St. Paul, Minn. (Dec. 1, 2020) — Lt. Colonel Tong C. Vang (Ret), son of Secret War Veteran Lt. Colonel Tou-Fu Vang, made the following statement on the passing of his father on behalf of the Vang Family:
It is with overwhelming sadness that we share news of the passing of our father, Tou-Fu Vang. On Thursday afternoon, Nov. 26, 2020, he took his last breath. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for the condolences and thank M Health Fairview Woodwinds and Saint Joseph’s along with their medical personnel who are heroes each day.
As an officer in the Lao army, Tou-Fu fought during the Vietnam War in Military Region II and was assigned to the staff of Maj. Gen. Vang Pao. Tou-Fu’s ability to speak English placed him in the back seat of an airplane pointing to caves and other enemy locations in order to direct U.S. Air Force bombing operations. On the ground, he withstood daily barrages of artillery from 130 mm guns and other heavy weapons, as he worked closely with Lao and American forces to repel communist attacks and to disrupt North Vietnamese logistics along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
To many, our father was a military leader and though we are proud of his accomplishments in this endeavor, he was much more. Tou-Fu was born in Laos and taught Social Science and English at Dong Dok Teacher Training College. He had come through the Education Program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first Hmong to study in the U.S., he spent a year in Wisconsin as a high school exchange student before going on to major in government and graduating from Iowa State University.
He left Laos in 1975 and started a new life in America. In Chicago, he served in the Department of Health and Human Services for over 29 years. During this time, he was instrumental in the refugee resettlement program in the Midwest. His expertise and travel extended throughout the country to help Southeast Asian refugees who immigrated from Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The latter part of his career was dedicated to family and child services before he finally retired. In 2010, he moved to Minnesota which became his home until he was called by the Creator. His retirement years were used to benefit the Hmong community starting with the Special Guerilla Unit (SGU) effort to be receive veterans benefits. He was particularly concerned about democracy, religious freedom and human rights in Laos.
Tou-Fu was an educator, leader and civil servant who loved both his country of birth and the United States of America. He was known for his compassion, humility and commitment to improving the lives of others. No words can express how much he will be missed.
Due to the pandemic, it is with the utmost regret that we will not be able to hold a traditional funeral open to the public. A service for immediate family will occur in December. If desired, a sunshine gift to honor our father can be sent to the address below:
Tong Vang and Dan Vang
PO Box 7839
Fresno, CA 93747
Please direct questions to [email protected].