President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bipartisan legislation extending healthcare benefits to Korean veterans who served the U.S. during the Vietnam War and later became naturalized U.S. citizens.
About the Law: The Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief Act, or simply the Korean American VALOR Act, provides some 3,000 Korean American Vietnam War veterans access to healthcare benefits though the Department of Veterans Affairs. South Korea will reimburse the U.S. for these services, while the U.S. will reciprocate by reimbursing South Korea for healthcare it provides to U.S. armed forces living there.
Why it matters: The Korean American VALOR Act ensures that Korean American veterans of the Vietnam War receive the healthcare benefits they rightfully deserve. It addresses a longstanding gap in healthcare coverage and acknowledges their service and commitment alongside U.S. troops.
[From Yahoo News]
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PASSED: REP. GOMEZ AMENDMENT TO HONOR KOREAN AND KOREAN-AMERICAN VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM WAR
Washington, September 23, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Jimmy Gomez’s (CA-34) bipartisan resolution honoring the contributions of Korean and Korean American veterans who served in the Vietnam War as an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Young Kim (CA-39), Grace Meng (NY-06), Michelle Steel (CA-48), and Judy Chu (CA-27) joined Rep. Gomez as original cosponsors of the amendment.
“The bravery, sacrifice and strength of Korean and Korean-American veterans of the Vietnam War cannot be overstated, and our nation owes them the recognition they deserve,” said Congressman Gomez. “As the congressional representative of the largest Korean American community in the nation, I take great pride in the passage of my amendment which honors those who valiantly served throughout the Vietnam War, both in and alongside the United States Armed Forces.”
“I am pleased to see the House pass our bipartisan resolution, in conjunction with the FY22 NDAA, to recognize the distinguished Korean and Korean-American veterans that served during the Vietnam War,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). “Korean and Korean-American troops fought honorably alongside United States Armed Forces and allies to preserve and defend democratic principles. We will never forget the contributions and sacrifices made by these courageous heroes.”
“Koreans and Korean Americans served bravely during the Vietnam War, putting their lives on the line to defend freedom and democracy,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06). “They fought with honor and valor, and made tremendous sacrifices – some even making the ultimate sacrifice. These veterans have long deserved recognition for their service, and this amendment finally provides that acknowledgement and appreciation from our country. I’m proud to support it, and pleased that it passed the House as part of the NDAA.”
“Freedom is not free. Each of our U.S. veterans who bravely served overseas in the Vietnam War knows this well and stands as a reminder of our nation’s commitment to freedom and democracy,” said Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-39), one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress. “As an immigrant from South Korea, a wife and sister of U.S. veterans, and now a representative of a vibrant Korean American community that includes many Korean American Vietnam War veterans in Congress, I’m proud to have helped introduce this bipartisan initiative to ensure these heroes finally receive the recognition they deserve.”
“I am happy to be joining Rep. Gomez today to thank Korean Americans for their invaluable contributions during the Vietnam War. Over 300,000 Koreans served alongside US servicemembers in support of America’s efforts in Vietnam – making them the second largest contingent of allies," said Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27). "Of those, over 4,000 lost their lives for our country. And of those who survived, about 3,000 ultimately came to America and were naturalized as full citizens! I have had the privilege of meeting some of these veterans and their stories have stayed with me. They have felt neglected and overlooked. But with this amendment, we can take a small but significant step forward to provide the long overdue recognition that our Korean American veterans deserve.”
“As a first generation Korean American, and one of the first to ever serve in Congress, I am proud today that we voted to give Korean and Korean American Vietnam veterans the recognition they deserve," said Congresswoman Michelle Steel (CA-48). "They are heroes who joined us in the fight in support of democracy. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice.”
“The entire Korean American community of Greater Los Angeles applauds Congressman Gomez for introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that honors Korean American veterans of the Vietnam War,” said James An, President of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles. “We are grateful for Rep. Gomez and all the representatives for recognizing the sacrifices of our patriotic citizens who fought alongside and in defense of the United States Armed Forces.”
"On behalf of Korean Vietnam veterans, I would like to thank Representatives Jimmy Gomez, Brian Fitzpatrick, Young Kim, Grace Meng, Michelle Steel, and Judy Chu for introducing an amendment that provides national recognition to Koreans who served in the Vietnam War,” said Alfred K. Chung, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Korean-American Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America. “We are forever grateful for their service and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”