arlington burial requested for general vang pao

With the recent passing of influential Hmong community leader Vang Pao, who led Hmong guerillas in the CIA-backed battle against communists in Laos during the Vietnam War, several U.S. lawmakers have asked federal officials to allow the general to buried at Arlington National Cemetery: Arlington burial for Vang Pao, chief of secret CIA-backed army?
Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa, both California Democrats, have written to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, requesting that Vang Pao be buried alongside American soldiers at Arlington.

In the mid-1960s, the CIA was stepping up its anti-communist efforts in Southeast Asia. It was training a proxy army to fight in Laos, and flying missions in unmarked aircraft. But it needed a committed, charismatic leader through whom to orchestrate its secret war. Vang Pao, then a general in the Royal Army of Laos, fit the bill.

CIA operative Bill Lair, who helped recruit Vang Pao in 1961, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2005 that he was "probably the greatest guerrilla leader in the world."
Guam's delegate to Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, and Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden also signed the letter. It would be quite a gesture, but the request has its considerable share of detractors. Vang Pao, while revered as a patriot in Hmong American community, was also a controversial figure. More here: Editorial: Gen. Vang Pao deserves to rest in Arlington.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for the general have been announced: Funeral arrangements announced for Gen. Vang Pao.

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