Khoua P Vang


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Khoua P. Vang is a Laotian, who fought for his country and for the American military in Laos and Vietnam from January 10, 1962 until May 13, 1975. He was a Captain assigned to S. G. U. Battalion 227A and 206, and Commando 212, 2nd Military Region, Lao National Army. After the collapse of his country, he left for America, and today is a resident of Superior, and the Director of the Lao Veterans of America, Wisconsin Office, Chapter Nr. 10.

“I was 13 years old when I began fighting in the war in January, 1962. I began my training with a rifle taller than I was. I had no choice but to serve; 1963 my older brother was killed when he stepped on a mine. In 1961, the Kennedy administration had enlisted the help of Laotians, including many from the Hmong ethnic group, to fight the Communists. Officially Laos was supposed to be neutral and without foreign troops. But North Vietnam used the Ho Chi Minh trail to move troops and supplies from North to South Vietnam. More than 200 miles of the trail looped through Laos.

“In 1966, I became a medic for soldiers injured in battle. I learned English and worked side-by-side with Americans. For a while, I was what we called an Air Control Guide. I used a strobe light during nighttime to guide U.S. planes to where they could drop bombs on the Communists. I was using code names like “red tiger”, “blue moon”, and “Lulu”. I would radio that the plane should drop bombs a certain distance and direction from where the pilot spotted my strobe. Twice, pilots mistakenly aimed bombs at my light. I saw bombs heading for me and dove for cover, narrowly escaping death.

“From 1962 to 1975, I spent much of the time in the thick of the fighting. There was crying constantly, bodies all around, gunfire day and night.”

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