BEACON – Last Friday, joined by Korean War veterans and local elected officials, Congressman Pat Ryan introduced the Never Forgotten Korean War POW Act. Korean War POWs are the only veterans who did not receive full combat pay for their time in captivity.
This legislation rights that historic wrong, finally providing full combat pay for the men and women who endured starvation, disease, freezing temperatures and witnessed the brutal executions of fellow servicemembers in captivity.
“Today and everyday, I’m working to deliver for the men and women who risked their lives for this country in uniform. Our Korean War POWs are heroes that deserve full recognition for their honorable service,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “I especially want to thank Ray Mellin and Richard Randazzo for their service to this country, and for their continued advocacy on behalf of their fellow Korean War veterans. Together, we will make sure every veteran gets the benefits they have earned.”
“Korean War POWs have been trying for years to rectify legislation passed in 1952 that only provided four months of combat pay for them regardless of how long they were held as POWs. Since 2018 I have been working with Ray Mellin who was a POW for 37 months to see if we could get legislation to address this injustice for our aging heroes,” said Richard Randazzo, a Korean War veteran. “Upon hearing this, Congressman Ryan immediately had his staff research and draft the legislation that we are pleased to hear is being announced today.”
“Enhancing the dignity and well-being of our brave veterans is a bipartisan issue. I’m honored to stand with Congressman Ryan this Veterans Day and support his important new legislation to compensate Korean War POWs for their service,” said State Senator Rob Rollison (39th District). “Though we can never fully repay their sacrifice, we can strive to continue to honor their legacy, together.”
This legislation amends the Combat Duty Pay Act of 1952 to require that former members of the uniformed services who were captured or entered a missing-in-action status during the Korean War while serving as a member of a combat unit in Korea receive combat pay for each month spent in a captured or missing-in-action status, rather than just a total of four months.