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

The bipartisan Cold War Service Medal Act would recognize veterans who served in the Cold War with medals for their distinguished service

WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), along with Representatives David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Brian Higgins (D-NY), today introduced 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. I remember doing duck and cover drills in school during the Cold War. I remember the terror and uncertainty each day brought. 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,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “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 and sacrifice in the way other conflict veterans are recognized.”

“Veterans that served during the Cold War stood by to protect our country during a tense and turbulent time in history,” said Congressman Higgins. “The safety and security Americans felt at home was a direct result of the sacrifices that Cold War veterans made to deescalate nuclear tensions and defend against threats to democracy. Veterans serving during this unprecedented time deserve recognition for their distinguished service to our country and democracies around the world.”

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 U.S. 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.

Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

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