Voices of the VaANG: Staff Sgt. Michael Ngo

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael Ngo
  • 185th Cyber Operations Squadron

"I think Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a great opportunity to provide a cultural experience to people from different backgrounds. Something I love about the military is you have people from all walks of life who come together for one cause.I’m from this area; I went to Hampton High School. After joining the Air Force Reserves about seven years ago, I switched over to the Washington Air National Guard for career reasons. Then I had my son who will be turning four next week. After having a kid, I wanted to be close to my family again, so I joined the VaANG in August 2020. 

I'm the oldest of four kids, so I just felt the need to represent my siblings in this area and build my foundation here in Hampton. Especially because both my parents are immigrants from Vietnam, and I was the first one born here, I feel like I have to represent my family in a lot of ways. Most people in America have all of this extended family they can lean on: uncles, aunts, grandparents. For me, it’s literally just me, my parents and my siblings.


My dad is Cambodian, but there was a Cambodian genocide and his family fled to Vietnam where he grew up. My mom is a Vietnamese war orphan. We don’t really know the full story…we don’t know her dad or her mom, so maybe they left together or something like that. My parents came here just looking for a better life.

Growing up, my parents were learning to speak English, and for a very long time I had to read their letters and bills out to them. In elementary school, I was reading and trying to figure out bills and other things most kids at that age typically didn’t care about or weren’t introduced to yet.

For my son, I want him to be open minded, explore different cultures and definitely to not forget he’s standing on the backs of farmers and everyday people who fought with everything they had to give us what we have now. That’s another big reason I’m trying to create this foundation here; I want to make it so my future grandkids and everyone that comes after me will eventually be standing on the backs of giants.” — Staff Sgt. Michael Ngo, 185th Cyber Operations Squadron cyber warfare operator