Sullivan, Baldwin Introduce Bill to Honor Vietnam Helicopter Crews

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced S. 315, the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act, which would direct the Secretary of the Army to place a small monument in Arlington National Cemetery honoring the nearly 5,000 helicopter pilots and crewmembers killed during the Vietnam War. Companion legislation was simultaneously introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV).

“The Vietnam War has colloquially been known as the ‘Helicopter War’ due to the vital service of helicopter pilots and crews in fighting against the communist North Vietnamese forces, and their heroic efforts evacuating thousands of Americans and Vietnamese before the fall of Saigon,” said Senator Sullivan. “More than 40 years have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, and it is time for family members of these fallen heroes to have a place to come and pay their respects. The proposed five-foot-by-one-foot memorial – funded with private donations – is an appropriate addition to Arlington National Cemetery, especially considering it represents the sacrifice of so many thousands of fallen service members.”

“Throughout the Vietnam War, brave and courageous helicopter crew members made incredible sacrifices. I’m proud to work across party lines with Senator Sullivan and alongside Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Hesselbein of Wisconsin to respect this selfless service from our veterans,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our Vietnam veterans and their families have earned this recognition and they deserve to be properly honored at Arlington National Cemetery.”

“It is time to honor the thousands who died operating helicopters in the Vietnam War, and this bill will place a suitable memorial where it belongs—Arlington National Cemetery,” said Bob Hesselbein, Legacy Committee Chairman of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. “Some forty years after the end of the war, the thousands who died operating helicopters in the Vietnam War will finally be recognized for their devotion, persistent courage, and ultimate sacrifice in what is called, ‘The Helicopter War.’ We are grateful for this legislation.”

The proposal was submitted by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA). The VHPA has agreed to fund the construction and installation costs of the monument. 

In addition to Senators Sullivan and Baldwin, cosponsors include Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). 

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