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Face of Defense: Soldier Aspires to Medical Degree

By Army Sgt. Tanya Van Buskirk
78th Training Division

FORT MCCOY, Wis., May 6, 2013 – Taking care of the force is something Army Staff Sgt. Megan Appleby feels is her lifelong calling.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Staff Sgt. Megan Appleby, left, draws blood from a soldier during Warrior Exercise at Fort McCoy, Wis., May 4, 2013. The 4215th U.S. Army Hospital, based out of Richmond, Va., is providing medical support for the exercise. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tanya Van Buskirk

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The 30-year-old Army veteran of 11 years, who has served both on active duty and in the Army Reserve as a laboratory technician, aspires to be an obstetric gynecologist.

A Lisbon, Iowa, native, Appleby is assigned to the 4215th U.S. Army Hospital command based in Richmond, Va. She said her passion for helping people started when she was very young.

“When I was little, the doctor that delivered my sisters and me was actually our doctor until we were 18 years old,” she explained. “Having that doctor who knew you from inside your mom’s stomach, and [having] that connection, is really amazing.”

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., was Appleby’s first duty station from 2002 to 2006, and where she earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. In mid-2006, she transferred to the Army Reserve and began attending battle assemblies with the 7229th Medical Support Unit. She then transferred to her current unit.

Appleby was deployed to Kuwait in 2003. Being in an environment where there is a feeling of constant danger was scary, she said, but knowing she was surrounded by medical experts allowed her to focus on her job of caring for patients arriving for lifesaving care. That, she added, is the driving force behind her pursuit of a medical career in the military.

Appleby is taking her medical school entrance exam and applying to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to continue her service and military career. The program is a 14-year commitment, she said: four years of classroom studies, three years of residency and seven years of service and commissioning as a captain.

“I look forward to the challenge,” she added, “because I enjoy both medicine and serving my country.”


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