In the early 1960’s, the U.S. CIA sought out the Hmong and recruited them to fight a “secret war” against the North Vietnamese communists and the Pathet Lao. The Hmong played many critical roles under the directions of the U.S. CIA, including disrupting the communist North Vietnamese on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, providing intelligence about enemy operations, guarding U.S. strategic installation, and rescuing downed American pilots in northern Laos.
After the War in 1975, the Hmong were singled out by the victorious communist governments of Laos and Vietnam. They were hunted down, taken to concentration camps, and persecuted. Their villages were sprayed with chemical weapons and bombed with napalm (yellow substance). It is estimated that more than 10% (35,000) of the entire Hmong population in Laos died as a result of their involvement with the United States during the Vietnam War. It is also estimated that an additional 20,000 Hmong died after 1975 because of persecution, starvation, chemical spray, drowning, and simply killed by the communist Pathet Lao. Many who survived suffered physically, mentally, and emotionally until this day.