By Spc. Zoe GarbarinoMay 22, 2018
FORT STEWART, Ga. - 1st Lt. Diana White, a military intelligence officer and Vietnam native with 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, was the guest speaker at an Asian-American and Pacific Islander Observance, May 16, at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
This year's observance theme was about conflicts Asian immigrants face in the U.S. and how their contributions help make the U.S. what it is today.
"Being of American-Vietnamese descent, the Vietnamese community and I take great pride in seeing the success of my country's men in the U.S. military, despite the struggle they faced when they arrived here," White said.
White comes from a lineage of military members - from her grandfather to herself. She said she moved to the United States from Saigon, Vietnam when she was 14 years old.
"My mom married a retired marine, and they had me. From there, we started applying for our citizenship and moved to America in 2004," White said.
White, her mother and grandmother migrated to Savannah, Georgia to start their journey in the states.
"Everything fascinated me," said White. "I was amazed of little things like how easy it is to rent a car or how easy it is to travel."
Not knowing much English, White had to take English lessons in high school and was encouraged by her dad to join her school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
"I remember thinking to myself, 'wow, this is different,'" White said. "I loved everything about it; the comradery, the discipline and the constant drive to become better."
White said after high school, she had a passion to be in the military. She attended college at Armstrong State University in Savannah and joined their Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
In 2016, she commissioned as a military intelligence officer.
White's mother, ThuSang White, said that she is proud of her daughter for chasing her dreams and joining the Army like her dad and grandfather.
"I love it here in America, and I can tell my daughter loves it too," said ThuSang White.
Diana said coming from Vietnam, the U.S. has offered her a lot of opportunities since she naturalized and even more since she joined the military.