Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing blaze their own trail > U.S. Marine Corps Flagship > News Display

Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing blaze their own trail > U.S. Marine Corps Flagship > News Display

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Johnson Truong, an aviation support operator with Aviation Support Company 3, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is only fitting that Truong comes from a city as historically significant to the United States as Harrisburg. His family’s legacy is shaped by sacrifice and dedication to a stable life in the United States.

Truong’s grandfather, Thanh Truong, was a veteran of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the branch of the South Vietnamese military that was trained and instructed by the U.S. military until the fall of Saigon in 1975, ending the Vietnam War. Thanh Truong was captured by the Viet Cong and endured nearly a decade as a prisoner of war.

“If America hadn’t given my grandfather the opportunity to come here, my parents would never have met and I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Truong said. “So I felt I had to give back in some way, and military service was that way for me.”

“My focus on mission coordination is perfectly aligned with my passion for attention to detail.” Air Support Operations Operator Corporal Johnson Truong

Tuong’s parents immigrated to Harrisburg from Vietnam after the Vietnam War in search of a new start, and he is a first-generation American and the first in his family to serve in the Marines.

“I was able to join the military right after graduating from high school,” Truong said. “My parents worked every day to give me that opportunity.”

Truong is training in preparation for deployment as part of Marine Rotational Force Darwin, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward deployed to Darwin, Australia. His role as an air support operations operator includes coordinating fire support missions and liaising with ground forces to ensure airspace security.

In December 2023, Truong took part in Exercise Steel Knight 23.2, coordinating joint aircraft fire support missions from a multifunctional air operations center.

First-Generation Legacy: 3rd MAW Marines Paving Their Own Path
Photo by Corporal Daniel Childs

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Johnson Truong, an aviation support operations operator with Marine Air Support Company 3, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, coordinates a fire mission from the Multifunctional Air Operations Center in support of Exercise Steel Knight 23.2, Dec. 6, 2023, at Marine Corps Base Pendleton, California. The Multifunctional Air Operations Center provides expeditionary aviation command and control and air surveillance for the Marine Aviation Ground Task Force. Steel Knight 23.2 is a three-phase exercise designed to train the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit in joint force planning, deployment and command and control against peer or near-peer enemy combatant forces and to enhance the MAGTF’s existing live-fire and maneuver capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel Childs)

“Our dedication to mission coordination is perfectly aligned with our passion for attention to detail,” Truong said. “In this critical environment, every aspect requires careful coordination, just like servicing a car back home. Whether it’s mechanical systems or complex mission plans, it’s critical to ensure every component fits together perfectly.”

As Truong embraces his role in the Marines, he says he remembers his family’s sacrifices and finds a sense of purpose in helping others.

“There are many days when I want to retire, but as any military member will say, ‘When times are tough, you always remember your why,’ and one of my ‘whys’ is my family and the sweat and tears they shed to get here,” Truong said. “Every morning when I put on my uniform, I know I’m doing something for myself, my family and those who came before me.”

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