“Everyone Has Their Own Destiny”: Serving With The ARVN Airborne

Quyen Bui


Quyen Bui was born in Hanoi in 1937. When the French returned to Vietnam following WWII, he remembers his family moving into the countryside but returning to Hanoi in 1951. In 1954, the family left North Vietnam by boat and sailed to Saigon. He attended Saigon University and studied mathematics for two years before deciding to attend the South Vietnamese Military Academy at Da Lat. He graduated at the head of his class in 1962 and commissioned as an Infantry Officer. He served in the Airborne Division from 1962 until the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, by which time he was a Lieutenant Colonel. Following the fall of Saigon, he was incarcerated in a reeducation camp for thirteen and a half years. After he was released, he came to America in 1991 under the Orderly Departure Program, rejoining his family in San Jose, California. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, attending the South Vietnamese Military Academy, serving in the ARVN, and life in the reeducation camp. He describes some of his operational experiences, including a mission in Cambodia and serving in Airborne units. He reflects on his wife and children leaving South Vietnam on April 28, 1975. Finally, he comments on what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Honor Courage ARVN Vietnamese Leadership Morale Refugee P.O.W.s
interviewer David Siry
date 11 January 2019


name Quyen Bui
institution Da Lat
graduation year 1962
service Infantry
unit Airborne Division
specialty Airborne
service dates 1962 1975