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Viet X. Luong, American Colonel

This is a great “only in America” story: Colonel Viet X. Luong is taking command from Colonel Dominic J. Caraccilo of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment (the famed Rakkasans) of the 101st Airborne Division.

Luong left South Vietnam with his family in 1975, making him the first Vietnamese refugee to take command of a U.S. military brigade. He will likely lead the brigade into combat in about a year’s time in Afghanistan. The Rakkasans are a first-rate outfit, one of the most-deployed units in the entire armed forces and one that I have been privileged to spend time with in Iraq. It says something great about this country that we entrust our most precious commodity — our fighting men and women — to the leadership of immigrants and the offspring of immigrants.

I only hope the Pentagon will widen and extend a draft program that allows the recruitment of immigrants who do not yet have Green Cards or citizenship. Immigrants have always been the strength of our country, and the armed forces should take full advantage of this great resource.



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