Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen, NAVSEA Deputy Commander for Cyber Engineering and Digital Transformation (SEA 03), will be inducted into the Oklahoma State University (OSU) College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Hall of Fame and will be awarded the Melvin R. Lohmann Medal, OSU’s highest honor, the university announced Nov. 23.
The Melvin R. Lohmann Medal was established in 1991 to honor alumni of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for contributions to the profession or education of engineers, architects or technologist that merit the highest recognition.
“I am humbled to be recognized with this award,” said Nguyen. “This honor reflects not just on my career, but also on the many shipmates, coworkers, and friends who have helped me to be successful. I deeply appreciate the award and those who have helped me along the way.”
Nguyen graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He also holds master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University, engineering from Purdue University and information technology from Carnegie Mellon University, where he graduated with highest distinction.
“OSU had a profound impact on both my life and career,” Nguyen said. “Later in life, particularly on deployments to Iraq when in the middle of the desert, I would think of home. I would think of Midwest City and Oklahoma State.”
Nguyen was born in Vietnam and is the first U.S. Navy admiral of Vietnamese descent.
During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Nguyen’s mother and father, along with his five brothers and sister were killed by Viet Cong Communist guerillas in their family home outside Saigon. Nine-year-old Nguyen was shot in the arm and head, but survived the attack. Nguyen was taken in by his uncle, a Colonel in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force.
In 1975, at age 16, Nguyen and his family fled Vietnam, seeking refuge in the United States following the fall of Saigon. A U.S. Air Force Colonel friend of his uncle sponsored his family and they moved to Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Nguyen received a Navy direct commission through the Reserve Engineering Duty Officer program in 1993.
Nguyen’s operational tours include a number of waterfront maintenance assignments: Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka as testing officer on USS Kitty Hawk availability; Officer in Charge, Ship Repair Facility, Detachment 113. Later, he served as Executive Officer/Chief Engineer at the Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (CREW) Field Office in Baghdad, Iraq, supporting Task Force Troy/18th Airborne Corps and V Corps, CREW Engineer at Task Force Paladin and Combined Explosive/Exploitation Cell (CEXC) in Afghanistan.
Past staff assignments included duties as Deputy Chief Information Officer, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) from 2017-2019, Director Military Programs, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Executive Officer, NAVSEA Enlisted Personnel from 2013 - 2017. He also served as Community Manager, Engineering Duty Officer (Reserve Component). Reserve assignments include multiple command tours with various units at NAVSEA, Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), and Office of Naval Research.
Nguyen’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards) and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).
Nguyen also worked in private industry where he has obtained several patents in automotive electronics. In August of 1994, Nguyen began work as a staff electrical engineer for General Motors (GM) where he eventually managed a cross-functional team of over 30 engineers in the design and integration of the Powertrain Control Module to all GM platforms. In 2006, he took a position as the senior vice president of Bank of America, where he established the strategic framework and governance for Bank of America computing on cybersecurity, which included firewalls, streamlined demilitarized zones (DMZ), and the optimization and consolidation of data centers. In 2009, he began working with Exelis, Inc., as a senior technical advisor and director of business development where he managed a multi-million-dollar portfolio of independent research and development projects on ground electronic warfare countermeasures, counter-remote improvised explosive device systems and interference mitigation systems.
Nguyen is being recognized for both his military and civilian achievements in the field of engineering.