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President Than Chan Hai of the Federation of Association of Republic of Vietnam Navy and Merchant Marine

Sent the following letter to:

The Honorable Richard Danzig
Secretary of the Navy
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000

Dear Mr. Danzig:

It has been less than three months since you expressed your condolences to the Russian Navy and the families of the sailors who were lost in the tragedy of the Russian submarine Kursk. Now we of the Republic of Vietnam Navy and Merchant Marine Association wish to express our condolences to the United States Navy and to the families of the sailors who were killed or wounded in the attack against the USS Cole.

Since ancient times the sea has been the mother of the men and women who serve in the Navy, Marine Corps and Merchant Marines of all nations. Thru our mother we are bonded together as brothers and sisters with a common heritage. When tragedy strikes our family members we grieve for their loss as one of our own.

Our Vietnamese community came to America's shores as refuges from tyranny. We left our native land seeking freedom with our pride and dignity intact. Our American allies welcomed us with open arms and provided us with the opportunity to find peace and happiness. In Vietnam we were loyal to our country and we remain loyal to our homeland. Today, we are citizens of our adopted country and we have sworn allegiance to the American flag and to the principles for which it stands "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". We wish to express our appreciation to the American people who have opened their hearts to our countrymen.

America's forefathers understood that the price of freedom was constant vigilance and danger to our life and liberty. The men and women of the USS Cole have paid for our freedom with their lives. It is with a heavy heart that we extend to the Navy and its families our sincere sympathy for their tragic loss.


Tran Chan Hai


Written by Sheila L Richardson under the direction of Kiet Van Nguyen, Vice President of External Affairs of the Republic of Vietnam Navy and Merchant Marine Association