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Veteran Essay from Robert M. Septon

I am a veteran too. I was a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps from 1970 to 1976 serving with the 801st General Hospital in Chicago. Unfortunately, they never suggested taking a photo in uniform while I served. So, I don't have one to share with the congregation.

The only mementos I have are my olive drab fatigue hat as well as my commission and discharge papers.

It was the midst of the Viet Nam war when I graduated medical school in 1969. Every able bodied male physician had to serve in some capacity. Most went in as a general medical officer and were sent directly to Viet Nam. Some were allowed to complete their residency and then entered service (any branch) as a fully trained specialist (e.g. anesthesiologist).

They did not let anyone into any branch of the Reserves in the late 1960's because all docs were needed for active duty. So, the reserves were quite depleted by 1970 when they again allowed recent graduates to go straight into the Reserves.

I was quite lucky to not have my education interrupted for two years of active duty. However, I came quite close to being activated four times. But that's another story.

In short, I did what my country asked of me in time of war. I am proud to have served.

As Isaiah says, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they practice war anymore."

Bob Septon (aka Robert M. Septon, MD)

Thu, November 30 2023 17 Kislev 5784