Inside NoVa: Bill would award Gold Medal for early service in WWII

INSIDE NOVA

Virginia 7th District Rep. Abigail Spanberger has joined with Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly to introduce legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to Americans who served in World War II with the Canadian and British militaries prior to America’s declaration of war.

Spanberger is a Democrat whose district includes eastern Prince William County, while Kelly is a Republican.

Before the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, an estimated 12,000 Americans – from every state in the country – had joined the Canadian Armed Forces or British Armed Forces in the war, Spanberger’s office said. After the United States declared war, many of these Americans joined the U.S. Armed Forces, and their early combat experience helped other U.S. troops.

Alfred Parkyn, a relative of retired U.S. Marine Corps pilot and Stafford County resident Michael Parkyn, was one such servicemember.

After training in Canada, Parkyn was sent to the Royal Air Force to fly four-engine Avro Lancaster bombers and was hand-picked to fly several dangerous missions. On Nov. 25, 1942, his crew flew a mission into Germany. Intercepted, they led a German ace in a Focke-Wulf 190 fighter on a chase to the north, while nearby crews flew away from the threat. His bomber was shot down over the North Sea. Parkyn remains missing in action.

“For over 80 years, my family has mourned the loss of Alfred Parkyn, who volunteered to fly and fight Hitler before America was ready,” said Michael Parkyn. “These men were the first of the Greatest Generation but they are virtually unrecognized in America today. The passage of this bill will correct the record.”

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