FORT SILL, Okla., Sept. 10, 2020 -- Pvt. Saw Nay Kleh and other Soldiers of E Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, graduated basic combat training Aug. 28, at Fort Sill.Kleh will soon head to advanced individual training to learn his new trade as a 92A Automated Logistical Specialist.While the young Soldier’s future looks certain for at least his first enlistment, how he got here is a path few have experienced.Born among the war-torn streets of Myanmar, formerly Burma, the Kleh family farmed rice. But the country didn’t offer the security to store their crops near their home.Instead they had to hide their rice for if government soldiers discovered it, they would have burned the rice. Even with this staple of their diet, living conditions were such that of the Kleh family’s 12 children, five died in early childhood.Seeing nothing but futility to stay in Myanmar, the Klehs fled from rampant violence and zealous oppression directed at several of the country’s ethnic groups.His earliest memory was of his father holding him while hiding from Burmese soldiers in the jungle.“I was told to be silent,” he said. “If the Burmese soldiers heard our voices they would attack us with no mercy.”Kleh’s family selflessly helped others while desperately trying to survive themselves.“I grew up in the jungle learning how to survive and not get caught by Burmese soldiers,” said Kleh. The family managed to stay together and ended up in a refugee camp in Thailand. Although safe from military aggression, life in the camp was extremely hard as few jobs existed for refugees to earn money to buy food. For many days, he said all the family had to eat was rice and water.Kleh did receive a basic education but the teachers were extremely strict.“Going to school in a refugee camp was really hard for me. I would always get in trouble and get whipped by my teachers,” he said.Despite these hardships, Kleh has memories of playing with other children in the camp.After 10 years in the refugee camp, the Kleh family received good news that they would be allowed to immigrate to the United States. However, just when hope for their future looked promising, one of Kleh’s brothers committed suicide.But, the Kleh family persevered and moved to the U.S., settling in Cleveland. The culture shock was immense as Kleh had never even seen aircraft and buildings were much bigger than the bamboo shacks he was used to in Myanmar.The family lived in a high rise apartment, which terrified Kleh: “I was afraid we were going to fall over.”After five years in Cleveland, the family moved to Minnesota where Kleh learned of the Army while attending high school. Following graduation, Kleh followed a family tradition and enlisted in the Army to serve his new country.He joined because he believed it was a good opportunity for himself and his family, and he wanted to help others.“I want to save lives and help those who are struggling,” he said. “I grew up losing my brother and sisters so I want to help those who are in danger.”