- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Huan Nguyen has gone from war refugee to admiral in the U.S. Navy.

In 1975, along with his uncle — a former colonel in South Vietnam’s Air Force — Adm. Nguyen fled his homeland to seek a better life in America. His parents and siblings had all been killed by the Viet Cong. He remembers seeing sailors and Marines building shelters and serving hot food to the weary refugees when they finally arrived on Guam.

“I thought how lucky I am to be in a place like America. Those sailors inspired me to later serve int he United States Navy,” he said in a statement.

Last week, the Navy officially promoted him to rear admiral — the first Vietnamese-born officer to achieve flag rank.

“America is the beacon of hope for all of us. There is no other place where a person can go for such opportunity,” Adm. Nguyen said.

Adm. Nguyen, 60, was born in Hue to an armor officer in South Vietnam’s army. He was shot several times in the same Viet Cong attack that left his parents and five brothers and sisters dead at their home near Saigon. He survived the attack, which included a bullet that pierced his skull, Navy officials said.

A U.S. Air Force colonel later sponsored Adm. Nguyen and his moved, along with his uncle’s family, to Oklahoma. He attended Oklahoma State University, where he graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. In 1993, Adm. Nguyen received a direct commission into the Navy’s engineering duty officer program. He has held a variety of engineering-related positions, including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Adm. Nguyen will serve as the deputy commander for cyber engineering at the Naval Sea Systems Command on the Washington Navy Yard.

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