A strong effort is underway to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Hmong veterans who fought a secret war on behalf of the United States in Laos during the Vietnam War era.
The effort is lead by U.S. Sen. Ren Johnson (R-WI) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D- MI).
The Central Intelligence Agency recruited these Hmong farmers to gather intelligence and serve as ground soldiers alongside the U.S. military.
“Many of our Hmong veterans actually don’t know if the United States government actually loves them, or recognizes them or will claim them as their own,” Yee Leng Xiong, the executive director of the Hmong American Center in Wausau, Wisconsin told the Wisconsin Examiner.
Xiong says they need to know that their contributions are appreciated.
More than 300,000 Hmong Americans live in the United States with the largest concentrations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Central Valley of California.
“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,” Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who introduced the Hmong Congressional Gold Medal Act last month, said in a statement to the Independent. “The Hmong people suffered heavy casualties, and their soldiers died at a rate ten times as high as that of American soldiers in Vietnam.”
More than 10% of the Hmong population in Laos died during the war, the Hmong American Center says.
More than 150,000 fled Laos when the communist took over with many coming to the United States.
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