4:18 PM EDT

Bob Filner, D-CA 51st

Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1594) to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 1594

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. DESIGNATION OF MICHAEL A. MARZANO DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS OUTPATIENT CLINIC.

(a) Designation.--The Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, shall after the date of the enactment of this Act be known and designated as the ``Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic''.

(b) References.--Any reference in any law, regulation, map, document, record, or other paper of the United States to the outpatient clinic referred to in subsection (a) shall be considered to be a reference to the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

4:19 PM EDT

Cliff Stearns, R-FL 6th

Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 1594, a bill to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

I appreciate the efforts of my colleague Phil English, and obviously Congressman JASON ALTMIRE who just recently spoke, and their efforts to push this legislation. Obviously this is a very important symbolic piece of legislation, and I think it reminds us of what occurred. I will defer to Congressman English for further comments on this legislation in a few moments.

As pointed out, Marine Sergeant Michael Marzano, a servicemember from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, was killed in action on May 7, 2005, while deployed in service to his Nation in Iraq. Reports from the field indicate his bravery and leadership while protecting a hospital, and many lives were saved due to his sacrifice. Sergeant Marzano was the first marine from Mercer County to give his life for freedom in Iraq.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation has strong bipartisan support and also support from the local and State veterans communities, as well as support from the entire Pennsylvania delegation.

As pointed out, I thank Chairman Filner and also Ranking Member Buyer for foregoing the existing criteria to move this legislation expeditiously forward. It is right that we honor the memory and service of a warrior such as Michael Marzano by naming the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in his honor.

So I urge my colleagues to support the bill, which is H.R. 1594.

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. English).

4:19 PM EDT

Jason Altmire, D-PA 4th

Mr. ALTMIRE. I thank the chairman.

This legislation designates the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic at Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. I was pleased to join with my friend and colleague, Congressman PHIL ENGLISH, last year in introducing this legislation, which will pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of a true Western Pennsylvania hero, Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Marzano.

A native of Greenville, Pennsylvania, Michael Marzano grew up with the dream of becoming a marine. Upon graduating from Sharon High School, Marzano applied to the U.S. Marine Corps and was initially denied entry because of a knee injury he suffered his senior year in high school. Determined to fulfill his dream, Marzano underwent surgery to correct the condition and continued to reapply to the U.S. Marine Corps until he was finally accepted 4 years later in 1999.

In December 2004, now Sergeant Marzano reiterated his commitment to the Nation by volunteering for a tour of duty in Iraq. But tragically, on May 8, 2005, after serving only 2 months in Iraq, the 28-year-old Sergeant Michael Marzano was killed by a suicide bomber while taking part in an offensive against insurgents in the city of Haditha, al Anbar province, in Iraq. He was the first soldier from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, to give his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Following the incident, which also claimed the lives of three other brave American servicemembers, Sergeant Marzano's commanding officer recalled Sergeant Marzano's leadership and bravery, stating, ``Many more lives were saved due to their sacrifice.''

Mr. Speaker, Michael Marzano is a true American hero and was a very special individual. By renaming this outpatient clinic, we will honor Sergeant Marzano's memory and recognize his bravery and sacrifice. Sergeant Marzano is representative of all those who have worn the uniform proudly, upheld the military's tradition of courage and faithful service, and once stood ready, if duty required, to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I thank Chairman Filner for his willingness to bring this bill to the floor, and I especially thank my friend and colleague Congressman English for his leadership in introducing this legislation.

4:21 PM EDT

Cliff Stearns, R-FL 6th

Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 1594, a bill to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

I appreciate the efforts of my colleague Phil English, and obviously Congressman JASON ALTMIRE who just recently spoke, and their efforts to push this legislation. Obviously this is a very important symbolic piece of legislation, and I think it reminds us of what occurred. I will defer to Congressman English for further comments on this legislation in a few moments.

As pointed out, Marine Sergeant Michael Marzano, a servicemember from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, was killed in action on May 7, 2005, while deployed in service to his Nation in Iraq. Reports from the field indicate his bravery and leadership while protecting a hospital, and many lives were saved due to his sacrifice. Sergeant Marzano was the first marine from Mercer County to give his life for freedom in Iraq.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation has strong bipartisan support and also support from the local and State veterans communities, as well as support from the entire Pennsylvania delegation.

As pointed out, I thank Chairman Filner and also Ranking Member Buyer for foregoing the existing criteria to move this legislation expeditiously forward. It is right that we honor the memory and service of a warrior such as Michael Marzano by naming the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in his honor.

So I urge my colleagues to support the bill, which is H.R. 1594.

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. English).

4:23 PM EDT

Philip English, R-PA 3rd

Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida, and I particularly want to thank the chairman and my good friend and colleague, Mr. Altmire, for making the timely consideration of this legislation possible on the floor today.

I arise to ask all of my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 1594. It does something that I think every veterans' organization in Mercer County has asked us to do, which is to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Outpatient Clinic.

Marine Sergeant Michael Marzano, as you have heard, was killed on Saturday, the 7th of May, 2005, while on assignment in Iraq. I arise here to ask you to support this legislation with a great deal of emotion because this man was the first soldier from Mercer County to give his life in the global war on terror.

I can't express myself on this as well as his commanding officer expressed it in a letter which I was given and which I would like to read a portion of.

``On 08 May 2005, enemy insurgents fired from positions within the local hospital attacking U.S. Marines in the city of Haditha, al Anbar province, Iraq. Patients and the medical staff were forced to remain in the hospital while enemy forces triggered this attack that included a Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device. The SVBIED exploded approximately 30 feet from the hospital patient ward, killing four Marines from 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines and igniting a fire within the hospital.

``Lance Corporal Lance Graham watched his platoon from above as he always did above his machine gun. Sergeant Michael Marzano's leadership and humor rubbed off on everyone round him. Sergeant Aaron Cepeda always welcomed new members to his platoon like they were part of his family. Finally, one Sailor who we will always call 'Marine' because he continuously acted like one, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Wiener, all gave their lives that day. They had the job of protecting the force as the Quick

Reaction Force and many more lives were saved due to their sacrifice. All four gave the rest of the platoon precious minutes that allowed the Marines to return fire immediately, resulting in the insurgents going on the defensive.

``Because the bravery of the men of Mobile Assault Platoon 7, the remainder of the force of over 70 Marines and Sailors sustained the attack and protected the hospital. The members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, will always honor and remember what they did. We remember our friends fondly. The memory of their leadership, courage, and sacrifice live on in the Marines and Sailors who served with them. Even in passing, they still continued to protect their brothers.''

Signed, Captain John A. Kasparian.

Mr. Speaker, on October 16th, 2006, after a lot of work by several of us in the delegation, the veterans hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania, opened a Mercer County Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage. Almost immediately, veterans from Mercer County contacted me asking to have the new clinic named for Sergeant Marzano.

My staff confirmed their tales of Sergeant Marzano's heroism, and I requested input from my veterans' advisory panel to determine if there were [Page: H8075]

other candidates for this honor. All of the respondents, including the families of other fallen soldiers, universally agreed that Michael Marzano deserved this honor. He was the first to die in Iraq from Mercer County. He epitomizes the bravery and the dedication of all of our country's best. He deserves to be

remembered, as does everyone who has given their lives in that conflict.

Sergeant Marzano's friends and family have already mourned his death. But with this legislation, we will honor his courage and present his life as a worthy example for future generations of young men and women.

Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleagues will join me in this worthy honor to this remarkable soldier.