Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



April 14, 2021

Legislation Providing Benefits to Hmong Laotian Veterans who Fought During Vietnam War ‘Secret War’ Passed by Senate

HARTFORD – Today, the Connecticut State Senate passed legislation providing veterans benefits to members of the Hmong Laotian special guerilla units who served in the secret war in the Kingdom of Laos during the Vietnam War. This legislation, which would provide those individuals with legal veterans status, financial support for a funeral, and other similar benefits, was supported by legislators who want to support these men for their brave sacrifices to support the United States. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) proudly voted to provide these men with the benefits they earned.

“Our veterans bravely and selflessly sacrifice on our behalf to protect our country and our freedoms, and as such these brave men deserve our recognition,” said Sen. Needleman. “I am proud that today we were able to provide them with the benefits they earned in service of our nation.”

Senate Bill 914, “An Act Concerning Hmong Laotian Special Guerilla Units Which Served In The Kingdom Of Laos,” will extend certain veterans benefits to Hmong Laotian special guerilla units serving during the Vietnam war in the U.S. secret war in the Kingdom of Laos. Those benefits include veteran license plates and veteran status on driver’s licenses or ID cards, $1,800 toward funeral expenses or cremation for veterans in need, and veterans ribbons and metals. Veterans would need to provide information to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

During the Vietnam War, members of the Hmong worked together with the CIA to conduct covert operations in Laos, also known as the “secret war.” Tens of thousands of men were killed during the war, more after its end. Though these men were hired and paid by the CIA, according to Twin Cities PBS, they are not recognized as United States veterans and as such receive no benefits. More than 35,000 Hmong and Lao soldiers died supporting the United States armed forces. If this legislation is approved by the House, these brave men will finally receive the support and respect they earned in battle.