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U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen C. Ulrich, 285th Area Support Medical Company deputy chief of clinical services, recently reunited with Air Force Staff Sgt. Tiffany Watkins, who he delivered more than 20 years ago. Defense Department photo by Chief Warrant Officer Jim Oliver
U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Ulrich
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tiffany Watkins
Reunion After 20 Years
By Sgt. Kevin McSwain
Logistics Support Area Anaconda
LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq, March 8, 2007 — Meeting with the doctor who helped deliver you isn’t an everyday occurrence, especially when the reunion takes place on the other side of the world.

Col. (Dr.) Stephen C. Ulrich received the chance during a recent flight surgeon mission in Kirkuk, Iraq. He met the second child he ever delivered more than 20 years ago.

Ulrich, the 285th Area Support Medical Company deputy chief of clinical services, delivered Air Force Staff Sgt. Tiffany Watkins in 1981 at one of the first hospitals he worked located in Zanesville, Ohio.

“We exchanged salutes and then hugged each other in the parking lot,” he said. “We were two Perry County people a long way from home.”

Watkins, of the 445th Civil Engineering Squadron, said she hadn’t seen Ulrich in more than 15 years and she was surprised to learn he was in Iraq.

“It was a very unique experience,” she said. “Not many people can say they met the doctor who took care of them as a child - in Iraq.”

Ulrich, who is in the Ohio National Guard, said Watkins’ father and grandmother kept him posted on her progress.

“I received a letter from her grandmother, telling me that she was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said. “I was not sure where she was in Iraq until I received a letter from her telling me she was at Kirkuk Air Base.”

Ulrich, who was in the process of transferring from 2nd Battalion, 135th General Aviation Support Battalion here,
was able to escort his replacements on a flight surgeon mission to Kirkuk and had an opportunity to talk to Watkins.

“I was proud that she had done so well for herself and that she had chosen to serve her country,” he said. Ulrich said the two were able to talk for about an hour before he had to leave. “We talked about life back at home and how everything was going for us in Iraq,” he said. Watkins, who now has a child of her own, said she plans to visit Ulrich once they return to Ohio.

“We are going to try and get together when we are both back home,” she said. Ulrich, who has delivered more than 100 babies, said he has seen other children he’s delivered but none this far away from home.

“I see some of them in my practice, but I have met others outside of there,” he said.

Ulrich, who signed up with the National Guard in 1987, said he joined to become a flight surgeon. “I used my own helicopter in my practice,” he said. “Then I found out about the Army flight surgeons course and became an active flight surgeon until 1994. And that is when I became commander of the 145th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Ohio Guard.”

Before that, Ulrich was a board-certified family practice doctor from 1981 to 1985, focusing on obstetrics. Ulrich said the experience was a memorable one and hopes to see her again soon.

“I enjoyed our time together and hope we are able to talk to each other again after we return to Ohio,” he said. “ But until then, it feels good to know she is making her family proud.”
Last Updated:
03/08/2007, Eastern Daylight Time
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