Spanberger, Kelly Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to Americans Who Served & Fought Bravely in WWII Prior to America’s Entry

Congresswoman: “They Ran to the Sound of the Guns”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Trent Kelly (R-MS-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to 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.

Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, an estimated 12,000 Americans — including Americans from every state in the union — joined the Canadian Armed Forces and British Armed Forces in the fight for freedom. Once the United States declared war, a substantial portion of these Americans joined the U.S. Armed Forces and continued to fight against the Axis powers. The early combat experience these Veterans gained provided often-inexperienced American forces with an immediate degree of understanding. But these patriots suffered tremendous casualties, meaning many of these courageous Americans lost their lives or were wounded while serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF).

Alfred Parkyn, relative of retired U.S. Marine Corps pilot and Stafford County resident Michael Parkyn, was one such servicemember who flew in the RAF before America’s entry into WWII. After training in Canada, Parkyn was sent to the RAF to fly four-engined Avro Lancaster bombers and was hand-picked to fly several dangerous missions. Later, on November 25, 1942, his crew was ordered to fly a lone 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. He, his crew, and thousands of others like them risked their citizenship for the chance to defend America with their lives,” said Michael Parkyn, Retired U.S. Marine Corps Pilot and Relative of American RCAF Pilot, Stafford County. “Tragically, Alfred never returned to his widowed mother or his sisters. He remains missing, with no known grave. 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. It will tell not only their families but the entire world that America honors their heroism and sacrifice.”

“When Great Britain and Canada took up arms against Nazi terror and fascist aggression, thousands of brave Americans volunteered to fight in the Second World War — long before Pearl Harbor. Motivated by their love of democracy and their belief in protecting our allies across the Atlantic, they ran to the sound of the guns,” said Spanberger. “But for far too long, their stories of valor have remained — in large part — untold and unrecognized. By awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to these selfless Americans, we can ensure that generations of future Americans will be inspired by their heroism, their commitment to our values, and their sacrifice.”

“This legislation recognizes the thousands of American patriots who fought with courage and bravery in the name of Freedom,” said Kelly. “Their service and sacrifice will /always be remembered.”

Click here to read the full bill text.

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