Sailor from Watertown remembered as bright and respectful

WATERTOWN -- Seven United States Navy Sailors died when their ship, holding a crew of 300, collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan over the weekend.

One of those sailors, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, was from Oakville, a section of Watertown.   He was the oldest of four siblings.

FOX61 found out he attended both Watertown High School and Plainville High School for part of his senior year. The two schools released the following statements in reaction to the tragedy:

“Tan attended Watertown Public Schools for a brief time, and is remembered as a bright and respectful young man. We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing while serving our country, and the Hunyh family is in our thoughts and prayers," said Watertown Public Schools in a statement.

"Plainville High School is saddened to hear about the loss of Tan Ngol Huynh, our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, crew members, and all those who knew him. Tan is remembered by faculty and staff at Plainville High School as a kind-hearted, respectful, and polite young man," said Plainville Public schools  in a statement.

Huynh also spent some time studying accounting at Naugatuck Valley Community College.  His professor and advisor at the school, Elma Solomon said she remembers him sitting in the front row of her classes.

"He was shy so he doesn't say very much, he was a very shy quiet sort of student.  He was a good student, really, really ‘A’ type student,” Solomon said.

She also said she had a conversation with him about his decision to join the Navy.

"I'm like you're doing accounting right? Rather than the service? He goes no I'm leaving at the end of the semester. I remember him telling me that.  There seemed to be no changing his mind he was going to the service it was a done deal, I remember him saying it was a done deal,” Solomon said.

Solomon now one of the many on the college campus and across the state mourning the loss of the local serviceman.

"It's sad because whenever you have a student who has had a mishap in any way you feel for their parents you feel for them you feel for the school because we've lost a student,” Solomon said, adding she and the school are sending their deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

“We grieve with you, we stand with you, we are proud of your son,” Solomon said.

Governor Dannel Malloy ordered American flags across the state to fly at half-staff until burial arrangements are made as a means, “to honor his service to our nation.”