Appendix 10: Written 11/2014 for the ‘legacy’ book for the 50th reunion of USMA in 2019:
As I think of about how the West Point experience contributed to life afterwards, I am confronted with the fact that the 4 years at the academy constitute only 6% of my years of life. While I have always been proud that I successfully completed my four years there, it was also there that I eventually knew what I wanted to do as my life’s work.
Well before graduation, I knew that I wanted something different than a career in one of the combat arms. Although I chose the Field Artillery as my initial assignment, I entered medical school two years later and then was fortunate to serve as an officer in the Medical Corps until retirement in August 1989. My years as a medical officer in the Army were the most satisfying of my career.
During my time as a medical officer in the Army, I was in contact with former company tactical officers, retired generals from World War II, retired West Point graduates and their families, and a former commander at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, MG Lewis A. Mologne, Class of 1954. I had met General Mologne before 1983 while stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado, and was fortunate enough to have him pin colonel’s insignia on my uniform at my promotion ceremony at Walter Reed. His funeral just a few years later in 1988 was also the most poignant ceremony I have ever attended.
I have remained in the active practice of medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota since my retirement from the Army in 1989. It is my designation as a physician that has defined me in my years after graduation from West Point.
Would that designation have been possible without West Point? I do not know. I believed in ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ before reporting to New Cadet training. I also believed not to ‘lie, cheat, or steal’ before entering the academy. I always was trying to do the harder right instead of the easier wrong before West Point.
Do I still get goose bumps when I hear “The Corps?” Yes.