General FAQ

Q. Why do I have to post a biography?

A. VAAFA members are stationed across the world. By posting your full biography, members can get to know each other and share career advice.

Q. What can I post on VAAFA?

A. Our website is a public site and anyone can view it after registering for the website. Please keep all post professional and within the rules of OPSEC guidelines.

Q. I have registered for the website am I a member?

A. No. Official membership will only be granted after all membership application requirements have been met. Please refer to “Membership Application” under the “Join Us” Section for eligibility requirements.

Q. What is the history of VAAFA?

A. VAAFA History:
In the Spring of 2007, Lieutenant Commander Christopher V. Phan, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, was deployed with the U.S. Navy SEAL to Iraq. He and several of the SEALs were trying to arrange a flight out of Baghdad when Lieutenant Colonel Tho V. Nguyen, U.S. Army, overheard LCDR Phan speaking at the reservation counter.

The men struck up a conversation on the air field and made a commitment that they would stay in touch upon redeployment to the States.

True to their words, LCDR Phan and LTC Nguyen remained friends after their deployment. They both knew and experienced the loneliness of serving overseas in harm’s way and being far from their families. They wanted to establish an association in order to assist all Vietnamese American service members and their families to cope with the separation and loneliness.

LCDR Phan and LTC Nguyen, along with Sergeant Thao Bui, U.S. Army, Captain Triet Bui, U.S. Army, and Captain Hien Vu, U.S. Air Force, met at Captain Bui’s home and began drafting the by-laws and articles of association for the Vietnamese American Armed Forces Association (VAAFA) on August 23, 2008.

VAAFA received official recognition from the State of California on September 15, 2008. The association held its installation banquet on May 31, 2009. VAAFA’s membership is growing and the association hopes to reach and serve all Vietnamese American service members, their families, and the Vietnamese American community.

Q. Can VAAFA endorse my political group?

A. As a professional military association comprised of current and former U.S. military personnel, we cannot endorse or promote any political group or causes. As stated in the policy guidance


However, VAAFA members, as private citizens in civilian attire, are encouraged to be active participants in the American democratic experience and exercise their constitutional rights.

DO Public Affairs Policy Guidance Concerning Political Campaigns and Election Addresses: Please Click Here

DOD Directive 1344.10 “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces” : Please Click Here

Q. Can my organization/association partner with VAAFA for community service events or activities?

A. Yes, VAAFA continuously seeks partnership opportunities with fellow Veterans groups, Students associations, and Civic organizations in order to coordinate, cooperate, and support community service events and activities.

For Department of Defense Regulations concerning Armed Forces Service members participation in community service events: Please Click Here

Q. When I attend VAAFA sponsored events, I noticed that the US National Anthem is always played second to the Republic of Vietnam National Anthem. Is that the correct order?

A. Yes, this is the correct order. Army Regulation 600–25 states that:

During the conduct of a ceremony, the performance of the national anthem of any foreign country will be followed
without pause by playing the national anthem of the United States. (An exception may be made only when 2 or more
foreign national anthems are played in succession. The U.S. national anthem will be played following the sequence.)
The same honors rendered to the U.S. national anthem will be rendered during the playing of foreign national anthems.
The U.S. and foreign national anthems will not be incorporated into any musical arrangement, composition, or medley
and will be played through without repetition of any part except as required to make both words and music complete.

For more information concerning Army & Navy Regulations concerning Salutes, Honors & Courtesies please visit:
Army Regulation 600–25: Please Click Here

Navy Regulations Chapter 12: Please Click Here

Q. How can I verify that a person wearing a uniform is actually a current or former U.S. Military member?

A. One of the first step is to ask the person to produce their military ID. Military members will always carry their Military ID. Due to such groups as the USAVR, AVR, and other wannabe groups that let any person put on a U.S. Military uniform as well as provide its members with look alike military IDs, we advise you to examine the ID. IDs should display the branch of service and the status (Active Duty, Reserve, Retired or Dependent).

Q. If I am not a current or former U.S. Armed Forces member, can I wear the uniform as a supporter or volunteer?

A. No. Only current or former members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard are authorized to wear the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces.

From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access: []
[Laws in effect as of January 3, 2007] [CITE: 10USC771]
Subtitle A–General Military Law

Sec. 771. Unauthorized wearing prohibited
Except as otherwise provided by law, no person except a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, as the case may be, may wear–

(1) the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, of the
Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps; or

(2) a uniform any part of which is similar to a distinctive part
of the uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps.

(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 34.)


Q. Why is it ok for former Republic of South Vietnam groups to wear military uniforms?

A. The US code does not prohibit such groups from wearing military uniforms that is “similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps”. While former Republic of South Vietnam military members share blouse and trousers that is similar to the U.S. military, they utilize Republic of South Vietnam emblems and insignia to distinquish themselves from U.S. Military personnel.

Q. As a Retired Veteran or Honorably Discharged member of the U.S. Armed Forces, am I authorized to wear my uniform at time of discharged for VAAFA events?

A. Yes. According to U.S. Code § 772 states that

Wear of the uniform by retired or honorably discharged personnel is authorized when:

(a) A member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard may wear the uniform prescribed for the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, as the case may be.

(b) A member of the Naval Militia may wear the uniform prescribed for the Naval Militia.

(c) A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade.

(d) A person who is discharged honorably or under honorable conditions from the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may wear his uniform while going from the place of discharge to his home, within three months after his discharge.

(e) A person not on active duty who served honorably in time of war in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title, and, when authorized by regulations prescribed by the President, wear the uniform, of the highest grade held by him during that war.

Cornell University Law School US Code Collection:  For source file Please Click Here

Q. Under what circumstances is the wearing of the uniform by members of the U.S. Armed Forces prohibited?

A. It is DoD policy that:

3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is
prohibited under any of the following circumstances:

3.1.1. At any meeting or demonstration that is a function of, or sponsored by an organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons that the Attorney General of the United States has designated, under Executive Order 10450 as amended (reference (c)), as totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny others their rights under the Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means.

3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.

3.1.3. Except when authorized by the approval authorities in subparagraph 4.1.1., when participating in activities such as unofficial public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration, which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted.

3.1.4. When wearing of the uniform may tend to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.

3.1.5. When specifically prohibited by regulations of the Department concerned.

For the source document and additional information: Please Click Here