Vang Pao was a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Lao Army when CIA agent Bill Lair approached him to offer CIA assistance in the fight against the communist Pathet Lao.

Vang Pao became the leader of Military Region II in the mountainous Hmong homeland.  He recruited his fellow tribesmen and they fought against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese troops until the bitter end when the communist forces were surrounding Long Cheng in 1975.  General Vang Pao left Laos on May 14, 1975 on the last day of the CIA air evacuation and was re-settled in the US where he remained the leader of the growing Hmong community.