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Legislation seeks honors for military, wartime heroes

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In early spring, legislation introduced in the 116th Congress
included several bills proposing gold medals honoring military and
wartime heroes. 

The Mexican pilots of Escuadron 201, Rosie the Riveter, and soldiers who defended
Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II were
advanced for honors. 

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The three pieces of legislation, House Resolution 1889, Senate bill
892, and H.R. 2192, respectively, were introduced in the House and
Senate in March and April and none have had any significant action
taken on them since. Each has a military theme relating to World War
II, two specifically dealing with that war’s Pacific Theater.

Escuadron 201

H.R. 1889, aptly titled “Escuadron 201 Gold Medal Act,” was
introduced March 26 by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. The bill seeks to
present a gold medal to the pilots of the 201st Fighter Squadron, a
Mexican Expeditionary Force air unit attached to the U.S. 58th Fighter
Group. The squadron helped to liberate Luzon and Formosa (now known as
Taiwan) in the summer of 1945. Escuadron 201 flew hundreds of combat
and support missions in the closing months of the war in the Pacific Theater. If the
legislation were passed and signed into law, a single medal would be
presented collectively to the pilots as a group. 

Skopos Lab, a group that specializes in predicting the course of
legislative action on bills, gives H.R. 1889 a 3 percent chance of
passing, though such a low likelihood of passing is common to many new
pieces of legislation early in the process. 


Many are familiar with Rosie the Riveter, the bandana- and
overall-clad female factory worker of poster fame. She came to
symbolize both the emergence of women in the workforce during World
War II and the power of American industry, central to tipping the
scales in the war. 

If S. 892, the “Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act of
2019” were to become law, then all of the women whose labor stateside
contributed to the Allied victory would collectively receive the
single gold medal awarded to Rosie the Riveter. 

Introduced April 9 by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., S. 892 currently has
the usual 3 percent chance of passing predicted by Skopos Labs.

Bataan troops

Fitting thematically with H.R. 1889 is H.R. 2192, “To grant the
Congressional Gold Medal to the troops from the United States and the
Philippines who defended Bataan and Corregidor, in recognition of
their personal sacrifice and service during World War II,” introduced
April 9. 

Originating with Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., the legislation,
if it became law, would honor the military units composed of both
American and Filipino soldiers who fought the Japanese forces
that assaulted the Philippines in 1941. Many units suffered high
casualty rates and subsequently faced harsh treatment from the
occupiers, notably on the Bataan Death March. The bill does not yet
have a Skopos rating. 

The trio of World War II themed pieces of gold medal legislation
will likely remain on the floor for some time before being reviewed by
committee and either rejected outright or referred to the other
legislative body for further consideration and voting. 

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