First Vietnamese-American to Serve as a Military Advisor to the New Iraqi Army

U.S. Army Captain James Van Thach is the first Vietnamese-American to serve as Military Advisor to the New Iraqi Army to prepare Iraqi troops to take over the job of securing their own country.

(PRWEB) July 8, 2006 — As Independence weekend celebrations spread throughout the United States, V.I.P. Promotions Founder/CEO Tommy Nero interviewed U.S. Army Captain James Van Thach while he was spending his July 4th, weekend deployed to Baghdad, Iraq on his first overseas tour of duty.

“It’s so unusual these days, Captain Thach, to find young people even thinking about devoting their lives to something greater than themselves May I ask why you volunteered to join the Infantry after finishing Touro Law School?”

“Mr. Nero, there are higher callings in life than just focusing on building a very comfortable lifestyle for myself and my family. When I set out on the path of preparing for a career in law, the world was a very different place after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, occurred as I was preparing to graduate Touro Law School in May of 2002. After much soul-searching, I decided to bypass an immediate career in law to enter the U.S. Army Infantry rather than be admitted to a state bar and apply to join the Judge Advocate General Corp (JAG) as an Attorney in the U.S. Army.”

“Captain Thach, I understand you were to finish your term of duty with the U.S. Army in February 2007. May I ask why, after training troops in Fort Benning, Georgia for several years and preparing them for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, you volunteered to extend your enlistment and go to Iraq yourself instead?”

“Mr. Nero, I volunteered to join the Military Transition Team, (MiTT). This very specialized small team approach of advising security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is seen as key to handing over full security responsibilities to local authorities, leading to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from these countries. I truly believe that my time and talents is an asset advising the New Iraqi Army so that my fellow soldiers and coalition forces will be able to return home to their families.”

“The MiTT Teams fall under the command of the Iraqi Assistance Group (IAG), and we are assigned to the New Iraqi Army at the Battalion, Brigade and Division level coaching, mentoring, and partnering with them in fighting the Counter Insurgency Battle in Iraq.”

Once the core foundations are set we must ensure that our support as an advisory role will continue in Iraq until the current President of the United States and the Republic of Iraq conclude whether our advisory role to assist the Iraqi Armed Forces is still a necessity.

“This sounds similar, Captain Thach, to the advisory role played by U.S. forces in Vietnam.”

“The core goals of the Iraqi Assistance Group foundations are very similar to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) that sent American military advisors to advise military units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).” For example, I am following in my father’s footsteps Lieutenant Colonel John W. Peterkin (U.S. Army Retired) who volunteered to serve two rotations assigned to MACV as an advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On his second assignment, he met my mother Ngoc Thi Thach who was a member of the Republic of Vietnam Olympic team and they were married in 1974.

What are you thoughts of the New Iraqi Army under the developing government in Iraq? “The men of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 6th Division Iraqi Army are dedicated soldiers and are enthusiastic about the opportunities of the New Iraqi Army. They are very optimistic about the new government in Iraq to be able to unite all the people of Iraq. They look forward for the Iraqi government to make improvements in the area of quality of life issues for their families such as water work projects, improvement of daily electricity to their homes and further improvements of the infrastructure of their nation so that they may be focused and go after the insurgents that are disrupting the daily lives of their people. I have learned from their culture and values that they hold dear to their heart such as their family, tribe, honor and country.”

“It is my belief that we and our Iraqi brothers will be successful in maintaining a secure Iraq that will be free from the terrorist attacks by the insurgency if we continue to learn from each other with open hearts and minds. The opportunity is there and it will be met at all cost even if the cost is by the sacrifice of my own life for Iraq to support an Iraqi government and military that represents the people of this nation regardless of their race, religion or creed and for the future generations for the people of the Republic of Iraq.”

“Captain Thach, as the first Vietnamese-American to serve as a military advisor to the New Iraqi Army we admire your patriotism and idealism and stand behind you as you embark on this important new chapter in your exemplary self-sacrificing service for the citizens of the Republic of Iraq and the United States.”

Photos of Capt. Thach’s activities in Iraq are in our PHOTO GALLERY page.

Reprinted with permission of Capt. James Van Thach and Tommy Nero, Founder & CEO of V.I.P NYC

For a full transcript of this interview please go

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