SUAB HMONG NEWS (04/11/2018) – Colonel Xay Dang Xiong passed away on March 15, 2018 and a memorial service held to remember him at Brookfield, Wisconsin from April 7 to 9, 2018.
Friends, relatives, and Hmong and American leaders including Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, Foung Hawj, Minnesota State Senator, as well as Colonel Toufue Vang, Colonel Toulong Yang, Colonel Yer Vang, and many other community leaders and representatives came all over the country to pay their final respect to Col. Xay Dang Xiong.
Below is the commemorating the life and legacy of Col. Xay Dang Xiong.
Col. Xay Dang Xiong was born in the Village of Ban Keobane, Tasseng Phou Fa in the Xieng Khoung Province of Laos on December 12, 1943. He is the son of Nai Kong Nha Zoung Xiong and Ying Lee. He was married to May Yang (deceased) and You Yang and had a total of nine children. In total he had 27 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
At a young age, Col. Xay Dang Xiong had a great desire for education. He started elementary school in 1953 at the age of 10 in the Phou Fa District, Moung Meo in Phongsavanh, Xieng Khouang Province. Eventually, he was pulled out of school in 1956 to fulfill family duties.
In 1959, Colonel Xay Dang Xiong was recruited by the Royal Lao Army where he served under Commander Nhia Koua Lee in the Phak Pang Pang District near Mouang Soui in the BV21 unit. Throughout his military career, Colonel Xay Dang excelled and showed a prowess for leadership, excellence in military tactics, and organizational capabilities. He was recruited for guerilla warfare training at the King Nare Xone Camp, Hua Him, Thailand. After completing nine months of formal training and serving as the Trainer for eleven more months in Hua Hin, he was deployed to various fields in Northern Laos. Due to his high performance, work ethic, and character, he was viewed as one of the best in his class and was appointed by the CIA Advisors and General Vang Pao to train the new recruits and oversee various frontline posts.
Eventually, Colonel Xay Dang was promoted to the rank of Colonel and became the Commander for Company 3011, SGU Battalion 206, Regiment GM21, and Deputy Brigade #01. With this role, he had four main objectives. First, he was to lead his troops along the Road No. 7 from Nong Het to the Plain of Jars and the Road No. 6 from Sam Neua to Xieng Khouang and Luang Prabang in the 2nd Royal Lao Military Region of Northeastern Laos. Second, he was to command his troops to protect the U.S. main Radar Station at Phou Phathi and oversee the aerial campaign in North Vietnam. Thirdly, he was to destroy enemy bases. Finally, he was to rescue American downed pilots. As a Colonel, he commanded over 4,500 troops. Throughout his 16 years of military service he bravely fought in nine major battles, was involved in several other encounters, and sustained three injuries, two of which were life threatening.
After the Vietnam War, Colonel Xay Dang fled with his family to Thailand as refugees. In Thailand, he was able to showcase his qualities for organization and as a leader of the people. Colonel Xay Dang played a major role in two primary refugee camps: Namphong and Ban Vinai. In Nam phong Refugee Camp, he was selected to supervise the food distribution for over 13,000 refugees. He was also given the task of recruiting a team of leaders, organizing, and rallying 3,000 refugees in Namphong to pioneer a new refugee camp. With this, Colonel Xay Dang founded the Ban Vinai refugee camp. At its peak, Ban Vinai housed 57,000 refugees. He devised strategies for housing, food distribution, security, and helping the Hmong refugees though the interview process before relocating to supporting countries.
Colonel Xay Dang left Thailand in 1977 and resettled in France. In 1982, he immigrated to the United States to the city of Milwaukee, WI. In America, he devoted his life’s work to building various ethnic Mutual Assistant Associations, Training Hmong and Lao leaders with the Milwaukee community and national wide, promoting education as he spoke at various institutions and functions, and providing assistance for U.S. citizenship processing programs. He also played a vital role in establishing the Lao Hmong Veterans of America fighting for veteran rights for former Hmong soldiers who served in the U.S./Hmong Secret Army in Laos.
Stay tune for a Suab Hmong Special Coverage of the memorial service for Colonel Xay Dang Xiong coming up on the Suab Hmong News Channel on YouTube.