Army Surgeon General commissions more than 130 new medical professionals in virtual ceremony

Elizabeth Howe
May 26, 2020 - 1:51 pm
Commissioning

US Army

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle commissioned more than 130 new medical professionals into the service in a virtual ceremony last week.

The commissionees hailed from more than 100 different colleges, medical schools and dental schools and were commissioned as surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, veterinarians and more. 

"It was a pretty significant step for all of us who took part in that," said Margaret Elizabeth Schwartz, one of the Army's newest medical professionals. "I'm honored not only to be commissioned by the surgeon general but to have so many people supporting it. At first, you would think maybe it's not so connecting to do the ceremony virtually, but I felt more connected with all the other people seeing everybody else who was doing the exact same thing that I've been so passionate about for so long."

Schwartz has three years of experience working as a registered nurse and planned for years to bring this experience to the Army -- especially in light of the current global state. 

"It's intimidating," Schwartz said of entering military medicine during a pandemic. "But at the same time it makes my passion for serving that much stronger because I'm getting this experience of handling it now in a civilian aspect, and I feel so ready to transfer that over into the military side."

"Joining during this time with everything going on has actually strengthened my resolve to get more involved with medicine," said Tyler Jetjomlong, a new Army officer and graduate from the University of Albany. Jetjomlong's Army aspirations began in high school and have only grown -- despite the current elevated risk of the field. 

There are currently more than 55,000 Department of Defense personnel supporting the fight against COVID-19 in various capacities. At the end of March, military medical professionals from around the globe were activated and deployed to the frontlines of the pandemic, including 200 early graduates from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Military medics across the country graduate early, come out of retirement, and deploy to fight COVID-19

"Thank you for answering the call to serve," Dingle said during the virtual ceremony. "It is truly an inspiration to see so many of our fellow Americans raising their right hands to say 'I will go. Send me.' I wish each of you continued success and I'll see you on the high ground."

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Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

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