I would like to share with you an article written about Mr. Hung Ngoc Ha titled "Chandler man 'letting go of past' to become U.S. citizen Friday" and it was written by Weldon B. Johnson of the The Arizona Republic.
I have posted the article below and the link as a reference along with a photo of Mr. Hung Ngoc Ha.
James Van Thach
"Chandler man 'letting go of past' to become U.S. citizen Friday"
Hung Ngoc Ha knows what it means to sacrifice for your country.
Born in South Vietnam in 1970, Ha's father and grandfather were killed during the civil war in that country. His family fled Vietnam in 1973 and in 1975 he came to the United States.
Ha would also participate in war, as he joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1998 and was eventually deployed to Iraq.
Now, the Chandler man will be able to give even more to his country as he is sworn in Friday as a U.S. citizen at a ceremony at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix.
"We were on that boat leaving and as I stood there watching Vietnam disappear on the horizon, it made me sad to realize I was leaving my home country," Ha said. "I guess my becoming a citizen means this will be my home country. I'm breaking the ties and letting go of the past. This is my home."
Before Ha was born, his grandfather, who was mayor of a town, was executed shortly after the communists took over what became North Vietnam. His father joined the South Vietnamese military as a teen as a result of that execution and made it his career until he was killed in action in 1973.
After his father's death the family left Saigon. They wound up adrift in the ocean for several days when their boat ran out of fuel. They were rescued by a U.S. Navy ship and transported to the Philippines. Two years later, the family came to live in the United States.
Ha worked, attended school and eventually enrolled at Arizona State University to get a degree in electrical engineering. But he felt he could still contribute more to his new homeland and joined the Marine Corps Reserves.
Ha's unit, part of the Sixth Engineering Support Battalion, helped lay and defend fuel lines during the early days of the war in Iraq.
Ha is proud of his service in Iraq and feels he continues to do his part to support the troops since he has returned to the U.S. He completed his degree at ASU and now works with a defense contractor building communication and satellite systems.
He said citizenship will mean more responsibility for him.
"I guess this requires a lot more activity on my part," Ha said. "I'll do whatever I can and interact with the community. Maybe I'll get involved in politics a little more and just do the things I always wanted to do for Vietnam. Since I'm becoming a citizen, I have a responsibility to do that."