Minh-Nguyet Do

The tales of Vietnamese refugees who fled the country of their birth in the wake of the fall of South Vietnam are often as horrific as those told by our vets.  Minh-Nguyet’s escape from Vietnam in the weeks after giving birth to her first child is the stuff of adventure movies; the fate of those who were not so determined or fortunate is often the stuff of horror.

Born in North Vietnam to anti-Communist Catholics, she moved to Saigon with her family as a young girl.  Later she attended the University of Dalat in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, where she graduated with a BA in Literature.

It was during the subsequent years that the Vietnam war reached its full crescendo, time she spend living as an ordinary and productive Vietnamese citizen, teaching high school and, in 1973, marrying Toak K. Le, an officer in the Vietnamese Republican Army.  Two years later, when it became clear that South Vietnam was about to fall, the couple, carrying their two-day-old daughter, fled the country in a small boat.

Mingh-Nguyet Do remains grateful for the US Navy vessel that found the boat and helped the desperate family to safety.

Here in Detroit, we can also be grateful for the Navy’s intervention;  the Do family has succeeded in the American dream as remarkably as the most satisfying success story of anyone native born.  Their eldest daughter, who nearly perished in those first days, is a doctor and a business owner; her second daughter has a Master’s in Computer Science; her son is a lawyer and her youngest child is finishing up a degree in dentistry.

Having retired from GM, Ms. Do is herself a vital part of Detroit’s Vietnamese community, and is active in heading charity events, raising funds for disabled Vietnamese veterans still living overseas.  She gives of her heart and soul in all events that relate to aiding Vietnam veterans here.

Regardless of the outcome of American involvement in Southeast Asia, these stories are proof of the honorable intention of most of our military toward the people they were sworn to protect.



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