How basic training changed me as a doctor

Written by George Kamajian as told by Bob Fedor.

I’m an old family doctor. I’ve seen much and forgot more. Life has taught me that we touch our patients’ lives for a moment, a season or a reason — and sometimes with unforeseen consequences.

I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1968, when I was 19, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam caught the American military off-guard, and the Pentagon began frantically drafting new troops.

My lottery number was low. I knew my civilian days were numbered, but I didn’t want to go to Vietnam to be a trained killer. It wasn’t in my nature, then or now.

Seeing the National Guard as an alternative to Vietnam, I found a unit and signed up.

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