, after distinguishing himself while serving as an Army helicopter pilot. In May 1971, he volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate three seriously wounded soldiers from a small base that was under attack. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would make him visible to enemy gunners. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire, but he continued his approach, directing the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining control of the helicopter he was flying. He picked up the wounded soldiers, but his aircraft was then struck and damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed.

I was pleased to learn that many of his family members attended the ceremony in November dedicating part of Colorado Highway 13 to Major Adams. I want to pay tribute today to his wife Sandra and his daughter Jean, both Colorado residents, and his son, Col. John Adams, an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps, recently back from Afghanistan. I hope this bill serves to reinforce what they already know--that Major Adams is a real hero to this county, to Colorado and to Craig. He is part of a special class of American heroes who will forever be remembered for their service and sacrifice. His story will continue inspiring generations to come, while reminding us all about the contributions and sacrifices of America's greatest.

I have introduced this legislation not only to recognize the sacrifice of Major Adams, but also to recognize the service of our Vietnam veterans and especially all veterans in Northwest Colorado. The Telehealth Clinic in Craig is on track to have nearly 1700 visits from area veterans this year, and I will always fight to make sure our veterans get the health care they earned and deserve.

As Larry Neu said about Major Adams, ``The man made the ultimate sacrifice for his country--he should not be forgotten.'' Passage of this bill will help us remember Major Adams and so many other brave veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our country. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and to continue to support our dedicated men and women in uniform.

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