Yonel Dorelis, Army Veteran

EMS Helicopter Pilot, Guardian Flight, Yuma, AZ

Generally, when citizens serve their country in the armed forces, that service is confined to one branch. Yonel Dorelis’ 28-year military career spanned four: the U.S. Marines, Navy, Army National Guard and Air Force. During this impressive run of commitments to his country, he learned to fly helicopters, honed that skill, and led men and women as a pilot flying Combat Search and Rescue and MEDEVAC missions.

Retiring as a Major, Dorelis wanted the opportunity to continue his aviation career while still helping others save lives. He joined Guardian Flight in Yuma, Ariz., two years ago, bringing his considerable experience to bear flying EMS helicopter missions. He often relies on his military experience in this important role.

“Obviously, the military trained me to fly, but it also prepared me, through extensive training and experience, for the challenges and dynamic environment of Helicopter Air Ambulance operations,” said Dorelis. “It gave me the ability to think and thrive in stressful and unpredictable situations and to work with a diverse and multi-faceted team.”

Rank Attained

Over his 28-year career, Dorelis earned the rank of Major. The constant over that career was his role as a pilot and leader. In that role, he was responsible for supervising mission planning, piloting his aircraft, commanding the crew and conducting and completing his missions while saving lives.

Areas Served

Dorelis traveled extensively during his career. He was stationed in the Philippines, visited Japan, saw most of Western Europe, the Caribbean and flew missions in Iraq and most of the “-Stans,” including Afghanistan.

Most Interesting Military Experience

“I had the opportunity to serve in combat and save the lives of U.S., Coalition and local peoples,” said Dorelis. “And I had the privilege of serving with the amazing people I served alongside. I miss the comradery and the rush and excitement of flying combat missions, and the challenging conditions of Iraq, Afghanistan and shipboard operations.”