Hunton Andrews Kurth Locks in Senate Support for Congressional Gold Medal Honoring Vietnam War Dust Off Crews

Time 2 Minute Read
April 9, 2024

A team of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP attorneys and professional staff have been lobbying Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to a decorated group of Vietnam War veterans: the pilots, crew chiefs and medics of Operation Dust Off. During the war, members of this elite group flew medical evacuation helicopters into the jungle and across the delta to rescue and transport mortally wounded military personnel from the battlefield to nearby hospitals. These missions are credited with saving approximately 900,000 lives over the course of the Vietnam War.

The firm’s ongoing efforts for this pro bono representation include meeting with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss the Dust Off Crews of the Vietnam War Congressional Gold Medal Act and encouraging those Members to cosponsor this legislation, which was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R.1015) on February 14, 2023, and in the Senate (S.2825) on September 14, 2023. The identical bills provide for the award of a Congressional Gold Medal, the oldest and highest civilian award in the United States bestowed by Congress, to Dust Off crewmembers for their heroic military service.

To successfully pass this legislation and award the Dust Off crews with the Congressional Gold Medal, two-thirds of each chamber of Congress – 290 Members in the House and 67 Members in the Senate – are required to cosponsor H.R.1015 and S.2825. The firm’s team recently hit the requisite two-thirds majority in the Senate and now moves to the House, where the bill currently has 123 cosponsors.

“We’re thrilled to be working on behalf of the Operation Dust Off crewmembers to secure the recognition their heroic service deserves,” said Garrett Kral, associate and co-lead of the pro bono effort. “It’s been rewarding to see the positive response from the Members of Congress we’ve met with so far, and we’re not giving up until we secure the remaining signatures needed to award the Dust Off crew with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Todd Mikolop, counsel and co-lead, added, “The Hunton Andrews Kurth team has provided enthusiastic support in this effort and is committed to doing what it takes to convince House Members to cosponsor this bill. The Senate is on board, and we hope the same will be true for the House in the very near future.”

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