House Introduces Bill to Honor 'Extreme Bravery' of Service Members Killed in Kabul Attack

A bipartisan group of congressional legislators introduced a bill Tuesday that proposes awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. service members killed in the recent attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan.

Representative Lisa McClain of Michigan, a Republican, introduced the bill along with 158 co-sponsors, 21 of whom are Democrats.

"These heroic men and women are gone far too soon, and we must honor them for their bravery in helping U.S. citizens and Afghan allies safely evacuate Afghanistan," McClain said in a news release announcing the proposed legislation. "My heart aches for the families and loved ones of our servicemembers. We will always remember their service and pay tribute to their sacrifice."

Today, I introduced bipartisan legislation, alongside 158 cosponsors, to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 servicemembers killed in #Afghanistan last week. These valiant men and women will never be forgotten.

— Representative Lisa McClain (@RepLisaMcClain) August 31, 2021

Dozens of other co-sponsors also shared statements supporting the legislation for McClain's news release, which provided a list of the bill's original 159 supporters.

The proposed bill acknowledged the August 26 attack as one of the deadliest days for U.S. service members in recent years. At the time of the attack, which the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) later took credit for, U.S. service members were working to evacuate American citizens, troops and Afghans from the airport in Kabul following the Taliban's takeover of the Afghanistan government. The U.S. Department of Defense publicly identified all 13 service members on August 28.

Congressional Gold Medal bill Kabul attack
Representative Lisa McClain of Michigan introduced a bill Tuesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. service members killed in last week's attack at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Above, flags encircling the Washington Monument fly at half staff in Washington, D.C. on Friday, following the deaths of U.S. service members in the Kabul attack. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The U.S. service members "went above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens of the United States and our allies to ensure they are brought to safety in an extremely dangerous situation," according to the proposed legislation.

The 13 service members who lost their lives in the attack "exemplified extreme bravery and valor against armed enemy combatants" and "dedicated their lives and their heroism deserves great honor," the bill said.

The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded as the legislative body's "highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions," according to the House of Representatives Office of the Historian. Any proposed Congressional Gold Medal must have the support of at least two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate in order to be considered.

Former President George Washington was the first recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal in 1776, according to the House Office of the Historian. In early August, Congress approved legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol Building during the January 6 riot, and medals were also approved for an infantry regiment from World War I known as the "Harlem Hellfighters" earlier this month.

Newsweek reached out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office for comment and will update this article with any response.