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Congressional Gold Medal 4 Bataan POW

H.R. 5315 (previous bill for CGMedal)

S. 768
Request to Amend S768
Call to Action S.768
H. R. 2598
Request to Amend H.R. 2598
Call To Action H.R. 2598
Filvets Bataan POWs Names A to L
Filvets Bataan POWs Names M to Z
What is CG Medal?
List of CG Medal Recipients (1776-1900)
List of CG Medal Recipients (1901-2008)
H.R. 5315 (previous bill for CGMedal)
H.R. 423 Death March Compensation Act
Return Our Balangiga Bells

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COSPONSORS(38), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:     (Sort: by date)

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


2d Session

H. R. 5315

To grant the Congressional Gold Medal to a group of soldiers from World War II.


February 7, 2008

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 concerned


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,


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 and disease.

(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.

(6) Within 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.


(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.


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.


Medals struck pursuant to this Act are National medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.


(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.





[Page: E138]  GPO's PDF







  • 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. and Allied
[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 Gold Medal.

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.