A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Dr. Mai Na Lee escapes the Communist Pathet Lao

As the Secret War ended, Hmong who fought on the side of the United States were hunted by Communist Pathet Lao soldiers in their native Laos. Dr. Mai Na Lee and her family were among the many people who fled the , eventually swimming across the wide and fast-flowing Mekong River into Thailand’s refugee camps.

This excerpt is from Twin Cities PBS's documentary Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: America's Secret War.
Learn more at the bottom of the page. 

For me, life was very normal. It didn't seem like a war. What seemed like a war was afterwards.


Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: Long Tieng Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Refugee

About Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: America's Secret War

In the shadows of the Vietnam War, the CIA conducted a secret war in Laos that relied on Hmong soldiers to prevent the threat of communism from spreading deeper into Southeast Asia. Tens of thousands died, both in the fight and in the escape.

Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: America's Secret War explores the untold, turbulent history. 


Story Themes: America's Secret War, Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, Escape, Hmong, Long Cheng, Long Tieng, Mai Na Lee, Mekong River, Pathet Lao, Refugee, Saint Paul, Secret War, St Paul, Vientiane

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