Visitors to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego can usually find Nguyen Dinh Nguyen on the flight deck explaining how planes take off and land on the aircraft carrier. They may learn that Nguyen, 71, is a former pilot who landed planes on the Midway. What they won’t know is that Nguyen is a decorated war hero and military scientist with a dramatic and inspiring story.
Nguyen was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, the oldest of five children. His father was a police chief. After the communists ousted France from North Vietnam and the country was split in 1954, the family was harassed and saw their freedoms eroded. “It was scary,” Nguyen recalled. “They were always watching us.”
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