SEC. 535. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE HEROISM, SACRIFICE,AND SERVICE OF THE

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SEC. 535. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE HEROISM, SACRIFICE,AND SERVICE OF THE

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SEC. 535. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE HEROISM, SACRIFICE, AND SERVICE OF THE MILITARY FORCES OF SOUTH VIETNAM,OTHER NATIONS, AND INDIGENOUS GROUPS INCONNECTION WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES
DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT.

(a) FINDINGS.��"Congress finds the following:
(1) South Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, New
Zealand, and the Philippines contributed military forces,
President.
112 STAT. 2018 PUBLIC LAW 105��"261��"OCT. 17, 1998
together with the United States, during military operations
conducted in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict.
(2) Indigenous groups, such as the Hmong, Nung,
Montagnard, Kahmer, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai contributed military
forces, together with the United States, during military
operations conducted in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam
conflict.
(3) The contributions of these combat forces continued
through long years of armed conflict.
(4) As a result, in addition to the United States casualties
exceeding 210,000, this willingness to participate in the Vietnam
conflict resulted in the death and wounding of more than
1,000,000 military personnel from South Vietnam and 16,000
from other allied nations.
(5) The service of the Vietnamese, indigenous groups, and
other allied nations was repeatedly marked by exceptional heroism
and sacrifice, with particularly noteworthy contributions
being made by the Vietnamese airborne, commando, infantry
and ranger units, the Republic of Korea marines, the Capital
and White Horse divisions, the Royal Thai Army Black Panther
Division, the Royal Australian Regiment, the New Zealand
‘‘V’’ force, and the 1st Philippine Civic Action Group.
(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS.��"Congress recognizes and honors the
members and former members of the military forces of South Vietnam,
the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand,
and the Philippines, as well as members of the Hmong, Nung,
Montagnard, Kahmer, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai, for their heroism,
sacrifice, and service in connection with United States Armed Forces
during the Vietnam conflict.
SEC. 536. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE HEROISM, SACRIFICE,
AND SERVICE OF FORMER SOUTH VIETNAMESE
COMMANDOS IN CONNECTION WITH UNITED STATES
ARMED FORCES DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT.
(a) FINDINGS.��"Congress finds the following:
(1) South Vietnamese commandos were recruited by the
United States as part of OPLAN 34A or its predecessor or
OPLAN 35 from 1961 to 1970.
(2) The commandos conducted covert operations in North
Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict.
(3) Many of the commandos were captured and imprisoned
by North Vietnamese forces, some for as long as 20 years.
(4) The commandos served and fought proudly during the
Vietnam conflict.
(5) Many of the commandos lost their lives serving in
operations conducted by the United States during the Vietnam
conflict.
(6) Many of the Vietnamese commandos now reside in
the United States.
(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS��"Congress recognizes and honors the
former South Vietnamese commandos for their heroism, sacrifice,
and service in connection with United States Armed Forces during
the Vietnam conflict.

HONORING FORMER SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY COMMANDOS





(House of Representatives - May 21, 1998)

[Page: H3733] GPO's PDF

(Ms. SANCHEZ asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute
and to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago the House Committee on National Security
unanimously approved my amendment to honor and recognize the former South
Vietnamese army commandos who were employees of the United States Government
during the Vietnam War.

Today, the Members of this House had the opportunity to properly honor those
brave men by supporting the Department of Defense authorization bill for fiscal
year 1999.

Last year, the President signed into law legislation that I advocated to ensure
that the United States Government honor a 30-year-old bad debt and pay these men
who worked for the United States Government the wages they earned but were
denied during the Vietnam War.

These individuals were trained by the Pentagon to infiltrate and destabilize
communist North Vietnam.

Many of these commandos were captured and tortured while in prison for 15 to 20
years, and many never made it out.

Declassified DOD documents showed that U.S. officials wrote off the commandos as
dead even though they knew from various sources that many were alive in
Vietnamese prisons.

The documents also show that U.S. officials lied to the soldiers' wives, paid
them tiny `Death Gratuities' and washed their hands of the matter.

For example, Mr. Ha Van Son was listed as dead by our Government in 1967,
although he was known to be in a communist prison in North Vietnam. Today he is
very much alive and well and living in Chamblee, GA. In my hand I hold the
United States Government's official declaration of his death.

Because it was a secret covert operation, the U.S. Government thought they could
easily ignore the commandos, their families, friends, and their previous
contacts without anyone noticing.

As the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania said in a recent hearing, `This is a
genuinely incredible story of callous, inhumane, and really barbaric treatment
by the United States.'

In the 104th Congress, this House approved legislation that required the
Department of Defense to pay reparations to the commandos.

This bill would have provided $20 million to the commandos and their survivors,
an average grant of about $40,000 per commando. It called them to be paid $2,000
a year for every year they were in prison, less than the wages they were due.

President Clinton signed this legislation into law (Public Law 104-201).

However, in April of 1997, the Department of Defense said that the statute was
legislatively flawed and the Secretary could not legally make payments.

I then contacted Secretary Cohen requesting the administration's help to correct
this error.

The administration responded by supporting inclusion of the funding in the
Supplemental Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 1997 (Public Law 105-18)

Last year, I met at a public forum with 40 commandos from my district.

One individual shared with me his story of how he parachuted into enemy
territory, was captured, convicted of treason, beaten, thrown into solitary
confinement for 11 months, then moved among hard--labor camps for the next seven
years.

His story is not unlike countless others. I request unanimous consent to insert
into the record one story of this abuse headlined `Uncommon Betrayal' as
reported by an Atlantia newspaper recently.

Today, however, I am pleased to provide this Body with this update.

To date, the Commando Compensation Board has been established at the Pentagon;
266 claims have been processed; 142 Commandos have been paid.

All this was made possible because of the commitment of this House.

After years of torture by the North Vietnamese, the callousness of being
declared dead by the United States Government, and years of anguish over not
receiving their rightful compensation--these brave men now deserve recognition.

The South Vietnamese Lost Army Commandos are finally a step closer to having the
United States Government honor their contracts for their years of service to the
United States Army.

I am proud that the members of the House had an opportunity to properly honor
these brave men

We can not bring those who perished back, but we can give these individuals the
dignity and respect that's been so long overdue.

Who supports this resolution?

The State of California American Legion strongly endorses this amendment and I
would like to submit the letter from the Department Commander Frank Larson into
the Record.

In Commander Larson's letter dated May 1, 1998, he states, `Ms. Sanchez: I'm
sure if history were unfolded for all to see it would show that the South
Vietnamese commandos, who aided the United States Government in covert actions
against the North Vietnamese, were responsible for saving many American lives.'

It goes on to say: `To that end, the same recognition due our soldiers, sailors,
marines and airman involved in the Vietnamese Conflict should be afforded to the
former South Vietnamese commandos, who so gallantly served and endured.'

It is also supported by: The Air Commando Organization; The Special Forces
Organization.

American veterans who fought side by side with the Commandos, come to their
defense in

letters of support.



I would like to share with you what our soldiers have to say about the
commandos.

This letter comes from a special forces NCO:

`Dear Sir: I had the opportunity to work with these men in which they not only
risked their lives, but continually put themselves in harms way. * * * We are
aware of terrible trials and conditions these men endured for so long and we
would like to help * * *'

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that last year, during
POW/MIA recognition day, I had the opportunity to meet with several members of
my veteran community.

I had the opportunity to speak with former POWs and family members whose loved
ones were taken as prisoners or declared missing in action. Several of the
veterans mentioned their support for the Commandos and urged that the Government
honor its word.

Today, we gave these commandos what they really wanted, the distinction of
honoring their service in the Vietnam War. And on behalf of the 40 commandos
residing in the 46th Congressional District of California, I would like to thank
the Members of this body for their commitment to honor and to recognize the
former South Vietnamese army commandos.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record a series of documents relating to these
former South Vietnamese commandos.

[Page: H3734] GPO's PDF


HONORING FORMER SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY COMMANDOS





(House of Representatives - May 21, 1998)

[Page: H3733] GPO's PDF

(Ms. SANCHEZ asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute
and to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago the House Committee on National Security
unanimously approved my amendment to honor and recognize the former South
Vietnamese army commandos who were employees of the United States Government
during the Vietnam War.

Today, the Members of this House had the opportunity to properly honor those
brave men by supporting the Department of Defense authorization bill for fiscal
year 1999.

Last year, the President signed into law legislation that I advocated to ensure
that the United States Government honor a 30-year-old bad debt and pay these men
who worked for the United States Government the wages they earned but were
denied during the Vietnam War.

These individuals were trained by the Pentagon to infiltrate and destabilize
communist North Vietnam.

Many of these commandos were captured and tortured while in prison for 15 to 20
years, and many never made it out.

Declassified DOD documents showed that U.S. officials wrote off the commandos as
dead even though they knew from various sources that many were alive in
Vietnamese prisons.

The documents also show that U.S. officials lied to the soldiers' wives, paid
them tiny `Death Gratuities' and washed their hands of the matter.

For example, Mr. Ha Van Son was listed as dead by our Government in 1967,
although he was known to be in a communist prison in North Vietnam. Today he is
very much alive and well and living in Chamblee, GA. In my hand I hold the
United States Government's official declaration of his death.

Because it was a secret covert operation, the U.S. Government thought they could
easily ignore the commandos, their families, friends, and their previous
contacts without anyone noticing.

As the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania said in a recent hearing, `This is a
genuinely incredible story of callous, inhumane, and really barbaric treatment
by the United States.'

In the 104th Congress, this House approved legislation that required the
Department of Defense to pay reparations to the commandos.

This bill would have provided $20 million to the commandos and their survivors,
an average grant of about $40,000 per commando. It called them to be paid $2,000
a year for every year they were in prison, less than the wages they were due.

President Clinton signed this legislation into law (Public Law 104-201).

However, in April of 1997, the Department of Defense said that the statute was
legislatively flawed and the Secretary could not legally make payments.

I then contacted Secretary Cohen requesting the administration's help to correct
this error.

The administration responded by supporting inclusion of the funding in the
Supplemental Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 1997 (Public Law 105-18)

Last year, I met at a public forum with 40 commandos from my district.

One individual shared with me his story of how he parachuted into enemy
territory, was captured, convicted of treason, beaten, thrown into solitary
confinement for 11 months, then moved among hard--labor camps for the next seven
years.

His story is not unlike countless others. I request unanimous consent to insert
into the record one story of this abuse headlined `Uncommon Betrayal' as
reported by an Atlantia newspaper recently.

Today, however, I am pleased to provide this Body with this update.

To date, the Commando Compensation Board has been established at the Pentagon;
266 claims have been processed; 142 Commandos have been paid.

All this was made possible because of the commitment of this House.

After years of torture by the North Vietnamese, the callousness of being
declared dead by the United States Government, and years of anguish over not
receiving their rightful compensation--these brave men now deserve recognition.

The South Vietnamese Lost Army Commandos are finally a step closer to having the
United States Government honor their contracts for their years of service to the
United States Army.

I am proud that the members of the House had an opportunity to properly honor
these brave men

We can not bring those who perished back, but we can give these individuals the
dignity and respect that's been so long overdue.

Who supports this resolution?

The State of California American Legion strongly endorses this amendment and I
would like to submit the letter from the Department Commander Frank Larson into
the Record.

In Commander Larson's letter dated May 1, 1998, he states, `Ms. Sanchez: I'm
sure if history were unfolded for all to see it would show that the South
Vietnamese commandos, who aided the United States Government in covert actions
against the North Vietnamese, were responsible for saving many American lives.'

It goes on to say: `To that end, the same recognition due our soldiers, sailors,
marines and airman involved in the Vietnamese Conflict should be afforded to the
former South Vietnamese commandos, who so gallantly served and endured.'

It is also supported by: The Air Commando Organization; The Special Forces
Organization.

American veterans who fought side by side with the Commandos, come to their
defense in

letters of support.



I would like to share with you what our soldiers have to say about the
commandos.

This letter comes from a special forces NCO:

`Dear Sir: I had the opportunity to work with these men in which they not only
risked their lives, but continually put themselves in harms way. * * * We are
aware of terrible trials and conditions these men endured for so long and we
would like to help * * *'

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that last year, during
POW/MIA recognition day, I had the opportunity to meet with several members of
my veteran community.

I had the opportunity to speak with former POWs and family members whose loved
ones were taken as prisoners or declared missing in action. Several of the
veterans mentioned their support for the Commandos and urged that the Government
honor its word.

Today, we gave these commandos what they really wanted, the distinction of
honoring their service in the Vietnam War. And on behalf of the 40 commandos
residing in the 46th Congressional District of California, I would like to thank
the Members of this body for their commitment to honor and to recognize the
former South Vietnamese army commandos.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record a series of documents relating to these
former South Vietnamese commandos.

[Page: H3734] GPO's PDF


HONORING FORMER SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY COMMANDOS





(House of Representatives - May 21, 1998)

[Page: H3733] GPO's PDF

(Ms. SANCHEZ asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute
and to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago the House Committee on National Security
unanimously approved my amendment to honor and recognize the former South
Vietnamese army commandos who were employees of the United States Government
during the Vietnam War.

Today, the Members of this House had the opportunity to properly honor those
brave men by supporting the Department of Defense authorization bill for fiscal
year 1999.

Last year, the President signed into law legislation that I advocated to ensure
that the United States Government honor a 30-year-old bad debt and pay these men
who worked for the United States Government the wages they earned but were
denied during the Vietnam War.

These individuals were trained by the Pentagon to infiltrate and destabilize
communist North Vietnam.

Many of these commandos were captured and tortured while in prison for 15 to 20
years, and many never made it out.

Declassified DOD documents showed that U.S. officials wrote off the commandos as
dead even though they knew from various sources that many were alive in
Vietnamese prisons.

The documents also show that U.S. officials lied to the soldiers' wives, paid
them tiny `Death Gratuities' and washed their hands of the matter.

For example, Mr. Ha Van Son was listed as dead by our Government in 1967,
although he was known to be in a communist prison in North Vietnam. Today he is
very much alive and well and living in Chamblee, GA. In my hand I hold the
United States Government's official declaration of his death.

Because it was a secret covert operation, the U.S. Government thought they could
easily ignore the commandos, their families, friends, and their previous
contacts without anyone noticing.

As the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania said in a recent hearing, `This is a
genuinely incredible story of callous, inhumane, and really barbaric treatment
by the United States.'

In the 104th Congress, this House approved legislation that required the
Department of Defense to pay reparations to the commandos.

This bill would have provided $20 million to the commandos and their survivors,
an average grant of about $40,000 per commando. It called them to be paid $2,000
a year for every year they were in prison, less than the wages they were due.

President Clinton signed this legislation into law (Public Law 104-201).

However, in April of 1997, the Department of Defense said that the statute was
legislatively flawed and the Secretary could not legally make payments.

I then contacted Secretary Cohen requesting the administration's help to correct
this error.

The administration responded by supporting inclusion of the funding in the
Supplemental Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 1997 (Public Law 105-18)

Last year, I met at a public forum with 40 commandos from my district.

One individual shared with me his story of how he parachuted into enemy
territory, was captured, convicted of treason, beaten, thrown into solitary
confinement for 11 months, then moved among hard--labor camps for the next seven
years.

His story is not unlike countless others. I request unanimous consent to insert
into the record one story of this abuse headlined `Uncommon Betrayal' as
reported by an Atlantia newspaper recently.

Today, however, I am pleased to provide this Body with this update.

To date, the Commando Compensation Board has been established at the Pentagon;
266 claims have been processed; 142 Commandos have been paid.

All this was made possible because of the commitment of this House.

After years of torture by the North Vietnamese, the callousness of being
declared dead by the United States Government, and years of anguish over not
receiving their rightful compensation--these brave men now deserve recognition.

The South Vietnamese Lost Army Commandos are finally a step closer to having the
United States Government honor their contracts for their years of service to the
United States Army.

I am proud that the members of the House had an opportunity to properly honor
these brave men

We can not bring those who perished back, but we can give these individuals the
dignity and respect that's been so long overdue.

Who supports this resolution?

The State of California American Legion strongly endorses this amendment and I
would like to submit the letter from the Department Commander Frank Larson into
the Record.

In Commander Larson's letter dated May 1, 1998, he states, `Ms. Sanchez: I'm
sure if history were unfolded for all to see it would show that the South
Vietnamese commandos, who aided the United States Government in covert actions
against the North Vietnamese, were responsible for saving many American lives.'

It goes on to say: `To that end, the same recognition due our soldiers, sailors,
marines and airman involved in the Vietnamese Conflict should be afforded to the
former South Vietnamese commandos, who so gallantly served and endured.'

It is also supported by: The Air Commando Organization; The Special Forces
Organization.

American veterans who fought side by side with the Commandos, come to their
defense in

letters of support.



I would like to share with you what our soldiers have to say about the
commandos.

This letter comes from a special forces NCO:

`Dear Sir: I had the opportunity to work with these men in which they not only
risked their lives, but continually put themselves in harms way. * * * We are
aware of terrible trials and conditions these men endured for so long and we
would like to help * * *'

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that last year, during
POW/MIA recognition day, I had the opportunity to meet with several members of
my veteran community.

I had the opportunity to speak with former POWs and family members whose loved
ones were taken as prisoners or declared missing in action. Several of the
veterans mentioned their support for the Commandos and urged that the Government
honor its word.

Today, we gave these commandos what they really wanted, the distinction of
honoring their service in the Vietnam War. And on behalf of the 40 commandos
residing in the 46th Congressional District of California, I would like to thank
the Members of this body for their commitment to honor and to recognize the
former South Vietnamese army commandos.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record a series of documents relating to these
former South Vietnamese commandos.

[Page: H3734] GPO's PDF

SEC. 535. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING THE HEROISM, SACRIFICE, AND SERVICE OF THE
MILITARY FORCES OF SOUTH VIETNAM AND OTHER NATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH THE UNITED
STATES ARMED FORCES DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT.

(a) FINDINGS- Congress finds the following:

(1) South Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, and the
Philippines contributed military forces, together with the United States, during
military operations conducted in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict.

(2) The contributions of the combat forces from these nations continued through
long years of armed conflict.

(3) As a result, in addition to the United States casualties exceeding 210,000,
this willingness to participate in the Vietnam conflict resulted in the death,
and wounding of more than 1,000,000 military personnel from South Vietnam and
16,000 from other allied nations.

(4) The service of the Vietnamese and other allied nations was repeatedly marked
by exceptional heroism and sacrifice, with particularly noteworthy contributions
being made by the Vietnamese airborne, commando, infantry and ranger units, the
Republic of Korea marines, the Capital and White Horse divisions, the Royal Thai
Army Black Panther Division, the Royal Australian Regiment, the New Zealand ÀV'
force, and the 1st Philippine Civic Action Group.

(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS- Congress recognizes and honors the members and former
members of the military forces of South Vietnam, the Republic of Korea,
Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines for their heroism,
sacrifice and service in connection with United States Armed Forces during the
Vietnam conflict.

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