Victor Hugo

May 28, 1931May 11, 2020
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Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, General Hugo graduated the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science and was commissioned a lieutenant of Infantry in June of 1954. He also holds two Masters of Science degrees: one in International Affairs from George Washington University and the other in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. His military education includes Basic Officer Courses from both the Infantry and the Air Defense Schools; the Field Artillery Officer Advance Course; the Command and General Staff Course at the Naval War College; and the National War College.

General Hugo has held a wide variety of command and staff assignments in Infantry, Special Forces, and Air Defense Artillery, culminating as the Commanding General, 32nd Army Air Defense Command in Germany.

As a cadet, General Hugo graduated 265 out of 632 and lettered in both Lacrosse and Hockey. His senior year he captained the Hockey Team and was selected both as “All East” and “All American” Honorable Mention.

Completing his Basic Officer schooling, Parachute and Ranger training in 1955, the General was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency as a Case Officer for Unconventional Warfare and Paramilitary Actions in Saigon, Indo China. He was a member of the Saigon Military Mission under the personal mentorship of then Col Edward Lansdale, USAF, and served as the leader/interpreter/translator of 6 training missions for groups of 15 Vietnamese officers which trained in the Philippines with the Philippine Scout Ranger Regiment (the Black Panthers). He facilitated training for other groups, was a principal member of Freedom Company (a company that assisted in training Asian nationals in counter insurgency and other operations), and wrote speeches for Philippine politicians that favored diplomatic recognition of the fledgling Republic of Vietnam. He also authored and directed a training film titled: “Find ‘Em, Fix ‘Em, Fight ‘Em” using special Philippine Army units. Incidentally, this film was used as a training film in 1962 when the General was undergoing Special Forces (SF) Qualification.

Departing Indo China (by then it was officially referred to as the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) or South Vietnam) in 1956, General Hugo was posted to the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) at Fort Myer, Virginia as, in turn, a platoon leader, an Assistant S3 and the Assistant S2 Ceremonial Officer where he wrote the plan for the Interment Ceremony of the Unknown Soldiers from World War II and Korea.

From 1959-1961, the General was posted to the 3rd Missile Battalion, 60th Air Defense Artillery at Loring AFB, Maine serving in turn as a platoon leader, Executive Officer and then Commander of Battery B.

In 1962 General Hugo reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Special Forces Qualification and then was assigned to 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG (A)) in Okinawa until 1965. Initially, as the Assistant Group S2, he planned and implemented a mandatory Area Study Program for teams deploying to Vietnam. As the Group S2, he also developed an Attack Assessment Matrix which provided SF Teams indicators of impending Viet Cong attacks. He was a member of four Mobile Training Teams (MTTs): two to Thailand, and one to both Korea and Taiwan and he Commanded ODA -132 while assigned to the Civil Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) in Vietnam. In 1965, he also conducted a Special Mission to rescue the Royal Lao Military Region 2 Commander (MG Kham Kong Boudavoung) from a jail in Laos and keep him safe during four weeks of diplomatic discussions.

The General’s next post was to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an Action Officer in the Pentagon from 1966 until 1968. Returning to Vietnam in September 1968, he initially served as the US Army Vietnam T Day Planner for redeploying US Army forces in RVN. In March 1969 he took command of 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery at Dong Ha until returning CONUS for schooling in December. While commanding, he provided support to all units in I Corps (especially the ODA at Mai Loc) with Duster and Quad 50 support.

He was posted again to the Pentagon in 1971 to Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA). Initially he was Assistant Secretary of the Army General Staff, Office if the Chief of Staff of the Army and a Team Leader on the US Army Leadership Board. Subsequently, as POC for recommendations from the Board, he was instrumental in establishing the US Army Sergeants Major Academy. From 1974 to 1979, he was the Deputy Director of the Army Staff and the principal HQDA POC with the CG, USAJFK Center (BG Robert Kingston) for SF matters (including the establishment of Delta Force).

From 1979 to 1981 General Hugo was the Commanding General, 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Osan AFB, Republic of Korea (ROK) and the US/ROK focal point for all surface-to-air air defense systems. He planned and implemented President Carter’s decision to transfer air defense of the Korean Peninsula to the ROK Forces and deactivated his brigade in June 1981. Serving as an informal liaison with the Korean Resident Detachment, he is credited with retaining the SF Detachment in Korea during the US drawdown.

Returning to HQDA from 1981 to 1983 as the Director of Management, he was responsible for the size and functions of the Army Staff and its Field and Staff Support Agencies, and the Organizational Effectiveness Program—under which he directed the Army Studies Program that moved base operations support from government/military labor to contracting support activities (post maintenance, supply, messing, etc.).

General Hugo’s final military assignment was as Commanding General, 32nd Army Air Defense Command, Darmstadt, Germany from 1983 until his retirement in 1987. Responsible for providing combat–ready forces to the NATO Integrated Air Defense System, he developed and implemented the most far-reaching force modernization program for updating or replacing all NATO and the US Army weapon systems, organizations, training, logistical support and doctrine.

In military retirement, General Hugo became Vice President, Atlantic Systems from 1987 to 1988. Responsible for the company’s air defense programs; he interfaced with NATO, US and foreign governments and industries to provide support to Field Army Air Defense, Theater Missile Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense programs.

In 1988, General Hugo became the Program General Manager for the Vinnell Corporation Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program. Directing Vinnell’s largest contract, he emphasized hiring retired/discharged SF personnel for the program and founded the Special Forces Association Saudi Arabian Chapter. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he deployed to the Kuwait Border with the Saudi Arabian Brigade and conducted extensive reconnaissance (including photos) from the Gulf to the Hail/Kassim area; interviewing refugees; and describing Iraqi troop dispositions. This information was the only intelligence the US had at the outset of the war as US personnel were forbidden to travel to that area. When the 5th SFG (A) arrived for DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, General Hugo provided invaluable un-programed and unreimbursed support consisting of transportation, rations, intelligence and liaison with Saudi Arabian National Guard personnel.

In 1996, General Hugo became, and remained to this day, an Independent Defense and Management Consultant specializing in military training, organizational structure and air defense matters with emphasis on the Middle East.

General Hugo continued to mentor and inspire troops and assist them in career choices after military service via very active membership and participation in multiple veteran organizations including: as the Executive Vice President of the OSS Society, and memberships in the Special Operations Association, the Special Forces Association, and the Military Order of the Carabao.

General Hugo’s awards and decorations include: the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (with 3 OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with 6 Campaign Stars), the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Cross of Gallantry (with Gold Star), RVN Cross of Gallantry (with Palm) Unit Citation, RVN Campaign Medal (with 1960 Device), the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Cheon-Su Medal, the German Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Security Honor Medal. The General is also a proud recipient of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge; the Senior Parachutist Badges from the United States, RVN and Germany; the Ranger Tab; the Special Forces Tab; the Army Staff Identification Badge; and the Joint Staff Identification Badge.

General Hugo passed away at 89 on 11 MAY 2020. Although it was a sad day for anyone who knew Vic Hugo, the General would have said, “DON'T BE SAD BECAUSE I AM GONE, INSTEAD, SMILE BECAUSE I WAS HERE.”

He was pre-deceased by his former wife, Mrs. Jean Duff Hugo.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 19 years, Mrs. Dam Thuy Nguyen Hugo, a 1989 Washingtonian of The Year Recipient. Vic met Thuy on an incredibly special occasion. At that time, she was the Director of YMCA Refugees and Communities Services of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. who facilitated more than a thousand refugees from Southeast Asia into the Washington, D.C. area. Later General Hugo became very involved in the activities of the services and was very supportive of the program by teaching English as a second language (ESL) classes for the refugee group and Fundraising on behalf of the program. Both Thuy and Vic shared a great desire to help others. This common goal eventually led to the decision to be married before God, families, and friends. Thuy and Vic exchanged mutual vows at St. Mathew’s Cathedral, Washington, D.C. before a Priest and again with the personal blessing of Pope John Paul in Saint Petersburg Basil Church, Rome. This Holy matrimony gave birth to 19 years of true love and commitment until this day.

From his previous marriage, he is survived by his three children and seven grandchildren. His daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth J. Palandech, her husband, COL Donald M. Palandech (USAF Retired), and three grandchildren: Ms. Sarah A. Palandech, MAJ Mathew M. Palandech (USAF), and 1LT Victoria R. Palandech (USAF). His first son, Mr. Victor J. Hugo, III and wife Mrs. Luann P. Hugo, and two grandchildren: Ms. Alexandra R. Hugo and Mr. Victor J. Hugo, IV; his son Mr. Russell D. Hugo and a two granddaughters Ms. Caroline G. Hugo and Ms. Charlotte Rose Hugo.

He is also survived by his younger brother, Dr. Norman Hugo, his wife Mrs. Gerry Hugo and their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Their oldest daughter, Helen, is Vic’s Goddaughter. She was very dear to him.

His two poodles: Jean Valjean and William Hugo will especially miss him DAILY and DEARLY!

A Memorial service will be held at a place and time to be determined.

Funeral services will then occur at Arlington National Cemetery at an even later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Special Forces Association Chapter XI, PO Box 1328, Springfield, VA 22151 or to the National Museum of Intelligence and Special Operations (NMISO), c/o the OSS Society, 7700 Leesburg Pike, Ste. 324, Falls Church, VA 22043.

Sympathy Cards may be sent to: Mrs. Thuy Hugo and Family 1701 Chesterbrook Vale Ct. Mclean, VA 22101


  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 28, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, November 13, 2020


Victor Hugo

have a memory or condolence to add?

Alfred Walch Jr

March 7, 2021

I very sad to hear of Major General Hugo's passing. I served on his staff in the G3 Operations Center, HQ's 32nd AADCOM. Darmstadt, Germany 09175 from Dec 1983 to Dec 1986 as a NCOIC. Operations of Air Defense forces Europe. General was a soldier's soldier and was highly respected by all. On the weekends I would place on his desk a summary of events that happened over the weekend and before I left I would always look at his helmet with the two stars and think about the responsibility he had and would remind myself that I had to get the mission right. everyday. It was a honor to serve with him and I'm sorry for his loss.

Dave Williams

February 6, 2021

I served under General Hugo in 1987. I remember his significant effort to travel to each unit and give a very inspiring farewell speech. It was an honor to serve under him!

Greg Mathieson

November 24, 2020

General Hugo will be greatly missed. He was my first Commander in the U.S. Army, but strangely that assignment was left out of his bio, of which he served as a Colonel, Commander 32nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade which was later changed to the 16h ADA Group, based in Highlands, NJ. From there up on small mountain top which used to be an old gun battery during WWII, he commanded the ADA of Nike Hercules missiles on bases from New England down to Southern NJ during the Cold War. He remained in Command until the unit was deactivated and served from 1972- to about 1974. I was gone from there in 1973 in that he managed to get me assigned to West Point, my not knowing of his previous service and being a him being a grad as well. He will always be remembered for his kindness, professionalism and leadership, and more important his friendship for may years. His inspiration help me to have my son graduated from West Point as well in 2014. General Hugo lived West Points motto of Duty Honor Country, his entire life.

Michael Tallman

July 30, 2020

MG Hugo was a great military leader who served his country with dignity and lasting impact. I served under his command in 38th ADA Brigade in Korea on an isolated Korean Air Force site along with about 35 38th Bde soldiers and 35 or so US Air Force troops. Then-BG Hugo visited us without fail every month, and spent at least a half day on the site talking to the officers and soldiers and sharing his vision of what was happening at the time. He was a soldier's soldier, and the kind of leader the Army needs many more of. Rest in Peace Good and Faithful Soldier!

Steven Akana

July 12, 2020

A Great Role Model . Worked with MG(Ret) Hugo in Saudi Arabia with then Vinnell Corporation. Most Impressionable leader I ever served with. Thank You for Your Service to Our Great Nation

Bob Woods

June 29, 2020

I will always remember the visits that MG Hugo conducted while I was a Battery Commander in Germany. I appreciated the fact that he took the time, that he spent time with the Soldiers of the unit, and would listen to us and share his perspective on whatever was going on at the time. There is no doubt that these visits influenced me because I remembered them throughout my entire career and well into retirement. I take pride in the fact that I served under MG Hugo. He was a great Soldier, Leader, and visionary. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and all of his dog loving friends.

Richard Bensing

May 23, 2020

I did not have the privilege of knowing Vic long, since I only met him this past September. But he struck me as a wonderful man, full of zest for life. He was incredibly kind and personable to me and my family every time we interacted with him, and I looked forward to getting to know him better. I am shocked and saddened by his passing, and it is with great regret that I bid farewell to such a celebrated guardian of our nation. Our sincere condolences go out to Thuy and the rest of Vic’s family.

Aziza Musa

May 19, 2020

From the moment I was introduced to General Hugo & Thuy by my then-fiance, now-husband (Mehdi), they instantly took me in as one of the family and I am forever grateful. I have such lovely memories of General Hugo it is hard to pick one. He was a brilliant debater (I was very careful which topics to bring up over dinner lest I be unprepared for the ensuing debate), a loyal friend, a true gentleman, and a powerful speaker. Perhaps my favorite quality of his was his piercing sense of humor. Whenever the four of us would go out to dinner, it was always just a matter of time before his good-natured & persistent ribbing would have us all doubled over in laughter. May he rest in eternal peace & power. General Hugo will always be in my prayers and those of Mehdi, Salam, Layan, and Layth. We didn't get to see you as often as we had liked after we moved to MA but you will always be their dear, beloved "Uncle Hugo".

Kirk Healy

May 18, 2020

Major General Victor Hugo was a national treasure while here, and now a heavenly treasure. The General can rest easy with his former comrades who welcomed him home with open arms, including one of his oldest friends, my father.

The family of MG Michael D. Healy US Army Ret. 1927-2018, send our profound condolences to you, the entire family, and all who loved General Hugo, one of America's Favorite Sons.

Kirk Healy

John Hay

May 18, 2020

Most sincere condolences to the family of MG Vic Hugo .
I had the pleasure of serving with General Hugo and was so very fortunate to continue my friendship with him over these many years after we both retired from the Army.
General Hugo truly set the example all officers should emulate when it came to Leadership and especially moral courage .
He was a demanding leader because he wanted things to be done correctly the first time to ensure ALL soldiers received the care , training and equipment required to go to war Today ! He would sacrifice his career to back up his people if they had taken the correct action, and he did so often . Always respectful , he would inform his superiors three and four star generals if he knew they might have made an error in judgment or wronged one of his soldiers . Really a stand up General and friend .
General you were loved by all, May you Rest In Peace with Our Lord . You will be missed , you fought the good fight, see you on the other side Sir !
All The Way !

John Hay