ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 205
(Senate - December 18, 2019)

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[Pages S7152-S7153]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS



 Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I rise today in remembrance of the 
life of Brig. Gen. James Kemp McLaughlin, who passed away this week 
after living an impressive 101 years full of honor,

[[Page S7153]]

integrity, and service to his Nation, State, and county. General 
McLaughlin was the epitome of what it means to be a member of the 
greatest generation. He worked hard, served his country, raised a 
family, and gave back to society more than he could have ever received 
in return.
  Born in Braxton County, WV, in 1918, Kemp, as his family and friends 
called him, was raised during the Great Depression, and like many 
others of his generation, he learned the value of a day's work, to be 
thankful for what you have, and most importantly, how to survive in the 
face of adversity. After high school, he traveled to Morgantown to 
attend college at West Virginia University, where his interest in 
military service and aviation were first piqued when the Army Air Corps 
testing team visited the school's campus. A year later, he enlisted in 
the U.S. Army at the age of 21.
  A year into his enlistment, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Naval Base 
at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, HI, on December 7, 1941. It was not only 
``a date which will live in infamy,'' as President Roosevelt so 
memorably declared, but it was also Kemp's 23rd birthday. Soon after, 
he was deployed to England as a copilot and second lieutenant in the 
Mighty Eight's 92nd Bombardment Group, flying the B-17 bomber. The 
unit's mission was to carry out strategic bombing campaigns in France 
and Germany during World War II. During his first mission in France, 
his aircraft took multiple direct hits. McLaughlin returned fire, 
engaged in air-to-air combat, and eventually took down the enemy. This, 
in addition to his 38 other combat missions during World War II, were 
some of the most pivotal air raids in our country's military history. 
The successful mission he took part in to bomb facilities in Norway is 
credited with halting Germany's efforts to produce an atomic bomb and 
potentially saved millions of lives.
  Upon returning to the United States in 1945, McLaughlin was 
recognized with numerous medals and awards, including the Distinguished 
Flying Cross with three clusters, the Air Corps Air Medal with eight 
clusters, the French Croix de Guerre, and a Presidential unit citation. 
He then accepted a commission as a lieutenant colonel before initially 
retiring in 1946, a retirement that would last 1 year, when he was 
asked to serve as the first commander of the West Virginia Air National 
Guard squadron. After the unit's service in the Korean war, he was 
promoted to full colonel and appointed as West Virginia's assistant 
adjutant general. McLaughlin was then promoted again in 1962 to 
brigadier general and continued to serve in leadership positions with 
the Air Guard until his retirement in 1977.
  In addition to serving his Nation in uniform, Kemp also served his 
community as a Kanawha County Commissioner from 1962 to 1968 and then 
again from 1974 to 1976, when he was appointed to serve in the West 
Virginia House of Delegates. Even after he retired from both his 
military and public life, Kemp continued to give back to his community 
and the Air Guard. In recognition of his contributions to the West 
Virginia Air National Guard, the Charleston base was fittingly renamed 
McLaughlin Air National Guard Base during a ceremony I was honored to 
attend in January 2014.
  In West Virginia, we are extremely proud of our military heroes, of 
which we have many. However, very few have had the impact on our 
State's military institutions and their reputation across the country 
as Brig. Gen. James Kemp McLaughlin. I am honored to have known him, 
West Virginia is fortunate to call him one of our own, and our Nation 
is forever thankful for his honorable service. Together, we grieve the 
loss of one of our greatest.