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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 4, 2019 03:26 PM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Urging Congress to review service records of WWI minority service members
"One of the most important things we can all do for veterans is to honor the service of those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty."
- Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta

In the near future, I plan to introduce a resolution urging Congress to review or create a task force to review the records of minority service members who served in World War I. It is possible that many service members were denied the Medal of Honor or other valor awards due to discrimination. This resolution urges Congress to create legislation that will lift the statutes of limitations preventing this important and necessary review.

Award reviews have been conducted by the United States military for other various wartime engagements based on possible discrimination of award bestowments. Currently, two posthumous Medal of Honor awards were bestowed to CPL Freddie Stowers and SGT Henry Johnson, which support the claim of discrimination during the awarding process in World War I.

Each branch of the United States military have regulations that permit no margin of error in deciding whether a service member is deserving of a Medal of Honor. Discrimination should have no influence in the deciding of the award process. However, given the posthumous bestowments of CPL Stowers and SGT Johnson, it shows discrimination has tainted this process.

It is important and necessary to do our due diligence in researching and rightfully awarding minority service members their deserving valor awards. Please consider co-sponsoring this important resolution that will aid in the battle against racial discrimination.

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Introduced as HR258