From Refugee to Brigadier General – General Lapthe Chau Flora

first published on March 11, 2019 by

A Vietnamese refugee who made his way into the top rank of the U.S. Army. This is Brigadier General Lapthe Chau Flora’s story.

Brigadier General

The son of a South Vietnamese Merchant Marine, Lapthe Chau Flora was left without a father at the age of two in 1964 with his mother and five siblings. At the age of 11, he worked long hours in a factory to help support and feed his family with a meager salary. At the age of 18, he fled Ho Chi Minh City to escape the indoctrination of communist principals, where he and several of his siblings lived in the jungle, surviving on snakes, rats porcupines and vegetation.

Later, they escaped by boat into the South China sea where they were rescued and taken to an Indonesian refugee camp, where they lived for one year. At the end of that year, he was allowed entry into the United States as a legal immigrant. From that point forward, he knew he wanted to serve in the United States Military in order to give back to the country that gave him a second chance at life.

In 1988 he began his military career as an officer with the Virginia National Guard after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute. He served in every staff position available within 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, including service as Battalion Commander. He was once quoted as saying “After eating at the table of democracy, is it too much to ask to clean up your dishes? Is it too much to ask to share the burden?”

The following video is an interview with Brigadier General Lapthe Flora, U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general, Army Reserve component integration advisor. It comes to us courtesy of the United States Army and was created by Capt. Jonathon Daniell.