Schiff Votes to Honor Tuskegee Airmen

Washington, D.C. -- Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on the Tuskegee Airmen for their patriotism and sacrifices for our nation. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) was an original co-sponsor of this legislation.

In July 1941, thirteen young Americans began military flight training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. Five of those thirteen young men completed training and received their Army Air Corps silver pilot wings, becoming our nation’s first African-American military fighter pilots. Between 1941 and 1946, over nine hundred men completed training to become part of what would later be known as the fearless and brave Tuskegee Airmen.

“It has been said that the Tuskegee Airmen faced two wars – one against a military force overseas and the other against racism and bigotry at home and abroad,” Schiff said. “Yet, in the face of these challenges, they accepted their country’s call to service and fought heroically in great battles for freedom. I am so pleased that Congress has bestowed this high honor on them.”

In addition to working to award the Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, Congressman Schiff and Congressman William Lacy Clay have led the initiative to create a commemorative postage stamp to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. Ninety-one Members of Congress have joined the Congressmen in this effort.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor - more commonly known as the Congressional Gold Medal - is the nation's highest and most distinguished civilian award. It was originally awarded to military leaders for achievement in battle, but became a civilian medal after the Medal of Honor was instituted. The medal is presented both for singular acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement. Once Congress passes legislation to award this honor, it commissions the U.S Mint to design and create the medal. This ensures that each medal is unique, representing each individual or event for which it is awarded.

Congressman Schiff is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.

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