The H’Mông people are an ethnic group in East and Southeast Asia. With strong ties to Han Chinese, the H’Mông diaspora occupies Vietnam, Laos and parts of Thailand. While H’Mông soldiers were known to assist the North Vietnamese in many situations, they were also recognized for serving in combat against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Pathet Lao, helping block the Ho Chi Minh Trail inside Laos and rescuing downed American pilots. In the early 1960s, partially as a result of the North Vietnamese invasion of Laos, the US Central Intelligence Agency‘s (CIA) began to recruit, train and lead the indigenous H’Mông people in Laos to fight against NVA divisions invading Laos during the Second Indochina War (1955-1975).