Dr. Trong Phan was a fifteen year old student when the Vietnam War ended. Dr. Phan attempted to escape from Communist Vietnam’s repressive nature in 1976. For the next three years, he tried to flee the country 12 times. On the fortunate thirteenth attempt, Dr. Phan joined 172 other escapees on a small fishing boat. The boat engine died 350 miles off the shores of Vietnam and drifted in the South China Sea for nearly a week before they were rescued by the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Phan eventually set foot on land of the free in early 1980.
Dr. Phan went back to school after many years of interruptions and earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas five years after his arrival in the US. He later earned four Masters and a PhD in Management and Decision Science in 1997.
Dr. Phan worked for the United States government since 1986. He served as an engineer for several AF fighter jet ATS program. Dr. Phan has been an engineering team leader, chairman of engineering council, and recently chief engineer at Randolph AFB. He received numerous Performance Awards during his career and Air Force Materiel Command Engineering and Technical Management Career Achievement Award from the Department of Defense in 1998. He attended Squadron’s Officer School, graduated from AF Command and Staff College in 2003 and Air War College in 2002. He recently received the AF Civilian Achievement Medal for his 30 years of service.
Dr. Phan was the president of Vietnamese American community in San Antonio, TX for more than 10 years. He has volunteered his time and worked with Vietnam Children’s Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, Catholic Youth Ministry, American Red Cross, and Vice President of Vietnamese American Community in the U.S. Dr. Phan is married to Ms. Loan Nguyen and they have three young children – Vincent, Therese, and Christopher.