McMorris Rodgers Introduces Bill to Ensure Military Members Receive Compensation for Acts of Extraordinary Heroism

Jun 03, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced the Bobby Moran Soldier’s Medal Retirement Act to ensure recipients of the Soldier’s Medal receive the increased retirement compensation they earned with the honor.

In March 1958, United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Bobby Moran from Usk, Wash. was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for risking his life to save eight people, including two infants, after their boat capsized in the turbulent waters of Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Sgt. Moran went on to serve his country for 30 years, retiring from the Air Force in 1984.

Under current law, recipients of the Soldier’s Medal are entitled to a 10 percent increase in retirement pay for demonstrating extraordinary heroism outside of conflict with the enemy. Sgt. Moran, however, was denied this pay increase because he already reached the retirement pay cap set at 75 percent of base pay. The Bobby Moran Soldier’s Medal Retirement Act would eliminate the retirement pay cap for Vietnam-era veterans who receive the Soldier’s Medal, ensuring Sgt. Moran and every recipient of this prestigious honor from the Vietnam War era receive the compensation they earned.

“When I first heard Sergeant Bobby Moran’s story, I was blown away by the courage and selflessness he demonstrated to earn the Soldier’s Medal for extraordinary heroism,” said Rodgers. “Bobby is truly one of Eastern Washington’s finest, which is why I’m so disappointed it’s taken so long to give him the honor he deserves. You cannot put a price tag on his heroic actions that saved the lives of 8 strangers on that fateful day in 1957. It’s long-past time we pay Bobby – and the heroes like him – the debt we owe for their service above and beyond the call of duty.”

About Staff Sergeant Bobby Moran:

Staff Sergeant Bobby J. Moran served in the United States Air Force for 30 years from 1954-1984. In March 1958, Sgt. Moran was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for an extraordinary act of heroism demonstrated on August 25, 1957.

On this date, Sergeant Moran piloted his small craft to the assistance of eight persons who were clinging to the sides of their capsized cruiser in the turbulent waters of Pyramid Lake, Nevada. After helping another volunteer load two infants and an unconscious adult into his boat, he headed for an uninhabited, snake-infested island two and a half miles away. Having landed the victims on the shore, he attempted to attract the attention of persons on the mainland by using smoke signals. Twice returning to the accident scene and despite damage to the boat’s keel from the island reefs, Sergeant Moran picked up the remaining survivors and returned to the island. Sensing that two of the victims might not survive the stormy night, Sergeant Moran, despite a damaged boat, high waves, and darkness, steered his craft seven and a half miles to the mainland where help was obtained and dispatched to the survivors on the island. 

Sgt. Moran currently lives in Usk, Washington.

CLICK HERE to read the bill.


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