“I Want To Be A Soldier, I Want To Protect My Country”: A Vietnamese Cavalry Major Recalls His Service

Vince Ang & Jenny Phillips


Major Vince Ang was born in 1937 in Nha Trang, and grew up during the Japanese occupation of Vietnam. He remembers being kicked by a Japanese Soldier who was eating in the restaurant in his parent’s hotel, and the return of the French after the war. At that time, the hotel served as the French Officers’ Club, but the French allowed the family to live there for free. In 1962, he joined the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and in 1965 he was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment at Ban Me Thuot. He served in Cambodia with the 44th Infantry Regiment, and by 1972 he was serving as the Chief of Phan Thiet District. At the end of the war, he boarded a Navy ship that was supposed to take him from the III Corps area to IV Corps in the south, but the war ended, and the ship sailed for Guam. He came through the refugee camp at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, before linking up with a sponsor on Taylors Island, Maryland. He is married to Jenny Phillips, who initially worked for Pan Am Airlines, and then as an interpreter during the war, teaching Americans to speak Vietnamese. She came to the United States in 1966 and worked at Ft. Bliss, Texas, starting in 1968. In this interview, Vince talks about his childhood, and the Japanese and French occupations. He describes his military training and some of the engagements he served in as a Cavalry Officer. He recalls the fighting in Cambodia, discovering a large rice cache, the departure of American forces, and the resulting supply shortages. He discusses his departure from Vietnam on a Vietnamese Navy ship, transiting through refugee camps, and his eventual settlement in Maryland. At the end of the interview, Jenny talks about working for Pan Am, using that job to get to America, and teaching Soldiers to speak Vietnamese.


conflicts Vietnam War World War II
topics Leadership Morale ARVN Vietnamese Occupation Refugee Courage
interviewer David Siry
date 20 June 2018


name Vince Ang & Jenny Phillips
service Cavalry
unit 2nd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam
service dates 1962 1975