News: Hawaii sailor honored with room dedication
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - Tears were shed as members of Patrol Squadron 47 and the family of Chief Petty Officer Dung H. Tran dedicated the AWOC Tran Memorial Weapons Development Center, honoring the sailor known for his big smile and devotion to family, Aug. 16.
In a small ceremony on the first deck of Bldg. 6470, family members and co-workers of Tran shared memories of the former VP-47 aviation warfare systems operator, who died of cancer Jan. 20, 2011.
The second oldest of nine children, Tran immigrated with his family from Vietnam at the age of nine, and settled in Florida. Tran joined the Navy in 1990, served in various places including USS Kidd, VP-47 and the Tactical Support Center in Kadena.
Various members of Tran’s family attended the ceremony, including his mother, three of his sisters, two brothers-in-law and two nieces. Because Tran was a practicing Buddhist, Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Clark, the chaplain of Marine Aircraft Group 24, read a selection of Buddhist psalms for the group as the invocation.
Chief Petty Officer Dan May, aviation warfare systems operator, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, said a few words on behalf of his friend. May described Tran as having the biggest smile he had ever seen in his life. Tran was in charge of training and qualifications, and helped sailors like May qualify for their job.
“He was one of the guys you could always go to to get answers,” May said. “No matter what time, no matter what he had going on he would sit down and study with you, and I wouldn’t be the AW I am today if it wasn’t for him.”
Chief Petty Officer Dennis Schneider, aviation warfare systems operator with VP-47, shared a story about how Tran, his former roommate, once threw out half of a porterhouse steak but made the effort to eat every last grain of rice on his plate despite being full.
“‘My mom would kick my butt if I threw away even one grain of rice,’” Schnieder recalled Tran saying. “That really speaks to his character.”
Richard Cook, one of Tran’s brothers-in-law, gave a speech on behalf of the family.
“When we heard that this room was being dedicated to Dung, we were very deeply touched, to know that Dung was loved and respected and that he had such a positive impact on those around him,” Cook said.
Cook said Tran’s wife and children were unable to come to the ceremony. However, he said Tran’s wife, Izumi, wanted everyone to know that they were honored and thankful for the dedication. Along with Tran’s wife, Tran’s siblings and mother also extended their thanks in a message read by Cook.
The crowd moved to the hallway just outside of the room where Cmdr. John Bischof, officer in charge, Tactical Operations Center, K-Bay Learning Center, CPRW-2, shared his thoughts before a special unveiling.
“It is impossible to overestimate the impact a vibrant, motivated young chief can have on his command,” Bischof said.
Richard Cook and Bischof then took down the blue curtain from the wall, where the two plaques and framed photo were revealed. Below a photo of Tran is a plaque that dedicates the room in his honor, and the second plaque is his Navy biography.
The Golden Swordsmen present at the event shook hands and expressed condolences to the family before sharing refreshments.
“The ripple effects of Chief Tran’s energy and passion still resonate today through his sailors, and in chief’s messes and wardrooms across our (Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft) community,” Bischof said.