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First Vietnamese born US general

“That was such a profound moment for me, to see our service men and women and get an appreciation for what they did,” Today on Fort Hood Col. Viet Luong pinned on his first star becoming the first Vietnamese born US one star general in the US military.
Luong is the 1st Cavalry Division’s deputy commanding general for maneuver. The infantry officer and 1987 graduate of the University of Southern California has commanded a battalion of 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers in Iraq and led the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the storied Rakkasans, into combat in Afghanistan.
Born the only son in a family of 8 in Saigon, now H Chi Minh City, Luong was 2 during the 1968 Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War. When he was just 9 his family escaped Vietnam in 1975 as political refugees the day before the fall of Saigon. After spending a few months in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Fort Chafee Arkansas, a friend of his fathers helped the family resettle in Los Angeles.
“As a transplanted American, or an immigrant coming from a different country, there’s no sense of entitlement as far as earning that citizenship, and working hard to contribute to our nation,” he said. “There’s a sense of service, for me, to be able to give back to our nation for all the opportunities it’s given us, saving us from harm’s way but also the opportunity to assimilate and move up through education.”
Luong said his father, “the biggest influencer in my life,” inspired him to serve in the military.
Luong initially considered joining the Marine Corps to become an infantryman like his father however after meeting an ROTC instructor, an airborne-qualified sergeant major, who told him about the opportunities offered by the Army and ROTC he changed his mind. His 27-year career has been highlighted by the opportunity to command troops in combat, Luong said.
The 1st Cavalry Division headquarters is already deployed to Afghanistan and is running Regional Command-South. When RC-South, as part of the ongoing transition and drawdown in Afghanistan, is converted into a one-star

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