Effort to Honor Hmong Veterans

Fresno, CA Veterans advocate Charlie Waters, who is helping with the effort said, "They deserved to be helped, they helped us." Waters estimates there are between 10,000 to 15,000 Asian Vietnam veterans in California, Wisconsin and Michigan who cherish the idea of being buried with the same military honors granted to U.S. veterans. Waters said, "They fought with us alongside of us, they died, they bled, they were wounded. They were buried in the jungle if they died. If they survived the family took care of them even until now. There are veterans that are still ill and never recovered. Bill Dietzel, publisher of Veterans Magazine said "Without them we would have lost hundreds of thousands more troops because of the deterrent they did on the Ho Chi Min trail." He's working with the Department of Veterans Affairs on the registration requirements. He said that process would involve "Identify these veterans through photos, id cards or driver's license or Social Security numbers."

Congressman Costa says his legislation would be an addendum to an existing bill that provided the same military burial honors to Philippine allies. The Philippino's fought during WW II; they received compensation of $15,000 or $9,000 each for their participation in WW II.

If President Obama signs off, veterans could get up to $2,000 worth of benefits that may include a coffin, a tombstone, a flag and honor guards salute.

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