Duat Q. Tran was born in 1942 in northern Vietnam. When the country was partitioned in 1954, his parents moved to Saigon in South Vietnam. He was in college when he decided to attend the Vietnamese Military Academy in Da Lat, which at the time was a two-year program. After graduation, he became an officer in the Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps. During his time in service, he led a platoon of 45 marines, and attended a course at the U.S. Marine base at Quantico. As a Marine, he served all around the country, and even conducted missions in Cambodia and Laos. At the end of the war, he was sent to a Communist prison, where he spent 7 years, 6 months, and 28 days at hard labor in northern Vietnam close to the Chinese border. After being released, he returned to the south, got married, and eventually moved to the United States in 1991.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his family, and attending the Vietnamese Military Academy. He describes his time in the military, and his service throughout South Vietnam. Discussing his time in Communist prison, he does not call it a “Re-education Camp” because he did not learn anything there. Finally, he explains how he came to America, highlighting his determination to support his family.