John Tucker


Paul Hillmer

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



John Tucker was born in Akron, Ohio in 1945. An eagle scout, he was given the opportunity to travel the world, which fueled his international perspective. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1967 and then joined the Peace Corps. He was assigned to Thailand where he spent three years working on a malaria eradication program. While there he was recruited by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). He spent the early part of his career working for USAID in Laos and Thailand as a refugee Relief and Resettlement Officer. He was one of 15 USAID employees in Laos placed under house arrest for nine days by student demonstrators. He was one of a handful of individuals who started on the ground floor in October of 1975 helping to organize and codify the resettlement of refugees from Thailand. Tucker and Jerry Daniels were assigned the title “ethnic affairs officer.” Daniels was responsible for Hmong refugees and Tucker for Lao refugees. According to his obituary, Tucker estimated that he “interviewed close to 100,000 people for placement or relocation from refugee camps up until approximately 1980, and advocated for increased quotas to get more people safely out of what was at that time a war zone.”* While Tucker served in the Philippines, Guam, the Sinai Region, Pakistan and Afghanistan, this interview focused exclusively on his time in Laos and Thailand.


Some rights reserved. Others may copy, distribute, display, or perform verbatim copies of this work with attribution to the author and original source information cited. No modification, remixing, or adaptation of this work may be created without the written permission of Dr. Paul Hillmer, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Concordia University, St. Paul or the Concordia University Library and Archives.

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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