Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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US and Hmong Exodus

The Ravens departed Laos in June 1973, following the Paris Peace Accords, which led to the US exit from Southeast Asia. The three ruling factions in Laos signed a cease-fire later that year, and by the end of 1973, all US military personnel had left.

In just two years, the communist-backed Pathet Lao became the dominant faction in Laos. Following the fall of Saigon, South Vietnam, in April 1975, the Pathet Lao seized power in Laos. This forced Major General Vang Pao and his Hmong people to flee the country to Thailand because they feared being executed for working with the Americans.

Many of the Hmong were eventually relocated to the US, with the largest populations settling in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It took over twenty-two years for the US to officially acknowledge its role in Laos. A special memorial resides in Arlington National Cemetery to honor the Laotian and Hmong people who fought and died in America’s secret war.

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