Friday, October 11, 2019

Read Admiral Huan Nguyen's Historical Day

Today,  Huan Nguyen, age 60, became the first Vietnamese-born  US Navy Rear Admiral.  He is the fourth Vietnamese-born general and flag officers.  US Army Major General Viet Xuan Luong, age 54, was promoted in 2014 and soon to be US Army Major General Lap The Chau Flora, age 57, was promoted in 2016.  Not in picture is US Marine Corps Brigadier General Bill Seely III (promoted in 2016).   

According to the official Naval Sea Systems Command Webiste:

Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen, age 60, will serve as the Deputy Commander for Cyber Engineering at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on the Washington Navy Yard.  NAVSEA commander, Vice Adm. Tom Moore, served as the presiding officer.
“Today we will welcome the first Vietnamese-born U.S. Navy officer to achieve flag rank, and that is a significant event,” said Moore.
Nguyen after being promoted addressed the audience.
“It is a great honor to attain the rank of admiral. I am tremendously humbled to become the first Vietnamese American to wear the flag’s rank in the U.S. Navy. The honor actually belongs to the Vietnamese American community, which instilled in us a sense of patriotism, duty, honor, courage and commitment to our adopted country, the United States of America,” said Nguyen. “This is our America. A country built on service, kindness and generosity…opportunity…the freedom to hope and dream. These values are what inspired me to serve.  And what a great honor and privilege it is to serve our Navy…to serve our country…to support and defend our Constitution.”
Nguyen was born in Hue Vietnam, the son of an armor officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Nguyen’s mother and father, along with his five brothers and sister were killed by Viet Cong Communist guerillas in their family home outside Saigon. Nine-year-old Nguyen was shot in the arm and thigh, with another bullet piercing his skull. He stayed with his mother for two hours, until she bled out and died. Amazingly, Nguyen survived and escaped after dark.
Nguyen was taken in by his uncle, a Colonel in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. In 1975, at age 16, they fled Vietnam, seeking refuge in the United States following the fall of Saigon.
Transported through Guam, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel took care of Nguyen and his family. The U.S. 7th Fleet helped to evacuate thousands of Vietnamese refugees and transport them to safety in Guam. Seeing the U.S. Navy take care of his family would later inspire Nguyen to serve in the Navy. 
“I was one of those refugees, apprehensive about an uncertain future, yet feeling extremely grateful that I was here at all.  The images that I remember vividly when I arrived at Camp Asan, Guam, now Asan Beach Park, were of American sailors and Marines toiling in the hot sun, setting up tents and chow hall, distributing water and hot food, helping and caring for the people with dignity and respect. I thought to myself how lucky I am to be in a place like America. Those sailors inspired me to later serve in the United States Navy,” said Nguyen.
Later that year, U.S. Air Force Colonel Ed Veiluva and his wife Dorothy sponsored his uncle’s family, allowing them to officially come to the United States as political refugees. Nguyen moved with his uncle’s family to Midwest City, Oklahoma, just outside of Tinker Air Force Base.
Nguyen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1981. He holds Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Engineering (Manufacturing Concentration) from Purdue University, and Information Technology with Highest Distinction from Carnegie Mellon University.  He received a Navy direct commission through the Reserve Engineering Duty Officer program in 1993.
“America is the beacon of hope for all of us. There is no other place in the world where a person can go for such opportunity,” said Nguyen.

Over 300 people, mostly family members, friends, naval officers and supporters came and attended the ceremony held at Navy Memorial in Washington DC.  
Along his side to celebrate his promotion were his wife, Huong Nguyen, his three children, his uncle (former Vietnamese Air Force Colonel Tu Nguyen) and aunt who raised him, his father-in-law (with black cane), Khoa Xuan Le, a former faculty at John Hopkins University and founder of SEARAC, a refugee and immigrant action center advocating for South East Asians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My paternal great x 4 grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War.
My maternal great x 5 grandfather was a soldier at Valley Forge when he was 15!
Yet this man, a refugee orphan from an utterly alien land who came here with nothing is already a more honorable, more admirable, and more Real an American than I will ever be.