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Nomads: Face to Face A1C Dat Trinh

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

“I think I give the U.S. some of my personal flavor, you know… some spice.”


U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dat Trinh, 33rd Fighter Wing administrative technician, was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 11.


“I think originally my parents just wanted to give their children a better future, better education and maybe a better chance at finding better jobs.”

When Trinh and his family arrived here, his parent’s put him in language classes on the weekends where he learned English and two different dialects of Chinese.

“My biggest struggle when I arrived [to the United States] was probably the language barrier and the culture shock.  I didn’t know Americans were so free. You could express yourself, not like in Vietnam.”

At 23, Trinh followed in his older sister’s footsteps and enlisted in the military after spending a short period of time in college.

“We joined the military for our education, because America is the land of opportunity so we took this chance and ran with it.”

At first, Trinh’s parents didn’t understand his decision to enlist.

“My parents did not like the idea of me joining the military at all.  They were worried about my safety, but now I would say they take pride in telling our relatives that their kids are in the military.”

Looking back, Trinh said his military experience has been a great eye opener and he encourages others to not be afraid of change.  

“I would say, ‘Just do it.’ Challenge yourself, you won’t know until you do it.  Once you’ve done it, you’ll say, ‘that was easy.’”