Awarding Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raidersby Representative Bill Huizenga
Posted on 2014-05-19
HUIZENGA of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules
and pass the bill (H.R. 1209) to award a Congressional Gold Medal to
the World War II members of the ``Doolittle Tokyo Raiders'', for
outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in
conducting the bombings of Tokyo.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 1209 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
Congress finds that-- (1) on April 18, 1942, the brave men of the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) became known as the ``Doolittle Tokyo Raiders'' for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo; (2) 80 brave American aircraft crewmen, led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, volunteered for an ``extremely hazardous mission'', without knowing the target, location, or assignment, and willingly put their lives in harm's way, risking death, capture, and torture; (3) the conduct of medium bomber operations from a Navy aircraft carrier under combat conditions had never before been attempted; (4) after the discovery of the USS Hornet by Japanese picket ships 170 miles further away from the prearranged launch point, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders proceeded to take off 670 miles from the coast of Japan; (5) by launching more than 100 miles beyond the distance considered to be minimally safe for the mission, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders deliberately accepted the risk that the B-25s might not have enough fuel to reach the designated air-fields in China on return; (6) the additional launch distance greatly increased the risk of crash landing in Japanese occupied China, exposing the crews to higher probability of death, injury, or capture; (7) because of that deliberate choice, after bombing their targets in Japan, low on fuel and in setting night and deteriorating weather, none of the 16 airplanes reached the prearranged Chinese airfields; (8) of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who launched on the raid, 8 were captured, 2 died in the crash, and 70 returned to the United States; (9) of the 8 captured Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, 3 were executed and 1 died of disease; and (10) there were only 5 surviving members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders as of February 2013.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Award.-- (1) 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 in honor of the World War II members of the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) who became known as the ``Doolittle Tokyo Raiders'', in recognition of their military service during World War II.
(2) Design and striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary of the Treasury shall strike the gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.
(3) National museum of the united states air force.-- (A) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal referred to in paragraph (1) in honor of the World War II members of the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), who became known as the ``Doolittle Tokyo Raiders'', the gold medal shall be given to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, where it shall be available for display with the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Goblets, as appropriate, and made available for research.
(B) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the National Museum of the United States Air Force should make the gold medal received under this Act available for display elsewhere, particularly at other locations and events associated with the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
(b) Duplicate Medals.--Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in [[Page H4452]] 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.
(c) National Medals.--Medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Huizenga) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Capuano) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.
General Leave Mr. HUIZENGA of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and submit extraneous materials for the Record on H.R. 1209, currently under consideration.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan? There was no objection.
Mr. HUIZENGA of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise today in support of H.R. 1209, a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the brave airmen known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo, introduced by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Olson). This bill authorizes the minting and award of a single gold medal, collectively, in honor of the mission that was one of the catalysts of Allied Powers' victory in the Pacific in World War II. After its award, the medal would be given to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, where it will be displayed with other Doolittle Raid memorabilia, including the famed ``Doolittle Goblets,'' and be available for loan as appropriate.
Mr. Speaker, the valor of the 80 men we now call the Doolittle Raiders is beyond most people's imagination. They all volunteered for an extremely hazardous--some would say impossible--mission, as if flying huge bombers during the war wasn't already extremely hazardous, and when a major element of their mission was jeopardized, they went ahead with the raid anyway, knowing it would drastically increase the chances that they would be either killed or captured.
Under the command of the tough and visionary Colonel James Doolittle, these men from the 17th Bombardment Group--medium size--ended up flying the first ever mission in which medium bombers took off from a carrier in combat conditions. Because the USS Hornet had been discovered by the enemy, the raiders ended up taking off for a mission that, at 670 miles, was at least 100 miles longer than had been predicted and planned for--enough further to virtually guarantee they would crash land or be forced down in the sea or in Japanese-controlled China rather than on Allied airstrips deeper into China.
Mr. Speaker, that is what happened. Two died in crashes, and of the eight captured, three were executed and a fourth died of disease. But considering the daring nature of their mission and the morale-booster it was for the U.S. soldiers and civilians, that 70 returned to the United States is a miracle. Importantly, the raids on April 18, 1942, proved to the Japanese that their homeland was vulnerable to attack, which led to the recall of several top fighter squadrons for homeland defense and prompted other repositioning of Japanese assets that many believe led to the crushing American victory in the Battle of Midway in early June of that year, just 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Speaker, the men who risked--and lost--their lives in the Doolittle Raid are legendary heroes, and the raid itself is one of the premier military exploits of our still young Nation. This medal is well-earned and long overdue. The bill has 309 cosponsors in the House, and a companion bill introduced by Senator Brown of Ohio had 78 cosponsors when it passed the other body in November.
I ask for unanimous approval of this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.