Van Hollen, Cardin, Kaine, Warner Present Prisoner of War Medals to Maryland Veteran Ronald Dolecki & Virginia Veteran David Strickland

June 24, 2022

Awards comply with Van Hollen legislative action to safe medals

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (equally D-Md.) offered Military Expert Ronald Dolecki, a veteran residing in Huntingtown, Maryland, with a Prisoner of War (POW) Medal honoring his military support in Ethiopia. Senator Van Hollen authored a legislative provision to protected Mr. Dolecki’s medal adhering to the Army’s misapplication of the legislation to his one of a kind situation. They were joined by Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (equally D-Va.) who introduced a POW medal to Virginia veteran David Strickland, which he also obtained as a outcome of Senator Van Hollen’s legislative motion. 

“Ron Dolecki’s tale is the tale of American heroism. Following creating a daring escape from captivity in Ethiopia, he served conserve his two mission partners who have been also taken prisoner. He displayed legitimate braveness in action, and immediately after a many years-long hard work to award him the Prisoner of War Medal, we had been last but not least equipped to safe the recognition he so obviously deserves,” stated Senator Van Hollen. “It is my honor to congratulate Ron and thank his relatives and good friends who aided get this across the end line.”

“We can not overstate our gratitude for all the sacrifices designed by Professional Dolecki though serving this nation. He is a hero who endured excruciating conditions although held captive,” claimed Senator Cardin. “It is a privilege to be a part of in honoring Mr. Dolecki for his remarkable spirit, patriotism, grit and bravery.” 

“In 1975, Military Specialist David S. Strickland was kidnapped whilst serving our nation. He used four months in captivity, enduring ongoing physical and psychological hardships and not figuring out when, or if, he would at any time see his relatives once again,” mentioned Senator Warner. “Although this recognition is more than 46 many years overdue, I’m quite very pleased to be a part of my colleagues in recognizing Specialist Strickland’s sacrifice with the Prisoner of War Medal he rightfully deserves.”  

“This is about fairness. The improve that was designed in the NDAA is not only opening up chances for Army Specialist David S. Strickland and Army Sergeant Ron Dolecki to be regarded with the POW medal. The adjust that has been manufactured is going to allow lots of, many other people who have extensive been denied to at some point see the working day that they do as perfectly. That operate is already underway thanks to this effort and hard work. I know I converse for all of us: we come to feel honored to participate in a part in receiving here,” said Senator Kaine. 

Although on a mapping mission in Ethiopia in 1965, Mr. Dolecki was captured by armed, uniformed customers of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). He endured underneath brutal ailments even though in captivity but at some point escaped and saved the life of two other folks. Nonetheless, Mr. Dolecki experienced been denied the POW Medal for far more than a ten years even soon after Congress handed a legislation in 2013 to make clear the conditions for the honor. On discovering of this issue, Senator Van Hollen took legislative action – including writing twice to the Secretary of the Military and passing report language accompanying the 2022 Nationwide Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to support be certain the accurate application of the regulation in purchase to safe Mr. Dolecki’s medal. Mr. Dolecki’s POW medal award was approved in March 2022, as was a medal for the late Jack Kalmbach, who served as Mr. Dolecki’s pilot on the mission. The awards follow numerous many years of advocacy from Mr. Dolecki, Dr. Dwight Mears, and the Senator to protected the honor.Mr. Strickland was taken captive by the ELF in 1975 underneath substantially similar situation as Mr. Dolecki but experienced also been denied thing to consider for the POW Medal for yrs until Senator Van Hollen’s action.

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Large resolution photos and video are out there upon request.

Image 1: Senators Van Hollen and Cardin with the Dolecki family following presenting Mr. Dolecki with his POW Medal.

Picture 2: Senators Warner and Kaine with the Strickland spouse and children soon after presenting Mr. Strickland with his POW Medal.


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