WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a retired lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, helped unanimously pass her
with fellow female combat veteran Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to award the U.S. Army Ranger Veterans of World War II with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“As part of America’s Greatest Generation, our World War II Army Rangers risked their lives to protect our nation and freedom everywhere, and their sacrifices deserve to be recognized,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “I’m grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their commitment to honoring these courageous Army Rangers with a Congressional Gold Medal, bringing this important effort one step closer to becoming law.”
“As the last surviving officer from the six authorized WWII Ranger Battalions, I am very pleased that the Senate passed S.1872. It is humbling to know that the Senate recognizes and appreciates the service of the WWII Rangers. I
will be honored to stand with the other 18 WWII Rangers for the award of this Congressional Gold Medal when it is approved. Leading my company on to Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, was one of the most memorable moments in my military career. This Senate recognition ranks as one of my happiest retired moments. Thanks to the Senate and to Senator Ernst for her leadership on this effort. Rangers Lead The Way!” said WWII Ranger John Raaen, Jr., Headquarters Company, 5th Ranger Battalion.
“I never got to meet my uncle, Alder (Bud) Nystrom. He was a WWII Ranger who gave his life on November 10, 1942 fighting for my freedoms. Thank you to all Senators who recognize that the Congressional Gold Medal would be a great honor for all the WWII Rangers who fought for our freedoms. Rangers Lead The Way!” said Becky Nystrom, Niece of WWII Ranger Alder Nystrom, C Company, 1st Ranger Battalion.
“This broad support by the Senate is the highest honor to the WWII Rangers who all volunteered to serve our country in the most dangerous combat actions in all theaters of the war. Today, there are only 19 remaining from the almost 7000, and all in their mid-to-late 90s. It is a national award representing the entire US population, and it surpasses in importance the many military medals that they achieved. Our country can come together with a common purpose and pride when this award is finally made. My father, a D-Day survivor, would be so proud of the Senate support and especially of Senator Ernst and her team for leading the charge on this effort. Rangers Lead The Way!” said Ron Hudnell, Son of WWII Ranger James H. Hudnell, D Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion.
“I am so thankful to the Senate for approving S.1872 and would like to say how very important this Medal will be to the few remaining men that were in the Rangers during WWII. And it is equally important to all of the WWII Ranger descendants – knowing that the Senate wants to show the country’s recognition and honor to our hero fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. My Father was there that first day of D-Day, and to know what he and the others did is amazing. My nephew wrote a school report when he was 5. He is now in his 30's and will be so proud of this Congressional Gold Medal award,” said Sandra McGee, Daughter of WWII Ranger William Bell, E Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion.
“These men fought for freedom and democracy, so hopefully that we would not have to in the future. They experienced many hardships and persevered. I thank the Senate for honoring their sacrifices and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and for this country to remain land of the free and home of the brave. This Senate support is for all of these men who led the way, and this award would be so humbly appreciated,” said Janet Reasar, Daughter of WWII Ranger Dorsey Shock, Headquarters Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion.
“My uncle, Colonel James B. Lyle, was proud of the men in his command in the 1st Ranger Battalion, known as Darby's Rangers. At one time or another he commanded three different Companies, C in Tunisia, then A & B Combined in Sicily, then A Company in Italy. Inducted into the first class of the Infantry OCS Hall of Fame, 1959, and the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame, 2003, Colonel Lyle shared stories of his men's heroics, but never of his own. These men, who sacrificed their young adulthood for this Country, deserve to be honored. With the war behind them, not a day passed that the Rangers of WW II did not remember the sight, sounds, and smell of battle. For men who remembered their own sacrifices every day, they deserve to be recognized and honored at least one day. RLTW!” said David Williams, President – Descendants of WWII Rangers, Inc.; Nephew of WWII Ranger James Lyle, Companies A, B, C; 1st Ranger Battalion.
“These men of the greatest generation deserve this medal and recognition. Many paid the ultimate price for their country but many of them also paid a price that no one can see, that is known only to their maker. They lived with that until the day they closed their eyes. May God bless them all,” said Greg Kwasnicki, Son of WWII Ranger William Kwasnicki, A Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion.