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The United Royal Lao Armed Forces and Special Guerrilla Unit

of the Vietnam War, (URLAF & SGU)





After thirty-five years, we Lao veterans of the Vietnam War and our families have made new homes away from our native land, but our spirit remains intact. We take pride in our heritage and the sacrifices of our forefathers while we take to heart the toll of the “Secret War” in Laos and the fall of our country. Let us not allow these adverse catastrophic events overcome our bravery and diminish our will. Let us transform the contributions of Lao veterans during the American-led “Secret War” in Laos into a springboard to promote the welfare of Lao veterans and their families while heightening the level of awareness in the American public about the sacrifices we have made. Motivated by: the sentiment of patriotism; the honor of serving our country fighting as surrogate soldiers of the U.S. government; loyalty to the motherland and the U.S; and unity among the Lao people of all ethnicity, we shall build our fortress in our adopted homeland by agreeing to form the United Royal Lao Armed Forces & Special Guerrilla Unit Veterans of the Vietnam War.


To request the American people and their Congressional Representatives aid and assist us in obtaining a law that grants Veterans Administration Health Care and Benefits to former soldiers of the Kingdom of Laos who participated in the U.S. government’s Secret War in Laos and who now legally reside in the U.S. and who are now naturalized U.S. citizens. 




  1. Early in the Vietnam War the United States government realized that most of the North Vietnamese Army’s war materiel and soldiers were being infiltrated into South Vietnam overland through the eastern part of the Kingdom of Laos using an extensive and complex road system known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

  2. The United States government determined that it was of outmost urgency to interrupt the enemy supply route; to threaten all North Vietnamese Army activities in the Kingdom of Laos so as to cause the enemy to commit large numbers of soldiers to the defense of its logistics network; and to provide a defense to the approaches to the Lao capital of Vientiane so as to impede any North Vietnamese Army invasion of Thailand.

  3. The United States government determined that it would be politically inadvisable to widen the allies’ war effort in Vietnam through overt American military intervention against the enemy’s Ho Chi Minh Trail system in Laos, and that any allied military action to that effect would need to be implemented in great secrecy and stealth using non-American surrogates.

  4. The United States government, beginning in 1961 and lasting through 1975, recruited, trained, equipped, directed, resupplied, and paid Lao citizens to, under the direction of the United States Ambassador to Laos and officers of the Central Intelligence Agency, act as surrogates in place of United States or allied military units in combat against the North Vietnamese Army throughout the Kingdom of Laos. 

  5. The Lao surrogate army was organized by the Central Intelligence Agency into Special Guerrilla Units (SGU) led by Royal Lao Armed Forces officers in each Military Region of Laos seconded to the Central Intelligence Agency.

  6.  The members of the Central Intelligence Agency’s surrogate army along with Royal Lao Armed Forces fought valiantly and persistently in the American Secret war in Laos: to interdict enemy supply lines on the Ho Chi Minh Trail system; to rescue United States pilots downed in enemy held territory in Laos; to defend key military locations in Laos, such as Vientiane, the Plain of Jars, Luangprabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse; and to draw away from the main war in South Vietnam thousands of enemy combatants to require them to protect their logistical network.  

  7. Lao fighter pilots flew more missions in combat per day than any U.S. pilots would ever dream about. The U.S. Air Force pilots in Laos, known as Ravens and CIA case officers called them the bravest, most fearless pilots in the history of air combat.

  8. During the Vietnam War, many American pilots were shot down over Laos and the Royal Lao Armed Forces rescued a large number of those downed pilots.

  9. Lao SGU units conducted the only successful POW rescue raid during the Vietnam War resulting in freeing many Lao and Thai POWs held as inmates in an NVA jail in Laos.

  10. Lao SGU battalions, led by a CIA case officer who was awarded the CIA’s highest award for valor, the Intelligence Star, fought in the battle of Skyline Ridge on the Plain of Jars in northern Laos beginning on December 1971. The Lao SGU units fought the enemy in hand to hand combat resulting in the retaking of Skyline Ridge from the enemy and preventing them from moving on to attack Vientiane, the Lao administrative capital. These Lao SGU battalions, fighting as surrogates for the American military forces continued to fight many more battles throughout Laos.

  11.  In October 1972, Lao SGU battalions, in the single most successful operation in Laos against North Vietnamese Army tanks, destroyed five enemy tanks and crippled three more near the Ho Chi Minh Trail system in Southern Laos.

  12. By the valiant fighting and the sacrifice of over 50,000 of their own lives in the American Secret War, these Royal Lao Armed Forces & Special Guerrilla Units fighters were able to directly and indirectly save many thousands of American service members during the Vietnam War.

  13.  When the New Lao Coalition government formed, about 36,000 of the Royal Lao Armed Forces & Special Guerrilla Unit veterans were sent to re-education camps where actually they were Prisoners of War.  Those veterans were labeled as servants, lackeys, and puppet soldiers of the United States. Their lives were horrible as they were forced to perform heavy manual labor, such as, filling the craters caused by U.S. Air Force bombing. 

  14.  Along with the majority of America’s Vietnam War veterans many of the Lao-American veterans of the American Secret War in Laos are now nearing the end of their natural lives, with many others having already passed into eternity. 


To all Lao, Hmong, Lao Theung, or any other minority, formerly a citizen of the Kingdom of Laos who is a veteran of the Secret War in Laos conducted during the Vietnam War on behalf of the United States Government, who is now a citizen of the United States, this letter is addressed to you for the purpose of requesting that you join us, the United Royal Laos Armed Forces & Special Guerrilla Units Veterans of the Vietnam War to unite all Lao veterans into one force to win recognition from the U.S government for our contribution to the Vietnam War and to obtain Veterans Administration Health Care and Benefits for our veterans.

We will never obtain the recognition and benefits we seek if we remain many disunited groups seeking recognition and benefits from the U.S, government.  No one smaller group can achieve our goals but one large, united group, working together may be able to convince the U.S. government to recognize and help us.  We must unite.

The United Royal Laos Armed Forces & Special Guerrilla Units Veterans of the Vietnam War is organized and led by the most senior still living officers of the RLAF & SGU and is advised by former senior American military officers and several former CIA case officers, all of whom participated in the Secret Was in Laos.  We have the best chance to win our goals.  Please join us.

To our American friends, especially U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War, and also to veterans of the Korean War, the Iraq Wars, and Afghanistan, we appeal to you, as fellow brothers in combat, to assist us in any way you can to gain recognition for the blood we shed on behalf of the U.S. government, and for all the American lives we saved on the battlefield and by giving up our lives to keep the North Vietnamese Army in Laos, fighting us instead of going to South Vietnam to fight and kill you.  We joined in the fight against the North Vietnamese communist invaders of both the Kingdom of Laos and the Republic of Vietnam and after much suffering in communist prisoner of war camps we escaped and immigrated to the United States.  We were permitted entrance into the United States and most of us have now gained American citizenship.  We very much appreciate that and now only ask that we also be granted Veterans Administration Health Care and Benefits.  We believe we have earned this and we hope you will do whatever you can to assist us in gaining the recognition and benefits we seek. 

To all members of the United States Congress, of the House and of the Senate, we ask that you recognize all that we have done during the Vietnam War on behalf of the U.S. government.  American ambassadors to the Kingdom of Laos, on behalf of the American government, asked our leaders to approve and support the establishment of a surrogate army and to also use our Royal Lao Air Force and Army, to fight the North Vietnamese Army invaders using our country to send men and supplies to South Vietnam to wage war against South Vietnam and to fight the American military forces there.  The American government gained immensely from our efforts as we harassed the North Vietnamese Army supply line, known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, forced the North Vietnamese to keep large numbers of fighters in Laos to fight us instead of going to South Vietnam to fight Americans, and defended Laos so that the North Vietnamese could not use our country to threaten Thailand.  For all that, those of us who survived and now find ourselves citizens of the United States, we ask only that we may receive Veterans Administration Health Care and Benefits.  We have no country to grant us veterans’ benefits.  We lost our country at the end of the Vietnam War and now we are citizens of the country we assisted in combat.  Our casualties during the Secret War were more than 50,00 killed in action and 36,000 imprisoned after the war.  Many of those prisoners died in the POW camps.  We may have lost more killed in the Vietnam War than the United States lost.  For all the above, we believe we have earned this small benefit for our loyalty to your cause and for the blood and tears we shed on your behalf.  There are not many of us left.  We hope you will see the justice in helping us now.


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