Armed Forces Day: Celebrating Those Who Serve


Teammate Shares his Journey to Air Methods, Embodies the American Dream

On Armed Forces Day (third Saturday of May), we honor all the members of our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserve forces. United by a common call to serve, these brave men and women represent the very best of our nation. Like the members of our armed forces, all of us at Air Methods are committed to our mission to serve others. One teammate’s journey highlights the grit and determination required to serve in both the military and the emergency air medical industry.

For more than 25 years, Area Manager Chuong Nguyen served in the United States Marine Corps. The courageous and resolute spirit Nguyen displayed in the military was born in the challenges of his childhood.

Nguyen is a refugee from Vietnam, and his journey to America began at just 10 years old. He tried to escape Vietnam three times before he was successful. It was through the help and encouragement of family members and over the years that kept his perseverance alive. In his attempts to escape, he was held captive, experienced brutal conditions while stowed in malfunctioning fishing boats, and was on the brink of starvation several times. However, the taste of freedom far outweighed the dangers of fleeing. Nguyen’s commitment to a better life was realized when a U.S. Navy ship rescued the fishing vessel he was on, where his third and final attempt to escape was successful.

“For me to be able to see Old Glory (U.S. flag) flying on the ship that day, left me without words,” said Nguyen, recounting the day his life changed forever. “Sharing this part of my story now, having served in the Marines and serving our country, is even more meaningful to me.”

Finally arriving in America with his aunt and uncle, after seeking asylum in the Philippines for more than a year, he entered 7th grade and over time, Nguyen and his family worked to establish themselves. In his senior year, Nguyen had no plans after graduation. It wasn’t until he saw a postcard that read, “The Few. The Proud. The Marines,” that caught his attention.

“The postcard had a Marine that looked real tough,” said Nguyen. “I looked up the word ‘infantry,’ as it was a job opening listed on the card, and thought, ‘That’s something I want to do.’”

Still a minor, Nguyen’s uncle signed the paperwork for him to enlist in the Marine Corps. Throughout his years of dedicated service, Nguyen earned his way to the highest enlisted rank as a Sergeant Major.

“I grew up in the infantry. I’ve always known honor before self, and I knew in life after the Marine Corps I wanted to continue serving others,” said Nguyen.

After transitioning from the military five years ago, Nguyen polished his LinkedIn profile, and it was there that a representative from a recruiting firm connected with him to explain he would be a good fit for a role with Air Methods. While having no clinical or aviation experience, Nguyen recognized Air Methods offered the opportunity to be part of a higher purpose. After several interviews, he was offered the opportunity to become an area manager in California.

“At Air Methods, I’m part of a team, a team that counts on everyone to fulfill the mission, and I am honored to be a part of it,” said Nguyen. “I tell my teammates often, ‘What you do matters. What we do matters.’ I want to instill in them the confidence they are the best at what they do and who they do it for. To be part of a team like that is truly an honor.”

The courage and commitment Nguyen demonstrated as both a refugee and a member of the United States Marines are found in many of our teammates. The ongoing training, standing ready to serve whenever called upon, and upholding our mission to save lives reflect these values.

More than one-third of our teammates have military backgrounds. As we look to celebrate Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 18, we salute those who selflessly and bravely served and continue to serve our country.