Franklin, Pennsylvania - United States Army
I enlisted into the army in 1966 after graduating from high school in 1965. I went to officer’s candidate school at age 18 and was made a second lieutenant when I was 19. I was a company commander in the combat engineers during Vietnam. I returned home and enrolled in the University of Connecticut and a year later I became active in anti-war protests. Before it became a recognized medical condition, I suffered from PTSD and essentially walked the streets for about two years. A lot happened during this time. Eventually, I got into medical school after completing my undergraduate at the University of Connecticut. I received my medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and my orthopedic residency at the University of Pittsburgh. And for the first 30 years I practiced in Franklin, Pennsylvania.
I returned to Vietnam in 1989 and 1991 doing volunteer orthopedic surgery work at the Hue hospital. I have been back to Vietnam several times since, taking motorcycle trips across Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. I have been there a total of eight times now. In 1989, it was still extremely communist and freedom was limited. It is a much different country today. Looking back, I feel like I had more freedom in Hanoi than I did in the United States. I believe my life was significantly shaped by my experiences in Vietnam. When I came home, I was alone and I did not want to be a veteran. Despite this, I was not accepted by the anti-war community that I so desperately wanted to be a part of.
My views on the war, communism, and freedom in America have dramatically changed over the past 50 years.