A Minnesota PBS Initiative

The CIA, the Hmong, and the Secret War

Hmong General Vang Pao, a courageous and powerful leader, worked in tandem with the CIA to conduct covert operations in Laos. Among the hardest hit by this “Secret War” were the Hmong of northern Laos. Tens of thousands were killed during the war, and even more lost their lives while attempting to escape to freedom after the war ended.

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

Hmong people believed that the Heavens sent Vang Pao to be our leader.

Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: Long Tieng Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Military Service

Military Branch: U.S. Allied Forces

Unit: Special Guerrilla Unit

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, CIA, Covert Operations, Ganghis Khang, General Vang Pao, Laos, Long Cheng, Long Tieng, Saint Paul, Secret War, SGU, Special Guerilla Unit, St Paul, Tony Poe

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