Pilot, REACH Air Medical Services, Imperial, CA
Jack Le jokes that he joined the U.S. Army because the recruiter was offering a “cool” Army hoodie. Really, it was for the aviation program and the chance to learn how to fly helicopters. Le has served 18 years in the Army and currently serves in the Arizona National Guard. Over his career, Le has piloted mainly UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, which are designed to deliver and extract troops, save lives through MEDEVAC and provide fire suppression in support of ground personnel.
Moving from active duty to the Army Reserves, Le also entered civilian service as a H135 Helicopter Pilot for CALSTAR 14 in Watsonville, Calif. and now, REACH Air Medical Services 9 in Imperial County. While still serving in the armed forces, he relies on his military training in his civilian role.
“Military flight training and officer school gave me basic aviation training and also leadership and interpersonal skills to work with people from diverse backgrounds,” said Le. “Every day, as an EMS Pilot, I feel like my military experience has helped me do my job. The military gave me a can-do attitude, the confidence to meet challenges, and the ability to work in small teams to accomplish difficult tasks. I find that the military and EMS are very similar in that you often have to make personal sacrifices in service of the greater good.”
Le’s career is ongoing and he currently serves as Chief Warrant Officer-4 (CW-4) in the Arizona National Guard. Appointed by the Secretary of the Army, CW-4s are senior-level experts of both the technical and tactical aspects of leading in their field. Responsibilities of a Chief Warrant include supporting operations at battalion, brigade, division, corps and echelon levels.
Over his distinguished 18-year career, Le served all around the world including in Iraq.
Most Interesting Military Experience
Le’s most interesting experience in the Army was having a team-building dinner with an Iraqi Colonel and his staff. “We ate Pacha, an Iraqi delicacy that is actually roasted Sheep’s head—with eyeballs and all. It was not the most appetizing thing that I’ve eaten, but we wanted to build trust with our Iraqi counterparts, so we ate it out of respect for their culture.”
What do You Miss About Serving?
“I miss the friendships and bonds developed with comrades on deployments, mission focus and overcoming shared adversity with my teammates,” said Le.