Brig. Gen. Viet Xuan Luong is the first Vietnamese-born general flag officer in the U.S. military. Since March 2016 he has served as chief of staff of United States Army Central. Luong achieved the rank of brigadier general, Aug. 8, 2014, at Fort Hood, Texas. He emigrated from Vietnam with his family to the United States in 1975 as a political refugee. Luong came to the United States as part of Operation Frequent Wind, a mission to help rescue Vietnamese citizens from the country during the final days of the #VietnamWar.
EXCERPT from USC News (news.usc.edu) ____
In 1975, when Viet Luong was 9 years old, he escaped wartorn Vietnam aboard a United States aircraft carrier along with his parents and seven sisters. The following day, Saigon fell. “My father, who had fought with the South Vietnamese Marine Corps, had managed to get us the necessary papers to be extracted as political refugees by regular U.S. C-130 airplanes,” Luong said. “But before we could leave, the Communists seized all airport operations and started shelling the airport. “We thought we were doomed.” Fortunately for Luong and his family and thousands of other Vietnamese refugees in danger of Communist reprisals, the U.S. government implemented Operation Frequent Wind, a non-combatant civilian evacuation.
Using U.S. marine helicopters that can maneuver more easily and were less susceptible to Communist fire, U.S. soldiers flew Luong and his family to a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock. “We barely escaped,” Luong said. “My sisters and I were scared to death. When we landed on the USS Hancock, it was so big we didn’t know where we were. We asked our father ‘Dad, where are we?’ He said, ‘We’re on a U.S. carrier.’ We said, ‘What does that mean?’ And he replied, ‘It means nothing in the world can harm you now.’ “I get choked up just talking about it.” Almost 40 years after his rescue, family and friends watched as Luong became the first Vietnamese-born general flag officer in the U.S. military during a promotion ceremony on Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 8, 2014.