H.R.5315, a bill introduced
on 2/27/2008 by Rep
Tom Udall when he was a member of the House
of Representatives from New Mexico
This bill did not become a law.
Title: To grant the Congressional Gold Medal to a group of soldiers from World War II.
Rep Udall, Tom [NM-3] (introduced 2/7/2008) Cosponsors (38)
Latest Major Action: 3/25/2008 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee
on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology.
COSPONSORS(38), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors
Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 3/14/2008
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 4/8/2008
Rep Brown, Corrine [FL-3] - 3/14/2008
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] - 4/15/2008
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 4/8/2008
Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F.H. [AS] - 5/21/2008
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 6/12/2008
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 4/23/2008
Rep Giffords, Gabrielle [AZ-8] - 4/8/2008
Rep Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY-20] - 5/5/2008
Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 3/4/2008
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 4/8/2008
Rep Hall, John J. [NY-19] - 3/14/2008
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 3/31/2008
Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 3/14/2008
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 6/4/2008
Rep Hinojosa, Ruben [TX-15] - 6/12/2008
Rep Hodes, Paul W. [NH-2] - 4/1/2008
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 4/8/2008
Rep Hooley, Darlene [OR-5] - 4/8/2008
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] - 5/21/2008
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 5/19/2008
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 6/26/2008
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 5/8/2008
Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 3/13/2008
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 4/10/2008
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] - 4/8/2008
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 5/5/2008
Rep Rodriguez, Ciro D. [TX-23] - 3/4/2008
Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] - 5/5/2008
Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 6/12/2008
Rep Sestak, Joe [PA-7] - 6/4/2008
Rep Shays, Christopher [CT-4] - 6/18/2008
Rep Skelton, Ike [MO-4] - 7/10/2008
Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2] - 4/8/2008
Rep Walberg, Timothy [MI-7] - 3/13/2008
Rep Wilson, Heather [NM-1] - 3/5/2008
Rep Young, Don [AK] - 4/30/2008
To grant the Congressional Gold Medal to a group of soldiers from World War II. (Introduced in House)
HR 5315 IH
H. R. 5315
To grant the Congressional
Gold Medal to a group of soldiers from World War II.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. UDALL of New Mexico introduced the following bill; which was referred
to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on House Administration, for a period to be subsequently
determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee
To grant the Congressional
Gold Medal to a group of soldiers from World War II.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) In April 1942, nearly 12,000 American soldiers and 67,000 Filipino soldiers based at Bataan, Philippines,
bravely and staunchly fought off enemy attacks for more than 4 months while under strenuous conditions that resulted in starvation
(2) By maintaining their position and engaging the enemy for as long as they did, the soldiers at Bataan were able
to redefine the momentum of the war and provide other United States
and Allied forces throughout the Pacific with time to plan and prepare for subsequent, crucial battles.
(3) On April 9, 1942, Maj. General Edward King surrendered these troops into enemy hands.
(4) Over the next week, these prisoners were forced to march 65 miles without any food, water or medical care in
what came to be know as the Bataan Death March.
(5) During this forced march, thousands of soldiers died, either from starvation, lack of medical care, sheer exhaustion,
or from abuse by their captors.
the first 40 days at Camp O'Donnell,
1,600 more American prisoners died.
(7) The conditions at the camp were substandard, leading to increased disease and malnutrition among the prisoners.
(8) On June 6, 1942, the American prisoners were transferred to Cabanatuan, north
of Camp O'Donnell.
In July, all Filipino prisoners were paroled.
(9) These prisoners suffered from continued mistreatment, malnutrition, lack of medical care, and horrific conditions.
(10) The prisoners who remained in these camps were liberated in 1945 and returned home.
(11) Over the subsequent decades, these prisoners formed support groups, were honored in local and State memorials,
and told their story to all Americans.
(12) Many of these soldiers have now passed away, and those who remain continue to tell their story.
(13) The United States is forever
indebted to these men for the courage they demonstrated during the first 4 months of World War II in fighting against enemy
soldiers, and for the perseverance they sustained during 3 years of capture, imprisonment, and atrocious conditions while
maintaining dignity, honor, patriotism, and loyalty.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD
(a) Award Authorized- The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall
make appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of American soldiers who were
prisoners of war at Bataan, collectively,
in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country.
(b) Design and Striking- For the purposes of the award referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury
(hereafter in this Act referred to as the `Secretary') shall strike the gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions,
to be determined by the Secretary.
(c) Smithsonian Institution-
(1) IN GENERAL- Following the award of the gold medal in honor of the prisoners of war at Bataan
under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be displayed as appropriate
and made available for research.
(2) SENSE- It is the sense of the Congress that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received under
paragraph (1) available for display elsewhere, particularly at other appropriate locations associated with the prisoners of
war at Bataan.
SEC. 3. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of
the gold medal struck under section 2, at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals, including labor, materials,
dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses.
SEC. 4. NATIONAL MEDALS.
Medals struck pursuant to this Act are National medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF
APPROPRIATIONS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.
(a) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise
Fund, an amount not to exceed $30,000 to pay for the cost of the medals authorized under section 2.
(b) Proceeds of Sale- Amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited
in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION TO AWARD THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 07, 2008)
[Page: E138] GPO's PDF
HON. TOM UDALL
OF NEW MEXICO
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2008
- Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Madam Speaker, I rise today to proudly introduce legislation
to award the Congressional Gold Medal to some of the most valiant and courageous soldiers who have ever fought for our Nation--the
troops who battled and were prisoners of war at Bataan during World War II.
- Nearly seven decades
ago, the United States responded to the attacks on Pearl Harbor by declaring
war--and more than 5,000 miles away in the Philippines, thousands of American
soldiers, many of whom were from my State of New Mexico,
found themselves on the frontline of this global fight. For 4 months, in the face of overwhelming odds and without ready supplies
or reinforcements, these troop fought and died for their Nation. Their efforts not only provided the U.S. with much needed
stories of heroism during a dire, dark time of the war, their sacrifice also substantively provided much needed time for U.S.
[Page: E139] GPO's PDF
commanders to regroup, plan, and prepare for the Pacific battle.
Without these troops delaying the momentum of the enemy, the U.S. might
not have fully recovered from the Pearl Harbor attack until much later.
- After months of
fighting and with his men starving and sick, on April 9, 1942, the commander of the troops at Bataan
reluctantly surrendered. Shortly thereafter, nearly 12,000 American troops and 67,000 Filipino troops were forced to march
through tropical heat and without food or water for days on end in what became known as the Bataan Death March. Many died
during this time, and those who survived were subject to three years of mistreatment, malnutrition, sickness and captivity
before being rescued and released near the end of the war.
- For the State of
New Mexico, this chapter of World War II is particularly
near to our hearts. New Mexico's 200th and 515th Coast Artillery units served with significant
honor during the battle of Bataan, earning the distinction of being the ``first to fire''
on the enemy on December 8, 1941. Many of the Americans captured and held as prisoners of war were from New Mexico, and of the 1,800 who left home to fight, half did not return. Further, nearly
a third of those did return home after their tortuous 3 years of captivity died within a year, most often due to complications
from health issues directly attributed to their time in the POW camps.
- The 200th and 515th
also are notable because they largely consisted of Hispanic soldiers, a group that at the time was often subject to discrimination
in the military due simply to their ethnicity. Despite these barriers, they fought without hesitation, noting that they were
as American as any other soldier who wore the uniform. They came from every corner of the State, from Farmington
to Alamogordo, from Deming to Raton, and from Clovis to Gallup.
- Many years ago,
my father Stewart Udall wrote a book called Majestic Journey chronicling the early explorations of North
America in the sixteenth century. He described the vision, the individualism, and the pioneering spirit of early
Hispanic explorers, and I believe that like these explorers, the actions of the Bataan prisoners
of war ``resonate through the annals of our history, and the imprint they left on our culture is both permanent and profound.
They will add a special luster to our national story.''
- Every year, thousands
of people participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sand Missile Range
in southern New Mexico. The 26.2 mile march not only marks
the historical significance of the event, but reminds us of how many in New Mexico underwent
the ordeals at Bataan. In AIbuquerque, stone columns rise from the ground at the Bataan Memorial Park, each of them bearing both the names
of those who returned from Bataan and those who did not. In Santa Fe,
the Military Museum bears the name of Bataan, reminding all who enter of the costs of war and the sacrifice made by our soldiers. And all
across the country are similar memorials, keeping alive the memory of those who went through years of suffering at Bataan.
- I want to thank
the New Mexico Hispanic Cultural Preservation League for their help on this legislation. Also, General Leo Marquez, General
Edward Baca, General Melvyn Montano, General Gene Chavez, General Kenny Montoya, and New Mexico Department of Veterans Services
Secretary John Garcia for their continued insistence that we honor the Bataan veterans.
- Madam Speaker, we
must never forget the sacrifice of our soldiers, particularly during times of war. We are reminded daily of the hardships
and danger faced by the men and women currently fighting in Afghanistan
and Iraq. Like the soldiers of Bataan, these brave troops fight for patriotism, for duty, and for country. I hope my colleagues will
join me to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers at Bataan by awarding them the Congressional
VFW Backs Udall's Bataan Gold Medal Bill
WASHINGTON, March 4, 2008--The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW),
an organization 2.3 million members strong, has endorsed legislation authored by U.S. Representative Tom Udall, D-N.M., to
bestow Bataan Death March veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“The coalescing support around this long-overdue tribute to the veterans who endured unimaginable hardships
in Bataan is very heartening,” said Udall. “I hope the VFW’s endorsement
of my legislation to finally honor these soldiers will translate into more Congressional support for the measure.”
In a letter to Udall, Michael H. Wysong, Director of National Security and Foreign Affairs for the VFW, said, “…The
United States is forever indebted to these brave men for their courage and perseverance in the face of extraordinary circumstances
while maintaining dignity, honor, patriotism and loyalty. This resolution will go a long way in recognizing the special sacrifices
made by these courageous men and will serve as a solemn reminder of the cost, in human terms, made by our military to preserve
our freedom and liberty.”
Click here to read VFW's letter to Udall.
On April 9, 1942, 12,500 American soldiers, suffering
from a lack of supplies, malnutrition, malaria and starvation, fought bravely to provide US commanders with the breathing
room needed to prepare for the full Pacific war. With no resources left to continue, and no reinforcements able to arrive,
the troops were surrendered to the Japanese forces in the Philippines.
Immediately following their capture, the troops were forced to endure a torturous 65-mile, five-day march in tropical
heat without food or water. Thousands perished along the way, and those who survived were held as prisoners of war in squalid
encampments for almost three years.
In captivity, the soldiers were made to do hard manual labor, were given inadequate medical treatment and nutritional
rations, and were often threatened and beaten. Those who survived suffered for the rest of their lives with physical and mental
reminders of what they had endured. Of the approximately 900 soldiers who returned home to New Mexico, nearly a third died within a year after leaving captivity, most often due to
complications from health issues directly attributed to their time in the POW camps.
Under Udall’s bill, a collective medal would be awarded to the American soldiers who served at Bataan
during World War II. It would be housed at
the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and upon request
made available for ceremonies and events commemorating the march.
Udall’s bill is also backed by the New Mexican Hispanic Cultural Preservation League, New Mexico Generals Leo
Marquez, Edward Baca, Melvyn Montano, Gene Chavez and Kenny Montoya, and Secretary John M. Garcia of the New Mexico Department
of Veterans Services.
Udall served as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for 8 years. He is also a member of the Congressional
Hispanic Task Force.