Hugh Nguyen was born on December 5, 1967, in Nha Trang, Republic of Vietnam. His mother was Vietnamese and his father was an American Soldier. After Hugh was born, his mother tried to find the American Soldier, but was told that he had died in the war. Hugh and his younger sister, who was also Amerasian, were raised by their grandparents. The children spent part of their childhood in Saigon and part at a school run by nuns. As a child, Hugh felt that he struggled to fit in. In Vietnam, he was picked on because his hair and eyes were lighter in color, and he resorted to fighting to defend himself. After his family fled Vietnam as refugees, he felt that he was not accepted in America as “the Asian kid” in school. He was able to finally fit in through participation in sports, excelling in baseball and basketball. However, he always felt the lack of a strong father figure in his life. As an adult, he decided to search for his roots and took a DNA test. Eventually, he found a match, and after several attempts at reaching out to the man he believed to be his father, they finally met, and a second DNA test proved conclusively that he had found his father. Now, Hugh is developing a relationship with the father (and step siblings) he never knew he had.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, the struggles he experienced in Vietnam and America, and finding his father. He describes being given up for adoption one day, and the next day being rescued by his aunt because his grandma did not want to lose his sister and him. He recalls escaping Vietnam during Operation Frequent Wind, and how his aunt, who worked at the American Embassy, was able to get them out. He discusses his journey through Guam to Camp Pendleton, and being sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church. Finally, he describes meeting his father, and being accepted as a son.