Viet Xuan Luong Becomes First Vietnamese-American General

Viet Xuan Luong pins on a brigadier general's star today, becoming the first Vietnamese-American officer to achieve that rank.

Viet Xuan Luong official photo

Viet Xuan Luong pins on a brigadier general’s star today, becoming the first Vietnamese-American officer to achieve that rank.

Austin American Statesman (“Fort Hood’s Luong to become first Vietnamese-American general“):

On Wednesday, Fort Hood Col. Viet Xuan Luong will become the first Vietnamese American to be made a general in U.S. history in a ceremony that will include the participation of Austin police and members of the local Vietnamese community.

Members of the Police Department’s office of community liaison will accompany more than 100 members of Austin’s Vietnamese-American community to a public ceremony in which Luong will be promoted to brigadier general. Organizations involved are the Vietnamese-American Heritage Foundation, Vietnamese-American Community of Austin and the Vietnamese Senior Citizen’s Association.

Luong’s family evacuated Vietnam as political refugees during the fall of Saigon in 1975 and emigrated to the United States. He is the deputy commander of maneuvers for the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood.

Even Luong’s official bio begins with his heritage:

Colonel Viet Xuan Luong emigrated from Vietnam with his family to the United States in 1975 as a political refugee. He began his military career upon graduating from the University of Southern California. 

His first assignment was with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served as Rifle Platoon Leader, Anti-Tank Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion Maintenance Officer. In 1993, Luong was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and served in the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, as the Battalion Assistant S-3 (Operations) and Commander of Alpha Company. While commanding Alpha Company, he deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy as the Commander of the Theater Quick Reaction Force. Following his assignment at Fort Bragg, he was assigned to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., as an Observer Controller. 

Following his assignment at JRTC, Luong attended the Command and General Staff College and then was assigned to the Southern European Task Force (SETAF). Luong served as SETAF G-3 Chief of Plans, and the Operations Officer and Executive Officer of 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, in Vicenza, Italy. During his assignment at Southern European Task Force, Luong deployed to Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina on several occasions as part of the NATO Strategic Response Force. 

Following this assignment, Colonel Luong was assigned to Joint Task Force North at Fort Bliss, Tx., where he served as a plans officer and Chief, Targeting and Exploitation Division in support of the Department of Homeland Defense. In 2005, he assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division. During this command, Luong deployed his battalion in September 2005 as the Division Ready Force 1, in support of Operation American Assist, the Hurricane Katrina Relief efforts in New Orleans, and Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08, in support of the War on Terror. 

In February 2009, Colonel Luong assumed command of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Rakkasans), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In January 2010, 3rd BCT deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11. Following BCT command, Luong attended Stanford University as a National Security Fellow and subsequently served as the Deputy Director, Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell, J5, The Joint Staff. 

Colonel Luong holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California and a Master of Military Arts and Science.

Considering that US forces withdrew from Vietnam and 1973 and the war ended in 1975, the year Luong’s family emigrated, this is quite a remarkable development. His assignment history would lead me to believe he was commissioned around the same time I was–the late 1980s or early 1990s. So he’s spent almost the entirety of his time as an American wearing his adopted country’s uniform.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Quick Takes, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. J-Dub says:

    How long before Republican Congressman Mo Brooks makes a stink about this?

  2. @J-Dub:

    Well you can’t have a war on white people without a minority general, can you?

  3. Mu says:

    Good that Rep. Bo from Alabama wasn’t around in the 80’s to prevent this obvious DREAM act candidate from entering the military.

  4. Greg says:

    From Reddit:
    How is the United States viewed around the world?

    Vietnam is surprisingly high on the list of countries who view us favorably.

  5. John Tran says:

    I am proud to be a Vietnamese American. General Viet is my role model: Work hard, love his men and serve our country, U.S.A, with dignity and proud.