A Paratrooper In The Vietnamese Airborne: Pride, Determination, And Disappointment

Danny Pham


CPT Danny Pham was born in northern Vietnam in 1942. His father, a judge, was kidnapped and executed by the communists when Danny was three. In 1954, Danny’s mother moved the family to South Vietnam, where he received a good education and experienced freedom. In 1965, in his second year of law school, he volunteered for the Military Academy, and graduated in 1967 in Class #22. He then joined the Airborne Division and served in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. During his service he was wounded many times. He felt that Cambodia was a victory for the South Vietnamese, and he appreciated American fire support and medevac assistance. After the war, he spent eight years in jail, where he suffered from hard work, a lack of food, and disease. He was released from jail in 1983, and in 1986 got a job working for the Hong Kong Trading Company. In 1990, he immigrated to the United States with his family. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, losing his father, and moving to South Vietnam. He describes the Vietnamese Military Academy, his service in the Airborne Division, and his disappointment at the American withdrawal. He discusses his time in jail and his eventual immigration to the United States. Finally, he reflects on what his service means to him, and the sorrow he felt at not being able to save South Vietnam from the communists.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Camaraderie Courage Diversity Leadership ARVN Patriotism
interviewer Isabelle Embola
date 22 September 2018


name Danny Pham
service Airborne Infantry
unit Vietnamese Airborne Division
specialty G3 Air Support
service dates 1965 1975