SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Guardians, although all supporting the same goals, come from many different backgrounds. Spc4 Htein Naing, Space Delta 8, 50th Operations Support Squadron senior enlisted instructor, is no exception.
Naing’s parents were both born in Burma –present day Myanmar—but met in Japan. Naing was born in Japan and lived there until the age of 7 when his family moved to the Queens, New York. His diverse background gave him an appreciation for traveling.
“I’ve been back to Japan twice since I came to the US, and it always feels like a second home to me,” Naing reminisced. “I’ve also visited Thailand and Myanmar, but my current travel goals for this year –COVID-19 circumstances permitting– are to experience some European cultures and hopefully see another country in Asia.”
While always seeking to see the world, Naing has picked up another hobby that makes him feel right at home.
“I like to cook a lot of Chinese and Japanese dishes because we [Naing and his girlfriend] miss home-cooked Asian food,” said Naing. “Our favorite dish to cook by far has been ramen, but we hope to be able to cook or experience foods from all over the world in the future.”
Having a diverse background has not only effected how Naing spends his free time, but has helped him at work as well.
“Having my cultural background has helped me even in the military,” claimed Naing. “I think it’s easier for me to able to understand other’s perspectives. It’s especially beneficial in this team dynamic and our line of work because everyone is different and have different upbringings but we’re expected to mesh as a cohesive unit to get the mission done.”
A close coworker claimed he has witnessed Naing’s personality and upbringing impact his work.
“Naing has been able to leverage his diverse background in many situations,” said Capt. Dion Tchokreff, 50th OSS, staff instructor in training. “As a staff instructor in the 50th OSS, Naing has trained many new operators. Now, he serves as one of the three senior instructors who are responsible for developing new staff instructors. Because of his diversity, Naing relates to so many people, and he has used this as a tool in every position I’ve worked with him in.”
Whether in or out of uniform, Naing is proud of his heritage and works hard to represent it.
“Being raised by my Burmese parents, they taught me to embrace that grind and work our way up and become the best,” said Naing. ”I think that motivated me to do my best and essentially let my job do the talking. But I hope I am able to represent the Burmese people, get us out there and show that we can accomplish anything if we challenge ourselves and work hard.”
Naing became the first in his family to go to college and to serve in the military, he also has a line number and is soon to promote to sergeant.