Class Of 1964 USAF AcademyGeorge's History

I was born in Oceanside CA and three months later, Pearl Harbor Day, was riding on a train with my mother to Fort Worth, TX. Thus began my nomadic childhood. My father was an engineer and moved from one company to another taking on various projects. By the time I finished high school I had attended 13 different schools. I finished high school in a small rural school in Pennsylvania. I was given the opportunity to attend U.S. Naval Academy Prep School at Bainbridge MD. I wanted to attend USAFA, become a fighter pilot and engineer and so signed on for the prep school.

Basic training at Lackland AFB was interesting and gave those of us that made it into USAFA a leg up on basic cadet summer. The welcoming committee at USAFA was enthusiastic about my learning my name and serial number without smiling which became easier after many pushups. After basic I had the fortune to be placed into 13th Squadron. We had a great squadron with a lot of talent and determination to perform well, making us Honor Squadron, 1961, 1962, and 1964. After my sophomore year I decided I didn't want to be a fighter pilot as it looked like the time in the cockpit was limited and then you moved into administrative positions if you wanted to get promoted. There were several of us who were interested in medicine and we convinced the faculty to provide some pre-med courses. In 1963 five graduates were allowed to attend med school, but the next year they would only allow two to attend after graduation, my roommate John Hauth, and good friend Hugh Smith. The rest of us in the courses would have to wait.

In an effort to learn the ropes about getting on to medical school I decided to go into personnel and found myself at Amarillo AFB in personnel school for 3 months. I was then assigned to Brooks AFB for not quite a year. Fall of 1965 found me on a leave of absence from the USAF, and attending the University of Alabama where my roommate had begun the previous year. He was doing well, so the school figured they could take a chance on another USAFA graduate. Following graduation I did an internship at Denver General Hospital, Denver CO. While there I became interested in orthopedic surgery and applied for a residency but was told I had to spend time as a medical officer before residency. Seems it always takes me an extra step. I was a general medical officer at Lowry AFB for a year and then did a four year orthopedic residency at Lackland AFB. I was the number one doctor on the overseas assignment roster and had many choices. Having a family of three children I decided I wanted an accompanied tour and chose the last frontier, Alaska. I was assigned to Elmendorf AFB where I was chief of Orthopedics for three years. My family and I had come to really like Alaska. I had five years to reach my twenty but didn't think the Air Force would extend my tour in Alaska that long and I didn't want my kids to have the nomadic life I led as a child so I separated from the Air Force.

While at Elmendorf I renewed my interest in flying and obtained a private pilots license, and bought a Super Cub. Seeming to always take an extra step, and not having any work responsibility after separating from the AF, I thought some adventure in the last frontier would be fun. So my wife, Jill, and I moved our family, three children, a dog, and a cat to a cabin in the wilderness of Alaska 300 miles west of Anchorage in the Tikchik lakes. The only way in or out is by air, in our case the Super Cub. We stayed there for a full year and came back to Anchorage with four children, the littlest born in the cabin on the Nuyakuk River.

Life since has been much more routine. I went into private orthopedic surgery practice in Anchorage AK and ran a remote clinic in Homer AK for 20 years. After 25 years in private practice I closed my practice and worked for the VA in Anchorage as an orthopedic surgeon for 5 years. I retired from the VA in 2009. I now do some assisting in surgery and some locum tenens. I am very lucky as all four of my children and my four grandchildren live here in Anchorage, AK.

The Academy provided me an excellent education both academically and life skills of honor and integrity, as well as a hard work ethic. It has provided life long friends and classmates who have accomplished a great deal for the Academy and our country. I am very grateful.

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