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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

100 Year Old Valley Woman Awarded Congressional Gold Medal


Dec 10, 2014
Press Release

Civil Air Patrol Congressional Gold Medal
Congressman Sherman Presents Congressional Gold Medal Recipient with Congressional Flag. From Left: Lt. Col. Jeri Truesdell, Capt. Jenny Lynn Burnett, Congressman Brad Sherman

Washington, DC – Congressman Brad Sherman (D – CA) was pleased to join Lieutenant Colonel Jeri Truesdell, a 100-year-old Winnetka resident, as she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her participation in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. The Congressional Gold Medal, which is one of the highest civilian honors, is bestowed by Congress to recognize individuals who have performed an achievement that has had a major impact on American history and culture. This year, following legislation cosponsored by Congressman Sherman, the medal collectively honored the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol in recognition of their military service and exemplary record during the war.

“Lt. Col. Truesdell is an American hero,” said Congressman Sherman. “During the war she was a pioneer for women in service whose courage and bravery make her exceptionally worthy of this high honor. Her piloting ability and continued service to our country is inspirational.”

Born with a passion to fly, Lt. Col. Truesdell joined the Civilian Air Patrol in 1942, shortly after its formation during WWII. In 1944 Truesdell joined the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), where she helped train other female pilots. Truesdell eventually moved to California after joining the Navy Reserve. She has been listed in the Women in Military Service for America registry in The Women’s Memorial at Arlington in Washington D.C. She has also earned a WWII Victory Medal, which is awarded to members who served honorably in active duty.


The Legislation:

H.R.755 - To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The legislation, cosponsored by Congressman Sherman, which passed the House and Senate directs the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to arrange for the award of a single Congressional Gold Medal to honor collectively the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in recognition of their military service and exemplary record during World War II. It also requires the Medal's display at the Smithsonian Institution, and expresses the sense of Congress that the Medal should be made available for display elsewhere, particularly at locations associated with the CAP.

Recipients will also awarded bronze duplicates of the gold medal.

About Congressional Gold Medal Recipients:

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.

In addition to the requirement that all Congressional Gold Medal legislation must be cosponsored by at least two-thirds (290) of the Members of the House, specific standards are set forth by Rule X, 2 (h) of the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Policy and Technology when considering such legislation. Additionally, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee requires that at least 67 Senators must cosponsor any Congressional Gold Medal legislation before the committee will consider it.

About the Civilian Air Patrol:

In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers with a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country.  As a result, the Civil Air Patrol was born one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Thousands of volunteer members answered America's call to national service and sacrifice by accepting and performing critical wartime missions. Assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps, the contributions of Civil Air Patrol, including logging more than 500,000 flying hours, sinking two enemy submarines, and saving hundreds of crash victims during World War II, are well documented.

After the war, a thankful nation understood that Civil Air Patrol could continue providing valuable services to both local and national agencies.  On July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476 incorporating Civil Air Patrol as a benevolent, nonprofit organization.  On May 26, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557 permanently establishing Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force.  Three primary mission areas were set forth at that time: aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services.