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

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

by Nanacy 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.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.566868

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content