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'Secret War' spurs Yuba City exhibit
HOURS: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, 1333 Butte House Road, Yuba City.
The resolution from the Air Commando Association is there. So is a copy of the Congressional Record recognizing the contribution of Hmong-Americans and their special guerrilla combat units.
Browns Valley resident Phillip Alvarado, 18, undertook the Hmong-American exhibit at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County as an Eagle Scout project because he loves history and became friends with several Hmong American students at Marysville High School.
How the Hmong people helped the United States military during the Vietnam War and the "Secret War" in Laos is among the lessons visitors at the museum in Yuba City will learn.
"Not many people know what really happened there," Alvarado said. "I learned a lot."
The CIA assisted the resistance to communism in Southeast Asia and allied with the Hmong, he recounted. The Commando Association refers to them as the "most dependable and faithful ally of the United States" in the fight against communism in Laos. The value Hmong-Americans put in education, noted in the exhibit, is clear to the Browns Valley resident, who is attending Butte College. One of his friends from Marysville High is attending the University of California, Merced, and the other is at UC Berkeley.
Hmong-Americans were generous in donating items for the exhibit, he noted.
Julie Stark, museum director, recalls Alvarado coming to the Yuba City building in the summer of 2011 and mentioning the Hmong-American students he knew at Marysville High. That helped lead to the exhibit at the museum, Stark said.
"He came back and did such a good job," she said.
Stark said she knew only about the Hmong fighting for the United States during the Vietnam War — and learned a lot more from the exhibit Alvarado put together.
"They deserve for people to know that story," she said of Hmong- Americans. "They are here because they fought alongside us."
Many Hmong people sought refuge after the Vietnam War and a large number of them began new lives in the Yuba-Sutter area, the museum exhibit notes.
Alvarado joined the Boy Scouts in 2007 while he was attending Foothill Intermediate School. He plans on joining the Venture Program of the Scouts.
Guidelines for Eagle Scout projects include requirements that they not benefit the Boy Scouts or make a profit, noted the Browns Valley resident. He called his project "one of the biggest things I've done."
His permanent exhibit will remain in the new multicultural wing of the museum.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.