A family tradition, Pham joins U.S. Marines

Kalonnha Grant, Reporter

For senior Kien Pham, joining the military is not only a civic choice but a family tradition.

Pham is 18 years-old and from South Vietnam. He grew up in a small family with parents who were farmers. From first through sixth grade, Pham went to a communist school, which he said he did not enjoy. When he was twelve, he and his parents moved to Westerville.

As a young boy, Pham’s parents told him military stories of his grandfathers, who both served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Those stories inspired Pham to join the Marines himself.

In his opinion, that branch of the military is like family. His interest in joining grew because of the group work he would be involved in, and he thinks the Marines is like a brotherhood.

The process of joining the military was quite lengthy and a bit difficult for Pham. He met a recruiter first and spoke about opportunities, information, and benefits of joining the Marines. He took a series of tests in which he had to earn a certain score in order to move on.  He said each test got more difficult. After passing, he also completed physical tests before he was sworn in officially as a Marine.

Pham got accepted into the entry program on January 30, 2019 and he will start boot camp on August 26, 2018.

Now that Pham has been accepted, he has a contract for two years of education and four years serving. He said he has no fears of going away for six years to serve his country, and he might even choose to serve longer.

“I joined the military because I want to challenge myself and to serve for the country and for the children of the future,” Pham said.

After serving, Pham believes he will choose one of two options. He will either go to college and become a police officer or train and become a military security or police officer and continue serving.

He is interested in becoming an officer because he believes they make situations right for people. “They always show up when people need help,” he said.

Pham wants to have what he considers a normal family one day. To him, that would be a major accomplishment. He hopes to raise up children and provide for them a good life. Like his grandparents did for him, he wants to be able to tell his children military stories.

Pham values enjoying happiness most in life because he believes it makes life easier and feel better. “If I make myself happy, I can make a lot of people happy too,” he said.