Vietnamese American Facts


Here’s a list of some interesting facts about Vietnamese Americans – Source: vangusa

Arts & Entertainment

  • Tony Bui (Los Angeles, CA) – Director of Award-Winning Film 3 Seasons.
  • Lan Cao (New York) – Author of Money Bridge, the first Vietnamese American novel to be published by a major publishing house, Viking Penguin.
  • Kieu Chinh (Los Angeles, CA) – Legendary actress for over 40 years with roles in Joy Luck Club and M.A.S.H..
  • Minh Van Dang (Location Unknown) First Vietnamese American to win the Emmy Award.
  • Le Ly Hayslip (La Costa, CA) – Author of “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places,” which was turned into a motion picture directed by Oliver Stone.
  • Ut Cong Huynh (Monterey Park, CA) – First Vietnamese American to win the Pulitzer Prize for photography (1972), the World Press Award, and gained recognition from the Overseas Press Club, the National Press Club, and Sigma Delta Chi, for his picture during the Vietnam War of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running down a dirt road-her naked body seared by napalm (incendiary chemical) accidentally dropped on her home in Tran Bang, Vietnam.
  • Diem Thuy Thi Le (Austin, TX) – Performance artist and poet; one of her essays appeared in “Best American Essays 1997” Anthology.
  • Truc Ho , President, Asia Entertainment
  • Thuy Nga (CA) – Paris By Night Productions
  • Dustin Nguyen (Los Angeles, CA) – Actor in VIP, 21 Jump Street and General Hospital.
  • Mary Nguyen (Location Unknown) “Model Revlon’s Most Unforgettable Woman of 1989, chosen in a search across the U.S., is Mary Xinh Nguyen, a 20-year-old Vietnamese American from California.” (Time Magazine – Sep. 25 1989)
  • Navia Nguyen (New York, NY & London) – First Asian Model to appear in Sports Illustrated Magazine’s annual swimsuit. Selected by People Magazine as being among the “50 Most Beautiful People – 1996”.
  • Scotty Nguyen (Henderson, Nevada) – He is one of the best and most well-rounded poker players around. He is also among the highest earning tournament players of all time. Some of the titles he has won are: 1998 World Series of Poker Champion, Pot Limit Omaha at the 2001 World Series of Poker, and Omaha High Low at the 1997 World Series.
  • Andrew X. Pham (Location Unknown) – He is the author of Catfish and Mandela.
  • Elyzabeth Pham (Wisconsin) – Crowned Miss Wisconsin 1999.
  • Dat Phan (San Diego, CA) – Winner of Last Comic Standing.
  • Monique Truong (New York, NY) – The Book of Salt , her first novel won the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize and is the only American novel among the ten finalists for Britain’s Guardian First Book Award.


  • Thao Dang (San Jose, CA) – Named by Century 21 as “#1 Salesperson in the World” in 2002, in a company of over 100,000 agents and brokers.
  • Frank Jao (Huntington Beach, CA) – Principal developer of Little Saigon. The proprietor of Phuoc Loc Tho Shopping Center (Asian Garden Mall) in Westminster, California, which is the principal landmark of Little Saigon.
  • Thanh Lam (Honolulu, HI) – President of Ba-Le Sandwich & Bakery in Hawaii was named the 2002 National Small Business Person of the Year. There are over 25 Ba-Le Sandwich throughout Hawaii.
  • Chieu Le (San Jose, CA) – President of Lee’s Sandwiches International. Lee’s Sandwiches was awarded the 2003 Regional Entrepreneurial Success Award and Chieu Le was awarded Orange County Business Person of the Year. There are over 20 Lee’s Sandwiches throughout California, Arizona and Texas.
  • Hua Ngo (San Francisco, CA) – President of H&N Seafood, with sales exceeding $300 million annually. H&N Seafood was responsible for popularizing “basa” (catfish) in the United States.
  • Dr. Luan Duy Nguyen (Austin, TX) – He is the co-founder, CEO and president of the first Vietnamese-American (VA) owned company, Web Office Inc. , in US that has products already distributed in S. Korea, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Singapore, and to be distributed early this year in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Taiwan. His company received the Export Achievement Award from U.S. Department of Commerce in August 2003.
  • Pho Hoa (Sacramento, CA) – The first Vietnamese-American pho noodle franchise in the world.


  • Chuong Hoang Chung (San Francisco, CA) – He started the first Vietnamese American Studies Program in the United States, at San Francisco State University.
  • Yen Le Espiritu (San Diego, CA) – Professor of Ethnic Studies at University California, San Diego. Most known for her book Asian American Panethnicity, which has moved the discourse in Asian American/Ethnic studies.
  • Dr. Charles Cuong Nguyen (Washington, D.C.) – He is the First VietnameseAmerican Dean of a major College in the U.S.
  • Hoa Dinh Nguyen (Illinois) Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Foreign Languages and Literature. Published a Vietnamese-English Dictionary.
  • Kien Nguyen (Davis, CA) – Professor of Anesthesiology at UC Davis; authored and co-authored 81+ scientific articles and book chapters in physiology and anesthesiology.
  • Huong Tran Nguyen (Long Beach, CA) — Recipient of the 1994 “Disney National Outstanding Teacher of the Year” and “Disney National Outstanding Foreign Language and English as a Second Language Assistant Professor of Education at California State University, Long Beach”
  • Tue Nguyen (Fremont, CA) – At age 26, Tue broke Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) record when he earned 7 degrees, including a Ph.D.
  • Dang Pham (San Jose, CA) – A Presidential appointee under President Clinton’s Administration. He served as the Director Of Bilingual Education and was the highest ranking Asian American in the U.S. Department of Education at the time.
  • Hoang Nhu Tran (Location Unknown) – a former boat person, valedictorian of U.S. Air Force Academy in class of 960 students. He was also a Rhodes Scholar and Time magazine’s recipient of the 1986 College Achievement Award.
  • Kathleen Diem-Anh Tran is the second Vietnamese American Rhodes Scholar. She won this award in 2003.
  • Jean Nguyen (Location Unknown) – She graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point and was showcased by President Ronald Reagan for her achievements during his televised Presidential State of the Union Address .


  • Marc Nguyen (Garden Grove, CA) – He is a fashion designer for Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five.
  • Navia Nguyen (New York, NY & London) – First Asian Model to appear in Sports Illustrated Magazine’s annual swimsuit issue. Selected by People Magazine as being among the “50 Most Beautiful People.
  • Taryn Rose (Beverly Hills, CA & New York, NY) – Formally trained as an orthopedic surgeon, Taryn Rose changed the footwear industry in 1998 by creating a line of luxury shoes that are as comfortable as they are beautiful. In 2003, Taryn Rose International reached almost $20 million in sales. The collection can be found at better shoe salons and specialty stores in the United States. International distribution will be launched in early 2004 at select retailers in Japan.
  • Monica Thao Tran (New York, NY) – Vice President of Men’s Merchandising for Giorgio Armani, one of the world’s most renowned fashion houses. She is one of the most high ranking Vietnamese American executive in the extremely competitive fashion world.


  • Thang Nguyen Barrett (San Jose, CA) – The first Vietnamese American Superior Court Judge in the United States.
  • Nguyen Minh Chau (Garrett Park, MD) – The first Vietnamese American woman to be elected to public office in the United States.
  • Viet Dinh (Washington, D.C.) – Appointed by President Bush to position of Assistant to US Attorney General, who later drafted the U.S. Patriot Act.
  • John Quoc Duong (Huntington Beach, CA) – A President George W. Bush’s appointee, he served as the Executive Director of The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Wendy Duong (Denver, CO) – The first Vietnamese American Judge in the United States.
  • Tony Quang Lam (Westminster, CA) – The first Vietnamese American to be elected to public office in the United States.
  • Jacqueline Nguyen (Los Angeles, CA) – The first Vietnamese American female Superior Court Judge in the United States.
  • Tu M. Pham (Memphis, TN) – The first U.S. Magistrate Judge (Western District of Tennessee) in the United States.
  • Kiem Phan (Washington, D.C.) – He was the first White House Fellow. Served as assistant to the United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security. He is currently the Executive Director for the Vietnam Educational Foundation.
  • Tue Quang Phan (San Francisco, CA) – The first U.S. Immigration Judge in the United States.
  • Hoang V. Tran (Seattle, WA) – In 1998 Hoang was appointed as the First Vietnamese-American and one of the youngest to the position of Community Service Officer for The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). He is the highest ranking Vietnamese-American DSHS official in the state overseeing a biennium budget of over $100 million.


  • Kim-Thu Bui (Atlanta, GA) – She is a senior producer for special projects for CNN. Prior to CNN, she was a writer for the Marietta Daily Journal.
  • Tron Van Do (San Jose, CA) – He is the president Vien Thao Media.
  • Yen Do (Westminster, CA) – Publisher Of Nguoi Viet, the first Vietnamese daily newspaper in the United States.
  • Truc Ho (Garden Grove, CA) – He is the president of Asia Entertainment and Saigon Broadcasting Television Network (SBTN).
  • Binh Le (Garden Grove, CA) – He is the president of the Vietnamese American Broadcasting Communications (VABC).
  • Betty Nguyen (Atlanta, GA) – She is an Atlanta-based anchor CNN. Previously, she anchored for KTVT in Dallas since 1998. Last year, she won a regional Emmy for “Outstanding Noon Newscast”.
  • Chau Nguyen (Houston, TX) – She joined KHOU-TV in February 2003 as a general assignments reporter and Saturday morning anchor. In 2000, her series reporting on Vietnam earned her an Emmy award.
  • Mary Nguyen (Orlando, Florida) – She is a reporter for WFTV in Orlando. Before coming to Orlando, Mary worked as a reporter in Arkansas, Kansas and Iowa. In 1993, Mary was the first Asian American to win ’TEEN Magazine’s Miss Teenage America.
  • Leyna Nguyen (Los Angeles, CA) – She came to KCAL, Channel 9, in December 1997 as a weekend anchor and reporter. Before KCAL, Leyna was a news anchor and reporter at KCRA in Sacramento. She was nominated for an Emmy and won several first-place awards for her special on the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, “Vietnam: The Journey Back.” In 1987 Leyna was chosen “Miss Asia,” and in 1996, she was named “YWCA Woman of the Year.”
  • Manh Nguyen (San Jose, CA) – Aired the first Vietnamese daily news program in the US, Vietnam Tu Do.
  • De Tran (San Jose, CA) – Publisher of Viet Mercury, a newspaper backed by San Jose Mercury News and the Knight Ridder Corporation.
  • Vietnamese American Xposure (VAX) TV Show is a fresh and innovative weekly magazine program that targets a young Vietnamese American audience. VAX ventures on location, “xposing” all that’s hot in and outside the Vietnamese American community.
  • Thuy Vu (San Francisco, CA) – She joined KGO TV (ABC7 News) in August 2000 as co-anchor of the ABC7 Sunday Morning News at 7 a.m and 9 a.m. She’s also a reporter based in the South Bay Bureau. In 2000, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her investigation of safety problems at California’s amusement parks.


  • Andrew S. Dang (deceased), Lance Corporal of the United States Marine Corps, 20, based in Camp Pendelton (San Diego, CA), died when his unit was attacked on Tuesday, March 22, 2004, in the Iraq city of Faluja. He was from Foster City, CA and had joined the Marines on April 13, 2003, about a month after the war.
  • Khanh Tuan Pham (Savannah,GA)- Major Pham, an active duty soldier in the US Army, proudly serving America in Iraq for the second time. He was a 1st Lieutenant during the Persian Gulf War, and he is there now serving as the S2/3(Security and Operation) for the 429th Medical Evacuation Battalion of Savannah Georgia in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Quang X. Pham (Diamond Bar, CA) – The first Vietnamese American to earn his naval aviator’s wings and flew helicopter missions in the Persian Gulf War and Somalia in the United States Marine Corps (March 1990).
  • Van K. Tran (Cherry Point, NC) – Lieutenant Colonel Tran is the most senior ranking Vietnamese American on active duty with the United States Marine Corps (CH-53E, Helicopter Pilot, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Albania Rescue, etc.)

Public/Community Services

  • Ngoan Le (Chicago, IL) – Director of Health & Human Services
  • Luong Thanh Mai (New Orleans, LA) – Under Father Luong’s leadership, the New Orleans community established the first Vietnamese American Catholic Church. He also has a street named after him in New Orleans.
  • Truong Dinh Tran (New York, NY) – Philanthropist/Businessman who donated $2 million to the 9-11 Fund.
  • Thuy Thanh Vu (Texas) – Named the “21st Century Woman” by the National Organization of Women.

Science & Technology

  • Le Bui (San Jose, CA) – Founder of Orchid, the first Vietnamese American Hi-Tech company.
  • Trung Dung (Fremont, CA) – A pioneering developer of Business-to-Business infrastructure products. Founded OnDisplay, Inc. 1996, went public in 1999 as one of the 10 most successful IPOs of the year on NASDAQ, and was acquired by Vignette Corp. in 2000 for $1.8 billion.
  • Anh Nguyet Duong (Washington, D.C.) – Scientist who developed the bomb that ended the war with Afghanistan.
  • Tuan Nguyen (Saratoga, CA) – Father of PowerPoint.
  • Xuong Nguyen-Huu (San Diego, CA) – Pioneer in AIDS research. Invented the X-ray Multiwire Area Detector, which helps AIDS researchers map the three dimension structure of the AIDS receptor.
  • Hau Thai-Tang (Dearborn, Michigan) – Chief Engineer for the Ford Motors Company. He is responsible for designing the American Icon – The 40th Anniversary Ford Mustang.
  • Eugene Trinh (Washinton, D.C.) – The first Vietnamese American Astronaut (Space Shuttle Columbia, 1992).
  • First Hi-Tech Firm


  • Michelle Do (Milpitas, California) – At age 17, Michelle became the youngest member in history of the U.S. Women’s Table Tennis Team in the 2000 Olympics.
  • Danny Graves (Cincinnati, OH) – The first Vietnamese American Professional Baseball player (Pitcher, #32) with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Cung Le (San Jose, CA) – He is the 2003 ISKA Light Heavyweight K-1 Super Fight Champion and 2001 IKF Light Heavyweight World Champion. He is a world-class fighter, martial artist and three time world champion.
  • Dat Nguyen – (Dallas, TX) – The first Vietnamese American Professional Football player (Line Back, #59) with the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Khoa Nguyen (San Jose, California) – Member of the 2004 Olympic Table Tennis Team. He was the co-captain for the 2000 Olympic Table Tennis Team. His illustrious career began in 1980 where he was the US Table Tennis Junior Olympics Gold Medalist.


  • Tiger Woods was named “Tiger” — given him by his dad, in honor of his dad’s South Vietnamese combat buddy, Nguyen Phong, who saved Tiger’s father’s life in the Vietnam War.
  • The Official Rubik’s Cube World Record – Minh Thai: A sixteen year-old Vietnamese American high school student from Los Angeles, won the world championship in Budapest (June 1982) by unscrambling the Rubik’s Cube in 22.95 seconds.
  • Tara House (Atlanta, GA) – The original home in Gone With The Wind and a national historic site and museum, sits on the site previously operated as a Vietnamese restaurant by Mr. & Mrs. Truyen The Pham.
  • Café Du Monde (New Orleans, LA) – Manager & Large Staff Are Vietnamese Americans.
  • There are 1.3 million Vietnamese people in America.
  • San Jose, California has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Viet Nam, ranked by city.
  • Southern California has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, ranked by region.
  • The country of Vietnam has the same geographic size of California (35 million people), but has the 16th largest population in the world (more than 80 million people).
  • Between 1965 -1975, approximately 3000 Vietnamese War orphans were adopted by American families. Many of these adopted children are today, as young adults, developing their own Vietnamese community organizations, such as Adopted Vietnamese Internationaland The Vietnamese Adoptee Network.
  • Hoi Cho Tet (San Jose, CA) – Since 1982, TET (Lunar/Chinese New Year) Celebration organized by the Coalition of Nationalist Vietnamese Oranizations of Northern California is the longest running Vietnamese New Year festival/fair in the United States.
  • Indochinese Resettlement & Cultural Center founded by Vu Van Loc is the first Vietnamese American non-profit organization.
  • In 1979, the Vietnamese American Community of Ponoma, California became the first Vietnamese American community to be incorporated in the United States.
  • Miss Viet Nam Tet Pageant of Northern California is the longest running beauty pageant in the Vietnamese American community. It was established in 1987.
  • Ut Van Nguyen (Carrollton, TX) – Winner of the “Mega Millions” in Texas, on Saturday, October 2, 2004. The winning numbers were 8-10-17-24-39, and the Mega Ball was 52. The jackpot was $101 million. Mr. Nguyen chose to collect his winnings with the cash value option, which was $62,060,880. Mr. Nguyen plans to help finance the construction of a religious temple near Duncanville. He and his family also hope to return to Vietnam to help relatives, build a school and assist an orphanage.
  • In San Jose, Dr. Minh Le established Blitz Medical Group where he charges patients without insurance $15 per visit.


  • The modern Vietnamese language is the only one in Indochina to use a Roman script. It was invented by a French missionary, Father Alexander-de-Rhodes, in the 17th century and employs six vocal tones in the north and five in the south.
  • Estimated at over 1.12 million, the Vietnamese American population is the fourth largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S. after Filipina/o Americans, Chinese Americans, and Asian Indian Americans (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). This figure represents an 83 percent increase in the past decade.
  • In Georgia, Gwinnett County has a law that forbids residents from keeping rabbits as pets. The county livestock law restricts rabbits to farm areas and homes with at least three acres of land. The law was amended in 1993 to allow Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets after a woman with a pet pig pleaded for the exemption.

Presidential Appointees

  • Mr. Andrew Ly Thanh Buhr (Bush 43) – Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
  • Mr. Viet Dinh (Bush 43) – Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, Department of Justice
  • Mr. John Quoc Duong (Bush 43) – Executive Director, The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • Mr. Phu Huynh (Clinton) – Special Assistant to the Deputy Director Vanessa Weaver, Office of Presidential Personnel – The White House
  • Mr. Frank “Trieu Phat” Jao (Bush 43) – Member, Vietnam Education Foundation
  • Ms. Ngoan Le (Clinton) – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • Dr. Ngai Xuan Nguyen (Bush 43) – Member, National Heart, Lung & Blood Advisory Council, Department of Health & Human Services
  • Mr. Bich Ngoc Nguyen (Bush 41) – Deputy Director, Office of Bilingual Education, Department of Education
  • Dr. Hanh V. Nguyen (Bush 41 & Bush 43) – Deputy Director (41); Director (43), Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ms. Mina Nguyen (Bush 43) – Director of Public Liaison, Department of Labor
  • Ms. Zoon Dung Nguyen (Clinton) – Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing, Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Ms. Anne Doan-Trang Pham (Clinton) – Special Assistant to the US Ambassabor for War Crimes David Shaffer, Department of State
  • Mr. Dang Pham (Clinton) – Director, Office of Bilingual Education, Department of Education
  • Mr. Joseph Tuan Pham (Bush 43) – Member, Vietnam Education Foundation
  • Mr. Kien Pham (Reagan/Bush 41) – Special Assistant, Department of Defense
  • Ms. Mary Chi Ray (Bush 41) – Deputy Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ms. Catherine Trinh (Bush 43) – Special Assistant to the Assistant Director, Office of Management and Budget
  • Ms. My Chau Truong (Bush 43) – Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the Office of English Acquisition (formerly Bilingual Education), Department of Education
  • Ms. Minh Vu (Bush 43) – Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice
  • Mr. Bao Ky N. Vu (Bush 43) – Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Vietnamese American Elected Officials

  • State
    • Van Thai Tran – CA State Assembly, District 68 (elected 2004)
    • Bubert Vo – TX State Legislature, District 149 (elected 2004)
  • City Councils
    • Mr. Tony Quang Lam (First Vietnamese American To Be Elected To Public Office in the United States,) City Council Member, Westminster, CA (1992-2002)
    • Nguyen Minh Chau (First Vietnamese American Woman To Be Elected To Public Office in the United States,) Town Council Member, Garrett Park, MD (1995 – 2003)
    • Vinh Cam – Township of Greenwich, CT, District 10 (elected 2001)
    • Andy Quach – City of Westminster, CA (elected 2002)
    • Hien Dai Nguyen – Clarkston, GA (elected 2003)
    • Phuong Tanh Huynh – Bayou La Batre, AL (elected 2004)
    • Janet Nguyen – City of Garden Grove, CA (elected 2004)
  • School Boards
    • Lan Quoc Nguyen – Garden Grove Unified School District, CA (elected 2002)
    • Madison Phuong Nguyen – Franklin McKinley School District, CA (elected 2002)
    • Lan Nguyen – East Side Union High School District, CA (elected 2004)
    • Trung Nguyen – Garden Grove Unified School District, CA (elected 2004)
    • Kim Oanh Nguyen-Lam – Garden Grove Unified School District, CA (elected 2004)
  • Commissions/Boards
    • Amy Hoang Wrona – Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Ward 3, District of Columbia (relected 2004)

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