A Vietnamese-American Sailor’s Story > United States Navy > News Tales

Nguyen, who was just lately chosen to fee as a naval Provide Corps officer, joined the Navy from Wichita, Kansas, at 19 – however that’s not the place his story started. 

Ten Years

It started with a letter from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. It was the summer time of 2013; he was 17 years previous and dwelling along with his mother and father in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

“I bear in mind the day we acquired the letter,” mentioned Nguyen. “I used to be pondering, ‘What’s occurring? Are we leaving?’ I noticed this was one thing massive. Every part occurred so quick after getting that letter.”

That letter was an authorized immigrant petition for Nguyen and his mother and father, and it allowed them to use for residency in the USA. Receiving that letter was the results of an immigration request that was initiated in 2001 by Nguyen’s uncle and aunt who lived in the USA.

“My uncle, who was a pilot, sponsored my household after I was 5 years previous. The method took 12 years to finish,” Nguyen mentioned. 

Decided to supply their kids with higher alternatives, Nguyen’s mother and father accomplished the visa course of as quick as they may, and by October of 2013, the Nguyens have been standing in Wichita as official residents of the USA.

Eight Years

“Once I got here to the U.S., I needed to re-do my senior yr twice,” Nguyen mentioned. “In Vietnam, I used to be purported to graduate in 2014, however after I began faculty within the states, I couldn’t graduate till 2015 due to the completely different course necessities.”

On the age of 17, Nguyen needed to be taught a second language and undertake a brand new tradition, whereas wanting towards an unsure future. However by means of his faculty’s English as a Second Language Program, and with the assistance of some new associates, Nguyen went from realizing little in regards to the language to passing his AP English literature class earlier than commencement. 

Throughout his senior yr, Nguyen additionally labored at a lounge and a fast-food restaurant. Whereas Nguyen couldn’t see a future in these minimal wage jobs, he knew he couldn’t afford faculty both. Then, sooner or later one in every of his coworkers mentioned, ‘I’m going to be a Seabee within the Navy.’

“Navy recruiters occurred to point out as much as my class that subsequent week,” Nguyen mentioned. “I wrote my quantity down for them and the remainder is historical past.”

Nguyen signed up for the Navy earlier than graduating from highschool and arrived at boot camp in December of 2015. After eight intense weeks, Nguyen not solely grew to become a Sailor, but in addition a naturalized American citizen.

Three Targets

Regardless of not realizing a lot in regards to the maritime service, Nguyen was not unfamiliar with the chance and sacrifice that include serving within the navy.

Two generations of his household previous to him had served within the Republic of Vietnam Army Forces, who fought towards the Viet Cong alongside the USA through the Vietnam Warfare.

Nguyen’s grandfather retired as an infantry Grasp Sergeant within the nation’s Army, whereas his three uncles served as officers: one as a pilot within the South Vietnam Air Power and two within the Army infantry. One was killed in motion through the warfare. 

After the autumn of Saigon in 1975, Nguyen’s surviving uncles have been despatched to re-education camps. Due to their navy service, they endured years in these jail camps operated by the Communist authorities of Vietnam. Each of his surviving uncles have been ultimately launched from their camps, and later immigrated to the U.S. and Canada through the Nineties.

The values and sacrifices of his lineage instilled in Nguyen a permanent sense of gratitude and obligation. Nguyen mentioned that when he determined to hold on the household custom of service, it was primarily to provide again to the nation that had given his household freedom and alternative. 

Pushed to grab each alternative whereas writing his personal narrative as a Vietnamese American immigrant, Nguyen additionally set three objectives for himself to attain whereas serving within the Navy: achieve his American citizenship, cash for school and monetary independence.

Over the previous eight years, Nguyen has attained all three.

In 2022, he acquired his Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Client Science from the College of Houston – utilizing tuition help and his Publish-9/11 GI Invoice to finish programs in his off-duty time.

“I wished it so dangerous, I simply pushed myself as exhausting as I may,” Nguyen mentioned.

 In February of 2023, his exhausting work paid off once more. Nguyen acquired his official discover that he was accepted to attend Navy Officer Candidate College, placing him on observe to fee as a Provide Corps Officer – fulfilling a dream that he had labored towards since he was a younger E-2.

“Once I joined the Navy, I noticed so many advantages and so many alternatives. I simply determined to go for them,” Nguyen mentioned.

Opening the Door for Others

“My aim is to make the identical impression on Sailors as my leaders and shipmates have executed to me. That features growing Sailors towards their private {and professional} objectives,” Nguyen mentioned, reflecting on his position as an enlisted recruiter at Navy Expertise Acquisition Group Houston.

Since arriving at NTAG Houston, Nguyen has welcomed 47 people into the Navy. By way of his personal story and work, he has been capable of open the identical door of alternatives for others, many like himself with Vietnamese roots.

“I reached out to the Vietnamese group in my space and advocated for the Navy as a result of I used to be capable of relate my story to theirs,” he mentioned.

 “I’ve a Sailor who acquired a NAM inside his first month onboard; one other Sailor who was acknowledged by a flag officer inside his first six months within the Navy; others who have been acknowledged at fundamental coaching, A-school, et cetera – that is how I do know I’m positively impacting our Navy,” Nguyen mentioned. “As I depart recruiting, I can put a giant smile on my face as a result of I do know the Sailors I’ve put in will make the Navy a greater place.”

As Nguyen prepares for OCS and his time as a recruiter involves an finish, he continues to educate and mentor the Sailors he’s helped be a part of the service. He mentioned his best reward as a recruiter has been seeing his recruits come again to go to him in uniform. Many thank him for altering their lives.

Nguyen closed out fiscal yr 2022 as one of many Prime 5 Recruiters at NTAG Houston, and acquired quite a few area and district awards.

Simply in ten years, Nguyen has overcome challenges that almost all Individuals won’t ever must face. He has put within the work, demonstrating gratitude and dedication at every stage, and chooses to proceed paying it ahead to the subsequent technology of Sailors.

The Navy is dedicated to enabling a workforce demographic just like that of the nation it serves. The MyNavy HR Crew, comprised of greater than 26,000 devoted professionals stationed worldwide, attracts, develops and manages the expertise that ensures our benefit at sea whereas offering distinctive HR service to our Sailors and their households.

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