When Vietnam Veterans are honored and remembered it is important to not overlook the Laotian Hmong Tribesmen who bravely served in the CIA secret army of Laos. Veterans of that secret Hmong Army were recently honored at an event in Pensacola, Florida. The event was described in a story from WEARTV.com Channel 3 ABC titled: U.S. allies in Vietnam War recognized for their service that was submitted by David Gonzalez of WEARTV.
The ceremony took place last Thursday in Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola. Retired United States Air Force Major General Richard spoke delivering these comments: “I saw what they did firsthand,” Maj. Gen. Secord said. “We could have not done it without them. Had it not been for unconventional troops like the Hmong tying down the North Vietnamese Army in the north the consequences for the United States would have been much more serious.”
The CIA began the creation of a “secret army” of indigenous Hmong people in Laos during the early 1960’s to fight a “secret war” against the invading North Vietnamese. The Hmong Secret Army had several missions. They were tasked with helping to block the flow of men and materiel on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They fought against North Vietnamese troop units which reduced the number of hostiles available to fight the Americans in the South. One of their most vital missions was to assist in the rescue of downed pilots.
The Hmong put themselves in great danger, but their loyalty to the US never wavered. They were indeed heroes, saving many Allied forces from capture, imprisonment and death. From 1967–1971, close to 4,000 Hmong soldiers were killed and over 5,000 injured and disabled.
It is indeed fitting that the brave Hmong veterans were honored in Pensacola. It would now be even more fitting if the Senate would pass The Hmong Veterans’ Recognition Act.