H.R. 3545 - Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act

Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act Reintroduced


Trone, Cardin Reintroduce Legislation to Award Congressional Gold Medal to World War II’s Unsung Heroes: The Ritchie Boys

May 18, 2023

Trone, Cardin Reintroduce Legislation to Award Congressional Gold Medal to World War II’s Unsung Heroes: The Ritchie Boys.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman David Trone (D-MD) reintroduced the Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Ritchie Boys, a group of soldiers who played a vital role in intelligence gathering during World War II. This legislation, first introduced in the last Congress, has received significant bipartisan support to honor the courage, bravery, and dedication of the Ritchie Boys.

The Ritchie Boys were a group of 15,200 servicemembers who trained in United States Army Intelligence methods at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, during World War II. Approximately 2,800 of the Ritchie Boys were Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who had detailed familiarity with German cultural attitudes and communication. This vital knowledge, coupled with their language skills, is how the Ritchie Boys were able to gather over 60 percent of the actionable intelligence in Europe during the war.

“The Ritchie Boys were true American heroes who made a significant impact on the outcome of World War II. Their story deserves to be told and their sacrifices remembered,” said Congressman David Trone. “These brave men were committed to defeating fascism, bigotry, and hate. By awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal, we ensure their legacy is preserved for future generations to honor and learn from.”

“The Ritchie Boys provided vital actionable intelligence to the U.S. during World War II by utilizing their language skills and cultural familiarity to turn the tide of the war in the European theatre,” said Congressman William Timmons (R-SC), co-lead of the House bill. “I am proud to co-lead this legislation with Congressman Trone to recognize the Ritchie Boys’ honorable and influential service with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.”

The Senate companion bill is led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

“More Americans should know about the Ritchie Boys and the important role they played throughout the war,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “I’m proud to help honor these heroes, who used their language skills, natural talents and knowledge of the countries where American GIs were fighting, to bolster the battle for freedom and democracy. Their bravery and the importance of their work cannot be overstated.”

“As the son of a Jewish refugee from Germany who returned there to help defeat the Nazis, I know I speak for many families who would be elated to have our relatives’ bravery and sacrifice honored and documented in this important way,” said Bernie Lubran, whose father, Walter Lubran, was a Ritchie Boy. “Due to the secretive nature of their training, the story of Camp Ritchie has not been properly shared. My father’s story, and the collective story of the Ritchie Boys, is one of resistance and perseverance – it is a story the future generations should know about.”

“I’m thrilled that the importance of the Ritchie Boy story and their legacy continues to be cast into the limelight – now on a national scale – through the nomination of the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest form of national appreciation,” said Landon Grove, Director and Curator of the Ritchie History Museum.

The bill has the support of numerous veterans’ organizations and military historians, who believe that the Ritchie Boys’ contributions have been underappreciated in the annals of American history. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States Congress, and the Ritchie Boys would be joining the ranks of other distinguished awardees, such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, and the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

Endorsements: Association of the United States Army, United States Army Warrant Officers Association, Ritchie History Museum, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Japanese Veterans Association

Source

Sponsors & Co-Sponsors:

Rep. Trone, David J. [D-MD-6]

Cognressman David Trone (D-MD-6) is the sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act. Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland and is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research. 

Rep. Timmons, William R. IV [R-SC-4]

Congressman William Timmons (R-SC-4) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Besides his Committee assignments, he serves as a JAG Officer and Captain in the South Carolina National Guard. 

Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7]

Representative Andre Carson (D-IN-7) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! He represents the City of Indianapolis, and serves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Rep. Mace, Nancy [R-SC-1]

Representative Nancy Mace (SC-R1) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! She is the daughter of US Army Brig. Gen. James Mace, and a strong advocate for recognizing the needs and accomplishments of our veterans. 

Rep. Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO-5]

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5) is a Congressional Sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Prior to serving in Congress, Cleaver was elected as the first African-American mayor of Kansas City, MO. 

Rep. Ryan, Pat (D-NY-18)

Representative Pat Ryan (D-NY-18) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! In addition to his committee assignments, he serves New York's 18th congressional district, and served in the United States Army as a military intelligence officer from 2004 to 2009, including two tours in Iraq.

Rep. Davids, Sharice (D-KS-3)

Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! She is one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Her maternal grandfather was a Army veteran, as was her mother. She's also an attorney, and former mixed martial artist. 

Rep. Moskowitz, Jared (D-FL-23)

Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-FL-23) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! He serves Florida's 23rd congressional district, and has previously served the Florida House of Representatives in the 97th district, and was a former Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Rep. Harder, Josh (D-CA-9)

Representative Josh Harder (D-CA-9) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! He serves California's 9th congressional district. Josh started his career in the private sector where he focused on creating jobs and growing businesses. After receiving a public policy and business degree, he taught business at a local junior college before entering public service. 

Rep. Kilmer, Derek (D-WA-6

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! He serves Washington's 6th congressional district. Derek is from Port Angeles, Washington. He's a former business consultant, business retention manager, a trustee for Tacoma Community College, a former member of the Washington state senate and has served on the board of Peninsula Schools Education Foundation. 

Rep. Raskin, Jamie (D-MD-8)

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8) is a ew sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Jamie serves Maryland's 8th congressional district. Jamie is the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Before his election to Congress, Raskin was a constitutional law professor at American University Washington College of Law, where he co-founded and directed the LL.M. program on law and government and co-founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project.

Rep. Ivey, Glenn (D-MD-4)

Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-MD-4) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Glenn serves Maryland's 4th congressional district. Ivey served on Capitol Hill as chief counsel to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, as counsel to U.S. senator Paul Sarbanes during the Whitewater controversy, as chief majority counsel to the Senate Banking Committee, and on the staff of U.S. representative John Conyers. He also worked for U.S. attorney Eric Holder as an assistant U.S. attorney and as chair of the Maryland Public Service Commission. He was twice elected state's attorney for Prince George's County, Maryland. 

Rep. Kim, Andy (D-NJ-3)

Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ-3) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Andy serves New Jersey's 3rd congressional district. Prior to being elected to Congress, he worked at the U.S. State Department. He served in Afghanistan as a civilian adviser to Generals David Petraeus and John R. Allen before working as a national security adviser under President Barack Obama. He has also served as a United States National Security Council official. Andy is the first Democratic member of Congress of Korean descent.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Henry serves Texas's 28th congressional district. Before serving in Congress, Henry served 14 years in the Texas House of Representatives before a brief stint as Texas secretary of state in 2001. Henry is also a lawyer, and as of 2023, he studying at the Naval War College for another degree. His parents drilled into him the importance of education, and he’s never stopped going to school. He likes to point out that he’s got more degrees than anyone else on the Hill: an A.A, a B.S., an M.A., a J.D., and a PhD.

Rep. Ellzey, Jake (R-TX-6)

Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX-6)  is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Jake serves Texas's 6th congressional district. Before serving in Congress, Jake served as a Commander in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot, completing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was deployed nine times in his 20 years in the Navy and after he retired from the Navy, he became a commercial pilot for Southwest Airlines and worked as a consultant. 

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4)

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN-4) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Betty serves as the U.S. representative for Minnesota's 4th congressional district. Before being elected to the House, she served eight years as a state representative. Among the many committee assignments she has, she is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Defense. Betty is also the second woman elected to Congress from Minnesota. 

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Bonnie serves for New Jersey's 12th congressional district. Before serving in Congress, Bonnie established the first Office of Civil Rights, Contract Compliance and Affirmative Action, in the New Jersey Department of Transportation and remained the director of that office for six years. She also served on the Governing Boards Association of State Colleges from 1987 to 1998 and as its chair from 1991 to 1993. Watson Coleman served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998 to 2015 for the 15th Legislative District, the same district her father represented. She became the first African American woman to lead the state party when she was elected chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee on February 4, 2002 and she is the first African-American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress. 

Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25)

Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY-25) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Joseph serves for New York's 25th congressional district. Prior to being elected to the House, he was in his early years a sales manager for a dry cleaning and laundry business. He is also a former member of the New York State Assembly. Joseph is the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration. 

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19)

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Jimmy serves for California's 19th congressional district. Prior to being elected to the House, Jimmy was an intern at the United States Department to State. After earning his Juris Doctor, he joined the United States Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer and completed a tour of duty in the War in Afghanistan in 2007 while attached to Joint Special Operations Command, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. He later worked in the Alameda County, California, prosecutor's office and as a deputy district attorney for the District Attorney's office of Monterey County, California.

Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32)

Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32) is a sponsor of HR 3545 - The Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act! Colin serves for Texas's 32nd congressional district. Prior to being elected to the House, Colin was a linebacker who played for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He left football to pursue a degree in law, receiving his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, followed by positions in the Obama administration, first at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and later at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. In his work as an attorney, he was a voting rights litigator and counsel to clients including national and state political candidates and advocacy organizations.

Ritchie Boy family members can help the effort by reaching out to their elected representatives in Congress to become sponsors of the House Bill. 

The Senate companion bill is led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and will be introduced in the coming weeks. 

Page updated 7/30/2023

Sponsor: Rep. Trone, David J. (D-MD-6)

Cosponsor statistics: 19 current - includes 1 original

Requires 290 of 435 votes to pass