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Rubio, Warner Applaud Senate Passage of Air America Act
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) applauded the Senate passage of their Air America Act of 2021. The legislation, first introduced by Rubio and Warner in July 2020, would provide Air America employees with the federal retirement credit they earned.
“The brave men and women employed by Air America who conducted operations during the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War were critical to U.S. efforts,” Rubio said. “I’m pleased that this bill has passed the Senate, and I hope the House will swiftly do the same, so that these Americans can receive the long-overdue honor and recognition they deserve.”
“I’m very pleased to know that Air Americans are one step closer to receiving the retirement benefits and recognition they deserve for their courage during the U.S. war effort in Vietnam and Southeast Asia,” Warner said. “These individuals courageously supported troops, rescued downed American pilots and sustained casualties in the line of duty. Passing this bill is the least we can do to honor their service to our country.”
Air America was a wholly government-owned and operated corporation that conducted operations during the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War. Their employees worked under the direct policy guidance of the White House, Department of Defense, and the Department of State while under the management of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Air America employed several hundred U.S. citizens, mainly flight crew members, and approximately 286 were killed in the line of duty while conducting covert operations in designated war zones. The last helicopter mission that rescued personnel from the rooftops in Saigon in 1975 was planned and executed by Air America and the United States Marine Corps.
Since 2009, the declassification of CIA Agency documents confirmed that Air Americans were employees of the U.S. Government at the time of their service and entitled to federal retirement credit based on the circumstances of their employment. Congress has maintained its interest in resolving the retirement situation of Air American employees for more than 15 years. During this process, the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence have all concluded that congressional action is required.
- May 12, 2021: Rubio, Warner, Cornyn Request Action to Secure Retirement Benefits for Air America Employees
- February 24, 2021: Rubio, Warner, Colleagues Reintroduce Bill to Ensure Air America Employees Receive Earned Federal Retirement Benefits
- July 31, 2020: Rubio, Warner, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Ensure Air America Employees Receive Federal Retirement Benefits They Have Earned