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Sang Nguyen Navy

Photo of Sang Nguyen.

"[My family] didn't want to see me fight there because the horrors of war were coming back in their eyes."

Sangs Nguyen's family was thrown into turmoil during the Vietnam War. Once well-off public servants and a well-known family in Saigon, they were forced to give up their possessions and join the South Vietnamese Army. After the war, Sang's family moved to America where Sang was born. It is with the backdrop of his family's loss during the Vietnam War that Sang hesitantly joined the US military. He enlisted in the Navy and held an important position defending the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz CVN-68 from attack. Daily operations included taking care of the computer network and cooling systems of the multi-million-dollar NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System that shot down incoming planes and ships threatening the carrier. Life on the carrier was harder than Sang ever expected. Sailors felt isolated during long voyages at sea and man-overboard calls were not uncommon. Sang's transition to student life, where he finds himself sharing a classroom with recent high school graduates, has been complex, unnerving and empowering.