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Congressmen Request Arlington Burial For 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) — Several lawmakers have asked federal officials to allow a key U.S. ally in the Vietnam War to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

California Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza say Laotian Gen. Vang Pao rightly earned the honor to be buried alongside American soldiers.

The general led Hmong guerrillas in a CIA-backed battle against communists in Laos and was credited with resettling tens of thousands of Hmong in American cities. He died last week in a Central California hospital at the age of 81.

Costa and Cardoza sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, asking for a waiver for an Arlington burial.

Guam’s delegate to Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, and Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden also signed the letter.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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