Text: H.R.980 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/05/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[H.R. 980 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 980

To award a Congressional Gold Medal to all United States nationals who 
  voluntarily joined the Canadian and British armed forces and their 
   supporting entities during World War II, in recognition of their 
                           dedicated service.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            February 5, 2019

 Mr. Ryan (for himself, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Gonzalez of Texas, 
 Mrs. Dingell, and Ms. McCollum) 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

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To award a Congressional Gold Medal to all United States nationals who 
  voluntarily joined the Canadian and British armed forces and their 
   supporting entities during World War II, in recognition of their 
                           dedicated service.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``American Patriots of WWII through 
Service with the Canadian and British Armed Forces Gold Medal Act of 
2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Americans from across the country served in defense of 
        democracy and freedom during World War II (WWII) by 
        volunteering for service with the Canadian and British 
        militaries and other associated organizations that were 
        fighting Nazi and Fascist aggression. Many United States 
        citizens perceived the importance of this war and the severe 
        impact Nazism and Fascism could have on the American way of 
        life. Therefore, prior to the United States entry into the 
        conflict and indeed throughout WWII these patriots 
        independently crossed the border into Canada and entered 
        Canadian and British armed forces recruiting offices or sought 
        out representatives based in major United States municipalities 
        and elsewhere.
            (2) When the ``United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern 
        Ireland'' and the ``British Commonwealth of Nations'' were 
        drawn into WWII after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the 
        Canadian and British air forces made a concerted effort to 
        recruit Americans.
            (3) It is documented that thousands of Americans joined the 
        Canadian and British armed forces, a large percentage joining 
        the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) alone. In a 1942 film Air 
        Marshal William Avery ``Billy'' Bishop, an organizer and 
        promoter of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) 
        and Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force, recognized the 
        ``gallant lads from the United States who have come up here to 
        help and serve with us''. Notably, many Americans were also 
        recruited and processed through Canada before being assigned to 
        or detached for the purpose of Royal Air Force (RAF) service.
            (4) General of the Army, Army of the United States, Dwight 
        D. Eisenhower, the former Supreme Allied Commander of the 
        Allied Expeditionary Force, referenced, in a speech on January 
        10, 1946, the ``some twelve thousand American citizens'' who 
        crossed into Canada with the goal of entering the Canadian 
        armed forces. Although the precise numbers of Americans who 
        were in Canadian and British service are unknown, media 
        accounts published by Allied journalists during the conflict 
        nonetheless detail their legacies of volunteerism, personal 
        sacrifice, and bravery.
            (5) Americans also joined the Canadian Aviation Bureau, and 
        the Home Guard, Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), and Royal Air 
        Force Ferry Command/Transport Command in Britain. The existence 
        of these ancillaries enabled patriotic citizens, who were, at 
        least initially, unable to join a branch of the United States 
        military due to gender, age, race, health, the lack of 
        sufficient college education, or other reasons, to support the 
        war effort. Those who contributed via these alternative 
        concerns were no less essential to attaining victory.
            (6) The infusion of Americans into Canada helped to reduce 
        shortages of civilian and military pilots in the BCATP, and 
        President Franklin Roosevelt paid tribute to both Canada and 
        the program in a wartime letter to Canadian Prime Minister 
        William Lyon Mackenzie King. Within the correspondence 
        President Roosevelt used the phrase ``the Aerodrome of 
        Democracy''.
            (7) As members of the Canadian and British militaries, the 
        American volunteers served in many capacities. Extant military 
        rolls and individual service records document, and thereby 
        testify to, their contributions.
            (8) A sizable number of Americans lost their lives or were 
        wounded while serving in the RCAF and RAF. The Canadian Army, 
        British Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Navy also incurred 
        American personnel casualties. Those who perished and the 
        survivors demonstrated the exceptional courage that has been 
        repeatedly displayed in the defense of freedom throughout 
        American history.
            (9) A unique and highly publicized group of Americans, who 
        were members of the RCAF and RAF, were posted to the famous RAF 
        Eagle Squadrons and thereby showcased the important roles 
        American volunteers were undertaking. British Prime Minister 
        Winston Churchill, whose mother was American, played an 
        important role in originally promoting the concept of the Eagle 
        Squadrons to the Air Ministry.
            (10) The early successes of female ferry aircrews paved the 
        way for the formation in the United States of the Women 
        Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in 1943. The exceptional legacy 
        of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, ATA, etc., provided 
        essential support and paved the way for future generations of 
        military women.
            (11) A substantial portion of the Americans serving in 
        Canadian and British aerial forces transferred to the United 
        States Army Air Forces between 1942 and 1944, while others 
        elected to enter other branches of the United States Military.
            (12) The practical experience these veterans of Canadian 
        and British service possessed provided the inexperienced 
        American Forces with an immediate degree of competence and 
        effectiveness. More than a few became accomplished combat 
        pilots, the American Fighter Aces Association possessing many 
        of them within the organization's core membership.
            (13) The bravery and foresight displayed by the Americans 
        who enlisted in the Canadian and British armed forces represent 
        a largely unrecognized story of valor, and their initiatives 
        are worthy of official recognition.
            (14) The United States Nationals who volunteered for 
        service with military-associated Canadian and British ancillary 
        entities are to be equally recognized for their volunteerism, 
        contributions, and sacrifices.

SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.

    (a) Award Authorized.--The President pro tempore of the Senate and 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate 
arrangements for the award, on behalf of Congress, of a single gold 
medal of appropriate design to all United States nationals who 
voluntarily joined the Canadian and British armed forces and their 
supporting entities during World War II, in recognition of their 
dedicated service.
    (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to 
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (referred to in this 
Act 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 
        under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the 
        Smithsonian Institution, where it will be available for display 
        as appropriate and made available for research.
            (2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
        the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received 
        under paragraph (1) available for display elsewhere.
    (d) Duplicate Medals.--Under regulations that the Secretary may 
promulgate, the Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of 
the gold medal struck under this Act, at a price sufficient to cover 
the costs of the medals, including labor, materials, dies, use of 
machinery, and overhead expenses.

SEC. 4. STATUS OF MEDALS.

    (a) National Medals.--Medals struck under this Act are national 
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
    (b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, 
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be 
considered to be numismatic items.
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