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    Heritage, discipline guide Laughlin Airman to service

    Heritage, discipline guide Laughlin Airman to service

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jennifer Huynh (second on the left), 47th Civil Engineer...... read more read more



    Story by Airman Kailee Reynolds 

    47th Flying Training Wing

    Every May, the significant contributions and cultures of past and present Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander service members are recognized and honored. For one Laughlin Airman, honoring the traditions and discipline instilled in her from a young age regularly reflects in her professional dedication to excellence.
    U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jennifer Huynh, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy engineering flight commander, is a proud second-generation Asian American and first-generation Airman in her family.
    “My parents basically came [to the U.S.] with no money,” said Huynh. “They worked in a business and were able to make enough money to start a family and raise me and my sister. I believed joining the Air Force would be a great way to give back to the country that gave a lot to my parents and my family.”
    Huynh’s parents originated from Taiwan and Vietnam and eventually immigrated to the United States.
    “My mom came to the United States from Taiwan to go to college, and she got her associate degree in Ohio at Kent State, and eventually moved to California,” said Huynh. “My dad emigrated from Vietnam, Saigon, a couple of years after its fall to communism, and he and his entire family of like 12 got sponsored into the United States by one of their cousins. He moved to California in the 1980s. That's where my mom and dad met; they were working in a restaurant together.”
    From an early age, Huynh’s parents instilled in her the values of close family ties, respect, and hard work – core principles deeply rooted in her Asian heritage.
    “My mom put me in piano, sports, swimming, lots of extracurricular classes,” she said. “I went to Chinese school every Saturday from the age of five, and I did that until I graduated high school. My parents have given me a lot in the sense of keeping me very disciplined from a very young age.”
    Little did she know that these invaluable lessons laid the foundation for her success, both in her personal pursuits and as an Airman.
    “One of the kids I went to Chinese school with went to the Air Force Academy and that was the first time that I had been introduced to anything military,” said Huynh. “Before the Air Force Academy, I thought the military was ‘you enlist and now do nothing but grunt work.’ Never in my entire life, until I was 16 years old, did I think that I would ever be in the military.”
    Huynh was accepted into the Air Force Academy in 2015 and commissioned in 2019. She has been stationed at Laughlin ever since and uses her unique background and experiences to move mountains within the community.
    “Diversity of thought and experiences in the military is extremely important for flexibility, to be able to think on your toes and create teams with different skill sets,” said Huynh, “You don't get that without having a variety of people coming from different backgrounds.”
    As deputy engineering flight commander, Huynh manages project managers and programmers who plan and execute all construction projects at Laughlin. She also manages space utilization, energy usage and resiliency, and geo-base creation and distribution.
    “The Air Force has really been great for my leadership development,” said Huynh. “I was kind of shy growing up. Even going through the Academy, I was a little bit shy. But once you get put in positions where you have to lead and be the technical expert at the same time, you really build some confidence. Not only are you speaking for yourself, but you also have to speak on behalf of other people.”
    Huynh recently led a team of nearly 35 volunteers as part of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month committee. Throughout the month of May, the team hosted seven base-wide events and celebrated the cultures, achievements and contributions of AANHPI communities.
    “Lt. Huynh is truly loyal and dedicated,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mariya Cavazos, 47th Comptroller Squadron senior enlisted leader and AANHPI committee member. “She trusts her instincts and is a true servant leader. Everything she does comes with thought and a passion to serve.”
    Huynh's story is a testament to the power of embracing different backgrounds and perspectives. Her journey highlights the importance of celebrating AANHPI culture within the Air Force and recognizing the valuable contributions made by AANHPI service members.



    Date Taken: 05.31.2023
    Date Posted: 05.31.2023 17:29
    Story ID: 445907
    Location: LAUGHLIN AFB, TX, US

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