Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thirteen people were killed when an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire on soldiers at the Fort Hood Army base, including Pfc. Kham Xiong. Here is a short profile:
Pfc. Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn., was a father of three whose family had a history of military service.
Pfc. Xiong’s father, Chor Xiong, is a native of Laos who fought the Viet Cong alongside the CIA in 1972; Chor’s father, Kham’s grandfather, also fought with the CIA; and Kham’s brother, Nelson, is a Marine serving in Afghanistan.
“I very mad,” Pfc. Xiong’s father said Friday. Through sniffles and tears, he said his son died for “no reason” and he has a hard time believing Kham is gone.
Kham Xiong was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, and his sister Mee Xiong said the family would be able to understand if he would have died in battle.
“He didn’t get to go overseas and do what he’s supposed to do, and he’s dead .. killed by our own people,” Mee Xiong said.
Pfc. Xiong was one of 11 siblings and came to the U.S. when he was just a toddler. He grew up in California, then moved to Minnesota with the family about 10 years ago, Chor Xiong said.
He was married and had three children ages 4, 2 and 10 months. He and his wife had moved to Texas in July, Chor Xiong said.
Pfc. Xiong attended Community of Peace Academy, graduating in 2004, said high school principal Tim McGowan.
“His greatest attribute was his ability to make people smile and make people laugh. Looking back, that’s the fondest memory I have — is that smile of his and that smile that he brought to my face,” Mr. McGowan said.
For his father, the death of the little boy who followed his dad everywhere was hard to take. “I don’t think he’s dead,” Chor Xiong said, then whispered, “I don’t think he’s dead.”