Army veteran credits local vet program for successful Cedars-Sinai nursing career

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Peng Vang has a successful career in nursing at Cedars-Sinai, but there was a point in his life after his military service when the Army veteran felt lost.

"2009, January I was running patrols in Iraq and then February, I'm back in the U.S., you know, so there's no transition period," Vang said.

There was no time to unwind or to readjust to civilian life. Vang remained hypervigilant - always looking for threats.

"They teach you how to go to fight wars, but they don't teach you how to come back to society," Vang said.



Vang said at 22-years-old, he was a sergeant running combat patrols, encrypting radios, using sophisticated weapons systems to keep troops alive, but he thought that meant nothing back home.

"Going from being in charge of men and equipment and then coming back here and you can't get a job washing cars because I don't have a bachelor's degree," Vang said.

Today, Vang realized the issue was he didn't know how to translate his military skills and accomplishments onto a resume.

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The U.S. Vets Career Network came to the rescue.

"It was very helpful and instrumental because a lot of these critical skills that you need to be marketable back in the civilian world, we don't really have access to that when you transition out of the military," Vang said.

Vang got help building a resume, applying for jobs and hopes sharing his experience sheds light on programs like this one.

The now registered nurse is encouraging other vets to take advantage of the resources available to them.

"To utilize those resources and to take advantage of them because I know that there's always the, like the pride and the, I guess kinda like arrogance, that you don't need help because you still can walk on your feet or something, but I think everybody needs help even if it's not something major," Vang said.

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Capt. Jonathan Pryor served as a trauma surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan. And last year, he was activated again, to help in the battle against COVID-19

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