Text: H.R.685 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 113-105 (05/23/2014)

 
[113th Congress Public Law 105]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



[[Page 128 STAT. 1157]]

Public Law 113-105
113th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces, 
   collectively, in recognition of their heroic military service and 
  defense of our country's freedom throughout the history of aviation 
             warfare. <<NOTE: May 23, 2014 -  [H.R. 685]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: American Fighter 
Aces Congressional Gold Medal Act. 31 USC 5111 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``American Fighter Aces Congressional 
Gold Medal Act''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) An American Fighter Ace is a fighter pilot who has 
        served honorably in a United States military service and who has 
        destroyed 5 or more confirmed enemy aircraft in aerial combat 
        during a war or conflict in which American armed forces have 
        participated.
            (2) Beginning with World War I, and the first use of 
        airplanes in warfare, military services have maintained official 
        records of individual aerial victory credits during every major 
        conflict. Of more than 60,000 United States military fighter 
        pilots that have taken to the air, less than 1,500 have become 
        Fighter Aces.
            (3) Americans became Fighter Aces in the Spanish Civil War, 
        Sino-Japanese War, Russian Civil War, Arab-Israeli War, and 
        others. Additionally, American military groups' recruited United 
        States military pilots to form the American Volunteer Group, 
        Eagle Squadron, and others that produced American-born Fighter 
        Aces fighting against axis powers prior to Pearl Harbor.
            (4) The concept of a Fighter Ace is that they fought for 
        freedom and democracy across the globe, flying in the face of 
        the enemy to defend freedom throughout the history of aerial 
        combat. American-born citizens became Fighter Aces flying under 
        the flag of United States allied countries and became some of 
        the highest scoring Fighter Aces of their respective wars.
            (5) American Fighter Aces hail from every State in the 
        Union, representing numerous ethnic, religious, and cultural 
        backgrounds.
            (6) Fighter Aces possess unique skills that have made them 
        successful in aerial combat. These include courage, judgment, 
        keen marksmanship, concentration, drive, persistence,

[[Page 128 STAT. 1158]]

        and split-second thinking that makes an Ace a war fighter with 
        unique and valuable flight driven skills.
            (7) The Aces' training, bravery, skills, sacrifice, 
        attention to duty, and innovative spirit illustrate the most 
        celebrated traits of the United States military, including 
        service to country and the protection of freedom and democracy.
            (8) American Fighter Aces have led distinguished careers in 
        the military, education, private enterprise, and politics. Many 
        have held the rank of General or Admiral and played leadership 
        roles in multiple war efforts from WWI to Vietnam through many 
        decades. In some cases they became the highest ranking officers 
        for following wars.
            (9) The extraordinary heroism of the American Fighter Ace 
        boosted American morale at home and encouraged many men and 
        women to enlist to fight for America and democracy across the 
        globe.
            (10) Fighter Aces were among America's most-prized military 
        fighters during wars. When they rotated back to the United 
        States after combat tours, they trained cadets in fighter pilot 
        tactics that they had learned over enemy skies. The teaching of 
        combat dogfighting to young aviators strengthened our fighter 
        pilots to become more successful in the skies. The net effect of 
        this was to shorten wars and save the lives of young Americans.
            (11) Following military service, many Fighter Aces became 
        test pilots due to their superior flying skills and quick 
        thinking abilities.
            (12) Richard Bong was America's top Ace of all wars scoring 
        a confirmed 40 enemy victories in WWII. He was from Poplar, 
        Wisconsin, and flew the P-38 Lightning in all his combat sorties 
        flying for the 49th Fighter Group. He was killed in 1945 during 
        a P-80 test flight in which the engine flamed out on takeoff.
            (13) The American Fighter Aces are one of the most decorated 
        military groups in American history. Twenty-two Fighter Aces 
        have achieved the rank of Admiral in the Navy. Seventy-nine 
        Fighter Aces have achieved the rank of General in the Army, 
        Marines, and Air Force. Nineteen Medals of Honor have been 
        awarded to individual Fighter Aces.
            (14) The American Fighter Aces Association has existed for 
        over 50 years as the primary organization with which the Aces 
        have preserved their history and told their stories to the 
        American public. The Association established and maintains the 
        Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award presented annually at the 
        United States Air Force Academy; established and maintains an 
        awards program for outstanding fighter pilot ``lead-in'' trainee 
        graduates from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps; and 
        sponsors a scholarship program for descendants of American 
        Fighter Aces.
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.

    (a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of 
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make 
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the 
Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the 
American Fighter Aces, collectively, in recognition

[[Page 128 STAT. 1159]]

of their heroic military service and defense of our country's freedom, 
which has spanned the history of aviation warfare.
    (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to 
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury 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 American Fighter Aces, the gold medal shall be 
        given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be available 
        for display as appropriate and available for research.
            (2) Sense of the congress.--It is the sense of the Congress 
        that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal 
        awarded pursuant to this Act available for display elsewhere, 
        particularly at appropriate locations associated with the 
        American Fighter Aces, and that preference should be given to 
        locations affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.

    The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold 
medal struck pursuant to section 3 under such regulations as the 
Secretary may prescribe, at a price sufficient to cover the cost 
thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and 
overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.
SEC. 5. NATIONAL MEDALS.

    The medal struck pursuant to this Act is a national medal for 
purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

    Approved May 23, 2014.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 685:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 160 (2014):
            May 19, considered and passed House.
            May 20, considered and passed Senate.

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