Tao Nguyen was born in the Hung Yen province in 1946 and fled to the South with his family in 1954. He graduated from the College of Political Warfare in Da Lat and served as a Lieutenant during the Vietnam Civil War. After the fall of Saigon, Tao spent seven years in a re-education camp until his release in 1982 and reunited with his wife. He went on to have three children in Saigon before moving to Virginia, U.S., in June, 1991, where he currently resides. Today Tao is retired after working for 25 years at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Crystal City, and enjoys his days going to church, reading, spending time with his four grandchildren, leading Bible study groups, and catching up with old friends.
Alexandria Hien McCombs is the Assistant General Counsel for Humana Inc. and Chair-Elect of the American Bar Association Health Law Section. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated with Distinction in History and a minor in Contemporary French Studies from The Colorado College. She earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. Alexandria and her husband live in Dallas, Texas with their three children, and enjoy running and volunteering at 5K races.
Lynne is a former Vietnamese Boat Person who fled Vietnam in 1979. In this interview, she talks about her escape, how she arrived in the United States, and her connection with a Malaysian naval officer who saved her life. Lynne currently resides in San Francisco with her family.
If anyone has any connections or information about how we could potentially locate and contact this naval officer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lynne was in Malaysia around May 8-28, 1979, and docked side by side with the Malaysian naval ship for about 7-10 days before being towed to Indonesia. The naval officer in question has a picture of Lynne that was taken when she was 17 years old.
Jonathan Castanien is a Brooklyn based stage manager born and raised in Southern California. Outside of production work, his experience includes public relations and writing for the arts. He is a proud member of the Asian American Theatre community and has a bad habit of writing novels in response to misguided facebook statuses. You can see this piece and others on his blog, https://mixedupthoughtsblog.wordpress.com
About Thuy Nguyen:
Former "boat-person" refugee. Grateful to be alive from the kindness of strangers. Born in Vietnam. Refugee in Thailand. Grew up in Canada. Married a lovely Greek woman and was welcomed into a loving Greek family. Followed his heart to pursue a career in Silicon Valley. Blessed with 3 children who are American, Canadian, Greek, and Vietnamese. Privileged to have worked with, and learned from intelligent people and awesome friends at Rogers, @Home Network, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and Comcast. Thuy is a technology entrepreneur and the founder of PalWiFi.
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Thien Tho Ngoc Nguyen is a Vietnamese woman born in Saigon, Vietnam, who immigrated to the United States in 1992. She currently works for Boat People S.O.S. (BPSOS) as a Case Manager for the Community Against Domestic Violence (CADV) program and Victims of Exploitation and Trafficking Assistance (VETA) program. She currently lives in Virginia with her family.
***This interview was conducted in English and Vietnamese, and later transcribed into English by PYD.