Friday, April 19, 2024

Bipartisan bill would award Hmong veterans Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the bipartisan Hmong Congressional Gold Medal Act to recognize the distinguished service of the Hmong veterans who served alongside American troops in the Vietnam War by awarding them a Congressional Gold Medal.

As the Vietnam War spread south and west into Laos, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited and trained Hmong soldiers to help American troops fight back against the communist North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao. At great risk to the safety of themselves and their families, Hmong soldiers fought the ground war, flew combat missions, gathered intelligence on North Vietnamese troop movements, interrupted the Ho-Chi-Min Supply Trail, and rescued American pilots downed behind enemy lines. The Hmong people suffered heavy casualties, and their soldiers died at a rate ten times as high as that of American servicemembers in Vietnam.

“During the Vietnam war, the Hmong people were vital partners to the United States, putting their lives on the line to help our troops and offering courageous service and sacrifice,” said Klobuchar. “Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Hmong veterans will provide them with a measure of recognition they’ve long deserved.”

“More than 30,000 Hmong soldiers courageously stood with the American people during the Vietnam War, many of whom lost their lives in the fight against communism,” said Peters. “This bill seeks to provide long-overdue recognition to Hmong veterans for their incredible sacrifices and distinguished service.”

“I’m happy to lead with Senator Peters to ensure the Hmong people get the recognition they deserve for their dedication to the fight against communism,” said Johnson. “Wisconsin is proud to be home to so many brave individuals who are dedicated to liberty and freedom and opposed to government tyranny.”

“During the Vietnam War, the Hmong people risked their lives to help American servicemembers. Now, we owe it to them to recognize that service and sacrifice with the highest honor that can be bestowed upon civilians by Congress,” said Baldwin. “Wisconsin has a special bond with the Hmong people, and I am proud to honor and recognize their courageous service to our country.”

“The Hmong bravely risked their lives to help our servicemembers during the Vietnam War,” said Tillis. “Today, more than 10,000 Hmong people call North Carolina home, and we are beyond grateful for their patriotic service and cultural contributions to our state. It is my honor to work to pass this bipartisan legislation to recognize Hmong veterans for their heroic actions.”

Following the war, many Hmong were displaced from their villages as they were either bombed or burned down by the North Vietnamese and over 150,000 Hmong fled Laos when the nation fell to communist forces in 1975. Due to their ties with the American military, many Hmong came to the United States as refugees to start a new life. Currently, there are over 94,000 Hmong living in Minnesota.

 

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