Senator Cornyn

Cornyn, Warren Introduce Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Army ‘Dustoff’ Crews

September 15, 2023

Would Recognize Extraordinary Heroism of Vietnam War Veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) yesterday introduced legislation to collectively award a group of Vietnam War veterans known as “Dustoff Crews” with the Congressional Gold Medal:

“The U.S. Army Dustoff Crews who served during the Vietnam War deserve formal recognition for their tremendous courage,” said Sen. Cornyn. “These American heroes risked their lives to rescue countless soldiers, sailors, and airmen who may have otherwise died on the battlefield, and I urge my colleagues to honor their sacrifice by supporting this bill.”       

“During the Vietnam War, members of Dustoff Crews risked their own lives to rescue and provide critical care to wounded American soldiers,” said Sen. Warren. “This bill will recognize the heroic and life-saving actions of these service members by awarding them with the Congressional Gold Medal.”  

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Thune (R-SD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Steve Daines (R-MT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Gary Peters (D-MI) cosponsored this legislation.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05).


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended U.S. combat operations in the Vietnam War. The moniker “Dustoff” refers to the radio call sign of the helicopter-borne medical evacuation teams that landed in hostile conditions to save wounded Americans and our South Vietnamese allies. Between 1962 through 1973, Dustoff crews were responsible for transporting 17,700 United States casualties. During this period, soldiers assigned to Dustoff crews had a one-in-three chance of being wounded or killed.


This bill is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, AMVETS, Association of the United States Army, Army Aviation Association of America, DUSTOFF Association, and Vietnam Dustoff Association.