News | Feb. 4, 2019

‘The American dream is real’: Once a desperate refugee, now a US Army general

By Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes

(Editor’s Note:  The story below is reposted from the Stars and Stripes, Feb. 1, 2019, and features Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, deputy commander of U.S. Army Africa and assistant adjutant general of the Virginia National Guard. The Virginia National Guard recently expanded its presence on Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Virginia, after building its Joint Force Headquarters on center, May 14, 2018.)

VICENZA, Italy — He was a penniless, traumatized Vietnamese teenager with a fifth-grade education when in 1980 he arrived in the U.S. He knew how to survive in the jungle, evade checkpoints and control the terror he often felt.

But he couldn’t speak more than a few words of English and had little practice in how to live a regular life.

Yet within seven years after his American arrival, Lap The Chau had a new name, a degree from the Virginia Military Institute and a career as “an officer in the greatest Army on Earth,” as he put it.

Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, as he’s now known, is deputy commander of U.S. Army Africa and assistant adjutant general of the Virginia National Guard.

To read more about Flora’s inspirational journey, access the full story at Stars and Stripes.