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U.S. Senate: Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honor Effort

U.S. Senate Slated to Press Forward Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honor Effort

Washington, D.C., July 16, 2013

Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is slated to conduct  a markup hearing tomorrow, July 17, to press forward legislation, and further examine and study , the unique service of ethnic Laotian and Hmong veterans who served in covert operations in Laos during the Vietnam War with U.S. forces.  Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vice Chairman Richard Burr,  Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Mark Begich and others have worked to bring the bill, S. 200, before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for hearings.  The bill was introduced previously in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Congressman Jim Costa (D-California) and bipartisan coalition of some 32 Members  of Congress.

“We are pleased that the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Chairman Bernie Sanders and Vice Chairman Richard Burr, are hosting a markup hearing regarding pending veterans legislation that includes a historic bill to provide long overdue burial honors  to Lao and Hmong veterans who served in covert operations in support of the U.S. clandestine operations in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA).

“The legislation, ‘The Lao and Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill’, S. 200, introduced by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) and Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), if enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, would permit an estimated 9,700 Laotian- and Hmong-America veterans of the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ in Laos to be buried in national cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans of Affairs,” Smith stated.

“From 1961 to 1975, the Hmong and other Lao ethnic soldiers of the United States’ secret army lost about 40,000 strong men and women for the accomplishment of covert missions, including some very impossible and hopelessly dangerous missions, where the Lao-Hmong soldiers had to pay in blood with many, many countless Lao-Hmong lives lost…,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute, in recent statements, and testimony, provided to Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vice Chairman Burr and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Colonel Wangyee Vang stated further:  “Now it is 38 years after the war ended in 1975.  Unfortunately, our veterans still have not received any kind of burial honors benefit, or other veterans’ benefits, from the United States government especially for our Hmong, Khmu, Lao, Mien and other ethnic veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army.’  We are, therefore, strongly urging the United States Congress, as soon as possible, to pass S. 200 for those veterans still surviving from the Vietnam War.”

ENDS

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