by Lindsay Whitacre
Former general and leader of the Laos Hmong ethnic group died in exile at the age of 81. Vang Pao worked closely with former United States CIA paramilitary officer, J. Vinton Lawrence.
In this interview, Lawrence insists that Vang Pao was not a CIA creation but rather a trained soldier and an officer school graduate. Vang Pao was considered a dynamic and natural leader who had joined the French army and worked his way up to the role of sergeant. Vang Pao was believed to have been the highest-ranking Miao in the Indochina War. Lawrence contends that because of Vang Pao’s humble upbringing, he was able to connect strongly with the locals and in effect, make him a stronger leader.
For more information about Vang Pao you can watch Vinton J. Lawrence’s interview here: Interview with J. Vinton (Vint) Lawrence, 1981.