An explanatory statement and photographs
D.L. "Pappy" Hicks

There were many people involved in acquiring recognition by the United States Congress of General Vang Pao, the Hmong, other Laotian minorities and the men of the Royal Lao Army, plus General Thonglith Chokenboune. Many have been left out from lack of knowledge, but we have tried to include as many as possible.

The first effective effort was formed in 1993 and the "Washington House" was opened by the Lao/Hmong Community Group in Alexandria, Virginia. The offices were provided by an outstanding soldier, Retired, U.S. Army, Colonel Carl Bernard, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Also as a Special Forces officer, Carl served in Laos on Operation White Star, 1961.
Chao (Prince) Ophat na Champassak, was Chairman and Kongdah Lee was Co-Chairman. Xang Vang and Joseph R. Burriece were responsible for the every day operation of the Washington House.

In 1995, Washington area businessman, and veteran of the Vietnam War, Grant McClure, added his organizational expertise. When we started holding our Formations, Grant made sure that the Secret Army had the areas and facilities in Washington, D.C. to gather. LTC Yangee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America, has always played a part in the administration and organization of all our formations.

This organized effort led up to a new player, who worked on Capitol Hill and knew many of the Congressmen and their staff, named Philip Smith. Another very important person that was allied to the Lao/Hmong was Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt. Dr. Jane, as she is known among the Secret Army, had been a reporter in the Vietnam War, and had worked in the Hmong refugee camps in Thailand. After talking to many Lao survivors of the war in Laos, both men and women, she went about writing one of the most definitive books published about the Secret War, Tragic Mountains. It been read by many members of the U.S. Congress, making them well aware of the Secret War as well as the plight of the Lao refugees.

The pictures presented here are of the Secret Army formations 1997, 1998, and 1999. Hmong women wear their tribal clan dress. There are Hmong women and Lao dancers in their national dress. The pictures of the 1997 and 1998 formations came from the Lao Veterans of America. The pictures in 1999 are from two world-wide reporters and camera people, Leigh Wilson and Chris Jackson. Chris worked with war refugees in Thailand and Cambodia, from 1979 to 1986, where she and Leigh met.

The area of the Formations were on the Mall in Washington, DC, located between the Washington Monument and the Vietnam War Memorial.

Click on the text link to view a picture.

U.S. Congress Recognition Ceremony
14 May 1997
Members of the Secret Army and their wives in tribal clan dress.
Taken in front of the Lincoln Monument
14 May 1997
Hmong women in clan dress
14 May 1997
Pappy Hicks; Jack Mathews, CIA, Lao 1958-60; COL Kimberly Brabson,
USA, RET, Lao 1961; Larry Devlin, CIA, Lao 1970-75; BDG Ron Markarian,
USAR, RET; seated, Xang Vang, Hmong Lao veteran

14 May 1998
General Vang Pao, Pappy Hicks, Secret Army members and families.
General Vang Pao at Secret Army Formation.
14 May 1999
Lao Chao (Prince) Vanhnasat na Champassak; Mrs. Xang Vang;
Mrs. Ophat na Champassak; Lao Chao (Prince) Ophat na Champassak

14 May 1999
Lao girls dancing.
14 May 1999
Hmong girls dancing.
14 May 1999
Hand stitched Hmong pandau depicting village life in the mountains of Lao.
Margie Hicks wearing Lao dress given to her by Mai Song.
Hmong pandau depicting the tribesmen changing from tribal life to uniform
soldiers to fight in the Secret Army, Secret War in Laos.

General Vang Pao and Pappy Hicks
Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
Chia Kue's Family at Memorial

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