Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/13/2020 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 170 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
        SB 170-NAMING VIETNAM HELI. PILOTS' MEM. BRIDGE                                                                     
3:32:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 170,                                                              
"An Act naming the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Memorial Bridge."                                                                 
Speaking as  the sponsor, Senator  Revak relayed that  Vietnam was                                                              
a helicopter  war and  federal legislation has  passed to  place a                                                              
memorial   in  Arlington   National   Cemetery   to  honor   these                                                              
helicopter pilots and their crews.                                                                                              
CHAIR REVAK invited Darren Napoli to introduce the bill.                                                                        
3:33:19 PM                                                                                                                    
DARREN NAPOLI,  Legislative Intern,  Senator Joshua  Revak, Alaska                                                              
State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  introduced SB 170  by reading                                                              
the following sponsor statement:                                                                                                
     Helicopter pilots  played a pivotal role in  the Vietnam                                                                   
     War,   so  much  so   that  the   engagement  is   often                                                                   
     remembered  as the "Helicopter  War". This nickname  was                                                                   
     well deserved  with the  helicopter pilots  spearheading                                                                   
     the  efforts   of  not  only  securing  land   in  South                                                                   
     Vietnam,  but also in  the casualty evacuation  efforts,                                                                   
     saving countless  lives during the war. With  over forty                                                                   
     percent  of  helicopters  in   Vietnam  being  destroyed                                                                   
     through  the course  of the  War,  these brave  soldiers                                                                   
     put their  lives in danger  every time they  flew, which                                                                   
     they  did  over  two  million  times.  The  Huey  pilots                                                                   
     proved early  on that they  and their helicopters  would                                                                   
     be central  to conducting a  campaign in the  jungles of                                                                   
     Vietnam,  but  no  one  knew   just  how  crucial  their                                                                   
     efforts would be.                                                                                                          
     On  February   9th,  1965,  the  52nd   Combat  Aviation                                                                   
     battalion successfully  lifted 262 troops out  of Phu My                                                                   
     and  brought them  to safety  while  taking heavy  enemy                                                                   
     fire. On  April 19th, 1965,  the 119th Aviation  Company                                                                   
     attempted  a similar lift  with 420  troops in Phu  Cat,                                                                   
     however,  they   received  intense  enemy   ground  fire                                                                   
     bringing down  two armed UH-1Bs,  killing all  on board,                                                                   
     along with a  crew member of another UH-1B.  On December                                                                   
     29th,  1965, just  a  few days  before  New Years',  two                                                                   
     helicopter   pilots,   once  again,   extracted   fallen                                                                   
     soldiers  from a  crashed aircraft.  They  did so  while                                                                   
     under  extremely  hazardous   conditions  as  the  enemy                                                                   
     tried  everything they  could to bring  down the  rescue                                                                   
     crew.  These are just  a few  examples of the  countless                                                                   
     missions  accomplished  by   the  thousands  of  Vietnam                                                                   
     helicopter  pilots  over  the  nineteen  years  of  war.                                                                   
     These particular  examples occurred  in 1965, that  same                                                                   
     year,  Bridge  1124  was built  to  span  the  Matanuska                                                                   
     river  and connect the  Mat-Su valley  to Anchorage.  It                                                                   
     is  only  fitting then  that  we  allow Bridge  1124,  a                                                                   
     bridge  built in  the midst  of the  Vietnam War,  along                                                                   
     with its  neighboring Bridge  1889, to  carry a name  in                                                                   
     honor of  the thousands of  helicopter pilots  that laid                                                                   
     down their lives for their country.                                                                                        
     These  courageous  men  ask  for little  in  return  for                                                                   
     their  immeasurable efforts  put forth  in Vietnam.  The                                                                   
     least we,  as the State  of Alaska,  can do for  them is                                                                   
     to rename  the 1124 & 1889  bridges at mile 30.4  on the                                                                   
     Glenn  Highway  in their  honor.  Such a  gesture  would                                                                   
     forever   memorialize  and   honor   the  thousands   of                                                                   
     helicopter  pilots   that  lost  their  lives   and  the                                                                   
     thousands more  who put their life on the  line each day                                                                   
     to save their fellow soldiers.                                                                                             
3:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  NAPOLI said  it is  fitting that  bridges 1124  and 1889  are                                                              
renamed in  memoriam to  Vietnam helicopter  pilots because  these                                                              
bridges  have  a perfect  view  of  Gold  Star  Peak, which  is  a                                                              
memorial to  veterans and  the families of  those who  have fallen                                                              
in service.  The bridges are also  close to Reflections  Lake that                                                              
has  hiking trails  and  a view  of Gold  Star  Peak. He  directed                                                              
attention to the map in members' packets.                                                                                       
SENATOR  COGHILL commented  that this  is a fitting  way to  honor                                                              
people and it serves as a reminder.                                                                                             
3:38:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE LESMANN,  Legislative Liaison,  Department of  Transportation                                                              
and Public  Facilities (DOTPF),  Juneau, Alaska, related  that the                                                              
department not  only employs  quite a few  veterans it also  has a                                                              
special page  on its  internal website  that captures  the history                                                              
of each veteran who provides the information.                                                                                   
CHAIR  REVAK asked  if it  is possible  for  individual groups  to                                                              
raise money for the bridge signs.                                                                                               
MR. LESSMAN answered yes, that is a possibility.                                                                                
SENATOR  WILSON asked  if the  bridges were  already named  either                                                              
the  Knik Bridge  or the  Matanuska Bridge  in honor  or a  fallen                                                              
MR.  LESSMAN said  the Knik  River  may have  the James  Bondsteel                                                              
Bridge.  The   Matanuska  River  has   a  name  place   sign  that                                                              
identifies the river.                                                                                                           
3:41:34 PM                                                                                                                    
LYNN  KILE,  representing  self,  Anchorage, Alaska,  said  he  is                                                              
president  of the  Vietnam Helicopter  Pilots Association,  (VHPA)                                                              
Alaska Chapter  and a  Vietnam helicopter pilot  with 22  years of                                                              
Army service. He  said he would highlight several  points from his                                                              
written testimony that may be in the packets.                                                                                   
MR. KILE  reported that the  Alaska Chapter of  VHPA is part  of a                                                              
nation  chapter of  over 16,500  pilots. There  are 82 members  in                                                              
Alaska,  although   the  national   database  shows   323  Vietnam                                                              
helicopter pilots  reside in Alaska.  He pointed out that  this is                                                              
an all-inclusive  organization that has associate  memberships for                                                              
flight crews  and pilots. An  estimated 40,000 pilots  flew 11,800                                                              
helicopters in  Vietnam. Over 4,800  pilots and 5,000  helicopters                                                              
were lost  in that  conflict. He  said the helicopter  contributed                                                              
to  changing the  battlefield;  soldiers  were moved  quickly  and                                                              
medivacs increased survival rates to over 82 percent.                                                                           
He said this  request for a small historic landmark  to contribute                                                              
to the  legacy of  a job well  done is  well deserved.  The Alaska                                                              
Chapter   of  the   Vietnam  Helicopter   Pilots  Association   is                                                              
supportive of SB 170, as written.                                                                                               
3:45:17 PM                                                                                                                    
ERVIN   PETTY,  Associate   Member,   Vietnam  Helicopter   Pilots                                                              
Association,  Alaska  Chapter, Eagle  River,  Alaska,  said he  is                                                              
retired from  the U.S. Air Force  after 23 years in  the Aerospace                                                              
Rescue  and  Recovery  Service,  Pararescue, and  also  served  in                                                              
Vietnam. He  said he was  not a pilot but  is pleased to  see this                                                              
CHAIR  REVAK thanked  Mr. Petty  and  Mr. Kile  for their  service                                                              
during the Vietnam  conflict. He shared the  following statistics:                                                              
about 12,000  U.S. military  helicopters  spent 7.5 million  hours                                                              
flying  over  Vietnam  in  2 million  missions.  In  total,  5,086                                                              
helicopters or 42  percent were destroyed by enemy  fire, and 2002                                                              
pilots and 2704 crew chiefs and gunners were killed.                                                                            
3:47:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK opened and closed public testimony on SB 170.                                                                       
3:48:21 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
3:48:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK  reconvened  the  meeting and  asked  if  there  were                                                              
SENATOR COSTELLO  thanked Senator  Revak for introducing  the bill                                                              
and  providing  the  supporting  documents.  She  said  she  looks                                                              
forward to  seeing the sign on the  bridge; it will be  a reminder                                                              
of  the  sacrifices  individuals   make  in  the  service  of  the                                                              
CHAIR REVAK reiterated his appreciation.                                                                                        
3:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WILSON  moved  to  report  SB  170  from  committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                         
There  being no objection,  SB 170  was reported  from the  Senate                                                              
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 168 Sectional Analysis v. A 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 168
SB 168 Transmittal Letter 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 168
SB 168 ASORA Highlights 1.27.2020.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 168
SB 170 Sponsor Statement 2.1.20.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Alaska DOT Sign Details 2.6.2020.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Facts of Bridges 1124 & 1889.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Matanuska Bridge Northbound Photo.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Matanuska Bridge Southbound Photo.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Time Magazine article VHPA Fights US Army to Honor Buddies Sacrifice.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 US Army Center of Military History Helicopters in Vietnam.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots - Crew Honored.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Assn Website Info.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 168 Darryl Thompson Opinion Letter 2.23.20.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 168
SB 170 DMVA Support 2.23.20.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB 170 Map 2.13.20.pdf SSTA 2/13/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 170