have contributed significantly and are truly responsible for me being
promoted here today. For that, I am eternally grateful. The greatest
honor for me when wearing this proud uniform is not the star on
my shoulder or the ribbons on my chest, but having the privilege to
have served with you all, the most dedicated, talented, and patriotic
Americans of our generation. I am asking for your continued support,
guidance and wise counsel as I prepare to take on the next chapter of
my military career.
I am also equally appreciative of the Virginia National Guard. It
provides me the unique honor to protect my country in times of war
and to serve my communities in times of peace while still allowing
me ample opportunity to fulfill my civilian aspirations. Furthermore,
I truly believe and must attribute much of my civilian success today
to this professional organization where Team Work and Character
are non-negotiable. The National Guard is truly the best-kept secret
institution in our country.
Lastly, before I close, I would like to end with a quote by John
F. Kennedy that says, ‘as we express our gratitude, we must never
forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live
This quote, I believe, encapsulates the truest meaning of
gratitude I have towards every individual who has made a profound
impact on my life and continues to support me in both my endeavors
and accomplishments. Again, thank you all so much for coming.
In his civilian capacity, Flora is the Senior Applications Engineer
with Night Vision business of Harris Corporation in Roanoke, and
holds six patent awards related to the AN/PVS-14 and AN/AVS-9
night vision goggles.
Following the Communist capture of Saigon in
1975, Flora and his brothers fled the city to avoid
being drafted in to the North Vietnamese military.
He spent more than three years in the jungle, then
fled by boat to Indonesia where he spent a year
living in three separate refugee camps.
When he arrived in the U.S., he quickly learned
English and finished his high school education in
only three years. After high school Flora attended
the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington where he
earned a bachelor’s degree and commission in the
U. S. Army Reserve in 1987. He later transferred to
the Virginia Army National Guard where he served
in every staff position within 1st Battalion, 116th
Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat
Team, including commander of the battalion.
Flora’s wife Thuy and daughter Christine pinned on Flora’s new rank, and Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, administered the oath of office.