Thinh Huynh, 41, a 1996 graduate of Nevada High School, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major, E9, the highest rank attainable in the enlisted corps. Huynh joined the Army in 1997, entering as a Private E1.

“When I joined the Army, I never had a goal of making Sergeant Major. My goal was to serve America for as long as I could and get to enjoy all the experiences of being in the Army,” Huynh said. “I get to work with with everyone from all walks of life, ethnicity, race, religion…the Army truly is the melting pot. We all come from different walks of life, but we all have one common goal — defending America’s freedom.”

The total number of Army members who reach the rank that Huynh has reached is about 1-2 percent, overall, he said.

“In my military occupational specialty, we really don’t care who you are or what you have done or where you come from. The only thing we care about is, ‘Can we depend on you?’ When that bullet is flying, the only thing that matters is that the man to your left and right is doing his job. His life depends on you, and you depend on him. Nothing else matters. It truly is a brotherhood. Each of us is willing to take a bullet for one another,” he said.

Huynh was able to return to Nevada earlier this month around the Fourth of July holiday to visit family for a few days. “It always good to be back home. I miss the friendly people of Nevada,” he said.

Now he is ready to report to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he will be the Operation Sergeant Major for 2/504 PIR, 1BCT, 82nd All American ABN DIV. “This will be my third time assigned to 82nd All American Division, my second time with 1st BCT. The unit just recently deployed to Afghanistan; I will meet them over there. This will be my third deployment to Afghanistan,” he said.

Huynh said it is an honor to be able to serve in the Army and be able to defend his country’s freedom. He’s thankful for the support of his family. “If it were not for America and my family, I would not be where I am today. This is just a smallest of token I can do to repay America for all that America has provided for my family and millions of other families as well. America truly is the best country on earth, and there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

“I was born in the delta of South Vietnam,” he continued, “and by the grace of God, I’m an American.”