Three House members are sponsoring legislation recommending the Congressional Gold Medal for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who fought against an angry mob and eventually lured it upstairs and away from the unprotected Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
"When Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between Members of Congress & the mob, he selflessly redirected their fury on himself so they could escape," Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said Thursday on Twitter.
"I urge he be honored w/ the Congressional Gold Medal," the highest award that can be bestowed by the House and Senate, said Mace, who sponsored the bill with Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.
"I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman's fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country," Crist said in a statement.
Cleaver added, "In moments of crisis, there are always individuals who rise to the occasion and put themselves in harm's way in defense of others. On January 6, 2021, one of those individuals was Officer Eugene Goodman."
Video of the incident taken by Igor Bobic, a HuffPost reporter, showed Goodman, an Army veteran of Iraq, alternately swiping at rioters with his baton while luring them up the stairs to the third floor.
He then appeared to beckon them away from where they could get easy entry to the Senate chamber, getting them to follow him to another section of the corridor where they could be confronted by other officers.
The Washington Post cited a close friend of Goodman's, who asked not to be identified, as noting his cool demeanor under pressure.
"I've always said, if bullets start ripping through, I'm finding Goodman," the friend said. "He's been in hostile firefights, so he knows how to keep his head."
The Army's XVII Airborne Corps had a similar opinion, stating that Goodman "is rightfully being hailed as a hero after single-handedly holding back rioters from entering the Senate chambers last week."
"An Iraq combat vet and member of this Corps, Eugene was a hero long before last Wednesday. We celebrate his valor," the XVIII Corps said in a statement.
Goodman left the Army in 2006 after serving four years as an infantryman, Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez, an Army spokesman, told Military.com's Gina Harkins. He deployed to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), from 2005 to 2006,"Ramirez said.
His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.
Previous recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include Winston Churchill, Gen. Colin Powell, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Bob Dole, the Dalai Lama and Merrill's Marauders 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional).
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.