Legislature(2013 - 2014)BUTROVICH 205
03/28/2013 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HCR 4-HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY 9:50:41 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that the next order of business would be HCR 4. REPRESENTATIVE GABRIELLE LEDOUX, sponsor of HCR 4, introduced the bill. She read from the following sponsor statement: House Concurrent Resolution 4 would recognize and honor Hmong veterans who fought in support of United States military operations in the Kingdom of Laos between February 28, 1961, and May 15, 1975, by proclaiming May 15 to be Hmong-American Veterans Memorial Day. Hmong were called "dammed good fighters" by the CIA. They fought bravely in what was called the U.S. "Secret War" in Laos against some of the toughest North Vietnamese and Lao troops for 13 years and suffered casualty rates five times higher than the rate experienced by U.S. Soldiers. The most conservative estimated numbers during the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War are 35,000 - 40,000 brave young Hmong killed in combat; 50,000 - 58,000 wounded; and 3,000 missing in action. After the U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia, thousands more Hmong were killed during genocide carried out by communist forces during the Hmong attempt to flee to neighboring Thailand. The most recent numbers set the U.S. Hmong population between 200,000 - 300,000, with the Alaska population at almost 4,700 and rising. Many Hmong have immigrated here following the Vietnam conflict after persecution for supporting the U.S. The "Secret War" is no longer a secret and recognition of these brave fighting men is long overdue. That is why I urge the passage of HCR 4 and by doing so commemorating the service of these forgotten warriors. DIRK MOFFAT, Staff, Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, testified on HCR 4. He noted that members of the Hmong community were available to answer questions. 9:54:13 AM CHARLIE MOUA, President, Special Guerilla Unit (SGU) - Veterans and Family of USA - California, testified in favor of HCR 4. He said there were chapters of SGU in California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. He related that he was a former United States liaison official in Laos. He shared his military history and work with the United States Special Forces. He gave his reasons for wanting to serve with the United States to fight against the Communists in Laos. He described the duration of the SGU forces under five presidents and the organization of the SGU forces in Laos during difficult and dangerous times. CHAIR DYSON voiced appreciation for the historic and brave role the Hmong people played in Southeast Asia. He said that HCR 4 would set aside a time to recognize the Hmong veterans and to inform the public about their heroic role and suffering. 10:02:47 AM At ease 10:03:05 AM ARTHUR YANG, Advisor, Special Guerrilla Unit Veterans and Family of USA - Alaska, testified in support of HCR 4. PASERT LEE, President, Hmong Alaska Community, testified in favor of HCR 4. He thanked the bill sponsor for introducing the bill. He noted that seven people gathered to testify in support of HCR 4. CHAIR DYSON said many Hmong are moving into Eagle River area. He said he would like to meet with those testifying some time. He said he has always felt that when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam in the 1970's, the Hmong were abandoned and betrayed in some way. He wondered, if that is true, how the Hmong people got beyond the anger and resentment and decided to move to the country that betrayed them. MR. YANG explained that they had to leave Laos so they would not be executed. CHAIR DYSON thanked Mr. Yang for choosing the U.S. He said he wished to meet with the Hmong community. 10:06:16 AM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report HCR 4, labeled 28-LS0504\U, from committee with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, HCR 4 was reported from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.