U.S. Air Force: Lt Col Tony Waldroup, Physician

I was a family practice physician in a
rural community health center. I was also in the Air National Guard at the time.
Working one day in my private practice, I got a call from the National Guard
Bureau and they were looking for a flight surgeon to support the war effort
at the time. I was deployed to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. It was just
an awesome experience. I was looking to simplify my life quite a bit, so after my
experience of being deployed, I said hey look, I might be willing to do this on a
full-time basis. I had two tours in Antarctica to provide the airlift
support to the National Science Foundation. While I was there, I got the
opportunity to fly to the South Pole on four different occasions. As a flight
surgeon, I’m required to fly minimum four hours a week so that the squadrons see
the flight surgeon engaged with them. It builds a certain amount of trust and
credibility with the Aviators. Opportunities and benefits in the Air
Force are just tremendous. As a family physician on the outside, you know, I had
certain responsibilities to take care of that while on active duty, I don’t have
to worry about, whether that’s malpractice insurance or overhead. What
the bonus is being on active duty, I would say that my pay overall is equivalent
to family practice. Really my first assignment was a trial to see, to give
the Air Force an opportunity to, you know, see what that was all about and so I’m
I’m still in the Air Force and I’ve gone past my initial commitment and we’re
still loving it.

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