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Chao Pha Khao

The Chao Pha Khao, the call sign used by Hmong North American T-28 Trojan pilots, contributed greatly to the war effort in Laos and served as source of pride for the Hmong people.

During PROJECT WATER PUMP a total of thirty-four Hmong and one Khmu person completed the six-month training program to fly the attack version of the T-28. Three additional Hmong trained as helicopter pilots.

Major Lee Lue, the most famous Hmong pilot, flew over 5,000 combat missions in support of the Royal Lao Army in two years. Embodying the Chao Pha Khao “fly until you die” ethos, Lee Lue was shot down and killed in 1969, as were fifty percent of the Hmong pilots trained during WATER PUMP.

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