HOF147: Nguyen Xuan Thach

Enlisting in the Vietnamese army in 1967, Nguyen Xuan Thach did reconnaissance tours with the special forces, spying at close range on Viet Cong movements in the jungle. He was also assigned to be an interpreter for the Australian special forces, which specialized in ambush tours before joining the navy for the final three years of the war. When Saigon fell in 1975, he was at the navy supply centre. He saw the hordes of people streaming onto the navy ships and wondered if he had the time or opportunity to gather his family members to leave with him. In the end, not knowing what fate awaited the ships out at sea, he decided to go alone. After a brief stay at the American bases in Guam and Camp Pendleton in California, he applied to settle in Canada. With the help of staff at a Manpower centre, he found work in Calgary, Alberta making steel mesh and car suspensions. He passed up an opportunity to go to college, saving money instead to sponsor his parents and siblings. The family was reunited in 1980.