FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2018
House Encourages Congressional Action to Honor Promises Made to Hmong Soldiers During the Vietnam War
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 17 encouraging the U.S. Congress to honor promises made to Hmong soldiers that fought during the Vietnam War on the side of the United States.
“Hmong soldiers fought bravely during the Vietnam War. As part of their service to our country, these honorable soldiers, many of whom eventually immigrated to the United States, were promised many of the same benefits our soldiers receive,” said HJR 17 sponsor, Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage). “I have sat with Hmong veterans as they recounted the hardships suffered by their people and the bravery of their comrades. In return for their service, they were promised citizenship and veterans status, but over 50 years later their service has not been fully recognized.”
The Hmong people of Southeast Asia became embroiled in the Vietnam War when many of them were recruited in the 1960s by the CIA to help stop the spread of communism by fighting the North Vietnamese Army that invaded Laos. The wars in Southeast Asia resulted in the death of an estimated 100,000 Hmong people and the displacement of thousands more. Many of the Hmong people relocated to the United States, and Anchorage currently has a thriving Hmong population. Around 50,000 Hmong veterans reside in the United States and 150,000 Hmong and Laotian-born children have graduated from U.S. schools.
“Hmong people fought bravely and selflessly alongside the United States during the Vietnam War. These individuals deserve every recognition for the sacrifices that they made, including having the privilege to be buried in national cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, alongside other American patriots and heroes. It is high time we recognize the contributions of Hmong veterans not only within Alaska but across the nation,” said HJR 17 co-sponsor Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage).
Last month, the U.S. Congress passed the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act, which was included in the most recent appropriations law. The act extends military burial benefits to Hmong veterans, including the right to be buried in national cemeteries except for Arlington National Cemetery.
House Joint Resolution 17 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 36-0. The resolution will be sent to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.
For more information, please contact Diana Rhoades in Rep. Tarr’s office at (907) 465-3424.