About Author & Chief Contributors

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Noah Vang is an independent Hmong-American researcher. After he completed his undergraduate studies from the UW-Milwaukee (2004), he moved to Minnesota and began to document the Hmong experience. Since then he has conducted more than 100 interviews of Hmong leaders and community members about their personal histories and refugee experiences. This book is the result of his ongoing research.



Lia Vang is the nephew of the late General Vang Pao. He was born in 1959 in Nong Het, Xieng Khouang Province, Laos. Lia completed his primary education in Thailand. Since his resettlement to the United States, he earned his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical & Mechanical Engineering from University of California Davis in 1980; and did his graduate study in Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Long Beach (1985), and a MBA from Kingston University, Los Angeles, California (1985).

Lia has been involved in the community since 1975. His experiences include Executive Director for Lao Family Community, United Lao Development Corporation, ULD Financial Services, Lao-Hmong Security Federal Credit Union, and The Vang Pao Foundation. Lia also held advisory responsibility for Hmong New Year Committee, Hmong Council, Hmong American National Development, and Planning for Secondary Migration projects. Having worked closely with General Vang Pao was a profound life experience, which will remain in his humble heart forever. Lia is proud to be born a Hmong, and profoundly happy to serve the Hmong people, especially to the late General Vang Pao.



Xang Vang has worked with the late General Vang Pao for 45 years. In Laos, Xang was a soldier under his command and in the United States he was the General’s long-time interpreter. When Xang arrived to the United States in 1976, he dedicated his life to assist his people. He served as presidents and executive directors of several non-profit organizations, including the Lao Family Community of Minnesota. In these posts, he had secured grants to assist his people to become economically independents.

In the early 1980s, Xang took some farmers to attend a short-term program at the University of Minnesota so they can learn to grow and sell produces at local markets. This resulted into a success, which his contribution was recognized and exhibited at the Minnesota Historical Society. He previously served as the Executive Director for the non-profit organization the Special Guerrilla Units Veterans and Families of USA, Inc. Today, Xang continues to volunteer to bring changes to his community.

Left to right: Chai Vang (VP’s son), John Willheim, and Noah Vang at GVP’s funeral service in Fresno, Cali., Feb. 2011.

Left to right: Chai Vang (VP’s son), John Willheim, and Noah Vang at GVP’s funeral service in Fresno, Cali., Feb. 2011.

Author’s personal message

Since 2004, I began compiling information about the Hmong experience. I was amazed by the richness of our history. In 2006, I wrote a brief chronology of the late General Vang Pao’s life. This idea—with the support from Lia Vang and Xang—turned into a book that I wanted to compose for the General. This did not materialize until 2010. My goal was to complete it by end of 2011. I was a year late. He passed away in January 2011 while majority of the researched information was being organized for publication.

This 412-page, hard-cover book General Vang Pao: An Illustration of His Remarkable Life contains a brief biography, quotes, and photographic illustration of the General’s life and legacy. What inspired me to write it was to understand, preserve, and educate the public about his 67 years of public service. This commitment distinguished him as one of world’s longest public servants who had served his people, his country, and the lives of those he had touched along the way. Therefore, this is a special tribute dedicated to his lifelong leadership and career. I fervently believe that within this work he will always be remembered as a great hero, and a contributor to freedom and democracy in Southeast asia and to the Hmong people worldwide.

This book would not have been possible without the support of many of the late General Vang Pao’s advisors, family members, and friends from near and far.



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