FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2021
Contact: David Green
State Adjutant 608 221-5276
Wisconsin VFW Honors Hmong Lao Veterans at State Convention
Madison— State Commander Jason Johns and Vietnam Veterans honored Wisconsin Hmong- Lao Veterans of America (WLVA) Friday at the Wisconsin VFW 100th Convention. President Lieutenant Nao Shoua Xiong and a delegation of 18 Lao Veterans in uniform attended and received recognition from the legion of VFW members in attendance before several Veteran Service Organizations and Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Mary Kolar.
During the presentation of a jaded glass plaque to the WLVA, VFW Vietnam Veterans Michael Eggleston, John Schultz and Al Kochenderfer commented that if it were not for the Hmong people, they would not be alive today. "I owe 52 years of life to you,” said an emotional Al Kochenderfer, a Huey pilot who was shot down several times in Southeast Asia.
After the Vietnam war, Hmong people fled Vietnam to other countries in Southeast Asia and the United States in order to avoid persecution, imprisonment, or death for allying with U.S. forces. Governor Evers designated May 14 as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin. During the war in Vietnam, Hmong-Lao soldiers fought as guerillas against the North Vietnamese Army and were vital in augmenting American troops and rescuing downed pilots who would otherwise have to evade capture.
Lieutenant Xiong stated, "I am very happy to be here on a day that our Hmong-Lao Veterans are recognized and remembered.” Hmong-Lao Veterans are indigenous to Southeast Asia and fought bravely against Communist influence in their land. Commander Johns stated, "It is time we gave recognition to the Hmong-Lao Veterans. The VFW is comprised of many Vietnam Veterans that are grateful for their sacrifices and bravery.”