Wyoming's congressional delegation is not happy about a Department of Defense plan to remove the Bells of Balangiga war memorial from F.E. Warren Air Force Base and return it to the Philipines.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has started the process of transferring the bells from F.E. Warren after telling Congress doing so would be good for national security. On September 28, 1901, the Bells were used by Filipino insurgents to signal an attack on American troops at Balangiga in the Philipines during the Philippine-American War.

The attack took the lives of 48 American soldiers.

The bells were taken to what was then Fort D.A. Russell, which later became F.E. Warren Air Force. Many U.S. veterans groups oppose returning the bells to the Philipines. Many Filipinos, however, regard the bells as a patriotic symbol of their history and want them returned.

The congressional delegation, which includes congresswoman Liz Cheney and Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, issued a joint statement on Monday:

""For over 100 years the Bells of Balangiga have been in Wyoming as a memorial to the American soldiers who lost their lives overseas,” the Wyoming delegation said. “A majority of Wyoming veterans continue to oppose any efforts to deconstruct or disturb this veteran’s memorial. While we have respect for the relationship between the United States and the Government of the Philippines, we believe that moving the Bells establishes a dangerous precedent for future veterans’ memorials. We have a strong tradition of honoring the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform. These bells are memorials to American war dead and should not be transferred to the Philippines. We oppose any efforts by the Administration to move the Bells to the Philippines without the support of Wyoming’s veterans community.”
The Warren AFB memorial includes two of the captured bells. The third is currently housed at a U.S. military base in South Korea.

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