Ft. Hood Col. Becomes First Vietnamese-American Promoted to Gene - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Ft. Hood Col. Becomes First Vietnamese-American Promoted to General

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Viet Luong Takes Oath Viet Luong Takes Oath
(KCEN) – He fights to protect a country that once protected him, and now Viet Luong is making U.S. Military history as the first Vietnamese-American to be promoted to general.

On Wednesday, more than 200 people from across the country and world, including members of the Armed Forces of Vietnam, came to Fort Hood to watch Colonel Viet Luong make history.

“There is no one in uniform today that epitomizes what it takes to be an American soldier more than Viet Luong,” Fort Hood Commanding General Mark Milley said during the ceremony.” His commitment to freedom, to democracy, to the U.S. is unwavering and deeper than any other person I've ever met.”

That freedom wasn't always guaranteed for Luong and his family. Born in Vietnam, his father fought against the communist threat in the north. In 1975, as the south began to fall, they decided to take refuge with the American forces. As Saigon turned hostile, nine-year-old Luong, his seven sisters and parents barely escaped as they boarded one of the last American helicopters leaving Vietnam.

“Freedom is not free for any one of us, and particularly for my family, but we are willing to do it all again if we have to,” Luong said during his speech.

Just a boy, his family moved to California where his parents both worked 80 hour weeks to provide for the family. As the years passed, every single child – all eight of them – went to college. Luong's love for his country and wont to follow his father's footsteps, took him to the U.S. Military.

“I lost many a good men in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq… sadly too many to list. Their selfless sacrifices allow us to be here today,” Luong said as his voice quivered. “So every day I strive to be the best leader I can be, knowing others have nobly laid down their lives for us.”

Year after year, Luong continued to dedicate his life to serving the country that gave him refuge, living the American dream and living up to his deserved promotion.

With his seven sisters and mother in the crowd, his father watching down on him, Luong's wife pinned him with his star, promoting him to brigadier general.

 “As a Vietnamese-American, and immigrant, I am a symbol of democracy, of freedom, of justice of our constitution, and I live every day trying to live up to that honor,” he said. “I'm not American by birth, but by choice. When it comes to defending this nation and constitution we won't take a backseat to anybody.”

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