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Pingree Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Recognize Cold War Veterans with Service Medal

Washington, October 24, 2019

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), along with Representatives David McKinley (R-WV), Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) today introduced H.R. 4807, the bipartisan Cold War Service Medal Act. The legislation would recognize veterans who served in the Cold War with medals for their distinguished service. Cold War veterans do not currently have a service medal, unlike veterans who’ve served in other American military conflicts such as Vietnam or Iraq.

“Cold War veterans stepped up to defend the United States at a time when our nation faced imminent danger and they deserve full recognition for their service,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “For more than four decades, members of our military managed to de-escalate conflicts and threats from the Soviet Union to allow us to live in peace at home. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who kept us safe from the threat of nuclear war and it’s only right that we acknowledge their service as equally to our other conflict veterans.”

“Cold War veterans put their lives on the line in defense of our country, and they deserve to be recognized for their service and sacrifice. For decades, these servicemembers worked tirelessly to ensure our nation’s safety and to thwart emerging threat abroad. We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude and I’m proud to support legislation that will grant them the recognition they have earned,” said Congresswoman Rice. 

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Cold War veterans have not been appropriately recognized for their service during this conflict era.  I am thankful that Veterans in my district brought this injustice to my attention and am pleased to join Congresswoman Pingree in supporting this effort to formally honor the service of these veterans.”

Pingree has cosponsored this bill since her first term in Congress, and has been inspired by Maine veteran Peggy Dunlap of Waterboro. Dunlap served in the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1987, retiring as Staff Sergeant who worked on communications systems in Germany, Florida, South Korea, Egypt, and Honduras. Dunlap received several medals for her service, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation medal, and the Army Achievement Medal, but no medal exists to recognize the Cold War and those who served during it.

The Cold War Service Medal Act would authorize a service medal for those in the military between September 1945 and December 1991 who served on active duty for 24 consecutive months during the Cold War; were deployed outside of the continental US for a period of at least 30 days during the Cold War; or were a member of a reserve unit called to active duty to participate in exercises or operations directly related to the Cold War. If the eligible veteran has passed away, next of kin could also receive the medal in their absence.

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