F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
Airmen often join the Air Force to participate in a legacy of service in their family. One missileer’s choice to serve was inspired by his grandfather’s courageous acts during the Vietnam War.
“My service is honoring a family that has made a lot sacrifices for me growing up,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Tran, 320th Missile Squadron deputy missile combat crew commander.
Tran chose to join the Air Force because of his family’s sacrifices during and after the Vietnam War, and he strives to exemplify the same standards of excellence and dedication to duty that he respected in his grandfather.
“My grandfather was a south Vietnamese officer during the Vietnam War. He fought alongside American troops,” said Tran. “He talks about the discipline and structure of the U.S. Army, along with the satisfaction of working towards something greater than yourself.”
Tran’s grandfather and family were placed into re-education camps during the war.
“Eventually my father escaped to Cambodia, but faced a life or death situation,” said Tran. “He was captured by the Khmer Rouge. They had a reputation for making every prisoner a slave and killing them.”
However, the American Red Cross freed Tran’s father through a trade deal.
“My father often talks about how lucky he was when the American Red Cross came through and traded food and medicine for his life,” said Tran.
His father and grandfather eventually settled in America after escaping the hardships of the Vietnam War.
“The United States provided a lot of opportunities for my family,” said Tran. “It wasn’t perfect, but it provided an opportunity for a better life than we would have had in Vietnam. So that’s why I am serving. To give back to America.”
Today, Tran continues to share a close bond with his grandfather, and he leverages his family’s history of service to make a lasting impact on his supervisors and coworkers.
“Lt. Tran tells his own story of wanting to give back to a country that has made so much possible for himself and his family, which has led to his service in the U.S. Air Force,” said Lt. Col. George Chapman, 320th Missile Squadron commander. “You can sense that Lt. Tran’s service transcends the transactional.”
His grandfather valued military standards of discipline and integrity, and Tran puts those core values into practice each and every day.
“Lt. Tran is an outstanding officer with moral character and a sense of responsibility,” said Capt. Kelly Schweitzer, 320th Missile Squadron flight commander. “He always has a smile on his face and is willing to help others through tasks and obstacles no matter how busy his own life is.”
Tran expressed his gratitude for the opportunities the Air Force has provided him and is honored to be the first in his family to serve in the United States military.