Coral Wong Pietsch

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Coral Wong Pietsch
Coral Wong Pietsch (cropped).jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Assumed office
June 28, 2012
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byWilliam P. Greene Jr.
Personal details
Coral Wong

(1947-11-11) November 11, 1947 (age 75)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
James Pietsch
(m. 1972)
Alma materCollege of Saint Teresa
Marquette University
Catholic University of America
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1974–2007[2][3]
RankBrigadier General
UnitArmy Judge Advocate General's Corps
United States Army Reserve
Battles/warsIraq War[4][5]
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit

Coral Wong Pietsch (born November 11, 1947) is an American lawyer who serves as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. She is a former brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve. In 2001 she became the first female general officer in the Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, and the first Asian-American woman to reach general officer rank in the United States Army.[6][7][8]


Born in Waterloo, Iowa, to a Chinese immigrant father from Canton, China who had come to the United States to start a Chinese restaurant,[2] and a Czech American mother, she grew up feeling different from her peers during the height of the Cold War, often being mocked for the Asian half of her ethnicity.[9] Initially earning a bachelor's degree in theatre from the College of Saint Teresa, and later a master's degree in drama from Marquette University, she went on to attend the Catholic University of America for law school, graduating in 1974. There she would meet her future husband, an army officer who was also attending to become a lawyer.[2]

Commissioned into the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 1974, she was assigned to Eighth Army in Korea then to Fort Shafter, Hawaii, completing her active duty requirement, and transferring to the Army Reserves. After active duty, she settled down and began to reside in Hawaii with her husband and became a civilian attorney for U.S. Army Pacific. While a reservist she had been deployed to Johnston Atoll, Japan, the Philippines, Washington D.C.,[2] and Iraq.[4] She was a chair commissioner of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, with her term expiring while deployed.[10] In 2001 she became the first female general officer in the Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, and the first Asian-American woman to reach the rank of general in the United States Army.[6]

On November 1, 2011, President Obama nominated her to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims as his replacement for Judge William P. Greene, who had reached the end of his 15-year term.[11] She was confirmed by the Senate on May 24, 2012.


2017 – BG Coral Wong Pietsch was inducted into the U.S. Army Women's Foundation Hall of Fame.[12]


  1. ^ "The Lady is a General: Coral Wong Pietsch". Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. April 29, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d LTC Randy Pullen (April 24, 2001). "Waterloo to Washington: The Long Journey of Coral Wong Pietsch". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  3. ^ Lisa Carroll (March 2009). "Six* Stars: CUA to Honor Outstanding Alumni". Office of Public Affairs. The Catholic University of America. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Harassment rule changes postponed". Pacific Business News. August 6, 2007. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  5. ^ "Opening Statement of Coral Wong Pietsch" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. United States Senate. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b "APA Women's Wall of Fame Women's History Month Edition". Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
  7. ^ Gregg K. Kakesako (May 15, 2009). "Army Reserve in Pacific gets first female leader". Honolulu Star Bulletin. Retrieved October 15, 2009. Compton follows Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Coral Wong Pietsch, who became the first Asian/Pacific-American female general and first female chief judge in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps in 2000.
  8. ^ LTC Randy Pullen (September 1, 2001). "Army Reservist Achieves Two Notable Firsts". The Officer. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  9. ^ Jeremy Craig (May 20, 2005). "Pioneer speaks at Fort Gordon". Augusta Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  10. ^ "Hawaii Civil Rights Commission – About the Commissioners", URL accessed 08/23/06
  11. ^ The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate, 1 November 2011.
  12. ^ "2017 Hall of Fame inductees". Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims