Skip to comments.Laos Hmong leader Vang Pao denied Arlington burial
Posted on 02/04/2011 8:38:33 PM PST by Racehorse
The US Army has rejected a request for ethnic Hmong leader Vang Pao to be buried with full military honours in Arlington National Cemetery.
Gen Pao led a 15-year CIA-sponsored secret war in Laos during the Vietnam War and, when it was lost, led tens of thousands of his people into exile.
He died last month. The army's decision came as mourners attended the first day of a six-day funeral in California.
Gen Pao's friends said they would appeal to the White House.
"Obviously to everyone who is here today to honour Gen Vang Pao, this is very disappointing," said Congressman Jim Costa, who led a group of lawmakers to lobby for the general to be buried alongside US soldiers in Arlington.
"He is not just a hero to the Hmong people. He is a hero to those American men and women who served with him in Vietnam."
A spokesman for the Pentagon, Gary Tallman, said the request had been thoroughly reviewed but that the board had unanimously decided he did not meet the criteria for burial in the cemetery.
Military veteran Charlie Waters, a friend of Gen Pao's, said he had been given "a lame excuse that it would take the place away from an American serviceman".
"So we're appealing to the White House," Mr Waters told AFP news agency, adding that he had offered to give up his own plot.
It was not immediately clear where Gen Pao would now be interred.
Vang Pao died at the age of 81 in January in Fresno, California, a centre of the Hmong expatriate community in the US.
Tens of thousands of military and Hmong mourners have gathered in the city for his traditional funeral.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
"Peace with Honor" [sarc tag implied]
Hey, here's a thought - go "Egypt" on the White Hut. Bring the funeral to DC. Gather on the Mall.
The guy isn’t US military? So sorry.
They have room for Teddy Kennedy but not room for an actual hero.
I agree, Arlington should be reserved for only U.S. Military.
Great point. A point lost on all the anti-military folks. As someone that spent time working with the Hmong, these people were with us and yet were abandoned by us in the end ... sad.
So what do you do with a privateer?
I don’t know about Arlington, but Vang Pao in my mind was a great ally.
And Yes, he and the Hmong did kill a lot of Pathet Lao (commies) on the Plain of Jars.
If you don’t think he was brave, loyal to the U.S. and a tough soldier, ask anyone who knew Tony Poe and Pop Buell.
Rest in peace Royal Lao major general Vang Pao.
Oh that’s right Teddy Kennedy was a U-boat commander after all...
Say...wasnt he against the vietnam war?
That's kind of a dumb comment. What makes people "anti-military"? Because we don't think a foreign collaberator should be buried in Arlington makes us anti-military in general?
We lost that war. If the guy is such a hero, there is room in his home country. People who feel that way are not anti-military. Probably they're very pro-military because they want that ground reserved for the US military.
Re Tallman: I spit upon his grandmother’s shadow.
I don’t doubt that he was a great ally. It is just that he was not a member of the American military. We are running out of space at Arlington, and I think what is there should be for Americans who served in the American military.
The appeal might work if they stipulate that Gen Pao had converted to islam.
This guy did much more for this country than most of the politicians buried there.
Thank you for saying what should be said. My parents will be buried there so I don’t take it lightly. We have never had finer (or tougher) allies than the Hmong and we did not honor our promise and they paid a horrible price.
To those who think this is a bad idea go talk to the Special Forces old timers and you will be surprised how passionate they are about the Hmong. They know better than all of us about what happened. I don’t even have to ask my dad what he thinks about this.
In my opinion we owe him (and them) this honor.
You obviously have no idea what the Hmong did for us in VN. Sad.
We kinda betrayed the Hmong and that led to the loss of his "home" country. There's no way his and our old enemies would permit his return even in death.
General Vang Pao was both a genuine hero, a staunch ally, and a controversial figure. He was no mere "foreign collaberator."
I'd bet a donut the controversies surrounding him, including (dropped) federal charges of trying to overthrow the Laotian government in 2007, is what caused the military review to reject the request.
There are bo’s and co’s of people in Arlington that should not be there. This man was actualy a war hero that fought for the U.S. I carried over a thousand caskets into that sacred place and I won’t proudly fold one more flag for this man.
“We are running out of space at Arlington, and I think what is there should be for Americans who served in the American military.”
Then dig up the swimmer.
You are oblivious. The word "collaborator" refers to a villain who works with the enemy. This man was an ally. Your language only makes sense if you support the commie Viet Cong.
Furthermore, the US is his home country. Your ignorant statements are an insult every American soldier who "lost that war" to use your words. Go back to DU.
“We lost that war. If the guy is such a hero, there is room in his home country.”
Speaking of dumb comments....
I hope you aren't getting racist with that remark. I just remember Clinton's pal M. Larry Lawrence had to be dug up because he was put at Arlington based on a lifetime of lies about having serves in the merchant marine. Of the pair, Vang Pao is more deserving but I don't see how he qualifies.
Whether or not he qualifies is a legitimate question, IMHO. I tend to think he does.
I found the following written by Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Author of Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, The Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos 1942 1992 online at DEDICATED TO THE U.S. SECRET ARMY IN THE KINGDOM OF LAOS 1961 1973. (Excerpt describing the Laos Memorial dedication at Arlington National Cemetery.)
Appearing before Congress, in 1994, the Honorable William E. Colby, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, talked of the "heroism and effectiveness of the Hmong struggle" and the critical role and sacrifice of the Secret Army.
In part, Colby said: "For 10 years, Vang Pao's soldiers held the growing North Vietnamese forces to approximately the same battlelines they held in 1962. And significantly for Americans, the 70,000 North Vietnamese engaged in Laos were not available to add to the forces fighting Americans and South Vietnamese in South Vietnam."
After Ambassador Colby's acknowledgment, a handful of Americans who knew well the Hmong alliance with the U.S. felt it timely to seek official U.S. recognition for the soldiers of the Secret Army and their American Advisors who died in Laos. Mr.Grant McClure, a former U.S. Army Advisor to the Montagnards, became the moving force behind the idea of a permanent Memorial at Arlington to nationally and publicly honor the uncommon sacrifices of the Secret Army. Mr. McClure's efforts brought together in common cause former CIA Station Chiefs, Vietnam Veterans, Members of Congress, and others who served in civilian and military roles, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Wangyee Vang, founder of Lao Veterans of America, Inc.
Finally, after discussions with officials of the U.S. Government and the Lao Veterans of America, whose members number some 55,000 former soldiers and their families of the Secret Army, agreement on a Living Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery was reached.
On May 15, 1997, some 3,000 veterans of General Vang Pao's army Hmong and Lao dressed in jungle camouflage fatigues, flight suits, nurses uniforms stood at attention on the Mall in Washington, D.C. near the Vietnam Wall. Facing them were current Members of Congress, former U.S. Ambassadors, and the CIA Station Chiefs under whom they had served during the time of the "secret war" in Laos. A Congressional citation was read. CIA Station Chiefs paid tribute to the extraordinary contributions of General Vang Pao and his brave forces in the fight for freedom in Southeast Asia and assisted in handing out the Vietnam Veterans National Medal.
The next day, General Vang Pao and the remnants of his army, again wearing camouflage fatigues, assembled at Arlington National Cemetery. Six deep, they stood at attention for the dedication of the Memorial Monument a small stone topped with a copper plaque, acknowledging the "secret war" in Laos and the Hmong, Lao, and American Advisors who valiantly served freedom's cause in the jungles of Southeast Asia and, in so doing, died in the Lao Theater in the Vietnam War. They will now be forever known and remembered.
Photo gallery from his funeral so far: (continues thru next Wed.)
Fresno Bee editorial on the subject:
And my brother was cremated and didn’t use a space at Arlington - so they have at least one “extra”.
Wrassle up a colonel who can sign a statement that the man was field-appointed under wartime conditions as an uncompensated member of the US military special forces. We currently have a policy that illegals can enter the military as a step to citizenship. Shouldn’t be hard to make it retroactive for Pao. That should end the problem.
It’s about time we showed the man and the Hmong he represented some honor.
The Hmong was the best Commie killers we had. That is why when the Commie took over, they tried to kill everyone.
But however brave this man was, he wasnt in the military or served in public Office.
Until the rules are changed, I have to agree with the ruling on this.
You are right about the politicians. Most of them were nothing but crooks....
I’m not sure what your final comment meant.
Were you saying you wouldn’t participate if he were buried there, or were you saying you wouldn’t help out at Arlington any longer if he isn’t allowed in?
WTF? Where are you from?
Vang Pao belongs. Bury him next to UK Gen. Orde Wingate another true hero.
Yo-Mama—check the rolls at Arlington you will find there are there American Diplomats, and Politicians,lots of dead bones
and stones that try to explain why non Military are kept on
General Lees property.Ge.Pao earned a right to be buried any
place his family want him to be remembered. I would want to be cremated and my ashed spread all over Washington D.C. with the prayers that my ashes might purify and somewhat restore what was once the Capitol of these United States.
But given some of those buried at Arlington that ought not be there— Gen.Pao most certainly ought be there-he earned it the old fashioned way by doing what the anti-war types
I remember that the simpleton Jimmy Carter’s Administration tried to deport the Vietnamese general shown in the famous photo graphically shown executing a VC terrorist during Tet. Turned out the VC at issue had just killed an entire family, including children, a fact not reported in the press but enough of us raised loud objections that the stupid, offensive decision was reversed.
Just for everyone’s FYI and general interest, I found an interesting little website with a page dedicated to listing to “prominent civilians” buried at Arlington, with clickable links on each entry. It’s not the official Arlington.mil website, but the guy seems to know his stuff:
I should note that a lot of the folks the site defines as civilian were veterans in some form, but died after their military service (no idea if Arlington uses that standard or not - just mentioning it).
Of the others, there seems to be quite a mix. Some were government officials killed in the line of duty. The CIA station chief killed in the ‘83 Beruit bombings is buried there, for example. There’s also a couple of Presidential spouses (Mrs. Howard Taft, for example). There’s also a young woman buried there who apparently died from leukemia at age 20. The only tie to the military I could find is that one or both parents were in service.
The most unusual entry I found was a WWI Marine...who also happened to be Russian prince!
How dare you insinuate I am a racist? On what basis? That I don’t think people who are not American military should be buried at Arlington? Do you always go so far out of your way to be insulting and nasty?
“So we’re appealing to the White House,” Mr Waters told AFP news agency
—————————————————————————————— Good luck.
He fought the Communists and helped the United States was the reason he was denied.
The General should be put in a place of respect, but not where we bury our hallowed American servicemen.
Theres also a young woman buried there who apparently died from leukemia at age 20. The only tie to the military I could find is that one or both parents were in service.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
If she was 20, single and died from leukemia she was probably an ‘authorized’ dependent, who qualifies if one parent does but think they have to ‘share’ space.
go to www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ar290-5internments2.0.htm
US Army Regulations (AR-290-5) Arlington National Cemetery
Article 2.6E is ‘interesting’.
Hmong Leader Vang Pao ‘MAY’ be eligible for inurnment at ANC Columbarium, but like most Govt Regs it is kind of ‘cloudy’ and can be interpreted in a couple of ways.
BTW, Teddy boy is ‘eligible’ due to having been elected to high US office as long as his 2(?) year US Army stint ended honorably, despite the fact his time during Korea was spent in Germany
Who the hell is we?
Do you have a frog in your pocket?
Did you fight in that war?
WE didn't lose it, it was given away by a bunch of dumb ass politicians in a corrupt administration that was influenced by a an equally dumb ass bunch of liberal, tree-hugging fools that convinced said dumb ass politicians that their voting block was big enough to hurt them.
Had WE been allowed to fight the damned war, it would have been over in about three weeks. Instead, WE were hamstrung by a bunch of touchy-feely crap rules of engagement that resulted in the loss of over 59,000 brave and able US soldiers, for no reason whatsoever.
Lost it, my ass.
He fought for our country, He belongs in Arlington.
“This man was actualy a war hero that fought for the U.S.” I am with Racehorse and chesty_puller.
For the record, Costa is highly responsible for the water diversion that's killing off California's agricultural industry in the San Joaquin Valley.
I agree. This is not an insult to U. S. troops buried there. He was an important leader of men who fought for our interests. It obviously served his purposes too, but he even fled his homeland for having sided with us.
I say honor the man.