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Vang Pao

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Gen. Vang Pao, the controversial but revered Hmong leader who was a key ally to the United States during the Vietnam War, died Thursday in Clovis, Calif. He was 81. Vang Pao was admitted to a hospital for pneumonia Dec. 26 shortly after his traditional opening remarks at the Hmong International New Year Festival in Fresno. "Because of him, the Hmong are here in America. I have uncles and pastors who fought with him in the jungles. As a child, I grew up with his name," Maya Xiong, news director of a Hmong radio station in Fresno said as she prepared to go on the air and confirm the news to a grieving community.
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NATIONAL
February 6, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - Nearly four decades after the Vietnam War ended, an effort is underway in Congress to open up national cemeteries to Hmong soldiers who fought in the CIA-backed secret war in Laos.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has introduced legislation to give 6,900 former Hmong fighters living in the United States the right to be buried in national cemeteries. The effort comes after the military denied permission for Gen. Vang Pao, a Hmong leader who died in California in 2011 , to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery because he and the soldiers who fought under him and helped the U.S. did not directly serve in the American military.  He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
They promised a funeral fit for a king. There were to be dignitaries; a long red carpet; thousands of pigs, cows, chickens and ducks to be sacrificed for feasting. It had to be a funeral that crossed cultures and time, peace and war. For this was both goodbye to one man and to the founding era of a people. So thousands of mourners ? including the exiled prince of Laos, widows of Hmong soldiers who died in a "secret" war and families who battled an East Coast blizzard to make it in time ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
They promised a funeral fit for a king. There were to be dignitaries; a long red carpet; thousands of pigs, cows, chickens and ducks to be sacrificed for feasting. It had to be a funeral that crossed cultures and time, peace and war. For this was both goodbye to one man and to the founding era of a people. So thousands of mourners ? including the exiled prince of Laos, widows of Hmong soldiers who died in a "secret" war and families who battled an East Coast blizzard to make it in time ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Former Laotian Gen. Vang Pao, accused of being the ringleader in a plot to overthrow the communist government of Laos, was freed on bail Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd ordered the 77-year-old leader of the Hmong community in the U.S. released on a $1.5-million bond after relatives agreed to post four properties in Sacramento, Fresno and Westminster as collateral.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
The evening shadows have to fall just right. And the grave shouldn't be on a slope. In traditional Hmong culture, the burial site matters for eternity, to the living and the dead and the spirit world that connects them. So the old Hmong men ? once young soldiers in a CIA-backed "secret" war in the jungles of Laos ? light candles for Gen. Vang Pao, their leader in that war, and hope that he will be allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. They fought a war on behalf of the Americans and lost everything: their land, their way of life, their country and the lives of tens of thousands of their people.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2009 | Eric Bailey and My-Thuan Tran
Federal prosecutors dropped charges Friday against Vang Pao, the exiled Hmong general accused two years ago of plotting with a band of aging Central Valley expatriates to overthrow the communist regime in their homeland of Laos. Vang Pao, 79, had been singled out as the alleged ringleader of the bizarre scheme to launch a coup -- reputedly with mercenaries armed with AK-47 assault rifles and Stinger missiles -- in the summer of 2007. Although prosecutors filed motions abandoning charges against the general, one of America's staunchest allies during the Vietnam War, they maintained the counts against a dozen of his alleged comrades and added new ones.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 17, 2008 | Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
He seems more fable than flesh and blood, a general who marched with serendipity at his side. Wartime comrades say he walked away from downed aircraft, defied bullets and dodged artillery shells. Once, the story goes, a barrage of bombs landed around him and not one exploded. Even in defeat, Gen. Vang Pao of the Royal Lao Army consistently beat the odds. After the communists conquered his homeland in 1975, he fled with six wives and more than 20 children to the U.S.
BOOKS
October 1, 1995 | Ron Ridenhour, While a military officer serving in Vietnam, Ron Ridenhour wrote the letter of complaint that initiated the investigation into the My Lai massacre. He is currently working on a book about rebellions in African American units during World War II
Late one March evening in 1961, in the Laotian capital of Vientiane, Bill Lair, a CIA officer, was startled from his administrative chores by the sudden eruption of heavy gunfire. Seven months earlier, a slightly daffy, highly disorganized coup had thrown Laos into a three-sided civil war. Worried that another coup was in progress, Lair rushed into the street amid the thump-thump of mortar rounds, the rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns and the pop-popping of small arms.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2007 | Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
Thousands of Hmong took to the streets here Monday to protest the incarceration of a revered former military leader and 10 other men accused of plotting the armed overthrow of the communist regime in Laos. Throngs of older expatriates from the war-torn Southeast Asian nation and their U.S.-reared offspring rallied in front of the state Capitol and later ringed the federal courthouse, where Laotian Gen. Vang Pao and his alleged accomplices pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
The evening shadows have to fall just right. And the grave shouldn't be on a slope. In traditional Hmong culture, the burial site matters for eternity, to the living and the dead and the spirit world that connects them. So the old Hmong men ? once young soldiers in a CIA-backed "secret" war in the jungles of Laos ? light candles for Gen. Vang Pao, their leader in that war, and hope that he will be allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. They fought a war on behalf of the Americans and lost everything: their land, their way of life, their country and the lives of tens of thousands of their people.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 11, 2011 | By Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times
Federal prosecutors in Sacramento dropped charges on Monday against 11 Hmong expatriates and a former U.S. Army officer accused of plotting to violently overthrow the Laotian government, ending a 3 1/2-year legal saga that attracted international attention. The decision was announced a week after the death of Gen. Vang Pao, 81, a revered Hmong leader who was a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War. Pao was initially accused of being the ringleader of a coup attempt, but charges against him were dropped in 2009.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Gen. Vang Pao, the controversial but revered Hmong leader who was a key ally to the United States during the Vietnam War, died Thursday in Clovis, Calif. He was 81. Vang Pao was admitted to a hospital for pneumonia Dec. 26 shortly after his traditional opening remarks at the Hmong International New Year Festival in Fresno. "Because of him, the Hmong are here in America. I have uncles and pastors who fought with him in the jungles. As a child, I grew up with his name," Maya Xiong, news director of a Hmong radio station in Fresno said as she prepared to go on the air and confirm the news to a grieving community.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2009 | Eric Bailey and My-Thuan Tran
Federal prosecutors dropped charges Friday against Vang Pao, the exiled Hmong general accused two years ago of plotting with a band of aging Central Valley expatriates to overthrow the communist regime in their homeland of Laos. Vang Pao, 79, had been singled out as the alleged ringleader of the bizarre scheme to launch a coup -- reputedly with mercenaries armed with AK-47 assault rifles and Stinger missiles -- in the summer of 2007. Although prosecutors filed motions abandoning charges against the general, one of America's staunchest allies during the Vietnam War, they maintained the counts against a dozen of his alleged comrades and added new ones.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 17, 2008 | Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
He seems more fable than flesh and blood, a general who marched with serendipity at his side. Wartime comrades say he walked away from downed aircraft, defied bullets and dodged artillery shells. Once, the story goes, a barrage of bombs landed around him and not one exploded. Even in defeat, Gen. Vang Pao of the Royal Lao Army consistently beat the odds. After the communists conquered his homeland in 1975, he fled with six wives and more than 20 children to the U.S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Former Laotian Gen. Vang Pao, accused of being the ringleader in a plot to overthrow the communist government of Laos, was freed on bail Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd ordered the 77-year-old leader of the Hmong community in the U.S. released on a $1.5-million bond after relatives agreed to post four properties in Sacramento, Fresno and Westminster as collateral.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2007 | Tony Barboza and Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writers
Vang Pao, a key figure among those arrested Monday on suspicion of plotting the overthrow of the communist Laotian government, is so well-known in the local Hmong community that his family always keeps fruit, soda and water on the living room coffee table to greet the constant stream of visitors who drop by his Westminster home.
NEWS
May 25, 1987 | Associated Press
Retired Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, who testified before Congress about the contra supply network, said he is gathering military supplies, weapons and humanitarian aid for anti-Communist guerrillas in Laos. Singlaub did not say how much money or supplies he and his organizations have provided the Laotian resistance, according to the Sunday Sun of Lowell. He told the newspaper that he worked through his international group, the World Anti-Communist League, and the U.S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2007 | Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
Thousands of Hmong took to the streets here Monday to protest the incarceration of a revered former military leader and 10 other men accused of plotting the armed overthrow of the communist regime in Laos. Throngs of older expatriates from the war-torn Southeast Asian nation and their U.S.-reared offspring rallied in front of the state Capitol and later ringed the federal courthouse, where Laotian Gen. Vang Pao and his alleged accomplices pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2007 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
It's been decades since Gen. Vang Pao saw combat, but many in the sizable Hmong community here still reverently refer to him as "the General." Straining to explain to outsiders how shaken they were by Tuesday headlines, some likened Pao to a wise uncle, a godfather, to Colin Powell, even Abraham Lincoln.
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