After two years of working at Fort Bragg, NC, as a Clinic Director, I was approached by the secret DELTA Force organization. They asked me to apply for the job of the unit’s Command Surgeon. “Surgeon” is a military title given to physicians of any specialty when assigned to a medical command and staff position in the military. As a family physician, I was invited to become the senior medical advisor to the commander.
I was recruited in part because of my past twelve years as a Navy SEAL before changing services to go to medical school. I accepted the position and reported to the Commander’s office for my initial brief.
Doc,” pronounced the colonel, who later remained a close friend for life. “I have done the job of every officer on my operational staff, except yours. I can’t do your job, but I consider it essential to our command’s success, so I want you to provide the best medical care in the entire military to my staff and their families. I will expect you to ask for what you need to accomplish this. When you ask me, I will approve it…..every time. And I have a very deep pocket, so cost is not an issue. I am not qualified to argue with you, so you say we need it, you’ll get it.”
That promise was never broken. Our medical building was expanded and renamed in honor of unit medics killed in combat. Then we opened the doors to family members. Brought in a dentist and added obstetrics care to begin delivering the children of unit moms. I delivered 44 babies for these special families in the next almost four years. When I return now to reunion gatherings, there is always a mom or dad that regales me with stories of their children that I delivered. Good times.