Welcome to our website
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a list of organizations that have endorsed the Bill
Take some time to read about the honorees and the history of the many brave Americans that chose to join the fight against the Nazis before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Support HR 1553
What is HR 1553?
A Bill that awards a Congressional Gold Medal to all US nationals who volunteered to join the Canadian and British armed forces and their entities during World War II, in recognition of their dedicated service.
Who Fights for Freedom?
Watch the James Tallimar video created for the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, VA to commemorate Virginians who joined the fight for freedom before the US entered the war.
Virginia was the first state in the Nation to recognize the RCAF Americans with the addition to their memorial in Richmond and with this video.
To read the full text of the Bill and to follow progress of the Bill as it passes through the House of Representatives, follow the link below
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the sponsor of the Bill, sent the following letter to his congressional colleagues asking for their support:
Join the Bipartisan Effort to Honor American Patriots of WWII with a
Congressional Gold Medal
Endorsed By: The National Association of County Veteran Service Officers, AMVETS, American Legion, National World War II Museum, Air Force Association, American Fighter Aces Association, Ernie Hall Aviation Museum, VFW Post 2662, American War Memorials Overseas, Bomber Command Museum of Canada, No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, Aircrew Remembered, Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, 20th Century Aviation Magazine, Hickory Aviation Museum, and Florida Aviation Historical Society
Cosponsors: Bordallo, Clarke, Coffman, Cohen, Gonzalez, Jackson Lee, Kaptur, McCollum, Stivers
I write today to invite you to become a co-sponsor of a legislative initiative which will recognize the legacies of the estimated 12,000 Americans who volunteered to join Canadian and British Armed Forces in the fight for democracy. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor courageous citizens from across the country saw the dangers represented by Nazi and Fascist aggression and voluntarily fought to prevent the associated detrimental impacts on the American way of life. Cosponsor today the “American Patriots of WWII through Service with the Canadian and British Armed Forces Gold Medal Act of 2017” and honor these heroes.
(1) Americans from across the country served in defense of democracy and freedom during World War Two (WWII) by volunteering for service with the Canadian and British militaries and other associated organizations that were fighting Nazi and Fascist aggression. Many United States citizens perceived the importance of this war and the severe impact Nazism and Fascism could have on the American way of life. Therefore, prior to the United States entry into the conflict and indeed throughout WWII these patriots independently crossed the border into Canada and entered Canadian and British armed forces recruiting offices or sought out representatives based in major United States municipalities and elsewhere.
(2) When the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and the “British Commonwealth of Nations” were drawn into WWII after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Canadian and British air forces made a concerted effort to recruit Americans.
(3) It is documented that thousands of Americans joined the Canadian and British armed forces, a large percentage joining the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) alone. In a 1942 film Air Marshal William Avery “Billy” Bishop, an organizer and promoter of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force, recognized the “gallant lads from the United States who have come up here to help and serve with us”. Notably, many Americans were also recruited and processed through Canada before being assigned to or detached for the purpose of Royal Air Force (RAF) service.
(4) General of the Army, Army of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, referenced, in a speech on January 10, 1946, the “some twelve thousand American citizens” who crossed into Canada with the goal of entering the Canadian armed forces. Although the precise numbers of Americans who were in Canadian and British service are unknown, media accounts published by Allied journalists during the conflict nonetheless detail their legacies of volunteerism, personal sacrifice, and bravery.
(5) Americans also joined the Canadian Aviation Bureau, and the Home Guard, Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), and Royal Air Force Ferry Command/Transport Command in Britain. The existence of these ancillaries enabled patriotic citizens, who were, at least initially, unable to join a branch of the United States military due to gender, age, race, health, the lack of sufficient college education, or other reasons, to support the war effort. Those who contributed via these alternative concerns were no less essential to attaining victory.
(6) The infusion of Americans into Canada helped to reduce shortages of civilian and military pilots in the BCATP, and President Franklin Roosevelt paid tribute to both Canada and the program in a wartime letter to Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Within the correspondence President Roosevelt used the phrase “the Aerodrome of Democracy”.
(7) As members of the Canadian and British militaries, the American volunteers served in many capacities. Extant military rolls and individual service records document, and thereby testify to, their contributions.
(8) A sizable number of Americans lost their lives or were wounded while serving in the RCAF and RAF. The Canadian Army, British Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Navy also incurred American personnel casualties. Those who perished and the survivors demonstrated the exceptional courage that has been repeatedly displayed in the defense of freedom throughout American history.
(9) A unique and highly publicized group of Americans, who were members of the RCAF and RAF, were posted to the famous RAF Eagle Squadrons and thereby showcased the important roles American volunteers were undertaking. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose mother was American, played an important role in originally promoting the concept of the Eagle Squadrons to the Air Ministry.
(10) The early successes of female ferry aircrews paved the way for the formation in the United States of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in 1943. The exceptional legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, ATA, etc., provided essential support and paved the way for future generations of military women.
(11) A substantial portion of the Americans serving in Canadian and British aerial forces transferred to the United States Army Air Forces between 1942 and 1944, while others elected to enter other branches of the United States Military.
(12) The practical experience these veterans of Canadian and British service possessed provided the inexperienced American Forces with an immediate degree of competence and effectiveness. More than a few became accomplished combat pilots, the American Fighter Aces Association possessing many of them within the organization’s core membership.
(13) The bravery and foresight displayed by the Americans who enlisted in the Canadian and British armed forces represent a largely unrecognized story of valor, and their initiatives are worthy of official recognition.
(14) The United States Nationals who volunteered for service with military-associated Canadian and British ancillary entities are to be equally recognized for their volunteerism, contributions, and sacrifices.
The Americans who volunteered to serve in Canadian and British military and paramilitary units represent a largely overlooked group and their legacy of service is one of valor. These men and women played essential roles in securing victory and are worthy of official commendation. Please join in the effort to formally recognize these valiant warriors.
To do so, please contact Jason Bahmer,
firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 225-5261.
List of Endorsing Organizations
Air Force Association
American Fighter Aces Association
The National WWII Museum, New Orleans
Commemorative Air Force
Bomber Command Museum of Canada
Florida Aviation Historical Society
Jews in Aviation
Hickory Aviation Museum
No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, Terrell, TX
Ernie Hall Aviation Museum
National Association of County Veterans Service Officers
Kwajalein MIA Project
American War Memorials Overseas, Inc.
International Women’s Air & Space Museum