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Once sailor, forever sailor

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chuyện một thiếu tá TQLC Mỹ gốc Việt




Chuyện xưa bỏ qua được, chuyện nay mới là đau xót



Huy Phương/Người Việt

Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn ra đời năm 1970 tại quận Ðất Ðỏ, Phước Tuy trong một gia đình nông dân nghèo, mà kẻ thù mấy đời của gia đình là Việt Minh Cộng Sản. Ông Cố của Tuấn đã bị Việt Minh giết, ông Nội bị chặt đầu bỏ ngoài đường lộ và thân phụ của ông, một sĩ quan VNCH bị tử thương vì Việt Cộng phục kích trong một lần hành quân mở đường tại Chi Khu Ðất Ðỏ.
Tuy vậy, khi nói về những người đã gây tang tóc cho mấy đời gia đình ông, Thiếu Tá Anh Tuấn cho rằng có thể ông không thù hận Việt Cộng vì đó là mối thù cá nhân, nhưng ông ghét Việt Cộng vì chế độ này đã đưa dân tộc Việt Nam đến bên bờ vực thẳm. Ông đã có chú, bác bị tập trung trong các nhà tù Cộng Sản sau tháng 4, 1975, gia đình ông đã trải qua những ngày khốn khổ trong vùng kinh tế mới, tuy vậy những gì mà ông thấy xẩy ra trên đất nước bây giờ làm cho lòng ông đau xót.

Thiếu tá Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn. (Ảnh: Huy Phương/Người Việt)
Trong thời gian ở Việt Nam, tuy chỉ theo học được đến lớp 7, hiện nay Thiếu Tá Tuấn đọc và viết được tiếng Việt rất giỏi và luôn luôn theo dõi tình hình thời sự, nhất là những gì đang xẩy ra tại Việt Nam. Suy nghĩ về chế độ đang cai trị đất nước, ông cho rằng, tuy chiến thắng năm 1975, Cộng Sản đã chọn con đường sai lầm mà không bao giờ nhận khuyết điểm, không những đưa dân tộc đến chỗ nghèo đói mà còn làm cho xã hội tha hóa về mặt đạo đức.
Thân phụ của Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn là Trung Úy Phạm Ngọc Châu, xuất thân từ trường Thiếu Sinh Quân Vũng Tàu và tốt nghiệp khóa 24 SQTB Thủ Ðức, phục vụ trong Lực Lượng Ðặc biệt VNCH, Biệt Kích Lôi Hổ ở Ðà Nẵng. Ðầu năm 1972, trong thời gian “Việt Nam Hóa Chiến Tranh,” Trung Úy Phạm Ngọc Châu được đưa về TK Phước Tuy, và vì muốn gần gũi gia đình, Trung Úy Châu tình nguyện về Chi Khu Ðất Ðỏ. Chỉ trong ngày đầu tiên nhận nhiệm vụ dẫn trung đội mở đường, Trung Úy Châu đã bị phục kích tử thương. Lúc bấy giờ Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn chỉ mới được 18 tháng tuổi.
Sau tháng 4, 1975, gia đình của Cố Ðại Úy Phạm Ngọc Châu bị bắt đi vùng kinh tế mới Bà Tô, thuộc tỉnh Xuyên Mộc. Sau bốn năm chịu cảnh thiếu thốn ở chốn rừng thiêng nước độc và các con không có cơ hội đến trường, tháng 12, 1979, bà mẹ của Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn quyết định đưa các con trốn về lại Bà Rịa và dẫn đứa con trai lớn vượt biển. Cuộc ra đi tìm đường sống thành công, hai mẹ con bà đến định cư tại San Francisco, không thân thích, không tài sản, không Anh ngữ, sống đã khó, còn lo chuyện làm sao đem các con từ bên nhà sang. Mãi đến 8 năm sau (1986), bà mới bảo lãnh cho ba đứa con còn lại, trong đó có Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn sang Mỹ. Lúc mẹ và anh ra đi, Tuấn chỉ mới lên 9 tuổi, hằng ngày phải theo ông ngoại, ra sông, vào những lúc thủy triều xuống chài cá, tôm để kiếm sống, mỗi đêm thường khóc vì thương mẹ, không bao giờ mơ ước mình có ngày đến Mỹ, tốt nghiệp đại học BA (International Relations), MBA (Financial Management), và trở thành một sĩ quan của một quân đội hàng đầu của thế giới.
Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn đến Mỹ năm 1986 và được vào lớp 10. Khác với những học khu khác trên đất Mỹ, San Francisco có trường học đặc biệt cho di dân mới đến, Tuấn vào trường Newcomer High School, rồi tốt nghiệp trung học George W. High năm 1989. Ngay tháng 11 năm đó, Anh Tuấn nối tiếp con đường binh nghiệp của cha anh, tình nguyện vào binh chủng TQLC Hoa Kỳ. (Người anh cả vượt biên theo mẹ, Phạm Ngọc Tuân cũng đã phục vụ trong binh chủng TQLC Mỹ 4 năm). Tuấn bắt đầu binh nghiệp với ngành pháo binh, sau đó chuyển sang ngành tài chánh khi được thăng cấp sĩ quan năm 1997. Trong gần 20 năm quân ngũ, PT Anh Tuấn đã có mặt trên các chiến trường Kuwait trong chiến dịch Bão Sa Mạc, Ðông Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan... Tuấn đã từng làm cố vấn cho một tiểu đoàn Cảnh Sát Dã Chiến ở Baghdad, sĩ quan đặc trách cho chương trình Xây Dựng Nông Thôn tại Helmand, Afghanistan. Hiện nay Thiếu Tá PT Anh Tuấn giữ chức vụ thanh tra và huấn luyện viên thuộc Trung Ðoàn 23, Sư Ðoàn 4 TQLC Trừ Bị tại San Bruno, California.
Trong ngày Ðại Hội Gia Ðình Mũ Ðỏ tổ chức tại Nam Cali vào tháng 8, 2011, Ðại Tá Nhảy Dù Lương Xuân Việt hiện diện trên sân khấu cùng với Thiếu Tá TQLC Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn, khi trao lá cờ Mỹ đã treo tại Afghanistan cho ban tổ chức, đã giới thiệu ông là hậu duệ của TQLC-VNCH phục vụ trong binh chủng Nhảy Dù, và Thiếu Tá Tuấn là hậu duệ của Biệt Kích Dù phục vụ trong binh chủng TQLC.
Thiếu Tá PT Anh Tuấn luôn luôn nhớ đến người mẹ, một quả phụ VNCH, trong số phận ngặt nghèo, đã vươn lên, vượt qua bao nhiêu khó khăn để tìm con đường sống cho những đứa con. Không có bà, Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn mãi mãi là anh dân quê, chài lưới ven con sông Thủ Lựu, Bà Rịa, Vũng Tàu, ngày ngày kiếm sống, không hề có chút tương lai. Phạm Trần Anh Tuấn mang ơn nước Mỹ và muốn phục vụ đất nước này một cách trực tiếp, hữu hiệu trong vai trò một người lính TQLC hiện dịch.

TogetherWeServed - Maj Tuan-Anh Pham
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Pham, Tuan-Anh (Pham), Maj Audit, Finance And Accounting
 Service Photo 
 Service Details
134 kb
Current Service Status
Active USMC
Current/Last Rank
Major
Current/Last Primary MOS
3404-Financial Management Officer
Current/Last MOSGroup Audit, Finance And Accounting
Previously Held MOS
0811-Field Artillery Cannoneer
0151-Administrative Clerk
0251-Interrogation-Translation Specialist
9910-Billet Designator-Unrestricted Officer
8844-Financial Management Specialist
8007-Billet Designator-Unrestricted Ground Officer
8006-Billet Designator-Unrestricted Officer
Service Years
1989 - Present

Major






 Additional Information
What are you doing now:Currently serving as the Comptroller for 1st Marine Division.
   
Other Comments:-Proud to be a Marine since Nov 1989 and an American since May 1993.
   


  2011-Present, 8006, Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)/MEPS Oakland

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 Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)/MEPS Oakland Details

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Last Updated: Jun 4, 2011
   
   
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The Iraq Page - Another Generation's War: Vietnamese American ...

Another Generation’s War: Vietnamese American Voices from IRAQ

   
Wednesday, August 12 2009 @ 11:32 AM MDT
Contributed by: James Van Thach
Views: 1,627
General NewsNHA Magazine -- Editor’s Note: After six years, there are currently more than 1.6 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the war drags on, more and more Americans, especially those with family members in the military, are feeling the impacts of the conflict. The Asian American community is no exception. According to the US Census, there are 282,000 Asian American veterans in the armed forces. Although, the number of Vietnamese American soldiers may be uncounted, they have signed up and fought honorably. nhaø magazine contributor Monya De caught up with three Vietnamese-American soldiers, whose insights offer a rare glimpse into their lives on the battlefield.

Major Tuan Pham, a career Marines officer with a deep love of the military, relates how his family history and own rise through the U.S. ranks have inextricably linked him with the Iraq effort. Pham, 37, experienced the fear of the Vietnam War first hand.


“During the Vietnam War my family sided with the Americans, then the Americans left. We paid dearly.  We lost our homeland and everything else.  My grandfather was kidnapped and beheaded by the Viet cong.  My father was killed in action fighting the Viet cong.”
“After the Fall of Saigon, our neighbors were imprisoned in concentration camps called ‘Re-Education Camps.’  Some did not make it out.  My family, including myself, was “encouraged” to relocate to the New Economic Zone (Vung Kinh Te Moi—a collective farming experiment) to work as peasants.”
“Our beloved Saigon name was taken away, and changed to something else.” 
At age 16, Pham arrived in the United States, where he attended school and worked as a newspaper delivery boy and dishwasher. Just three years later, he enlisted in the Marines in 1989 and was sent to Iraq where he served as an artillery crewman during Operation Desert Storm. He has now earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in addition to earning the rank of major.
He credits his family members, who have deep traditions in the military and public service, with giving him encouragement along the way. He notes that having a strong accent presented a challenge at times, but was ultimately surmountable. “Since I arrived here late at the age of 16, my English is accent-heavy.  I know most people think if you don’t speak or write perfect English, then you’re stupid or incompetent.  I try to combat that negative view by working hard at every job I’ve ever been assigned to.” 
As one who has known troubled times, Pham is openly sympathetic to the Iraqi plight, and warmly recalls very human moments from the country. He says the Iraqis were intrigued by his Asian face in a sea of white American advisers, and jokingly called him “Jackie Chan!”
Recalling Saigon, he says, “Thousands from my hometown took to the ocean to escape the harsh communist rule.   Many perished.  I just hope we do not repeat this in Iraq ...This is a problem we, as a country, have created.  Iraq’s a mess now.  But we can’t leave and walk away.” 
Like Pham, Captain John Dinh, 32, arrived in America during high school (in 1989) and has succeeded in the military despite struggling to learn English. As an immigrant in the military, he also had to defy stereotypes his peers held about him . When Dinh became interested in the army, his mother initially discouraged him, because the Vietnam War was still so fresh in her mind. But, as he relates, he fell into a group of delinquent friends, and she quickly saw the value of some discipline. He went to boot camp, followed by reservist duty, active duty, then officer candidate school and flight school.
His first tour of Iraq lasted from January to July 2005, flying more than 100 combat missions out of Al Asad, an air base in the Al Anbar province.   The second tour was as a FAC (Forward Air Controller) from February to October 2006, when he was attached to an Army Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Al Anbar province. In this tour, he was in charge of a 12-person team consisting of two other officers, and nine enlisted Marines engaged in ground combat. 
Dinh recalls that he had briefly considered some “boring” desk jobs related to his college degree in finance, including bank loan officer, but his childhood dream to fly prevailed. Along the way, he met the unique challenges of being an Asian in the military, from being teased by Caucasian servicemen for his accent, to surprise that he was Vietnamese and over five foot eight, to the politely raised eyebrows of relatives who asked what kind of work he was doing.
To cope with being different, he focused on his assignments, such as helping an Iraqi town “at the mercy of the thugs who murdered and kidnapped the [townspeople] in order to push their agendas.”
 “The Iraqi people really needed our presence. You would think that Iraqis wouldn’t murder other Iraqis if their struggle is with the US, but sadly that is not the case.” Perhaps because their situation was so desperate, Dinh was not treated any differently than the white servicemen around him in Iraq.
He is proud of the fact that a significant amount of time spent in Iraq was for civic assignments such as making communities sustainable and functional following the U.S. departure. But it was not always easy, especially when he saw the children who were caught in the fray. “As a father of two, I just wished the kids I met there weren’t subjected to a war, but hopefully the outcome of this (war) will be good for them and much like me, one day (they’ll) have the opportunities they would not have had otherwise.”
Now, Dinh is excited about being back in flight school to become a fighter pilot (“going from Goose to Maverick in Top Gun”), and plans to fly until he retires. For young people who might be interested in such a career, he offers some advice. “I think we are at the time when most Vietnamese that are second or third generation Americans understand the difference in the cultures and are more willing to explore different career paths even though it may not be something their parents wish them to do.”
“So, if anyone has a desire to fly like I did...then I highly encourage them to do research and go talk to people and then they can figure out if it’s a lifestyle they want. It’s not easy, but it is very rewarding.”
Dinh Nguyen Thanh, who goes by Tino Dinh, grew up in the shadow of the space program; 15 minutes away from NASA headquarters in Houston. The 31-year-old is now a captain of the U.S. Air Force. He also came from a distinctive Vietnamese military background. “My father went to Vo Bi Da Lat, the Vietnam National Military Academy, and headed its alumni association. He never pushed me into military service, but he was very happy that I made the choice to continue the family tradition,” he says.
With astronaut dreams, he landed a spot at the Air Force Academy, only to be dismayed both by his electrical engineering classes and the realization that he did not have the requisite perfect pilot’s vision. Dinh switched to Asian Studies, and because the military academies reward their elite enrollees with higher military ranks, entered the Air Force as a commissioned officer. He calls the armed forces a pure meritocracy, and not a place where he felt handicapped by being Asian.
For six months from 2004 to 2005, Dinh was embedded with Iraqi soldiers, training personnel and ensuring timely exchange of information between the Coalition and Iraqi military headquarters. He had to prove himself a good deal, as the hardened, chain-smoking Iraqi officers, some who had survived torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime, initially wrote him off as a bespectacled rookie soldier from the Philippine army. But once the misconceptions were broken, they spoke to him with respect, and they even found common ground in learning about each others’ cultures. “We had many long, fascinating conversations,” he says.
While Dinh initially opposed the invasion of Iraq, he has come to realize that the U.S. has a role to play now. “What I believe is that abandoning the Iraqis would be morally irresponsible. We Vietnamese-Americans know this more than anyone. If America withdrew too suddenly, the humanitarian catastrophe would be unthinkable, not to mention igniting chaos in the region.”
On modernizing Iraq, Dinh says, “I agree that true liberal democracy cannot be pushed down anyone’s throats. However, I would say that the Islamic world and Arab culture have got to really find a way to reconcile themselves with modernity and global norms.”
“I think it is condescending to believe that non-Western cultures are incapable of developing enlightened, accountable forms of governance. In fact, the bickering and accusation... in the old South Vietnam mirrors that in Baghdad now. Still, this doesn’t mean that Vietnamese or Iraqis should abandon the pursuit of democracy.”
Having left the military, Dinh hopes to pursue an MBA and eventually contribute to Vietnam’s economic and social development.
A generation separates these men from the fall of Saigon. Yet in their actions and words, they demonstrate the legacy that the Vietnam War has left the Vietnamese-American people; a responsibility to the innocent victims of political conflict and to their own culture. Wearing the emblems of the United States, they have exemplified the ideals of this country. (Nam Yết chuyển)



4 comments:

baraahero said...

hi major pham how r u?good to see you here i'm steve baraa from iraq pleas i need you you can find me
bar2004aa@yahoo.com


11/18/2012

baraahero said...

hi major pham how are you ? good to see you well . pleas i need you to contacet me at my yahoo

bar2004aa@yahoo.com
best regardes

steve baraa from Iraq sptt team camp shield

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