Our forum runs best with JavaScript enabled !

The American dream is real

View previous topic View next topic Go down

The American dream is real Empty The American dream is real

Post by 8DonCo on Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:18 am

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



  • The American dream is real Image



Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, assistant commander of U.S. Army Africa, fled Vietnam in a fishing boat in 1979.
NANCY MONTGOMERY/STARS AND STRIPES


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.
He is thought to be the only Vietnamese “boat person” to become a general officer in the U.S. military.


  • The American dream is real Image



Lapthe C. Flora is promoted to brigadier general at the National D-Day Memorial June 6, 2016, in Bedford, Va.
COTTON PURYEAR/VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD[url=https://stripes.reprintmint.com/003-default.html?src=https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.566869.1549018766!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_490/image.jpg&title=Image-1.566869&caption=Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, assistant commander of U.S. Army Africa, fled Vietnam in a fishing boat in 1979.][/url]

“After what I went through, practically death, and then somebody gives you that opportunity to live again, I can only say from my own perspective that I’m very grateful for what this country has done for me,” Flora said in an interview with Stars and Stripes.
Flora, who in civilian life is an engineer holding several patents on night-vision goggles, has recounted his unlikely story many times.
“The possibility in this great nation is boundless; the American Dream is real, only if you dare to pursue it with laser-focused hard work and perseverance,” Flora said in speech when he was promoted to brigadier general more than two years ago.
He has also showed appreciation for those who helped upon his arrival in America.
“There’s no one who can get to where they are on their own. You need help,” he said in a 2017 talk at the Raleigh Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Va.


  • The American dream is real Image



Audrey and Jack Flora, from Roanoke, Va., adopted Lap The Chau.
COURTESY LAPTHE FLORA
The church had sponsored him and several family members in 1980.
“We had a house for them. They came with nothing,” said Sharon Alexi, a former kindergarten teacher active in the church, who helped settle the 11-member Chau family.
She helped teach Flora and his brother English and how to drive.
“They caught on very quickly,” she said. “It was fun. It was a joy.”
A couple in the congregation were so taken with Flora that they adopted him when they were in their 60s and he was either 21 or 23; his birthdate is uncertain.
“People thought they were crazy,” Flora said. “But they took me in.”

Postwar exodus


Flora is among 800,000 people who fled Vietnam by sea starting in 1975 in an international humanitarian crisis that took years to resolve. The exodus reached its height in 1978, when some 5,800 refugees a month were landing in Asian countries increasingly unwilling to accept them and an untold number were dying at sea.
President Jimmy Carter responded by ordering U.S. ships to the rescue, then doubled the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. from 7,000 to 14,000 a month, despite polls showing a majority of Americans disapproved.
“I benefited greatly from the U.S.’s decision to accept me into this country,” Flora said. “I’m extremely grateful for the circumstances that led to my citizenship.”
Flora declined to imagine what might have become of him had the Carter administration decided not to accept Vietnamese refugees.


  • The American dream is real Image



Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora and his wife, Thuy — pictured with their daughter Christine — were both Vietnamese refugees when they arrived in the U.S.
COURTESY LAPTHE FLORA

In the end, nearly all of his family arrived in the U.S., including his future wife, his mother and a long-lost sister who’d been given up for adoption in Vietnam.
“I don’t like to think about hypothetical paths my life could’ve taken,” Flora said. “Instead, I focus on the future and my ability to give back whenever possible and sharing my story to inspire others.”
That story includes many early hardships and eventual triumphs.
When he was 2, his merchant marine father was killed in a mortar attack, Flora said. The death plunged the ethnic Chinese family into poverty so severe that his mother gave her infant daughter to another couple.
At 11, as the Vietnam War raged throughout the countryside, Flora worked as a live-in servant at a factory. That ended on April 30, 1975, when the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong captured Saigon, South Vietnam’s capital, ending the war and turning all of Vietnam into a socialist, one-party state.
The new communist government instituted “re-education camps” and other repressive measures against political opponents and those who had collaborated with the Americans.


  • The American dream is real Image



The boy who would become U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, left, poses with his family in Vietnam. All of them eventually fled the country as refugees.
COURTESY LAPTHE FLORA

Flight to freedom


Flora and two brothers fled the fallen capital, renamed Ho Chi Minh City, where they were at risk for military conscription. Hiding in the countryside for three years, he said, they survived on crops they planted and animals they hunted, including lizards and porcupines.
The brothers were sometimes frightened and often hungry, but they were also free.
“We sang in the middle of the night,” Flora said. “It was kind of fun.”
His escape came after a sister and brother-in-law in 1979 secured 11 spots for the family on a cramped, fetid fishing boat. The terrifying voyage lasted five horrible days and nights, he said, with little food or water, vulnerable to storms, shipwreck and pirates. A toddler on board died before they landed in Indonesia.
“We knew there was less than a 50 percent chance of survival,” Flora said. “Desperation, destitution will drive people to do anything.”


  • The American dream is real Image



Lap The Chau was a destitute teenager in 1979 when he escaped Vietnam as a ''boat person'' and was photographed at an Indonesian refugee camp. He's now Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora.
COURTESY LAPTHE FLORA

Much of his family settled in California, which along with Texas, accepted the most Vietnamese refugees.
But he preferred Roanoke and life with his adoptive family, Jack and Audrey Flora.
He graduated from high school in three years, while working part-time bagging groceries, and was accepted to VMI.
He took to the spartan school, his adoptive father’s alma mater, saying it reminded him of his early schooling in Vietnam.
He’s encountered little discrimination since coming to the U.S., he said, and any slights are easily ignored.
“You feel sorry for their narrow-mindedness,” Flora said.
From the start of his military career, Lapthe Flora made an impression. As a young lieutenant with the 116th Infantry Regiment in 1991, when Capt. Eric Barr met him, it was clear it wasn’t just his backstory that made him unique.


  • The American dream is real Image



Lapthe Flora took to the rigors of the Virginia Military Institute, saying the military academy reminded him of his strict elementary schooling in Vietnam. He is pictured here as a cadet in an undated photo.
COURTESY LAPTHE FLORA

“It just jumped out at me that Lapthe was one of the most professional, squared-away officers,” Barr said. “It was just obvious he knew his business.”
On a 2007 deployment to Kosovo, “whenever something really tough came up, Lapthe was known as the go-to person,” said Barr, now a retired colonel.
“Where it really stood out, he had so much credibility with the Serbs and the Albanians because they knew he had lived their lives,” Barr said. “He had been through the same hell they had been through.”

_________________
The American dream is real 1z6dtn9
8DonCo

8DonCo


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by 8DonCo on Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:19 am

ông nầy giờ lên Thiếu Tướng

nhờ có cha mẹ nuôi và ở VA nên tiến thân lẹ

_________________
The American dream is real 1z6dtn9
8DonCo

8DonCo


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by Lão Mù on Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:36 am

Quá dữ!

_________________
mù tình mù tính mù đờiThe American dream is real T45170
Lão Mù

Lão Mù


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by vietnam4all on Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:14 am

Thumb Up :pray2 :pray2

Trong đám bạn học của tui cũng có vài tay đi lính mỹ nhưng đa số họ retire after their time served.
avatar

vietnam4all


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by truong vo ky on Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am

8DonCo wrote:ông nầy giờ lên Thiếu Tướng

nhờ có cha mẹ nuôi và ở VA nên tiến thân lẹ
Thiếu tướng Lương Xuan Việt cùng gia đình ( Ba là thiếu tá TQLC VNCH) chạy qua Mỷ năm 75,đâu cần cha mẹ nuôi cũng lên thiếu tướng vây? he is now command US Army in Janpan! mình thấy cuộc đời binh nghiệp của TT Lê Xuan Việt đều ở trong các đơn vị chiến đấu tinh nhuệ hơn ông Flora,LXV là lính nhảy dù Airborne,từ tiểu đoàn trưởng lên đến sư đoàn trưởng 101 Airborne division,kiểu VN nói he trên 4 vùng chiến thuật: Kosovo,Iraq,Afghanistan etc...đều có mặt.He có tiếng từ lúc bảo Katrina New Orleans ,Mỷ đen quậy cướp bóc hảm hiếp,lúc đó he là tiểu đoàn trưởng nhảy dù thuộc 82 airborne division đã dẹp mấy vụ này,mình có coi CNN phỏng vấn him lúc đó
avatar

truong vo ky


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by Bún on Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:40 pm

Đọc bài này cảm động quá
Dù chỉ đọc lướt qua vì quá dài
Bún

Bún


Back to top Go down

The American dream is real Empty Re: The American dream is real

Post by Sponsored content



Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum