Nearly 20 years ago, while enrolled as a College of Medicine student, Sean M. Hussey, MD ’97, never thought he’d find himself as a commander in the U.S. Navy, serving in a Middle Eastern desert halfway around the world. Embedded as Force Surgeon, U.S. Marine Corps Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, to provide care for Marines and coalition forces in Operation Inherent Resolve, Dr. Hussey is writing a three-part series blog about his in-country experience.
Blog Post 1:
We drove onto the base in Kuwait a tired group, packed into a half-dozen buses and hungry for sleep after nearly 24 hours of continuous travel. Our group of Marines and Sailors had been training together for nearly three months in southern California, preparing for this day and this mission. There was an initial bolus of adrenaline as we off loaded, gathered our massive deployment bags, and shuffled off to our respective tents and rooms. But our internal clocks ultimately prevailed and soon we all found ourselves sleeping through the first day in our new home.
That was early April. And, in the month since arriving I have grown quite accustomed to life in the Middle Eastern desert with my Marine Corps team. We share our base not only with other U.S. services (Air Force) but also coalition forces from around the world. The diversity on the base aligns with the fact that I am a Navy physician embedded as the Force Surgeon with the Marines Corps and their Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). It is not the typical job for a Navy physician and certainly not for a board certified anatomic pathologist. I am in a position I certainly never thought I would find myself in while enrolled as a medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine 20 years ago. But, it is perhaps the job I have found most fulfilling and one that I will be telling my grandchildren about someday. As the senior medical officer with the SPMAGTF and its 2,200 Marines, it is my job to maintain the health of the Force - to make sure the Marines are healthy and able to do what it is Marines do. I run a medical staff of 98 personnel (comprised of physicians, physician assistants, nurses, medical planners and hospital corpsmen) spread over four countries throughout the Middle East. It is my responsibility to ensure they are properly trained and equipped to provide quality health care in an austere combat setting and I report directly to the Commanding Officer of the Force as a member of his staff.
I cannot help but think back to my days at Ohio State. The independence and maturity I acquired as a medical student shaped who
I am not only as a physician but as a leader. There have been other life experiences that have certainly contributed, including residency, fellowship, and my time as an attending physician in Navy hospitals, but the seed was planted at Meiling Hall in Columbus and it has led me to this spot in the sand under the blazing sun, halfway around the world, to care for our nation’s heroes. This deployment has just begun for us, but our team is prepared. The Marines will be busy, but I hope the medical staff is not. However, like those medical teams that have come before us, if called we will be ready.
Semper Fidelis and GO BUCKS!!