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. Jack

    Poor Hmongs, They have been kicked out of Laos and Thailand and prosecuted in Vietnam. Now, your old friend USA denied them for a piece of dirt in Arlington.

    February 5, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nancy

    As a Hmong-American I am very disappointed how the committee handled this situation and to add insult by announcing it during his funeral. Growing up in America, I don't know first-hand what General Vang Pao contributed to the war along with his fellow American friends but I see it everyday in the face of our Hmong veterans who fought alongside GVP. I am very saddened that after all the sacrifice and friendship Vang Pao had formed with the United States, that this is how he is honored. I am even more disappointed that we actually have non-military people buried at Arlington yet an exception wouldn't be made to someone who actually contributed 15 years to helping save American lives.

    I am very thankful to the our American friends who were at the funeral and acknowledged Vang Pao's contributions. I will not blame the American soldiers who fought alongside our great leader and it is they who truly know the sacrifices Vang Pao made to save lives. At this point, there is no use appealing because it will only bring insult to our leader. As long as we have the same people working there, there is no honor in resting at Arlington anymore. May his spirit rest in peace.

    February 5, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
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    February 5, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mmmmm

    the Hmong need to talk to their senator and appeal the decision with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Really Pres Obama, what a black eye on your administration, while this general may not qualify under the "typical" definition something can be found under the "other" category. Also the directors of these services should be trained in American military history apparently this is a knucklehead moment and the denying person is very much in the dark. This horrible that a person life for this country's inerest is not being honored. Just plain wrong. You veterans out there should be outraged!

    February 5, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      I for one was not aware of theit contribution and will keep them in prayers for memorial day. it was briefly mentioned in the movie Grand Torino by Clint Eastwood. Does our museums give credit to these people?

      February 5, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nik

    Honestly, this does not surprise me. The US government won't even acknowledge their presence in Northern Laos much less honor a hero from it. To this day the Laotian forests and countryside are littered with un-detonated bombs and land mines, scrap tanks and helicopters. (Little known fact, Laos has had the equivalent of a large cargo plane full of bombs dropped on it every hour on the hour, 24/7 for 9 straight the math...more bombs dropped on this tiny country than any other nation on the globe to date!) People who weren't even alive at the time are still being senselessly killed and maimed for simply trying to live their lives, plowing their fields and planting crops.
    My father almost died over there helping the US so I know first hand the of the atrocities of our great government during that horrific period in time. Thankfully he and my mother escaped with their lives, and I can't wait till I am well off enough to escape back to my homeland, where people take care of, respect and honor one another. No matter who you are, how wealthy you are, or where you come from. Any and everyone is respected, honored, and welcomed with open arms, the way people should be. (And all the blame should not fall on the Obama Administration, this has been going on since well before the Reagan years.)

    February 5, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Leighla

    While it is very easy to pull on the heart strings and appeal to emotions for why this General deserves to be buried in Arlington, there are eligibility requirements of who can be buried there - in addition to guidelines for those special exceptions who are otherwise not eligible.

    The exception to policy guidelines are here on the Arlington site:

    February 5, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      We're pulling facts not heartstrings. This man deserves Arlington burial.

      February 5, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      But it's so much easier to just blame the black man!

      February 5, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Usfortune

    I have just read this and makes me cry deep inside. I will make sure mi kids do not see this since I have spent way too much time teaching them to love america as first generation Venezuelan-American kids; something like this will not only contradict all I have tried to teach them but also they will see how powerless I feel - something they do not see in me when I tell them to defend and fight for this country.

    February 5, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    On looking over the requirements for internment at Arlington, the phrase "member(s) of THE Armed Forces" is used often, but nowhere does it state "of the United States". From the context, it appears that that's what is inferred and intended, but it isn't actually stated ... anywhere. Likewise, US citizenship is neither said to be required,nor is it implicitly excluded from being a requirement. I dare say that the committee that interprets these rules (written a long time ago) is solely responsible for the decision.

    Once again, we see Republican saber-sharpeners trying to twist facts to cast discredit on a President who may not even be aware of this situation, and possibly may be powerless to do anything anyway. Not everything is about politics.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. duke

    Arlington should have refused Reagan"the terror",
    He poisoned a certain segment of the american population??
    I guess that don't count,As long as he didn't do it to white americans??
    Phuck Ronald Reagan!

    February 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NolivingmandelaunderBush

    yep... No entry for the living madela under the new orleans bush babies. And for the record..vietnam is not a war and many people there still see it that way despite all heroic claims. Better choice.. See a film from 2006 produced by a woman known as b.h. Yael called "the palestine trilogy" ...less declared funding heroes and more accuracy please.

    February 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Daniel

    Good grief,now why would they want to do a mean ol' thing like that??? This Obama administration must be getting awfully mean spirited. On the other hand,the Vietnam war was a national disgrace.

    February 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Courtney winegarner

    i wish the family all the best and the man should be buried in arlington he served and fought for so we need to honor him

    February 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tim cooke

    Heal all the wounds an heart ack let this family bury him in peace

    February 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AMERICA 1st

    There should never be anyone buried in Alington thats not AMERICAN and gave their life in service for the USA! NO foreigners! NO EXCEPTIONS

    February 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AMERICA 1st

    Its a disgrace to bury any foreigners in ARLINGTON!

    February 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
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