Brigadier General Viet Luong, 1st Cavalry Division's deputy commander for maneuver, is seen Wednesday Aug. 6, 2014, at his promotion ceremony. Luong is the first Vietnamese-born flag officer to serve in the U.S. military.

FORT HOOD — As Viet Luong's wife pinned the star on his chest Wednesday morning to promote him to the rank of brigadier general, history was made.

Born in Vietnam and brought to America during the 1975 fall of Saigon, Luong is the first Vietnamese-American to make general officer in the United States Army.

"The journey was arduous," said Luong, deputy commander for maneuver for 1st Cavalry Division, standing at the podium at Cooper Field.

At age 10, Luong's father, a Vietnamese marine, got their family of 10 onto a flight during Operation Frequent Wind and into a refugee camp in Arkansas. The family then settled in Los Angeles.

"Viet and sisters are Americans now by choice," said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood and reviewing officer for the promotion ceremony. "He has served this great nation honorably over the last many decades. ... There's no one in uniform today that epitomizes what it takes to be an American soldier more than Viet Luong."

Among the hundreds in attendance were Luong's seven sisters, mother, wife and three children. State-based Vietnamese news outlets traveled to capture the historic moment.

Luong described the day as "fairly emotional.

"I don't like to tell that story too much," he said. "I'm deeply humbled. I do have some responsibility ... to tell the story of our nation and what it stands for."

Luong said his promotion is about America and the soldiers, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — some under his command in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I'm a symbol of democracy, freedom and the justice of our constitution," he said.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Killeen Daily Herald.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

(6) comments

Alvin
Alvin

I misspelled the word Japanese. My apologies.

Alvin
Alvin

I too salute you sir for your outstanding military service to our country, and I do not want this to be construed as demeaning, but I still don't know why the media has to constantly point out the divisional aspects of being an 'American'. Vietnamese American, Black African American, Chinese American, Japenese American, etc. instead of just the merits of being an 'American'. I believe this continues to be adversarially demeaning to all of us. Again I salute you on 'taking to the field an attaining the rank of brigadier general'.
One of the 1 % who voted.

keithlacey2007
keithlacey2007

Congratulations on your promotion General. You are the shining example of what America stands for sir. Thank you for your service.

huanvinh
huanvinh

[thumbup]

Texian1313

This is a shining example of an immigrant who followed the rule and did it right!
I Salute you Brigadier General Sir!

huanvinh
huanvinh

[thumbup]

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