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34517-Kevin Nguyen photo

Kevin Nguyen

Shooting

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SH1

Further personal information

Residence
Westminster, CA, USA
Occupation
Serves in the Army
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport in 2014 at the US Army Marksmanship Unit [USAMU].
Why this sport?
Following his injury he was recruited by Armando Ayala, then coach of the Paralympic Division of the US Army Marksmanship Unit [USAMU]. "It sounded like a cool job at the time. I was trying to get back into the Army and didn't know where to go at the time. After a 10-minute phone conversation with SFC Ayala, being a shooter for the Army piqued my interest. Over the course of two-and-a-half years, the sport became more and more rewarding and exciting."
Club / Team
United States Army Marksmanship Unit [USAMU]: United States
Training Regime
He trains four to five hours a day.

International debut

Year
2017
Competing for
United States
Location
Fort Benning, GA, USA

General interest

Hobbies
Skydiving. "It gives me an escape as it's relaxing, the equivalent of other people having a bath. So I don't have to be worried about shooting if I haven't had the best day and I always have a great time." (KUSI News YouTube channel, 28 May 2021; paralympic.org, 02 Dec 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the open SH1 50m free rifle prone event at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. (tokyo2020.org, 09 Feb 2021; paralympic.org, 02 Dec 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You have your dreams, go out and get them, and don't ever let anyone tell you no. If this is what you want to do, then go get it. Keep going until you can't go any more." (army.mil, 10 Apr 2014)
Other sports
He has competed in able-bodied shooting competitions at national level in the United States of America. (ssusa.org, 14 Jul 2017; teamusa.org, 03 May 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (teamusa.org, 03 May 2018)
Impairment
While serving with the US Army in Afghanistan in 2013, he stepped on an improvised explosive device [IED] while on patrol. His right leg was amputated below the knee. "[Amputation] was the hardest thing I have ever done. I got it done, and I felt a whole lot better after that. Let it go, get back on your feet and then get back at it, which is exactly what I did. I put it [his first prosthetic] on, I walked straight, no support - I took it home with me after an hour." (paralympic.org, 25 Apr 2018; ssusa.org, 12 May 2018; army.mil, 10 Apr 2014)
Other information
MILITARY SERVICE
In 2011 he joined the US Army and began serving as an infantry soldier with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. In 2012 he was deployed to Afghanistan, where, three months into the tour, he was injured by an improvised explosive device [IED] and lost his leg. He continued to serve in the US Army and in 2014 he was reassigned to the US Army Marksmanship Unit [USAMU] as an instructor and competitive shooter. "I went straight to the Army [in 2011], because I already knew which branch I wanted. I loved my job. I actually got back on my feet, and stayed in the Army after my amputation. [Being part of the USAMU] has given me a lot of purpose in my life and having new team members has given me a new outlook on life mentally and physically. This job has taught me a lot, being an athlete, being a soldier, being a teammate, it has taught me a lot about discipline and hard work." (US Army Marksmanship Unit Facebook page, 16 Jun 2021, 01 Jul 2020; ssusa.org, 12 Jul 2021; KUSI News YouTube channel, 28 May 2021; paralympic.org, 02 Dec 2020; army.mil, 10 Apr 2014)

HERITAGE
His family is originally from Vietnam. "My family fled from communism and the Vietnam War; they left for a better life and the sake of their freedom. By serving my country, it's my way of giving back to my family and to continue to protect that freedom that they have fought so hard for." (US Army Fort Sill Facebook page, 11 Aug 2021)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Cheongju 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships (Cheongju, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
R6 - Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH1 Qualification 2018-05-05 9
R3 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH1 Qualification 2018-05-05 31