Nguyễn Qúy An (born January 18, 1943) is a former Major in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force who risked his life to rescue four Americans in a downed chopper while he was on a different mission. For his actions he was awarded the United States Distinguished Flying Cross and Silver Star. In a subsequent combat mission he lost both of his arms when his helicopter was shot down during a combat mission.
In 1962 An graduated from high school in Saigon. He served as a helicopter pilot in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force from 1963 to 1974, and received some of his training at Fort Rucker, Alabama and Fort Wolter, Texas. He flew numerous combat missions in support of American and South Vietnamese troops in Vietnam. He made three attempts to escape Vietnam, but was apprehended each time and imprisoned.
On June 14, 1969, he was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for `Heroism while participating in aerial flight'.
The United States passed special laws designed to help South Vietnamese who had experienced special hardship during the war to immigrate to the United States. One provision of this law is that those South Vietnamese who spent a year or more in North Vietnamese "re-education camps" were allowed to enter the United States by special provision. However, because of his amputated arms, Major An was released from such a camp after only nine weeks, and so did not qualify. What he had done for his American comrades-in-arm was completely ignored and only after a staggering amount of paperwork and the special efforts of a U.S Congressman did Major An receive permission to immigrate to the United States.
After a special law was enacted, Major An was granted legal residency and citizenship on October 31, 1996. However, this special consideration did not apply to his daughter, Nguyen Ngoc Kim Quy, who takes care of him, and additional efforts had to be made before she was able to come to the United States.