Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: Lance Cpl. Hue Moua becomes 'one of the guys'

November 9, 2008 | 11:34 am

Hmong_2 A classic piece of Americana is the eagerness of immigrants to enlist in the U.S. military to show their appreciation for their adopted country.

Among the latest to follow this pattern are the Hmong of Southeast Asia.

Take Marine Lance Cpl. Hue Moua, 23, who came to this country from Laos when he was 9. He enlisted after graduating from high school in Auburn, Wash., and now is part of a squad providing security in Rawah, once one of the most dangerous spots in Iraq's Anbar province.

An administrative clerk by training, Moua is assigned to an infantry unit. Infantry troops often do not take easily to outsiders -- known somewhat derisively as POGS, "people other than grunts."

Moua, at 5-foot-2, has been determined to fit in.

He's gone on patrols, stood guard duty, helped build protective barriers, even helped prepare meals -- all non-administrative clerk duties.

"When we first started, he was more timid and quiet," said Sgt. Dante Sevieri, his squad leader. "He's opened up quite a lot though and is one of the guys."

Moua plans to reenlist and hopes to become a squad leader. Two cousins are also in the Marine Corps: Cpl. Tai Moua and Sgt. Long Moua.

-- Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: Cpl. Hue Moua, on patrol in Rawah, Iraq. Credit: Sgt. M. Trent Lowry

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