Congresswoman Dina Titus joined Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) and Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA) in introducing the Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act to recognize the service and sacrifices of Hmong veterans in Southern Nevada and nationwide. The Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act will extend burial benefits in national cemeteries to Hmong and Lao Americans who served beside U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
"Those who bravely serve our country deserve the honor of being laid to rest in national cemeteries," said Titus. "As Ranking Member of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, I applaud my colleague Mr. Costa for introducing this legislation to extend proper interment services to Hmong and Lao veterans who served alongside U.S. Forces during the Vietnam War. I am proud to be an original cosponsor, and hope we can quickly move it through our Subcommittee."
Hmong men from Laos were trained and led by officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division during the Vietnam War. Tens of thousands of these men performed direct missions against Communist forces and North Vietnamese supporters. Following the war, thousands of Hmong Veterans resettled across the United States. In 2000, President Clinton signed the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act, which allowed Hmong veterans and their families to become U.S. citizens.
Currently burial benefits are available to veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Services, their spouses and dependents, Reserve Officers, Public Health Service Officers, Merchant Mariners from World War II, and the Philippine Armed Forces. This legislation would add veterans who were naturalized under the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act to the list of individuals eligible for interment at a national cemetery. It is estimated that there are still 6,000 Hmong veterans living in the United States today.