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The Fall of Saigon: FedEx Aircraft Mechanic Reflects on Journey from War 40 Years Later [video]

December 30, 2015

For many of us, the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon is a chapter in a book detailing one of the longest and most controversial wars in history.

For FedEx senior aircraft mechanic Trung Do, a native of Vietnam, it was much closer.

Do joined the South Vietnamese military during the peak of the Vietnam War, he fought for his home country until Saigon fell, and was then captured and forced to endure a hard labor camp for close to a year.

A risky escape, which included hiding in the jungle, and out of sight of his captors for 3 years, led to a light at the end of the tunnel, which included a new life in America and at FedEx.

Below: photos of Trung Do early life and refugee experience


Comments

    Sherri Cureton says:

    Another great story! Thank you.

    Laura says:

    What a great story. Thank you for sharing

    Dana Shoops says:

    I worked with Trung for several years and never knew this about him. We spoke every day at work, but his life in Vietnam never came up. It goes to show that he lived for today, living his dream versus living in the past. Amazing man then and now. Thank you Trung for sharing this!!!

    Lisette Porto says:

    A GREAT REFLECTION. And MOST of US all WE DO is COMPLAIN!!! God BLESS t/ USA, Mr. Trung Do & his family & God BLESS US A L L!!!….THIS IS a TRULY INSPIRING STORY. “”THANK YOU””, Mr.Trung Do for SHARING. HAVE A VERY HAPPY & BLESSED New year!!!

    Cheryl says:

    Inspirational. Thank you for sharing!

    Julie Edwards says:

    Very moving story!

    Darcy Kulesha says:

    To Trung Do – Thank you for keeping the DC10s safe for our pilots and their families. It gives me confidence to know that our aircraft are in good hands.

    Barry Straub says:

    Inspiring story !!

    Jim Bowman says:

    Mr. Do, Thanks for your service to South Vietnam and FedEx!

    Jim Simmons says:

    I remember when Trung came to the line , we worked the 727’s on south side of the hub, Bill Hollway was the Lead back then, Gary Hillis and I enjoyed working with Trung. One of the best guys to work and joke around with

    Carlos Munoz says:

    That’s an amazing story…I’m very happy that God and FEDEX made your dreams come true.Thanks for sharing with us..

    Shem Malmquist says:

    It was a true honor to carry Trung Do on the jumpseat. This story is just a small part of a much larger story, I hope someone writes a book about him!

    Bonnie Kourvelas says:

    I was honored to work on this story. It was a genuine pleasure to meet Trung Do and record his story. FedEx Air Ops has the greatest people in it! 🙂

    Danial says:

    Very inspirational. The power of pursuing your dreams and never giving up. Perseverance and hope.

    Shea Leordeanu says:

    This story turned out so well. FedEx is lucky to have you, Mr. Do!!

    John Setler says:

    great guy, we hired in the same day. his story is incredible and even better if you have the oppotunity to hear him tell it. thans trong for being a friend over the years.

    Christopher Perdue says:

    I met TD in my late 20’s in Memphis. Trung is one of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Great mechanic. Great guy.

    Vera Mullery says:

    Wow! Living history! So happy you shared your story.

    Chris Scovel says:

    Very Inspiring story – Thank you for sharing! Sometimes, we who have never really lived real adversity tend to forget just how easy our lives have been.

    Todd Dolce says:

    A truly amazing story. I cannot imagine what Trung must have been going through back in the 70’s. This was very inspirational.

    Deborah Condon says:

    Oh, we used to have such a good time at work in Hgr 11/12 in MEM. He was my lead and he had a crew of new AMT’s. He taught us so much and he always had our back. He shared this amazing story, along with many others. Thanks for everything Trung!

    Patrick Doyle says:

    I have had the honor and privilege to work with Trung Do first as a new manager to FedEx and as a Sr. Manager at Hanger 11 &12 in Memphis. I know his story well and I have always been motivated by his love of FedEx and this country.

    Ezra McCon says:

    Inspiring story Mr. Do, thank you for sharing!

    Joe Sheffield says:

    You did good “TD” Been a while great to hear from and again Job Well Done>

    BZ to You!

    Joe

    Ed Lyons says:

    Mr. Do – a great example of how personal commitment and determination can overcome adversity and tragedy. I don’t think many Americans appreciate what happened in South Vietnam after we left. You are an inspiration to us all!

    Carlos DaSilva says:

    You go Trung Do!

    Brandon Lake says:

    Very inspirational!

    Xuan Liu says:

    Thank you, Trung Do, for sharing this touching story! It makes us appreciate more what life is about and do what we can for others as well.

    Mark Logan says:

    Fantastic interview. A true hero and inspiration for all of us. Thank you sir…

    Bobby says:

    3 years in the jungle till he could build a boat??? When we play survivor I want Trung on my team!

    Julio C. Avariano says:

    Wow! This is a very impressive story!

    Ed Echevarria PDX says:

    Trung Do, I was a young Marine Evacuating Saigon of April 75.I am very pleased you also came to America with other Vietnamese families that are friends of mine from Flying Tigers. 40 years later, Welcome .

    Mary Ward says:

    You touch all of us with your story.

    randall johns says:

    Thank you from one aircraft mech.to another F-16/F-111

    Jorge Chapa says:

    What a great story of overcoming the odds and facing your fears! Glad to have you on our team!

    rathna s says:

    fantastic real story. Hope one day a movie will be taken on his real story. His surivial & strugle for 3 years in Jungle will make a good story.

    John Felter says:

    Amazing story of accomplishment. Very similar to the tailor in Indianapolis, Lom Son, who also escaped the fall of Viet Nam.

    Stacey Crawford says:

    Beyond inspirational! It really shows us that prayers do work! Thank you for sharing such a difficult time in your life and for helping to keep our planes and the people that fly them safe and sound!

    Jeffrey Wu says:

    What an extraordinary story! Thank you, Mr. Trung Do.

    Dana Pinskey says:

    What an inspirational journey. I am proud to be on the same team.

    Etta says:

    These pieces really set a standard in the intyrdsu.

    BOBBY PORTER says:

    Hi Trung, great story, loved the time we worked together in hgr 11 and 12. Met your brother last year at the air show minding the airguard C17. Fine man like his brother. Good to see your story.

    Olivia Hawthorne says:

    Awesome story of Trung! That is a true miracle. God be the Glory for the things he has done.

    Candace Lockhart says:

    I’m so glad we are capturing these beautiful stories. Imagine how many more there are. FedEx – What a great place to work!

    Jan Courtney says:

    I have tears in my eyes from reading this gentleman’s story. It is truly a story of survival! Thank you FedEx for believing in him!

    Lauri says:

    What a blessing! Thank you Mr Trung Do for sharing your story and for your dedication.

    Robert Goodwill says:

    Truly awesome life an well as inspiring. From suffering to dreams. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Sheri Hill says:

    WOW! This is a remarkable story and truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

    Laurie Vance says:

    Trung Do, what an inspiring story!

    Lynn Scharf says:

    You have reminded me to be very grateful for the life I have and the company that employs me! It is clear that we should never lose sight of our dreams.

    Thanh Anderson says:

    What a miraculous journey and wonderful life story Trung!

    Hyunh Thi Ngoc Thanh

    Jose M Gonzalez says:

    Pretty awesome!

    Felicia says:

    Thank you for sharing your life story. What a inspirational journey. We should all appreciate what we have and strive to have the strength, courage, and faith of Trung Do.

    Quynh Nguyen says:

    I was in the same refugee camp at the same time with Trung, It’s quiet an experience, but like he said, it’s a dream come true for me to come to a great country to live, and work for a great company like Fedex.

    Trung Do says:

    I humbly thank you all for your kindness and caring . May God bless us all .

    Carlus Jones says:

    Trung, what an amazing inspiring story. Thank God for you and your family.

    Veronica Jackson-Ratliff says:

    Trung,

    What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. Through faith anything is possible!

    Kathy Trulove says:

    What a great heart warming story!

    Lois Burnett says:

    What a wonderful and heartfelt story Trung. As soon as I started watching the video, I recognized you but wasn’t exactly sure where from. After pulling up your name, I saw that it was at RSWR. I was once the security specialist for that location.

    Roger Hutchinson says:

    When I worked with Trung Do in MEM at hangar 11 & 12, my wife came home from her nursing job one night and asked if I knew anyone who spoke Vietnamese as she had a patient who they were having difficulty communicating with. I asked Trung Do if he could go to the hospital and be the patients interpreter. Trung Do did so willingly and selflessly. Trung Do is not only a great AMT but a great human being. Trung Do you are FedEx!

    Kelvin says:

    Trung, Thanks for sharing your amazing inspirational story, and thanks for your awesome talent. Without you, we don’t fly!

    lisa solomon says:

    My Priest also left Vietnam with his brother and only his clothes he was wearing and a few dollars his parents gave him. They left on a boat not to return for 20 years before their parents death. You are a brave soul!!!!!

    Linda Eckel says:

    What an awesome and inspiring story! Trung you are a true asset to this company.

    Dara Lay says:

    I am the son of refugees from the same conflict. Your story really hits home.

    Terri Wilborn says:

    This is such a great story. I read this story first thing in the morning and just start thanking God and FedEx. What an awesome inspiring story to hear from Trung.

    John Hodges says:

    This is such an inspiring story! the best I have viewed yet. It should be turned into a movie. Mr.Do you are truly an inspiration.

    Uma Subbanna says:

    Great story. Very inspirational to see the journey Trung has taken to be here today.

    Randy J. Siepler says:

    I am happy to hear your story and that you made it to the United States. I was in the U.S. Air Force and went to Utapao, Thailand in 1970 and loaded bombs on B-52 aircraft. I later went back to Thailand and went to Ubon a F-4 base in 1973 – 1974 and scheduled maintenance for these aircraft. I hope all is well for you.

    Ty Chambliss says:

    WOW!!! Thank you for sharing your story: a story of triumph and hope. I am even more honored to be a part of this great team.

    G. January says:

    Great to see you Trung! Trung was my supervisor (Lead Mechanic)for a few years in the MEM aircraft heavy mx hanger. A great leader that instilled confidense in his young mechanics. Very funny and personable. Never talked about his past. His story is very inspiring. Fedex is full of heros with great life stories. Aviation is full of ex-military. People that signed a check to give their life for our Counry. All played a part in keeping our Country great. My hats off to you all. Fedex, keep the PSP alive for all your heros and your profits!

    Terry Bennett says:

    Truly an inspiring story of endurance and strength! I, Thank God, for you and Mr. Smith –neither of you gave up on your dreams. Which, gives me my job today! Thanks for working so hard and keeping our planes in the air!

    Tom Wood says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is humbling to be able to work on the same team with you. Hope to meet you some day face to face.

    Mark Holsapple says:

    Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    Al Reese says:

    What an incredible story. What an incredible man.

    Gary Russom says:

    We all have our story but wow is this a story about hardships and dreams come true or what! Congrats Trung!

    Jolly Rogers says:

    Trung, thanks for sharing your inspirational story. One my squadrons in the USAF, 390th TFS, flew from Da Nang during your time there. Listening to your story of survival, determination, and then realizing your vission motivates us all to be the best we can be. Having dedicated mechanics like yourself working the airplanes I fly here at FedEx makes it possible for me to do what I love and work with some of the best folks on the planet. Thanks!

    Omar says:

    Amazing story

    RITU SEHGAL says:

    This is a very impressive story WOW ! Thanks you for sharing

    Mark Abbott says:

    FedEx has another employee, Boeing 777 aviation mechanic Thuy Nguyen (Emp# 930248) who also suffered from atrocities in South Vietnam after the Vietnam War. He escaped from Vietnam via a refugee boat that was raided by pirates several times before Thuy and the others in the boat finally ending up in a refugee camp in Thailand. Later he was transferred to a refugee camp in the Philippines, just a short distance from the former FedEx Asia One Hub in Subic Bay, Philippines. He eventually ended up in Memphis, TN where he was sponsored by another Vietnamese family. Being the eldest child in his large family, he quickly obtained his FAA Airframe & Power plant License so that he could provide the means for his brothers, one by one, to immigrate to the United States from Vietnam. His brothers are now successful doctors, dentists and engineers in the United States. While working as an aircraft mechanic in Memphis, he supervised his brothers as they attended high school, where they all obtained straight A’s. He was the sacrificial lamb in the family – the oldest sibling who provided an opportunity for his younger brothers to succeed in the United States. Later, his parents were able to immigrate to Memphis so the whole family could be united. Thuy is now a proud employee of FedEx, maintaining the 777 in Hangars 11 & 12. Thuy and I worked together years ago in Africa with a non-profit humanitarian organization, Air Serv International, where we became good friends supporting flight operations into South Sudan with UNICEF’s Operation Lifeline Sudan in the early 1990’s.

    Raqia A. Hill says:

    That is a very interesting story very inspiring u were a excellent mechanic thanks alot for all u have done for FedEx God Bless.

    Ron Farmer says:

    Trung Do, your life journey is one of hope, perseverance and faith. Thanks, for sharing it with us!

    Lim Choi says:

    My father-in-law Dave Faulkner asked me to say hello to you. He retired from Fedex Lax line long time ago.

    Roger Saurage says:

    WOW! What an inspirational testimony of perseverance. Thank you, for sharing your life story with us.

    Stephen Bartelli says:

    Trung, I remember hearing some of this story when I worked with you 30 years ago. It was inspiring then as sit is now. A shining example of how we should always appreciate what we have. Sure enjoyed seeing you on the video for the first time in 27 years! You look great!

    Alfredo says:

    Another great story!

    God’s mysterious ways…

    JL Taylor says:

    This is such an inspiring story! Trung,you are truly an inspiration for all of us that have faith and dreams.That’s a great story my friend.

    Anastasia Kyriacou says:

    This was such a great story to watch! Thank you for sharing…made me cry. God bless!

    José Jaime REVELO says:

    Very interesting story of a man, who give us an exemplary willness. thanks for sharing.

    Ardath Campbell says:

    Now that I’ve dried my eyes, I can write that your story is a triumph of the spirit and is very inspirational!

    Tyrone Swift Sr. says:

    Great story!!! The Federal Express Corporation has been; is a Godsend for so many hundred of thousands of people!!! I thank God for Mr. Fred Smith’s vision for this company, and the many employees whom have experienced great changes in their lives with the many employment; career opportunities!!!

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