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National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, July 31, 1997 –  

DoD to Pay Vietnamese Commandos

Congress has authorized DoD to pay $20 million to South Vietnamese commandos imprisoned by the North Vietnamese for taking part in U.S.-directed intelligence missions behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War.

The commandos were held beyond 1973, when U.S. POWs and internees were repatriated, DoD officials said. While the commandos were neither military members nor civilian employees of the U.S. or South Vietnamese governments, they were civilian contractors of the South Vietnamese government, acting under U.S. direction, U.S. officials said.

Congress allocated money for the payments as part of the fiscal 1997 National Defense Authorization Act.

DoD published detailed regulations July 25 in the Federal Register, "Compensation of Former Operatives Incarcerated by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam." The regulations include the address to which claimants must write to establish claims and describes how DoD will process claims. The public has 60 days to comment on the regulations.

DoD intends to begin accepting and adjudicating claims and making payments to commandos or surviving family members after all requirements for comments have been received and acted upon. (DoD release)

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