NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS – A bill to honor Civil Air Patrol’s World War II members with a Congressional Gold Medal has passed the Senate after gaining the necessary co-sponsors needed for consideration.
S. 309, passed under unanimous consent Monday night, recognizes CAP members’ contributions during wartime, including using their own aircraft to conduct combat operations and other emergency missions under hazardous conditions.
Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr, CAP national commander, credited members' and other supporters' hard work and expressed his thanks not only to leaders throughout the organization but also to the 82 senators -- 15 more than the minimum needed -- who have signed on as co-sponsors for S. 309.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who introduced the bill, said that “as the long-standing commander of CAP’s Congressional Squadron in Washington, D.C., I have long recognized the contributions of CAP to our nation, particularly in its time of greatest peril during World War II. That is why I sponsored the Congressional Gold Medal bill in the Senate.”
“I want to publically thank my colleagues in the Senate who joined me as supporters of this legislation as co-sponsors of S. 309,” Harkin said.
An identical bill, H.R. 755, is under consideration in the House, where it now has 159 co-sponsors. The measure needs a total of 290 to be acted on in the House Financial Services Committee, where it has been assigned. CAP hopes to gain the additional co-sponsors over the next several months.
“I am pleased to see the progress in the Senate in support of the Congressional Gold Medal for CAP’s World War II members, and I look forward to completion of the process in the House with unanimous approval of H.R. 755,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
“With only a handful of those who served still alive, the time is now to honor these American war heroes, 64 of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to help America prevail in the war effort.
"All of CAP’s more than 61,000 members can take pride in the national spotlight that will shine on the organization when the Congressional Gold Medal is awarded. This prestigious honor not only recognizes patriotic civilians who risked their lives through heroic contributions to protecting the home front during World War II, but also CAP’s unpaid professionals' exceptional selfless service to their communities that continues each and every day,” Carr said.
He also called for continued diligence by CAP members in ensuring early members' Congressional Gold Medal eligibility. He asked that CAP's wing commanders assign appropriate individuals in their wings to check the organization's online report .
In addition, possible candidates should immediately be contacted "to ensure no deserving person is left out of the Congressional Gold Medal process," Carr said.