Lue Vang, born in Laos, escaped to Thailand, currently living in Sacramento, California. He worked with the Hmong communities in both Folsom-Cordova Unified and Sac City Unified, retiring in 2009.
Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.
00:00 – Introduction
00:45 – Clip 1
Lue Vang reflects back on his earliest memory from Laos (1960s): being adopted by Hmong family when he was about 2 or 3. Adopted parents were rice field farmers. When war broke out, they moved to different province. But in 1963, his father was recruited to be a soldier.
14:11 – Clip 2
In October, 1971, with connection of cousin who worked for Special Office of Close Support, Lue trains to be a radio operator in order to find, track and record enemy signals.
17:18 – Clip 3
Sent into battle by November, and within weeks, had to retreat and was then lost with his team in the jungle for 7 days. He was working with Thai military and none of them knew the country. Feared he would not survive.
22:10 – Clip 4
Called back to action in January and assigned to airborne as part of team of 6 radio operators. Flew back and forth in C47s from Lima Site 272 to Udon, Thailand.
30:46 – Clip 5
By 1972, knew little about when Americans would be leaving, as he was immersed in mission to prevent North Vietnamese troops from passing into South Vietnam through Laos.
40:26 – Clip 6
Escape was very difficult for Lue. He lived too far from Long Cheng to catch last flight to Thailand. Decided to escape to the west, as he would soon be accused of supporting U.S.
50:30 – Clip 7
In Thailand, their lives totally changed.There was still little understanding of the vital role the Hmong had played in the Vietnam War. Everything was “under the table.”
54:42 – Clip 8
Realized he could not remain in Thailand and he could not return to Laos. Lue, his wife and two younger brothers interviewed to come to America, but were denied due to being minors. Lue was interviewed by the famous Jerry Daniels (codename = Hog), who told him he’d have to wait for next quota.
1:11:04 – Clip 9
Pays tribute to Jerry Daniels. Regrets that Jerry died before he could thank him for prompting him to seek an education. Credits Jerry for doing more for the Hmong than any other CIA personnel.
1:15:29 – Clip 10
Describes arrival at San Diego Airport, where International Rescue Committee (IRC) sponsor picked them up in Volkswagon Bug and they headed out onto freeway – unlike anything he has ever seen before – to their apartment.
1:31:03 – Clip 11
Reflects on life in San Diego – where he learned American culture. A friend advised him that having a “piece of paper” (degree) was really important. Friend recommended him for a correspondent’s course for his high school degree.
1:39:55 – Clip 12 – Decided to go back to school for college degree. Completed his degree and began working for Sacramento City USD to help Hmong population. Stresses importance of education. “This piece of history will live on.”
1:43:45 – Credits