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    Vietnamese Refugee joins America’s Navy that saved his Life

    Vietnamese Refugee joins America’s Navy that saved his Life

    Photo By Burrell Parmer | VICTORIA, Texas – (May 13, 2021) Dr. Peter Nguyen (left), of Victoria, Texas, the...... read more read more



    Story by Burrell Parmer 

    Commander, Navy Recruiting Command

    VICTORIA, Texas – (May 13, 2021) Dr. Peter Nguyen, of Victoria, Texas, the medical director for WellMedicine, received a direct commission as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve at Post Acute Medical (PAM) Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Nguyen, 54, joined America’s Navy to give back to the service that saved him and his family’s life.

    Born in Thanh Hai Phan Thiet, Vietnam, Nguyen immigrated to America during the Vietnam War as a refugee at the age of nine. He grew up in Seadrift, Texas, and relocated to Louisiana where he completed high school.

    “My family and I were rescued from the South China Sea as we were escaping from the communist invasion of South Vietnam,” said Nguyen, who serves as the president and chief of staff of PAM Rehabilitation Hospital. “We were on the water for about a week and were running out of food and water. Everyone on the fishing boat was giving up and wanted to turn back to Vietnam. My late mother would not allow it and said if we die trying to flee communism at least we would die as free people.”

    Nguyen said that his mother had lived under communism during WWII and did not want her family to live under those same conditions.

    “My mother instructed my brother to point the boat in the direction of the helicopters that flew every day. After a while, we came upon a fleet of U.S. Navy ships,” said Nguyen. “One of the ships opened its welldeck and a small boat came out, rescued us, and brought us to America.”

    According to Nguyen, his goal is to hopefully make a positive impact on the health and well-being of all service men and women and their families in need.

    “I want to give back to the United States of America what she has given me,” said Nguyen, who graduated from University of Louisiana at Monroe with a Doctorate of Pharmacy in 1988 and received his Doctorate of Medicine from Louisiana University Medical Center in Shreveport, La. in 1995. “Like many refugees, I was able to realize my American dream. I now have the privilege and honor to give back to those courageous men and women in the armed forces, especially the Navy by serving in the Medical Corps.”

    Attaining his Masters of Science in Public Health in 2000 from the University of Texas, Medical Branch at Galveston, Nguyen said his was not joining the Navy for the money.

    “I feel compelled to do this for my sense of the call for duty and honor in serving this great country that has given my family the freedom and opportunity to be successful in life,” said Nguyen. “The Navy saved my family in our time of need and I hope to save those who are in need in return.”

    Attending the ceremony was Nguyen’s family, PAM Rehabilitation Hospital executives, co-workers, friends, veterans, Coast Guardsmen, and Navy recruiters.

    The oath was administered by Lt. Cmdr. Allen Cordova, an officer programs recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) San Antonio.

    Nguyen was recruiting by Navy Counselor 1st Class Ryan Evans, a medical officer programs recruiter assigned to Navy Officer Recruiting Station Waco.

    “The recruiting process was challenging and very lengthy. I actually did not think I would be selected given my age,” said Nguyen. “Petty Officer Evans is awesome. He never gave up on me and was always very positive and encouraging. I would have given up if it was not for him.”

    NTAG San Antonio’s area of responsibility includes two Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOC) which manage more than 34 Navy Recruiting Stations and Navy Officer Recruiting Stations spread throughout 144,000 square miles of Central and South Texas territory.



    Date Taken: 05.13.2021
    Date Posted: 05.14.2021 13:31
    Story ID: 396453
    Location: VICTORIA, TX, US 
    Hometown: SEADRIFT, TX, US
    Hometown: VICTORIA, TX, US

    Web Views: 950
    Downloads: 0