09/27/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/27/2023 08:32
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Army Sgt. Chau Do was born in Vietnam and came to the United States with his family in 1998 when he was 9 years old. He could not speak English, but the public school system would help overcome that barrier.
"Life in America was all new to me," Do said. "Not knowing how to speak the language made it difficult to interact with other people."
This was just the beginning of a path that would take overcoming a communication barrier to a global level.
Do became friends with one of his neighbors, whom he refers to as his mentor. This stranger encouraged him to join the Boy Scouts, where he discovered what it meant to serve the community. He eventually attained the rank of Eagle and even had the opportunity to meet President George W. Bush.
"My parents wanted me to go to college after high school, but I wanted to do something more," he said. "I joined the U.S. Army in 2013 and committed to online schooling at the same time."
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows people born in other countries to gain U.S. citizenship through U.S. military service. While peacetime and wartime have different guidelines, this ultimately assisted Do in getting his naturalization papers.
"As a Boy Scout, I love to experience the outdoors and just that lifestyle," he said. "I wanted to expand that and help out different people and share what I've learned with people in different regions."
Do was assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he served as a signal operations support specialist and welcomed his opportunity to deploy to West Africa to provide communications support.
One of his most memorable moments was being on the front lines with the infantry using lower-tier communications like handheld radios and satellite communications and working alongside coalition forces to improve communications with each other.
After serving for six years with 2nd Brigade, Do served with 3rd Squadron, 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas, where he deployed again. While he was able to maintain contact with his family during deployments, Do decided it was time to settle down with his wife and two children. In January 2020, Do chose to transition to the Colorado National Guard, where he could continue to serve, but with more stability for his family.
"I wanted to give back what I have taken from being Active Duty and also support the community in my state," he said.
His opportunity to support his community and state came quickly when he volunteered to serve on State Active Duty combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than perform his expert tactical communications skills, he worked on a diverse team with Army, Air Force, and local first responders serving in long-term care facilities, testing sites and detention facilities to relieve the workload on an already stressed response force.
"I didn't know how much I could impact the community," Do said. "So when they asked for volunteers to support the state, I said I'd do it, and I didn't even know what it was all about. But just being out there giving the nurses an extra hand, whether it was administration or just carrying food, I think that's what made an impact."
Currently, Do is assigned to the 1158th Space Company, his third Colorado Army National Guard unit. He also works as a full-time information technology support Soldier, where he uses his communications background to maintain network connectivity and functionality of CONG staff's virtual workstations and computer systems.
"Being in the field, we train and train, but how is that impacting ourselves," Do said. "Being in the Guard, we're able to pull from our training and apply it to real-life situations, not necessarily thinking about how we're doing, but just impacting the lives of others.
"I would never have thought that joining the Guard would give me so many opportunities to learn and network throughout the organization," Do said. "My time in the military has been an abundance of opportunity for growth, not just for myself, but for my family as well."