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Memorial Arrangements Announced For Gen. Vang Pao

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This file photo shows former Hmong general Vang Pao (R) with Laotian veterans after laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, marking the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in Laos. (credit: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

This file photo shows former Hmong general Vang Pao (R) with Laotian veterans after laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, marking the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in Laos. (credit: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Relatives of Hmong leader Gen. Vang Pao say they are planning a four-day February memorial service for the military hero in central California.

Vang Pao died Thursday after battling pneumonia in a Clovis hospital, located near one of the largest populations of Hmong immigrants in the United States. He was 81.

Family spokeswoman Pacyinz Lyfoung (bay-ying lee-fong) says the traditional ceremony and funeral will likely be held at the Fresno Convention Center. The body also may go to Minnesota for a public viewing.

The general led Hmong guerrillas in their CIA-backed battle against communists during the Vietnam War and was revered as a father figure by the Hmong diaspora.

A final resting place has not been determined, but the general’s family is seeking a burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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