Honoring the Life of Captain Nao Yeng Vangby Representative Jim Costa
Posted on 2013-12-12
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the life of
Captain Nao Yeng Vang, who passed away on November 16, 2013 at the age
of 67. Captain Vang was an extraordinary person, and he will always be
remembered as an iconic hero to the Hmong people.
Captain Vang never attended school, but learned to read, write, and speak Lao fluently on his own. In 1964, at 18 years old, he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and served as a Captain under the late General Vang Pao during the Vietnam War. He bravely fought and directed Hmong soldiers to fight against communists and saved many American soldiers from torture.
In February 1965, Captain Vang married Yia Yang in Ban Soun, Laos. They were married for 38 years until Mrs. Vang passed away on October 18, 2003. They had six sons: Moua Pao Vang, Chia Neng Vang, Kou Vang, Thai Vang, Ger Vang, and Nou Vang, and seven daughters: Ka Ying Vang, My Vang, Kia May Vang, Maiyer Vang, Pa Houa Vang, Stacey Bao Vang, and Kathleen Kalia Vang.
Captain Vang and his family settled in Nampong, Thailand on May 13, 1975. They lived in Thailand for three years as refugees before receiving asylum from the United States government in 1978. The Vang family resided in Hamilton, Montana where Captain Vang worked as a press operator for three years. In 1980, he co-founded the Lao Family branch in Montana. The organization was developed to help and empower refugees to adapt and become successful members of American society.
The Vang family eventually moved to Fresno, California in 1982. Captain Vang was an independent farmer in Fresno for 16 years. As a farmer, he was able to engage in Hmong and American politics. He encouraged the Hmong community to vote during election cycles. Voting was a very important aspect in his life because in Laos, citizens did not have the right to vote and speak freely. Due to his involvement with American politics, he was able to meet former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as many state, county, and city elected officials.
Captain Vang was a member of Lao Veterans of America, Inc. He served as an advisor to the Hmong community and participated in various organizations as a community leader, educator, and cultural advisor. When he spoke at community events he urged the Hmong community to be productive citizens, to be united, and to love and support one another. He was a tireless supporter of education and encouraged students to stay in school and pursue a higher education.
[[Page E1860]] Mr. Speaker, it is with great respect that I ask my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pay tribute to the life of Captain Nao Yeng Vang. He will always be remembered as an influential member of our very important Hmong community.