Source: Cambodian Community of Hawaii
Article submitted by: Mark Silliman
On February 1, 2006, Master Sgt. Sarun Sar visited the West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club in Waipahu to share his story on his experience as a American-Cambodian career soldier, as well as other life experience.
In 1979, the war came to his life again. In December 1980, he received a visa to enter the United States. He attended high school in Rockville, Maryland until completion. During high school in the U.S., he worked, was a member of the wrestling team, ran track and cross-country. His favorite subjects in school were math and American History. He joined the U.S. Army in 1985, and while in Basic Training at Fort Benning, Ga. he was mentored by a Drill Sergeant. The Drill Sergeant encouraged him to focus his goals on joining Army Special Forces. In 1990, Sar was selected for U.S. Army Special Forces. He deployed to Desert Storm with the First Infantry Division in 1990 as an Infantryman. When he returned from Desert Storm, he completed the Special Forces qualification courses and joined the Green Berets.
Sar earned a bachelor’s degree in American History from Campbell University in North Carolina, and currently assigned as an Operations Sergeant for Special Operations Command-Pacific at Camp Smith, Hawaii.
Members of the West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club were quite moved by Master Sgt. Sar’s personal story, particularly when he mentioned that his 12-member Operational Detachment Alpha 732, spent nearly 80% of their time endeavoring to be good neighbors to the local people by providing humanitarian relief – a story of compassion not frequently mentioned in the news media. “We learned to love the people of Afghanistan, helped them build classrooms, provided medical assistance and even helped establish an infrastructure for water, sewer, and electricity,” Sar explained.
His humanitarianism did not end with the completion of his tour of duty in Afghanistan. More recently he coordinated with the U.S. State Department to obtain a grant in the amount of $75,000 for the purpose of removing landmine in his native land of Cambodia – one of the most heavily mined countries in the world where one in every 236 Cambodians have been maimed by landmine. With this funding, Master Sgt. Sar can continue to extend U.S. goodwill and save lives.
In conclusion, the West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club was pleased to have Master Sgt. Sar as their guest speaker. Through his presentation, it became apparent that the United States of America is winning the war on terrorism not only by virtue of the valor and bravery of men and women like Master Sgt. Sar, but also by virtue of their tireless effort to win the hearts and minds of people living in these budding democracies.