ST. PAUL, Minn – Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), Sen. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), and Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) received the One Star Leadership Medals of appreciation from the Hmong Special Guerilla Unit and its late leader General Vang Pao.
The Hmong Special Guerilla Unit is credited with saving hundreds of American soldiers and pilots in Laos during the Vietnam War, at great cost of life in their Hmong community.
The medal, designed by the late General Vang Pao, was given to the legislators to honor the three Senators for their long-term relationship with the Hmong community. They lent bipartisan support in designating May 14 as the special recognition day for the Hmong Veterans of the Secret War in Laos. The path to this recognition has been very difficult.
“It is a great honor to receive this very important medal of honor from Hmong Special Gorilla Unit. They were instrumental in preventing the threat of communism from spreading deeper in Southeast Asia,” Sen. Hoffman said.
“Many soldiers owe these brave men and women their lives,” said Sen. Newton. “I am among those who owe them an eternal debt.”
“The selfless sacrifice by these brave men and women on behalf of American soldiers is truly impressive,” said Sen. Abeler. “As the Hmong have no home country, it is particularly valuable that we can honor them in this special way.”