AFIMSC Warfighter Portrait: Capt. Chau Tran

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  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Serving in the Air Force gives Capt. Chau Tran a strong sense of purpose. 

“I am a part of something a lot bigger than myself,” he said. “What I do, even though small, is meaningful.”

But his work isn’t always small. When he was stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea, the captain volunteered for a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency assignment to Vietnam to search for the missing remains of service members killed in action during the war. For Chau, the DPAA mission to bring every one of the fallen home – no matter how long it takes – struck a deep chord. He knows first-hand how painful it can be for families of the missing. While serving in the South Vietnamese Navy during the Vietnam War, his uncle was in a boat that hit a mine and blew up. His body was never found. 

“My grandma and mom always talked about how hard it was … knowing they may never find his body,” he said. “So when the chance came to join the DPAA mission, it was a no brainer.” 

Chau was the lead linguist for his team. Using his language skills, he helped coordinate movement for 89 U.S. and local national team members in the search and recovery efforts. The team returned two sets of remains.

“This was by far the most impactful mission I have been a part of,” he said.

Today, Chau is the deputy chief of the security forces branch within AFIMSC’s Installation Support Directorate, supporting and advocating for security forces squadrons and detachments across the Air Force. 

I always dreamed of joining the military and “living the life,” he said. “I am living the dream every day.”