COVID-19 claims life of Hmong American leader and Secret War veteran.

A Hmong community leader and former Secret War lieutenant colonel died on Thanksgiving Day after several weeks in the hospital fighting COVID-19.

During the Vietnam War, as the CIA funded a covert operation in neighboring Laos, Tou-Fu Vang served in the Lao army and was assigned to Maj. Gen. Vang Pao. Tou-Fu Vang’s ability to speak English put him at an advantage to help the U.S. Air Force complete operations.

Vang’s son, Tong Vang, said Minnesota’s Hmong community will not only remember his father’s war service, but how he helped people directly.

“He spent much of his career in the States with the refugee resettlement program so a lot of people remember him for that,” Tong Vang said, “because he had a direct impact in their lives in that way as well. It wasn’t just through warfare.”

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