Spokane’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center moved a step closer to getting a new name today as the U.S. Senate passed a bill to name it after two local Medal of Honor winners.
The Northwest Spokane facility would become the Mann-Grandstaff Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in honor of Pfc. Joe E. Mann and Platoon Sgt. Bruce Grandstaff.
Mann was a member of the 101st Airborne in World War II who was wounded four times while destroying an enemy artillery position near Best, in The Netherlands. Later that night, with both arms bandaged to his body, he volunteered for sentry duty and when the Germans attacked and a grenade was thrown, he threw himself on the grenade to save other members of his unit.
Grandstaff was a member of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam who was leading a reconnaisance mission that was ambushed near the Cambodian border. He crawled through enemy fire to rescue his men, and crawled outside the safe position to mark the location with smoke grenades for aerial support. He continued to fight until mortally wounded, then called in an artillery barrage to knock out enemy forces.
The Senate passed legislation sponsored by Democrat Patty Murray to rename the center. A companion bill sponsored by Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers is pending in the House of Representatives.