MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 8

mon t m e d s o c .c om

Serving Our
Nation's Heroes
BY RICH LORRAINE, MD

I

joined the military at an age when many people actually
retire from the military. In 2001, I turned 44, and had been
practicing internal medicine in Harleysville for 15 years. The
events of September 11 were the catalyst that led me to seek
a commission.
In mid-November 2001, I began the process. My first call
was to the Navy who informed me that at 44 I exceeded their
maximum age for commissioning. Only slightly discouraged, I
then contacted the Army recruiter. His response was very positive:
"That's fantastic! We'll get back to you!" It turned out that I did
not hear back from them for six months.
My final call was to the Air Force recruiter. He too seemed
very positive, and promised I would hear back from the local
recruiting office the next day - which I did. After a 1½-year-long
process, I was informed I would receive constructive credit for my
years of medical practice, and would be commissioned as a major.
On October 16, 2003, at Naval Air Station - Joint Reserve Base
Willow Grove, with my wife present, I raised my right hand and
took the oath of office.
Before I even attended my first drill with my new unit, I
attended reserve commission officer training school at Maxwell
Air Force Base in Alabama. The school is the equivalent of basic
training for reserve officers who are doctors, nurses, medical
administrators, chaplains and lawyers. It's a two-week course, but
the days are very long with lots of homework assignments. They
were very clear that the purpose of the school was to teach us how
to be officers in the Air Force, since we were already professionals
in our chosen careers. There were many lectures on leadership,
the history of the military, customs and courtesies and military
procedures. At the completion of the course I realized I still had a
lot to learn but felt ready to start my position with my unit.

The first weekend of January in 2004, I reported to the
913th Airlift Wing at Willow Grove, and began the first part of
my duties. The Home Station duty for the Medical Squadron
is to perform periodic physical examinations, administer
immunizations, evaluate medical and physical conditions for
fitness for duty, and monitor the health and wellness of the wing
members. I was appointed officer in charge of physical exams and
standards.
Three months later, I left on my first annual tour with the
unit and flew to Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. There we
underwent training for our deployed mission, which was known
by the acronym EMEDS (Expeditionary MEDical Support).
This is very similar to what was depicted in the movie and TV
show M*A*S*H. It is a modular hospital system which is fully
transportable by a single military plane, and can be erected and
operational in 24 hours. The connecting units form an integrated
hospital with an emergency room, radiology, OR and recovery
room, intensive care unit, dental office, general ward, and an area
for administration. My assigned position was to run the intensive
care unit along with an intensive care nurse and respiratory
therapist. Similar facilities to this were already operational at
forward operating bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is likely
where I would be serving if activated for deployment. I completed
the training with a much better sense of understanding of the
military medical mission.
The next three years proceeded rather routinely. Although
my unit was "in the bucket" (up for deployment in the rotation),
we were not activated. We continued our home station support
mission, and I had the opportunity of an annual tour at the Air
Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

MCMS PHYSICIAN 8 FALL 2017


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MCMS Physician Fall 2017

MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 1
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 2
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 3
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 4
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 5
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 6
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 7
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 8
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 9
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 10
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 11
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 12
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MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 14
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 15
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MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 17
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 18
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 19
MCMS Physician Fall 2017 - 20
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