Honoring Our Hmong Veterans
(Pic. 2) The addition of a panel dedicated to the first Hmong political leader who achieved national recognition, Phagna Damrong Ritthikay Touby Lyfoung (1917-1979). Lyfoung played an integral role in 20th century Laos . He opened the doors to public education and knowledge for the Hmong people, and all his life he fought for the integration and civil rights of all ethnic minorities in Laos.
(Pic. 7-15) Memorial Day 2010 at Hmong, Laos, American Veteran Memorial (Sheboygan,WI) Watch my speech below)
(Pic. 16- 22) Laos and Hmong Veterans walking down Aisle of Honor at our very first Official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for Wisconsin (see video clip below) and the Hmong Veterans in the crowd with the next generation of Hmong (performers) also for our event.
Laos, Hmong, and American Veteran Memorial
My Speech- Memorial Day (2010)
First Official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for Wisconsin
Hmong and Laos Veterans (SGU) Special Guerrilla Units- Aisle of Honor
*Thuy Smith International was given permission to play these memorial clips.
Credits at the end.
Hmong Veteran, Former POW
Thai is from Laos and he is Hmong. He was drafted to serve in the special
Commando force at Region II of Laos from November 1966-1975. Thai was a Prison Of War at the Re-education facility in the Northern part of Laos from April 28, 1977 to May 30, 1980. He escaped from the prison of May 1980 and crossed into Thailand in March 9, 1981. He came to the US in August 12, 1988.
Thai is now retired. Thai is very humble and respectable among the Hmong people. He also serve in many capacities as an advisor for the Hmong Community.
I was born in 1952. In 1969 I graduated from Dong Dok in Vientiane, Laos with a 4 year degree. During 1969 to 1970, I served as a payroll administrator in the finance office to the Army for the Special Guerilla Units.
It was in 1971 that I went to Huahin Thailand to learn to fly on the smaller private planes. Upon completion of that course, between 1972-73 I went on to learn to fly the Trojan T-28 in operation Water Pump. After graduation I went back to the airbase that was “non-existent”, but located in Long Tien. It was military region 2 under the command of General Vang Pao and the CIA.
My last mission was around October of 1973. The oil pressure of my plane dropped down to 0 PSI and I knew that the engine could blow up an anytime. Luckily for me, I was at the down wing with the altitude of 1000 feet. I made the decision to turn off the engine and proceed with an emergency landing. The run way in Long Tien was so short and with the incoming speed of the plane was still so fast that I over shot my landing. I ended up hitting the building at the end of the runway with injuries.
With the end of the Vietnam War, I ended up in Ban Vinai’s refugee camp until I came to the United States in 1976 .
Read his Proud Daughter's Blog about her father here
AIR FORCE TRAINING 08/68 -06/71 IN THAILAND.AIR FORCE SERVICE 06/71-07/75 WITH 2562 COMBAT MISSIONS.TYPE OF PLANES FLOWN: PIPER CUB,CESSNA 142 &180,PIPER AZTEC (TWIN ENGINES),BEECHRAFT BARON A55(TWIN ENGINES) AND T.28 FIGHTER BOMBER.FINAL RANK : CAPT.KOUA IS HMONG AND FROM LAOS. HE WAS SGU. T.28 PILOT DURING THE VIETNAM WAR.
HE CAME TO THE USA IN 09/76.HE WAS EMPLOYED BY THE STATE OF ILLINOIS FOR 23 YEARS AND RETIRED JANUARY 2003. HE IS MARRIED WITH THREE CHILDREN AND FOUR GRANDCHILDREN.
In 1971, Phong was recruited to the Hmong Special Air Force that was part of the United States’ secret air war in Laos known as “Barrel Roll”. With 3 years of post secondary education, he was well qualified to participate in the pilot training operated by the United States Air Force in Thailand. He went through the Cessna 150 and 175 trainings at the Civil Aviation Training Center and successfully completed the T-28 pilot training course on November 4, 1973 at the US airbase known as Project Water Pump. He was part of the 4th group being trained and a member of the Hmong fighter pilots known as “Chao Pha Khao”. He served until May 1975 when Laos fell into the hands of the new Communist Regime and the Hmong military base in Long Cheng was evacuated to Thailand.
Phong was a refugee in Thailand for one year after leaving Laos and then resettled in Minnesota. He came to Minnesota on June 1976 with his wife, a baby daughter and 4 of his younger siblings. He attended vocational school and became a machinist. He later worked as a mechanic for Northwest Airlines until 2005. Phong is the proud grandpa of 3 beautiful grandchildren.
In memory of Joe Chong Soua Xiong
Mr. Xiong was born in Xiengkhuang, Laos to Chia Koua Xiong and Xai Yang. He passed on February 21, 2013 at his home. He is survived by his wife and 12 children.
Joe took part in the conflict in Vietnam from 1964-1973. He was part of the Customer Services Department, riding with helicopter pilots delivering supplies to American forces on the front lines and rescuing and recovering American soldeirs.
I was honored to be able to stop by to share my condolences and pay my respects. My organization also presented his sons a certificate of appreciation for their father's service to the United States. It was one extra measure we wanted to take and also show the Hmong community we do want them to be a part of us and our Veteran event. Vietnam veteran's day is very much for the Hmong too. Rest in Peace Sir.
Chung Toi khong bao gio quen anh (We will never forget you)
“In our desire to express our frustrations with the conflict in Vietnam, we targeted our young
men who served there.
In a very real sense, we did not separate the war from those
who fought it".
“The least any of what these men did was their duty and for this they should be proud.”
Le Ly Hayslip