Fay Chia Lee
Paul Hillmer, Sao Lee
Date of Interview
Fay Chia Lee was born in Thay Thao, Laos and enlisted in General Vang Pao’s army at a young age. (It is often the case that Hmong people born in Laos do not know their actual birthdays Mr. Lee said he was 63 in 2003 and joined Vang Pao’s army at age 14, which would have been c. 1957. Vang Pao did not start recruiting an army until 1961.) Mr. Lee describes many battles in which he participated, especially the siege of Na Khang in 1967. He also discusses battle tactics, military equipment, interactions with pilots and aircraft, and his assessment of Pathet Lao and Vietnamese forces. He recounts his escape from Laos in 1975 and his relocation to and subsequent life in Australia. Since this interview happened quite suddenly, and because Mr. Sao Lee had already heard Hillmer interview several other people, he asked numerous questions in Hmong first, and then provided a summary to Hillmer. Then Hillmer asked several questions toward the end. Mr. Ger Vue provided a more thorough translation after the fact. Redundant parts of the recording, where the same ideas were expressed in English and then translated into Hmong, or vice versa, have been eliminated from this manuscript.
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Hillmer, Paul, "Interview with Fay Chia Lee" (2006). Hmong Oral History Project. 35.