Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thai Vue, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Thai Vue , 22
Army, Specialist
Based: Hanau, Germany
127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, V Corps
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: June 18, 2004
Baghdad, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Willows
High School: Willows High (Willows)
Foreign Country of Birth: Thailand
Burial: San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, Calif.

Twenty-five years after his parents fled a repressive Communist regime in their homeland of Laos, Thai Vue realized that the American dream they had given him was slipping out of his grasp.

The Willows, Calif., teenager had spent much of his senior year in high school partying and staying out late, and his grades showed it. A few days after his graduation in 2001, he drove to Chico, Calif., and joined the Army in hopes of getting his act together. "He said, 'I don't want to go, but I just need to get my life straight -- and get some money,' " his brother, Alan, recalled.

Thai Vue served his three-year stint in the Army, but military officials extended his service this year so he could serve in Iraq, his family said. He was killed June 18 when a mortar round struck a motor pool in Baghdad, where he was working as a mechanic.

With a new sense of discipline instilled by the Army, Vue, 22, had hoped to leave the military to take advantage of the educational opportunities that had attracted his parents to the United States.

His plan was to join his longtime girlfriend, Nancy Lee, 21, and attend college in Las Vegas. "He was going to come back," Lee said. "And we were going to get married and just live our life."

Vue, the third of six siblings and a member of the Hmong ethnic group, was born in Thailand a few years after his parents, Chou Vue and Chia Thao, fled across the Mekong River.

They were among thousands of Laotians who left to avoid the farming collectives and re- education camps of the communist government that was ascendant in Laos in the mid-1970s. Chou Vue spent much of his teenage years fighting the communists. So did his father and brother, who were killed in the fighting, said Thai Vue's older brother, Thor, 27.

In addition to his parents, Alan and Thor, Vue is survived by two other brothers, Kevin, 8, and Vincent, 6; a sister, Mai Yang, 24; and his grandmothers, Dia Yang and Chue Lee.

A traditional, three-day Hmong funeral was planned to start Saturday at Memorial
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Thai Vue here and find more at Military Times and from Hmong Today and see remembrances and messeges about Specialist Vue at Fallen Heroes.

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