H.R. 4761, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 61 South Baldwin Avenue in Sierra Madre, California, as the “Louis Van Iersel Post Office”

H.R. 4761

To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 61 South Baldwin Avenue in Sierra Madre, California, as the “Louis Van Iersel Post Office”

Sponsor
Rep. Judy Chu

Date
May 23, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 23, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4761, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 61 South Baldwin Avenue in Sierra Madre, California, as the “Louis Van Iersel Post Office,” under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 16, 2016, by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent on May 17, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4761 designates the United States Postal Service located at 61 South Baldwin Avenue in Sierra Madre, California, as the “Louis Van Iersel Post Office.”

 

Background

Louis M. Van Iersel was born on October 19, 1983 in the Netherlands. He boarded a Norwegian ship bound for the United States in February, 1917. When he arrived in the United States he took out citizenship papers, registered for the draft and enlisted in the Army all on the same day. He was assigned to kitchen duty because of the language barrier, but after four months was promoted to corporal and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division serving in France during World War I.

Sergeant Van Iersel was awarded the Medal of Honor from General John Pershing for swimming across an icy Seine River under heavy fire and eavesdropping on the enemy. He learned that the enemy had an artillery barrage ready to wipe out his battalion, which he reported to his battalion commander. His company was then moved into trenches as the German barrage began at Mouzon Bridge. He was credited with saving the lives of a 1,000 men.[1]

During World War II he was rejected for re-enlistment in the Army because of his age, but was accepted by the US Marine Corps and served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Bougainville Campaign.[2] He returned in 1945 after duty in the South Pacific and lived in Sierra Madre before health forced him to move nearer a son in Oregon. Sergeant Louis Van Iersel died on June 9, 1987 in the Veterans Administration hospital in Roseburg, Oregon.[3]

According to the bill’s sponsor, “For his act of bravery that saved over 1000 American lives on a single mission, Mr. Van Iersel was awarded our nation’s highest honor – the Medal of Honor. I rise today to honor the memory of Sergeant Louis Van Iersel by introducing a bill to rename the Sierra Madre post office in his memory.”[4]

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[1] See LATimes, “Louis Van Iersel, 93, Immigrant Hero of WWI,” June 16, 1987.
[2] See “Louis M. Van Iersel
[3] See LATimes, “Louis Van Iersel, 93, Immigrant Hero of WWI,” June 16, 1987.
[4] See “Rep. Chu Introduces Bill to Rename Sierra Madre Post Office in Honor of Louis Van Iersel,” March 16, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.