Ha Mai Viet was born in North Vietnam in 1933. He graduated from the Thu Duc Reserve Officer School in 1955 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, beginning 21 years of military service that included command of armored units from platoon through battalion, plus posts as a brigade executive officer and an assistant division commander, along with staff and instructor duty at several levels. During the late 1960s, early 1970s conflict in Vietnam, he also served as province chief of the Quang Tri province just south of the 17th parallel separating North and South Vietnam. His valor and leadership were recognized by the award of 38 decorations, including three awards of the Gallantry Cross with Palm. When Vietnam fell in 1975, Colonel Viet, his wife Hao and their five children made their way to the United States. He is author of the Naval Institute Press book, Steel and Blood: Armor in the Vietnam War.