“Try To Be The Best”: Applying A Family Ethos Of Dedication And Service To Others

Chris Dao


Chris Dao grew up in Dallas, Texas, with his two younger brothers. His father is an internal medicine doctor, and his mother retired from nursing. Both of his parents were born in Vietnam, his father in Saigon in 1964, and his mother in Pleiku in 1968. His father came to American in 1975, and his mother came in 1986 after living under communist rule for 11 years. Their experiences helped shape the young man Chris became, instilling in him a drive to always seek improvement and a passion for helping others. Chris also developed an interest in the military, and considered attending the Air Force or Naval Academy before deciding that West Point meshed with his interests and desires best. Chris worked hard academically, driven by his passionate desire to enter a medical program. He struggled militarily during his first few years at the Academy, but finally realized that he needed to take advantage of the leadership opportunities West Point offered. During his final semester he served as Company Executive Officer for the C-4 Cowboys, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he was responsible for tracking where the other Cadets were living. He had returned home to Dallas, and got to see how his father was dealing with the illness in his private practice. Chris is looking forward to medical school after graduation, and the opportunity to serve others through his chosen profession. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his family history, and his high school experiences. He describes his time at West Point, highlighting the importance of teamwork and camaraderie in successfully graduating from the Academy. He discusses service in the military and in the medical profession and notes the similarities and compatibility between the two. He recalls his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and the smooth execution of plans to bring the Cadets back for graduation. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him.


topics West Point History Leadership Camaraderie Teamwork Vietnamese Morale Military Medicine
interviewer David Siry
date 06 June 2020


name Chris Dao
institution USMA
graduation year 2020
service Medical Service Corps
specialty Medical School
service dates 2020