Vang Pao Timeline — Keeb Kwm tus kheej ntawm Nais Phoos Vaj Pov


December 1929: He is born to farmers in a Laotian village.
World War II: He becomes a teenage translator for French paratroopers fighting the Japanese in Laos, trains at a French officers’ school in Vietnam and becomes a commissioned officer. Laotian leaders make him a general.

1961: He is recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to lead a secret army of Hmong soldiers against Laotian Communists and their North Vietnamese counterparts.

1975: He is flown from his mountaintop headquarters to the U.S. He lives in Montana before moving to Orange County.

1977: He establishes the Lao Family Community organization to provide social services to Hmong nationwide.

Early 1980s: He and a group of allies form Neo Hom to aid insurgents who remain in Laos to continue the fight to overthrow the Communists.

2003: He meets secretly in Amsterdam with Vietnamese government officials, who seek his support for normalized U.S. trade relations with Laos. In exchange, he asks the Vietnamese to pressure Laos to stop persecuting Hmong.

June 2007: Federal authorities charge him and eight others with planning to overthrow the Communist government of Laos, sparking protests by Hmong around the country. He spends six weeks in jail before being released on bail.

September 2009: Prosecutors drop charges against him.

December 2009: He tells a Fresno audience he plans to return to Laos, seeking reconciliation. His trip is soon canceled after the Communist regime says he would be executed as a Vietnam War criminal if he returns.

Dec. 26, 2010: He attends the Hmong International New Year celebration at the Fresno Fairgrounds. He is later hospitalized for pneumonia and an ongoing heart problem.

Jan. 6, 2011: He dies at age 81.