WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 25, 2017) — U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) have helped reintroduce bipartisan legislation to honor the Hmong allies who fought with Americans during the Vietnam-era “Secret War” in Laos.
The Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act would allow members of the Hmong Special Guerilla Unit, who conducted support missions for American forces during Vietnam, to be buried in national cemeteries. There are more than 6,000 Hmong-American veterans—many who now live in Minnesota—who put their lives on the line alongside U.S. forces.
“In Vietnam, the Hmong fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans—on the same fields and against the same enemies,” Klobuchar said. “They bravely served our country, and their legacy deserves to be honored at our national cemeteries.”
“I’ve said this many times before, but it remains true: because of Hmong soldiers’ heroism, there are many fewer names on the Vietnam Memorial,” Franken said. “So I believe we must remember the Hmong veterans who fought alongside Americans during the Vietnam War—and continue to honor them after they pass, as well. Our bipartisan bill would memorialize the sacrifice and service of Hmong veterans by rightly allowing them to be buried with honors at U.S. national cemeteries.”
During the Vietnam War, the CIA conducted covert operations in Laos, enlisting thousands of Hmong volunteers who conducted stealth operations and crossed enemy lines to save pilots downed by Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire. Over 35,000 Hmong lost their lives in connection to U.S. involvement in Vietnam.