The Foreign Service Journal - March 2017
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MARCH 2017



a law enforcement officer is considered prestigious, and Gu

describes how when he joined the Foreign Service as a DS agent,

his parents were “immensely proud”—despite the fact that living

away from one’s aging parents was contrary to Chinese tradition.

Gu recalls that while waiting in China for his immigra-

tion paperwork to be processed, his classmates learned of his

departure plans and accused him of betraying his country. In

the United States Gu is labeled “Chinese-American”; in China,

he would no longer be viewed as 100-percent Chinese either.

Although culturally he sees himself somewhere in the middle, his

dedication to the United States and its ideals is unquestionable.

“The greatest thing about the United States is our diversity,” he

says. “We can either use it to unite us or allow it to divide us.” This

holds true within DS, as well.

Finally, on a personal note, my husband is originally from

Madagascar and has since become a naturalized U.S. citizen,

making our daughter the child of an immigrant as well as a diplo-

kid. At the age of 5, her passport bears stamps from eight coun-

tries (some multiple times), she’s been exposed to four languages

and her adaptability far exceeds her years. I hope that someday

she, too, will answer the call to serve her country and, selfishly

perhaps, I hope that she, too, will proudly carry the DS badge.


A common theme with all of

these agents is their call to

public service.

This flag was recovered from the ambassador’s residence in Nassau during the height of last year’s Hurricane Matthew. As the category

5 winds blew at over 130 mph, RSO staff risked their safety to lower and protect the flag. It is now proudly displayed in the Regional

Security Office at Embassy Nassau as a reminder that no matter how prepared you think you are, there’s always something you hadn’t

thought of.

Counterclockwise from top right: RSO Nassau Pete Kapoukakis, Executive Bodyguard Ashton Stubbs, DS SA John Wharton (TDY

during Hurricane Matthew from Atlanta), Nassau ARSO Kyle Pusch, Executive Bodyguard Gerry Oldham, DS SSA Michael Murphy (TDY

from Atlanta) and Executive Bodyguard Andy Sands.