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Senate Passes Bill Cosponsored by Collins, King to Award Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Army “Dustoff” Crews of the Vietnam War

Washington, D.C. – Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill, cosponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, to collectively award a group of Vietnam War veterans known as “Dustoff” crews with the Congressional Gold Medal. The legislation honoring the helicopter-borne medical evacuation teams now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

If this bill becomes law, two Maine residents would be recipients of this Congressional Gold Medal.

“Dustoff medevac crews were responsible for rescuing thousands of wounded soldiers from the chaotic battlefields of Vietnam,” said Senator Collins. “Day or night, Dustoff crews worked through treacherous conditions and risked their lives to save their fellow soldiers. I am proud to join this effort, memorializing the work of these brave patriots with our nation’s highest civilian honor.”  

“It is an honor to join my colleagues in recognizing the incredible bravery of the Dustoff crew heroes who risked their lives to save thousands during the Vietnam War,” said Senator King. “For many on the ground, there were few sounds more welcome than a Dustoff helicopter on its way with a team of medics. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to forever memorialize the patriotism and sacrifices of these courageous men.”  

This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended U.S. combat operations in the Vietnam War. Called “Dustoff” crews due to their radio call sign, these rescue teams saved wounded soldiers and America’s South Vietnamese allies from dangerous locations. Between 1962 through 1973, Dustoff crews were responsible for transporting 17,700 United States casualties. During this period, soldiers assigned to Dustoff crews had a one-in-three chance of being wounded or killed.

The Dustoff Crews of the Vietnam War Congressional Gold Medal Act is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, AMVETS, Association of the United States Army, Army Aviation Association of America, DUSTOFF Association, and Vietnam Dustoff Association.

The complete text of the legislation can be read here.