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Penn Vet Alumni Who Have Served in the Military

By: Kristen McMullen Published: Nov 11, 2013
Penn Vet alumni, Karen O'Connor

Karen A. O’Connor, V’04 I received an Army scholarship that paid for the last two years of veterinary school. In return, I served three years of active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. I was stationed at Fort Stewart, GA, and served as the Branch Chief. This meant that I oversaw the Veterinary Treatment Facilities at Fort Stewart in Georgia, Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA, and Parris Island Marine Corps Base in Beaufort, SC. Not only did I serve as a general practitioner in these clinics, but I also took care of the military working dogs and was in charge of the Food Inspection Sections. I also traveled to places including the Bahamas, Ecuador, and Panama to perform inspections on food facilities that were providing sustenance to troops at various sites. Of course, all of this was in addition toPenn Vet alumni, Brian Fenchak duties and training required by all members of the Army. After active duty, I served five years on reserve status, starting with a rank of Second Lieutenant and completing my eight-year commitment as a Major.

Major Brian G. Fenchak, V’99 Fenchak recently completed a combat tour in Afghanistan.

Patricia Brown, V’78 I was fortunate to receive an Air Force scholarship for the last three years of veterinary school. Upon graduation, I was commissioned. My first assignment was in Zaragoza, Spain. I spent two years inspecting food and providing veterinary care for the military working dogs and pets of the Air Force members assigned to the base. I was selected by the Air Force to attend the residency and Masters degree program in laboratory animal medicine at the Hershey Medical Center of Penn State Penn Vet alumni, Patricia BrownUniversity while on active duty. The next four years of service were spent at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, MD, in support of the Navy’s biomedical research efforts focused on animal models of disease.

Following my service in the Air Force, I transferred to the US Public Health Service and served at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for an additional 23 years of active duty in the uniformed services, achieving the rank of Captain (equivalent to Army Colonel). During my service at NIH, I worked as a Clinical Veterinarian and Program Director at the National Cancer Institute, as a Training Coordinator and Deputy Director of the Office of Animal Care and Use, and as the Director of the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, until converting from active duty status to a civil service position in 2011.

Penn Vet alumni, Greg CusannoGreg Cusanno, V’70 During veterinary school, I signed up with the Air Force Veterinary Corps. The Vietnam War was going on at the time and there were rumors that the Army was drafting veterinarians. I had no particular post-graduation plans and the program I signed up for was only a two-year commitment. I was fortunate to receive a stateside assignment doing base veterinarian duties, including food inspection, food service sanitation, complete military dog care, and zoonosis control for pets on the base. The two-year commitment turned into 26 years of service. After discharge from active duty in 1973, I took a position in the Air Force Reserves, serving as Public Health Officer at a base in Pittsburgh, PA and then in Willow Grove, PA. I retired in 1996 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

W. H. Crawford, V’59 I was drafted during the Korean War between my sophomore and junior year at Penn State. I was deferred because I had been accepted for advanced ROTC. I finished my pre-vet degree at Penn State, entered the service as a Second Lieutenant, and served two years in the Army Signal Corps, most of which was spent in Germany. I was on orders to Korea, but they signed the Peace Treaty just before I was to ship out, so that is why I went to Germany instead. I was released in June of 1955. While filling out my application for Vet School at the Penn Vet library, the Dean’s secretary informed me that I had already been accepted for the fall class. The money I received for continuing education from the service helped pay for my years in vet school. I am very thankful for what the Army taught me and for the financial support.

Penn Vet alumni, Ronald HopwoodRonald Hopwood, V’58 Ronald T. Hopwood served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps from 1958 to 1960 at the Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, MD.

Robert L. Berger, V’46 Bob graduated from Penn Vet when he was only 23. He was in an accelerated program sponsored by the Army, known as ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program). At the time, Penn Vet only required two years of undergraduate education, and the ASTP reduced the vet program to three years instead of four. Members of the ASTP were uniformed soldiers attending to critical programs such as veterinary medicine. Bob’s Army service as a veterinarian included accompanying shipments of horses to Europe after the war was over. Upon graduation, he was sent on a ship with horses to restock Europe.