Arlington refuses burial of U.S. ally from Vietnam War
Members of the Hmong community attend the funeral of Hmong war hero and community leader General Vang Pao on Friday.
February 4th, 2011
10:53 PM ET

Arlington refuses burial of U.S. ally from Vietnam War

The family of a man who fought alongside U.S. troops in Vietnam have been told their relative will not be allowed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Major General Vang Pao led thousands of Hmong soldiers as they fought alongside the United States against the North Vietnamese Army during the war in Southeast Asia, according to a news release from Congressman Jim Costa of

Costa, on behalf of Pao's family, asked the Army to grant an exception to Arlington's rules to allow Pao to be buried in the nation's most hallowed burial ground.

Pao died recently of complications from pneumonia, according to Costa.

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Filed under: Laos • Military • Veterans • War
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Bill in N Cal

    The Obama Administration Disgracefully Denies Burial in Arlington
    to the “Biggest Hero of the Vietnam War”
    The 2nd time the Administration has attempted to disgrace the honor of a Great Military Leader

    This serves as an important lesson for all allies of America and the manner in which the Obama Administration will honor your sacrifices in support of America. This lesson is about the disgraceful treatment of the great military leader, General Vang Pao.

    The Obama Administration has turned down the request to bury General Vang Pao in Arlington National Cemetery beside other Military Heroes...the cemetery where he belongs!

    Even though the General’s funeral there was turned down…the President saw fit last year to bury Martin Ginsburg, Attorney and husband of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader in Arlington. Lets see, an attorney vs. the “biggest hero of the Vietnam war” who lead America’s secret war in combat in Laos for 15 years (1961-1975) resulting in the loss of 10% of his people (other estimates are as high as 30%)…this would have been like the US losing 17 million soldiers in Vietnam! If that is not bad enough…here are a couple of other non-military civilians who received special permission to be buried in Arlington. There is Marie Teresa Rios, author of Fifteenth Pelican, basis for The Flying Nun television show and there is Phyllis Kirk, a famous TV and film actress who is buried along side her husband television producer and screen writer Warren Bush. All non-military!

    The Obama Administration also tried to embarrass and dishonor General Vang Pao when he and 11 others were arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the communist government of Laos…all facing possible life in prison. These actions caused tremendous insult and disgrace to this great leader, his men and the Hmong people in America. Later all charges were dropped without detailed explanation…the damage had already been done – the General was dishonored and the communists of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic were very pleased with his actions.

    Most believe that General Vang Pao actually died of a broken heart…due to the action of the Obama Administration!

    There was also a third time that the Obama Administration disgraced the relationship with the Hmong people in America and in Laos – when the Obama Administration sat back and watched 5,000 Hmong refugees in Thailand be forced back into the hands of the communist government of Laos. If you wonder why they would do such a thing, take a look at the financial benefits to be had via natural resources being development in Laos by China etc.

    This disgraceful action of denying the General’s Family’s request for burial in Arlington is another slap in the face to all who serve or have served in uniform in support of the United States of America…it is time to realize where the Obama Administration is headed.

    God Bless General Vang Pao’s soul, his family, and his people, without whom there would have been tens of thousands more US Military killed in Vietnam and Laos.

    February 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      I would wager the Obama administration never heard of this until this story came out. Whole thing was probably handled by low levels at the DOA. Next, Obama will be blamed for transient nature of McRib.

      February 5, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I whole heartedly agree this is an example of the pittiful politics of this country, we have senators, supreme court justices who never served a day in their life buried there, A true patriot who served in our war defending our flank in Laos, whose people were butchers for their aid to the USA is denied. I qualify for arlington but I think my ashes will be spread elseware in the company of brothers in arms, I will request my wife to make sure some are scattered on this patriots grave.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JW

      That is interesting. I'm taking an educated guess here that Martin Ginsburg was allowed in on the merits of his wife, since he didn't seem to have accomplished anything worthy of an exception himself. A Supreme Court Justice is eligible for ground burial at Arlington if they have a period of honorable military service, which Ruth Ginsburg doesn't seem to have based on readily available biographies of her. So it sounds like this was purely political, or the current administration would allow any Supreme Court Justice to be buried at Arlington, even if they had no military service.

      So I can definitely see the discrepency here–allowing a lawyer like you said to be buried, versus a foreign military warrior who in some views furthered American policy abroad. Sounds like the Army is not being consistent again–making favors behind our backs, that come out to bite them later . . . when will they learn?

      February 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ticker

      Uh...I believed that it was the bush and the obama administration together.

      February 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    i had no idea ppl COULD be buried in arlington if u were NON military! thanks bill. seems like one more way to mistreat viet nam vets as if they havent done enough of that already! as my grandmom always said "shame, shame, god dont like ugly"

    February 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      so the problem is someone's definition of military

      February 5, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • A.E.D

      why not let him be buried in arlington, this is a war hero who fought along side american soldiers, the fact that he wanted to be buried alongside american soldiers is nothing but a credit to them

      February 5, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. T Vang

    It is well said, Mr. Bill. It is a very disgraceful. Let's pull Hmong soldiers out of the military. There is no need to serve this country anymore, what is the use? The Hmong means nothing to this country anyway. We died for nothing.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. tyler gaffney

    as a veteran of the us army special forces and have read and studied a lot about general Pau and all he did to help this great nation fight its ugliest war in it history Brings me great sadness that someone who gave his all and thousands of his men can be put to rest in a place he deserves and how horrible I feel for his family that we have taken his honor away. By not allowing him the great honor of a heros resting place. I hope that our great country will realize the huge mistake it is making and do the right thing. To give him and his family the honor in witch he deserves.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim Davis

    Thankyou Bill for understanding what it means to have and respect Honor, and standing up for the Geatest Gift an individual can give, themselves for the sake of others. I would be Honored to have General Vang Pao next to my Father and Grand Fathers Graves, and I know they would be also. I am ashamed that our current Administration does not grasp how they have disgraced this Man, his Family, his and anyone who has a shred of decency. Honor can only be in ones Heart by witnessing it's true meaning, either by a search for it, beinging taught by somone you respect greatly, or experiencing it first hand. Otherwise, people just shoot their mouths off and remain in the dark. PS. Thank you to ALL Vets and Heros who Love and have sacrificed for all Americans. We owe everything we cherish and Love to YOU, and those, here, and in ANY LAND who have helped in your sacrifices. I Honor You. Best Regards.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    What reason could they possibly have given for refusal ?? Im grateful to all vets who fought on behalf of U.S. Shame to those who denied this man the final thanks he deserves.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      If you check the website, it's obvious why he was denied. I'm sure the decision can be appealed, maybe special situation. He failed the first test, member or relative of our armed services. Prob rejected by computer system.

      February 5, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |

    Well said by all. As a Viet-Nam veteran, I would think that all those Asians who struggled by our side trying to defeat the spread of Communism (and were evacuated to the USA after South Vietnam fell) should be honored with burial in Arlington if their families request it.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. jokerandmimi

    That's right,God don't like. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family of this precious man.

    February 5, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. lilo No one

    This is truly disappointing and embarrassing .... as a Hmong , I would rather him not be buried there NOW... don't we have pride too... if they don't want us, why should crawl on our knees just to be buried there. We, too have pride, tho we may not have a country we must hold our dignity. I have do not hold any hate for those who denied , but sadness towards them for they lack the understanding of the meaning loyalty. If your risk your own life and the lives of thousands of your fellow Hmongs to protect them and at the end they even deny you a burial site, there is no need to plea with them. I just feel embarrassed to those American that made that decision because how can you ask others to respect you when you can't even give the same back after they're willing to die for YOUR cause.

    February 5, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Say NO More

    This is truly embarrassing to me as an American. He was willing to die for people he didn't even know and this is what he gets in return. All the sacrifice he made and this is his repayment, America won't even acknowledge it. WOW how must the world be laughing and pointing at us now. Can I say, those who made the decision is ungrateful much.

    February 5, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Juicy

    Were ever this fierce leader may rest his body his beloved admires,family,friends will be there by his side like he was for the American people he will never be forgotten.

    February 5, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Real Hmong

    Dear Readers,

    Now and up on, you will never trust any american. You see by your eyes how american use us and then treat us. They just see us as humans and good ally when they need us and abandon and treat us like animals when were are not useful anymore. This is american friendship. American can never be our best friend, otherwise, a worst friend. You can forget your this ally since today.

    Real Hmong

    February 5, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. ed bailey

    I as a viet nam era vet have repeatedly stated how ashamed I am of myself for having VOLUNTEERED to defend this fu country. I hate my country. This is just another very sad embarrassment of why we are and deserve to be a backwater third world craphole. Our government is nothing but a legalized mafia and a pathetic joke. Why,because we sit back and let jerks run it. And I apologize to the italians, the mafia has far better morals than the government. I know, I loved chicago!

    February 5, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. cat woman

    Where has this country's morals went to? God bless the family and may the general rip! Is this another sample of obama "care"? For crying out loud America get it together!

    February 5, 2011 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. USAForever

    Don't be sorry, you Hmong out there. This is showing a deficiency of our Government.

    CIA reports directly to the President. They don't report to the Department of Defense. CIA rarely shared secret files (what they did) to other agencies or Department. In this case, the CIA SECRET WAR in Laos is called SECRET. I don't think the Department of Defense or the Army have any idea who GVP is.

    The Hmong can appeal to the CIA instead of the Army or the Department of Defense. However, the CIA has no business regards to Arlington.

    Here is my recommendation: The Hmong have to appeal to the President. President Obama has the right to require those red stamps files called TOP SECRET. He has the power for anyone to be buried at Arlington.

    My two cents


    February 5, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Marria

      Thank you.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
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