Vietnam Helicopter Crew Memorial Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 7, 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Veterans

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Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H.R. 4298, which directs the Department of the Army to place in Arlington National Cemetery a memorial honoring helicopter pilots and crew members who served on Active Duty in the Armed Forces during the Vietnam war.

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to think about the Vietnam war without thinking about the significant role both man and machinery played throughout the war effort. The helicopter was the mainstay for operational mobility, with approximately 12,000 helicopters used during the war by the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

These helicopters, flown by tremendously skilled pilots and manned by brave and competent crew chiefs, door gunners, and medics, brought a constant stream of troops and supplies to the battlefields and carried the wounded from the battlefields--all while operating under extreme conditions and at tremendous personal risk. Helicopter support to combat operations in Vietnam was not without significant loss. An estimated 5,000 helicopter pilots and crew members made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Nevada for introducing this bill to permanently honor and remember the sacrifice by the extraordinary helicopter pilots and crew members who served in Vietnam by placing a memorial in their honor in Arlington National Cemetery. Therefore, I strongly urge all Members to support this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, as my colleague stated, the service, commitment, and dedication of the helicopter pilots during the Vietnam war were critical to saving many lives. As somebody who was an Army flight surgeon, who spent hundreds of hours in the back of a helicopter, and who served as the chief of aeromedical evacuation for the 325th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq in 2008, I can personally attest to the dedication, bravery, and commitment of the helicopter pilots and of the crew members and what they do for our men and women in uniform. Therefore, I strongly urge the House to support this bill and provide this memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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