‘Bangladeshis are always near and dear to my heart’

Bangladesh is always beautiful and the people are friendly, said a US Navy official who was born in Bangladesh.

Shuva Chowdhury, who went to America after winning the diversity visa as a tenth-grader at St Gregory’s High School in Dhaka in 1995, said Bangladesh’s beauty never changes and appears in different ways in different seasons.

“Also, people of Bangladesh are always near and dear to my heart,” Shuva, who is now a first class petty officer in the US Navy, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

This is the first time he is visiting his motherland as a US Navy representative as he participated at the five-day joint exercise of the navies of the two countries that began in Chittagong Naval Area on September 30.

“My childhood memories are of course about Bangladesh. I still remember my school days but I have lost contact with the school friends as there was no social media back then. I tried to reach some of them later but with little success,” said Shuva. “I especially miss my Biology teacher in school. We called him Langka Sir. I really miss him.”

Shuva, son of Prakash Chowdhury and Maya Chowdhury, lived with his family in Dhaka’s Wari. His younger sister Shubarna Chowdhury is settled in Australia. His father worked with Shilpa Bank and Dutch Bangla Bank Limited.

Shuva joined the US Navy in February 1999. He first attended the basic training programme for two months and later participated in many professional training courses.

“It was a great experience. I learned a lot during the training sessions. I feel proud and It is also a matter of great pride for my family as well as the nation,” the 35-year-old said, adding: “US Navy is like a family where many people from different countries are serving.”

Expressing his ambition to become a master chief petty officer, the highest non-commissioned officer in the US Navy, Shuva said he wanted to serve the force for another 14 years.

Because of his tight schedule of the joint exercise, Shuva said he could not meet his parents at their Khilkhet residence in Dhaka but only met them for a couple of hours at the Dhaka airport on September 28. He is scheduled to leave for the US today after the end of the exercise.

Shuva’s senior officer, US Navy Task Force 73’s Public Affairs Officer Lt Commander Arlo Anderson, told the Dhaka Tribune that Shuva was a talented officer among others in his batch.

“The US Navy is largely comprised of people who came from different countries around the world, almost 90%. People of Bangladeshi origin are also in the force. We are like a family and the US Navy is considered one of the most disciplined forces in the world,” he said.

Shuva, who is still single, said he have plans to tie the knot with a Filipino woman in Singapore shortly. He also advised Bangladeshi youths to work hard, be confident and dedicated.

“If you have a strong determination that you want to become someone in life, work with all your heart to achieve that goal. There is nothing that can be a substitute for hard work and dedication.

“If you work hard and have got the dedication, you can join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and walk on the moon,” Shuva observed.