The Society of Army Physician Assistants


Welcome to the Society of Army Physician Assistant's (S.A.P.A.) Home Page. S.A.P.A. is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). S.A.P.A. is a civilian organization to represent and support the the U.S. Army Physician Assistant, including, Former, Active, Retired, Reserve and National Guard PA's. The Society's goals are to provide a forum for discussion, representation with the AAPA, and to provide high quality, low cost CME (continuing medical education) to the Society's members and the PA profession.

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Newsletter Updated - February 20th 2015

36th Annual PA Refresher Course Information Updated January 16th 2015, Schedule Updated March 22nd 2015

AAPA Approval of 36th Annual SAPA Conference Updated February 25th 2015 (see below)

SAPA Corporate Associate Program Updated October 2nd 2014

SAPA  Scholarship Program - July 4th 2011

Info and Links to the Veterans Caucus Topics in the Tropics is listed below

   SAPA Conference Information Page      SAPA Membership Page         SAPA Links Page      SAPA Corporate Associate Program    

        SAPA  2007 Scholarship Program and Application          Newsletter Editor             Board of Directors       SAPA Scholarship Program 2012 -2013

    29th Annual Conference Highlites             The Captain Sean P. Grimes Physician Assistant Educational Scholarship Award     

  SAPA PA Jobs Page    SAPA Mentor's Page            Annual SAPA Scholarship Program        65D Iron Majors

AAPA Category 1 CME Live Activity Approval Agreement

Request ID: CME-002536
Organization Legal Name: Society of Army Physician Assistants
Contact: Bob Potter
Program Title: 36th Annual SAPA PA Refresher course
Program Date(s):
04/20/2015 - 04/24/2015
Program Venue: Fayetteville, NC, 28309
Number of CME Credits Awarded: 37.00

The parties hereby agree that the terms and conditions under which the AAPA will provide Category 1 CME credit to the Organization's program noted above are as follows as of 2/25/2015 12:04:07 PM.

The Physician Assistant Review Panel is pleased to award a maximum of 37.00 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credit to the program entitled 36th Annual SAPA PA Refresher course provided by the Society of Army Physician Assistants. This approval is valid for one year beginning
04/20/2015 - 04/24/2015 if the program content does not change.

Currently, Mark F. McKinnon of the PSH is working to plan a Military Dining Out at the AAPA Conference in San Francisco. It will be scheduled for May 24th 2015. More information to follow. Please contact Mark thru Facebook for updates and I will add any updates here as they are added.
Bob Potter, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA, SAPA Conference Coordinator



Army PA Book thru Borden Institute

Need for Pictures and interviews

We are moving quickly (Army PAs) to complete an Army PA book through the Borden Institute.   I am updating the history I wrote for National PA Week.    I have interviewed Oyler about his jump into Panama and am working to contact Jack Hurley.  I am also looking to interview a PA or two who participated in Grenada or Desert Storm as PAs.    As important, looking for pictures of the deployment to go with their interviews.   Could you send out a message to the membership and give them my contact information if they are interested?


LTC John F. Detro, APA, OPA-C
TF Bragg Surgeon
Fort Bragg, NC 28310
910-643-7088 work
706-573-4256 cell


23rd Annual Topics in the Tropics: A CME Conference for Primary Care Providers December 10-13, 2014 Paradisus Cancun Resort An All Inclusive Resort, Sponsored by the Veterans Caucus ( ) DATE SAVER 23rd Annual Topics in the Tropics: A CME Conference for Primary Care Providers December 10-13, 2014 Paradisus Cancun Resort An All Inclusive Resort
18 hours of AMA approved Cat I CME Credit will be offered A full brochure will be available in May Please keep checking the website ( )
* Room rates includes:
 * All taxes
 * Maid service and porterage
 * Unlimited international premium liquors, wines, beer, bottled water and soda
 * Unlimited premium dining at one of 5 restaurants
* 24 hour room service ($5 service fee will be charged per order per person)
* Mini bar stocked daily
* Late night snacks
* WiFi access in designated areas of the hotel
* All food and beverage gratuities
Fred Brace, PA-C, DFAAPA


2014 -2015 Election Results

President Elect:  Donald Black
Active Duty Director:  David Hamilton
Retired Army PA Director:  Frank Piper
Secretary:  Karen McMillan
Treasurer:  Jim Miller
Army Reserve Director:  Tanya Moore
Army National Guard Director:  Roger Lovelace

*NOTE: These are Adobe.pdf files (i.e., a file that allows you to view/print the document in its original format ). In order to view and print them, you must have Adobe Reader properly configured with your browser. You may download this software FREE from Adobe's Web site. For best viewing results, change Adobe Reader's view setting to "Fit Visible". If unable to open Adobe PDF file, E-mail to and I will e-mail an attached file in Word Format.

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34th Annual Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conference

The 34th Annual Society of Army Physician Assistants PA Refresher Course was held April 22 through April 26, 2013 at the I-95 Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Fayetteville North Carolina. There were 392 fellow PA's, NP's, RN's and physicians in attendance. This year the conference was fairly successful. We were hurt by the Federal Sequester and restrictions on travel and CME attendance.  We were down about 150 from our normal attendance of Active Duty, Reserves and National Guard, VA and DOD Civilians.  Luckily we were able to make up much of this loss by increasing the number of our civilian counterparts attending the conference.  This was done by increased advertising through Journals and Websites and E-mail blasts. The conference was approved through the AA PA 33 category one CME hours, with 3 additional hours approved for a break out EKG workshop. This year, there were several new and several former speakers giving lectures on a wide variety of topics, both traditional and some nontraditional. Part of my goal as the conference coordinator is to change at least 80% of the lecture content from year-to-year. As always we strive to provide our members with high quality, low-cost CME. This was accomplished again. In addition to continuing the individual class evaluations and feedback on individual lectures. This year again, the conference was registered through the NCCPA in advance of the conference. By doing this, people are able to go directly to the NCCPA website and click on the conference link and log their hours for the classes that they have attended. This can speed the process of getting their hours logged with the NCCPA.

Sunday afternoon, the hotel again provided a Carolina picnic with pulled pork,  hot dogs and burgers with all the trimmings. The food was great, and the hotel promises that next year it will be even better. In addition to this, we had music provided by our favorite DJ, "Jammin Kenny". Monday night was the President's Reception. After a few words by our current president Frank Piper, PAC, an enjoyable evening was had by all. The only way to describe the food was "WOW".  The display was tremendous and the food exceptional. We will have photos up on the website later showing this display. This was followed by music by The Band of OZ", followed by DJ music and karaoke with "Jammin Kenny".  Due to a scheduling conflict with the Golf Course, the Golf outing was changed to Tuesday.  The Tournament was won by the team of Miles, Raugh, Liebert and Del with a score of 65. Second was the team of Hollopeter, Grimsley, Eppley and Flood with a score of 71, Third was the “Broken” team of Malone, Paulson, Cress, and Winfrey, with a score of 72.  Congratulation’s to the winners.  Tuesday night was the evening of choices. The Deuces Wild crew had their Fifth Annual Casino Night. All funds raised for this activity goes to the SAPA Scholarship fund. This year they raised about $725 during this activity. In addition, Baron's restaurant had DJ music and karaoke with "Jammin Kenny" going on well into the night. Wednesday evening, again became an evening of choices. Regina DeMarco started a game night with donations going to the scholarship fund. In addition, the musical voices of karaoke were going full blast in Barron's restaurant with "Kenny".

Additional, this year the organization joined with the organization, Wear Blue: Run to Remember to provide a Fun Run, This was held at the Cape Fear River Trail (Jordon Soccer Complex).  Additionally, representatives for the organization sold T-shirts in advance of the run.  Additionally, Karen Reedy held a 50/50 drawing on Monday and Tuesday for funds for refreshments at the Run. She was able to raise $162 for this event.

Thursday evening was the 34th Annual SAPA Banquet and Dining Out. This allows the organization to recognize individuals who have excelled.  The evening began with the singing of the national anthem by Jim Kielek. The winners of the annual poster contest were announced. This was very short as there were no entrys in the poster contest this year.  Again an unexpected result from the sequester.

  Individuals who had assisted with the conference either in advance or at the conference were presented President's Certificates.  Those individuals receiving present certificates were: Lori Wysong, Bob Egberg, Tom Matherley, Rita Ward, Phyllis Lowe, Judy Potter, Irwin Fish, Karen Reedy, Georgie Piper, Gina De Marco, Jimmie Malone, Kenny Dye,  Sue Johnson, Trudy Bergren, Marvin Cole, Kathy Bussell, Col. John Drobnica, Richard Arias, Capt. James Kielek, Norman Fertig, William Kohler, Christopher Adams, Dort Thornton, Christa Waller.

  This was followed by the recognition of the former winners of the Scully Award. The Scully Award is an award is presented annually by the president of the organization to the person that they feel has done the most for the organization over the last 12 months. This year's recipient was presented by Pres. Frank Piper to Karen McMillan, PAC. Karen has been the secretary for the organization for several years and is well deserving of this award. This was followed by the recognition of the members of the society’s Hall of Fame. Each of the attending members of the Hall of Fame were asked to stand. This is an award presented to individuals for their career long devotion to the organization. This is not given annually, but is only given when recommendations are made. This year's awardee was Marvin Cole, PAC. Marvin has been a mentor, and has presented lectures year after year for the society. Marv has   to retired from clinical medicine. We want to wish him well for his future. He has promised to come back and provide the organization with some lectures next year. We are going to hold them to this. Steve Ward, PA-C was our guest speaker and spoke on being a PA, prior, during the military and after the military and now as a retired PA, with his other great love of the ministry.  After Steve spoke, the SAPA Grog was prepared and consumed. This year, there were some changes within the banquet staff and the meal was not as normally expected.  The hotel has assured us that this will not happen in the future. 

This was followed by the Annual Auction for the scholarship fund. Through the sales of the auction, and individual donations by several in attendance, $4325 were put towards the funds. In addition, Bob Egbert the chairman of the sales booth committee reported that an additional $5376 were the profits from the sales booth this year and that will be going also directly to the funds.

As with everything, there was always room for improvement, Lt. Col. John Balser was able to attend this year, and provide a briefing for the active-duty PAs and anyone else interested. He was later called away on other duties and was not able to enjoy the complete conference this year. Additionally, the HRC representative was only able to attend one day and this she paid herself.  I have heard that she will be leaving that position and there will be a new representative next year. We will try again to have that person attend next year.  Our membership director Paul Lowe reported that we currently have 723 members. With this, this still gives us lots of room to improve. 

As many can see, this year we were down both in numbers of attendees and were still low on exhibitor's. We are going to try to put out information to more of the PAs located in the region to Fayetteville that we have in the past. Hopefully this will improve our attendance for next year. As for the exhibitors, I have been looking for many new sources of exhibitors over the last several years, the area where I am having the most trouble finding exhibitors is contacting the local representatives in the Fayetteville area. To correct this, if anyone is practicing in the civilian market in the Fayetteville area please contact me. What I would like for a few people to do, is to collect business cards in September and the first two weeks of October and send those business cards to me. I would make all contacts from that point to bring more of the local exhibitors back to the conference. Additionally, another good source of new contacts is anyone who is attending another conference. Here again, if you were to go through the exhibit hall, collect business cards of anyone exhibiting. Send those to me and I will contact them to see if they would like to exhibit at our conference in the future.

This year, several people stepped forward and offer to present classes for next year's conference. In addition, several have stated that they would be faxing in the speaker forms for next year. I am always looking for additional speakers, as I try to rotate most of the speakers from year-to-year. Some that I did not use in 2013, We will be using in 2014. If you have a subject that you are passionate about please fill out one of these forms and fax it into me so that we can add you to our speaker database.

One additional change that occurred this year was the adding of 2 additional Assistant Coordinators.  Irwin Fish has been assigned as the Asst. Coordinator for Exhibitors.  He is responsible to notifying potential exhibitors and attempting to get more exhibitors in the exhibit hall each year.   He is already working towards next year’s conference, I feel he will do a great job next year, with a year’s experience under his belt.  The other Assistant Coordinator is Karen Reedy. She is the Asst. Coordinator for Speakers.  She is responsible for scheduling the speakers for the next year.  I know she is already hard at work with this and should have the program out early for next year.  This is a brief description of their duties, so please thank them for all that they do for the organization and for the annual conference.

Lastly, the 35th Annual SAPA PA Refresher Course will be held April 28th through May 2nd, 2014 at the same location, the Holiday Inn at I-95 Hotel and Convention Center. Please keep this in mind for next year's conference and hope to see everyone next April in Fayetteville.  Keep an eye out on the website for updates and the projected schedule, and also for the mailing of the hard copy packets in January of 2014.

Thank you


Bob Potter, PA-C, MPAS

SAPA Conference Coordinator





Definition of a Physician Assistant

The following was Adopted in 1995 and Amended in 1996 by the AAPA House of Delegates.

Physician Assistants are health professionals licensed or in the case of those employed by the Federal Government, credentialed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decisionmaking and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. The clinical role of physician assistants include primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings in rural and urban areas. Physician assistant practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research, and administrative activities.

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A Brief History of the Physician Assistant Profession

The modern physician assistant profession officially began on October 6th 1967. This was the date the first Physician Assistant class of four students graduated from the Duke University PA Program. From this humble beginning, there are now over 35,000 graduate PA's and 96 accredited programs. The profession continues to grow.

As a profession, PA's can trace a similar history to the Middle-Ages. At that time, the name used was Barber -Surgeons. Barber-Surgeons were trained through an apprenticeship. During this time in history, formally trained physicians were available only to the rich and titled. Barber-Surgeons were the traveling care providers for all others.

The first use of non-physician care providers in the United States was during the Civil War. The term used for the profession during this period was "Surgeon's Assistants". The Union Army utilized these to the extent of making it's own branch called the Surgeon's Assistants Corp.

Each time the profession has reappeared, there was a physician shortage. The most recent shortage and rebirth was during the 1960's. The founding fathers of the PA profession saw this shortage and a potential solution. Dr. Eugene Stead and other physicians at Duke University saw a group of individuals with a tremendous amount of hands on experience, but lacked formal training and recognition.These were the combat medics from the Armed Services who had served in the Republic of Viet Nam. These physicians began the first formal Physician Assistant Training Program, at Duke in 1965.The program was developed, based on a medical model, similar to the way physicians were fast track trained during World War II.

The U.S. Army was also losing many physicians to civilian practice. They quickly saw the benefit of PA's. Congress authorized the training of four hundred Army PA's. The training began in 1971, with the first class graduating in July of 1973. The other services quickly followed the Army's lead and established their own programs.

Today, PA's work in all types of medical and surgical practice situations. Advanced training in the form of formal residencies are available in some of the specialties. October 6th has been designated as National Physician Assistant Day in honor of the first graduating class. October 6th 1997 will be the 30th anniversary of the profession. From 4 to 35,000 in 30 years, good growth. The future for the profession continues to look extremely bright.

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A History of the Army Physician Assistant Profession

By Major John F. Detro
I would like to thank the following for their assistance and contributions that without their help, this project would not be possible:  LTC John E. Balser, MAJ Amelia Duran-Stanton, COL Pauline V. Gross, LTC Leonard Gruppo, MAJ Robert Heath, MAJ Amy Jackson, MAJ James Jones, LTC James (Tom) Schumacher, Colonel (retired) Louis (Lou) H. Smith, CPT Luis E. Vidal, and LTC Sherry Womack.
The physician assistant community and United States military have deep roots-literally back to the founding of the PA profession.  On 6 October, the physician assistant community will begin its celebration of National PA week.  The Fort Bragg medical community will celebrate as well.  This date is significant for two reasons- it is the date three former Vietnam era Navy Corpsman graduated from Duke University’s PA Program and it represents the birthday of Dr. Eugene Stead, the founder of this prestigious program and the father of the physician assistant profession.
The physician assistant profession traces its past back to an article written in 1961 by Dr. Charles L. Hudson.  His work entitled “Expansion of Medical Professional Services with Nonprofessional Personnel” was published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).  Due to a shortage of physicians and allied health care professionals, Hudson‘s vision was to create two new groups of providers to assist doctors in performing supervised primary care support to the public.  During the 1961 American Medical Association (AMA) Conference, he described these two groups of providers.  He suggested that the first group of individuals who lacked formal medical education would undergo on the job training (like physicians of the past) to serve in medical and surgical inpatient settings along with operating and emergency rooms.  The second group was to be called externs.  These individuals were to undergo formalized medical training somewhere between that of a technician and a physician.  These graduates would work as primary care physician extenders.  For this group, he proposed a two year college program followed by a two year clinical rotation leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.  He stated that these “assistants to doctors” could be employed to handle routine care allowing doctors to handle more complex procedures and care for more patients.1  
Three physicians took Dr. Hudson’s vision to heart.  Dr. Eugene Stead, Jr, at Duke University, Dr. Richard Smith at the University of Washington, and Dr. Hu Myers at Alderson-Broaddus College all bought into the idea of creating a physician assistant program and began to develop curricula to address the national primary care shortage.   During the Vietnam Conflict roughly 30,000 medics were being discharged annually.  These individuals had developed exceptional medical skills while serving in the military, but much of their training failed to translate into civilian education or hiring into health care professions.   Dr. Stead and Dr. Smith both felt that these former military medics could be trained to fill the primary care void.1 
In 1965, Dr. Stead was the first to create a physician assistant program.  Originally, he hoped to convince the nursing community that his development of a nurse clinician program was a worthy cause.   Disillusioned by their rejection of his proposal, he enlisted former Vietnam Navy Corpsman into his PA program.  His idea was to develop a curriculum based on clinical versus didactic training as this approach would produce results much more quickly.2  Ultimately, the medical model utilized was similar to the program employed to fast track training of physicians during World War II. 
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Around the same time, Dr. Smith started his MEDEX (Medicine Extension) model focusing on the development and employment of graduates in medically underserved communities.3   In 1966, Congress passed the Allied Health Professions Personnel Act (PL-751) which promoted the development of medical programs to train new types of primary care providers.  This act was the impetus for the development and funding of increasing numbers of PA programs.
On 6 October 1967, three of the four original Duke students graduated from the PA program- Victor H. Germino, Kenneth F. Ferrell, and Richard J. Scheele.   Due to the fledgling nature of the profession, all three were hired and remained within the Duke University Medical Center.1   Dr. Hu C. Myers disagreed with the educational philosophy of his counterparts Stead and Smith.   Myers believed that a degree was necessary to confer a sense of professionalism on this new career field.  In 1967, he established the first baccalaureate degree producing program at Alderson-Broaddus College.   It quickly became clear that the federal government favored degree producing schools so the majority of new programs followed Myers lead.1   Later, in 1968, Duke hosted the first of four conferences to promote the PA profession, develop and standardize curriculums, and push to enact legislation for PAs.  In addition, the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) was founded.  Its purpose was to provide a national professional society to represent physician assistants in all areas of practice and to promote the profession.2  
In 1969, the MEDEX program was launched with ex-military corpsman.  One year later, Kaiser Permanente became the first HMO to hire PAs.  In 1971, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution to recognize PAs and began to develop national certification standards.   In addition, Dr. Marvin Gliedman and Dr. Richard Rosen established the first post graduate residency in Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY.   Later that year, Congress authorized the Army to train 400 PAs.1  
The 1970’s
The Air Force created the first military PA program in 1971.  The Navy and Army quickly followed suit.  In 1973, the first Army PA class graduated and its students became Warrant Officers.  Upon assignment, these graduates were designated as battalion surgeons.  Through their expertise and proximity to the troops, they earned the designation of “doc.”4   Congressional Medal of Honor (MoH) Recipient SFC Louis Rocco was a member of this first class.   He earned the MoH while serving in Vietnam.   During a helicopter casualty evacuation mission, the Blackhawk Rocco was traveling in was shot down.  Despite a broken wrist and hip, while under heavy enemy fire, he moved several wounded crew members to safety and was credited with saving their lives.5  Unfortunately, in October 2002, CW2 (retired) Louis Rocco succumbed to lung cancer.  
In 1975, the Army determined that enough PAs were on active duty and terminated its program.  Within 3 years, a shortage ensued and the Army Surgeon General ordered the program restarted.   Due to a lack of funding, the Army contracted with the Air Force and began sending students to Sheppard Air Force Base for training.  In September of 1979, the Army resumed its program at Fort Sam Houston, TX.4 
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CW2 (then SFC) Louis Richard Rocco
The first PAs to receive baccalaureate degrees graduated from Alderson-Broaddus in 1972.   During the same year, the first American Association of Physicians’ Assistants (AAPA) Annual National Conference was held at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.  Also, the National Commission on Certification of Physician’s Assistants (NCCPA) was founded.  Its purpose was and is to provide certifying examinations.2  
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) Bob Scully was named the first Army PA Consultant to the Surgeon General in 1976.  Though one of the first to produce graduates from PA training, the Army would be the last to commission them.   Air Force PAs were first commissioned in 1978 with Navy graduates being commissioned in 1988.4   In 1979, for the first time PAs were added to the teaching staff of the Army PA Program.  Prior to that date, instructors were all physicians.6 
First Army PA Class 1973
In 1976, a group of former Army PAs, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas started a civilian organization to represent Army PAs.  The first recorded meeting for the Society of Army Physician Assistants (SAPA) was held on 24 September, 1976.  In 1980, the first SAPA Annual PA Refresher Conference was held in Fayetteville, NC.  To this day, the annual conference continues to be held in Fayetteville.  The SAPA has an average active membership of around 600.7 
The 1980’s
Between 1980 and 1981, the Army began its first specialty programs for PAs to include orthopedics, cardiovascular perfusion, emergency medicine, occupational medicine, and aviation medicine.4   Former SFC, Donald Hohman graduated from the Army PA Program in 1982.   Hohman, then a medic, was taken prisoner during the Iran Hostage Crisis and was released after 444 days.  He was credited with providing medical care for his fellow detainees.   When released, he was asked what he wanted to do, he stated go to PA school and then do Phase II training at Fort Carson.  He graduated from PA school and CW2 Holman retired from the Army after a successful PA career.8   In 1983, Army PAs first proved their worth during combat operations in support of Operation Urgent Fury.  That year, CW2 Gerald T. Mlaker became the first PA to earn The Surgeon General’s Physician Assistant Recognition Award (TSG-PARA) and 33 years later Captain (CPT) Manny Menendez became the latest recipient (see appendix one for list of recipients).9
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Medical Evacuation Operation Urgent Fury
In 1984, a study found that PAs provided care to 79% of patients seen by primary care physicians at half the cost.  The Defense Audit Task Force on Non-Physician Health Care Providers recommended to Congress that all military PAs be commissioned Officers.2  The Society of Army Physician Assistants (SAPA) became critical in lobbying for this commissioning.7   In 1984, the Army graduated its first class to earn baccalaureate degrees (a requirement for commissioning) from Oklahoma University.  In addition, CW3 Jimmie Keller became the first Army PA assigned to the White House Medical Unit.6  
In 1987, National PA Day was established and the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA) was founded.2   In 1988, the Public Health Service commissioned PAs and to this date is the only organization to promote a PA to the flag officer ranks (Rear Admiral, Michael Milner).  A year later, Navy PAs were commissioned.1
The 1990’s
Despite Congress’ desire to commission Army PAs, it was not until 1990 that a proposal to do so was approved by the Army Chief of Staff.  A year later the Defense Authorization Bill included funding for commissioning.  This bill authorized the inclusion of Army PAs into the Army Medical Specialist Corps (ASMC) while creating a fourth Assistant Chief of the ASMC to supervise the PA section.   In 1991, over 300 PAs saw action in Operations Desert Shield/Storm.4   A year later, on 4 February 1992, 257 warrant officers were commissioned throughout the globe to the ranks of Second Lieutenant through Major.   In addition, the Army integrated PAs into the AMEDD Promotion Plan allowing them to compete for advancement as commissioned officers.  Two months later, Major (MAJ) Jimmie E. Keller became the first PA appointed Chief, Physician Assistant Section, Assistant Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps (see appendix two for a complete list).6 
In 1992, PA legend CW3 William “Doc” Donovan earned the Soldiers Medal after saving fellow Rangers from drowning following a helicopter crash.  In 1997, Donovan who served in Vietnam and during multiple operations to include Eagle Claw, Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Storm and Restore Hope became the first and only PA to be inducted into the U.S Army Ranger Hall of Fame.10   Donovan was the senior medic on the ill-fated attempt to rescue the hostages held in Iran.   These hostages included future PA Donald Hohman.  Today, fellow PA legend and United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Senior PA LTC Earl “Buck” Benson remains the sole active duty PA to have served in Vietnam.  Buck has served 8 combat tours to include Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. 
                                            Buck Benson (far right) Special Forces Medic Vietnam 1969
In 1993, there were over 26,000 PAs working in 50 states and US territories.2   MAJ Patrick D. Feely became the first Army PA promoted to LTC Colonel.  A year later, LTC Donald Parsons was selected as the first PA to hold the title of Director, Army PA Program.  In 1994, CPT Michael Cavanaugh became the first PA to be selected below zone to Major.6 
During the early 1990s, the federal government began mandatory cutbacks.  These cutbacks led to the combination of the military’s PA programs.  In 1995, the Army PA Program was selected as the Interservice PA Program (IPAP) with an effective date of May 1996.  Today, this program teaches students from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy.  However, the majority of IPAP students are members of the active or reserve Army.4   Recently, the program has lengthened from 24 to 29 months.  Currently, students attend a 16-month didactic phase followed by a 13-month clinical phase at one of the 21 Phase II sites.11  The IPAP was recently ranked 13th out of 164 US programs by the U.S News and World Report.12   The vision of this program is “To be recognized as the world-class leader in Physician Assistant education.”6   Students come from ROTC, service academies, active duty and reserve forces.  About three quarters of the students are men and the average Soldiers time in service (TIS) is three to eight years.  Upon graduation from IPAP, students earn their Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.11 
Fort Bragg PAs celebrate with IPAP’s latest graduates from Class 2-10
In 1997, Army PA CPT Steve Salyer became the first military PA to have a medical book published, The Physician Assistant Emergency Medical Handbook.6 On 8 July, 1997 a Blackhawk helicopter crashed in a densely wooded area on Fort Bragg, 1LT Timothy Alspach became the first Army PA to be killed in a training event.13 Until 1998, PAs were not required to pass the national recertification examination. 
In 1992, NCCPA certification became a mandatory requirement for commissioning.  However, for several years there were PA's who failed to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).  In late 1999, MAJ Dave Kay, Phase 2 coordinator at Fort Hood, was tasked by COL Louis Smith to develop a retraining course for those PA's who had failed the PANCE multiple times.  MAJ Kay’s program was approximately 4 weeks in duration and was held just prior to the PANCE testing.  Despite this program, eight of the twelve attendees failed the PANCE.  The eight individuals who failed were involuntarily transferred to other branches in the Army, mainly Medical Service Corps (MSC), to serve out their remaining obligation.
The Beginning of the 21st Century
In 2000, the entire active duty Army PA force became NCCPA certified for the first time.  In 2000, the last holdout, Mississippi authorized PAs to practice in the state.2 On 1 April 2002; LTC William Tozier became the first active duty PA promoted to Colonel (COL).14
Following 9/11 and the beginning of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army PAs found themselves overworked and understaffed.  The Army PA became the most deployed AMEDD officer.  Today, the Army has 1041 active duty PAs including IPAP students, those retiring, and attending graduate level education.  Collectively, Army PAs have conducted 2,065 combat tours for a total of 8,292 months.  Individually Army PAs averaged 27 months or 2.65 combat tours (MAJ A. Jackson, personal communication, September 18, 2012).  It has not been uncommon for a PA to have three or four yearlong deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). 
In 2002, MAJ Sherry Womack became the first female to see action with Special Forces troops as noted by Lt. Gen. Francis "Frank" Wiercinski’s official statement seen at the "first woman to accompany the Special Forces in combat."15   In addition, CPT Tom Schumacher became the first PA to command at the company level when he took the guidon for Bravo Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion.  Two years later, on 17 May 2002, he passed command to CPT Fred Foltz, the first company level change of command between two Army PAs. 35  
In 2003, CPT James Rice along with fellow PAs developed a rough draft for a predeployment trauma course designed to prepare front line PAs for combat.  The Tactical Combat Medical Care (TCMC) Course gained the Army Surgeon General’s approval and began in April 2004.  The course was developed to teach PAs the techniques required to treat preventable causes of battlefield death.   Shortly after its inception and secondary to the combat medical expertise of the TCMCs PA staff, other medical providers began to attend the course.  Today, all providers deploying to Role I and II assignments are required to attend the program.16 In June 2004, COL Louis Smith became the first and only PA to attend a resident Senior Service College graduating from the National War College while earning a Master’s in Strategic Studies. 35
Following the attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Scott Donoughe was inspired to serve his country.  In 2004, he became the first civilian trained PA to join the Army in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) entering service as a second lieutenant.36   In 2004, COL Smith became the first PA selected to command at the LTC/COL level.  He commanded the Schweinfurt Army Health Clinic, Schweinfurt, Germany.  He later commanded the Rader US Army Health Clinic, Fort Myer, VA.   
A year later, CPT Patrick Williams became the first to earn the Silver Star while serving as a PA.17 Currently, there are 26 active duty PAs who have been wounded in action and 52 who have received awards for valor (see appendix three and four for complete list of purple heart and valor award recipients).  In 2005, CPT Sean Grimes became the first PA ever killed in combat.  On 4 March 2005, his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.  Since his death, three other PAs have died while supporting GWOT.18   CPT Anthony R. Garcia died on 17 February 2006 of non-combat wounds, CPT Cory J. Jenkins died on 20 February 2006 following an IED attack, and CPT Michael P. Cassidy died on 17 June 2010 of non-combat related injuries. 19, 20, 21
On 5 June 2005, MAJ Ray Sterling became the 75th Ranger Regiment’s first Senior PA and a year later became the first to serve in the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG).   On April 2006, the family of Captain Sean Grimes started an annual scholarship utilizing part of his life insurance policy.   The Captain Sean P. Grimes scholarship awards $6000 annually to a worthy reserve Soldier, active duty service member or veteran who plans on attending PA school or for a PA to attend graduate school.  In 2011, the Captain Sean P. Grimes PA Training Center opened at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.  According to former Phase II clinical coordinator, COL (retired) Don Black, “This classroom will allow PA students to expand their medical knowledge in a group setting while undergoing their clinical rotations at BACH.”  In 2006, CPT John Detro became the first Army PA to earn the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Federal PA of the Year Award.22  
During the GWOT time frame, LTC Leonard Gruppo, then MAJ and Director of the Army’s Emergency Medicine PA Residency, proposed a doctorate level clinical training program for specialty PAs.  The goal was to produce specialty PAs with a substantially higher level of clinical competency to provide increased capability far forward on the battlefield. The EMPA doctoral program started in July 2006 and expanded the previous certificate program from 12 to 18 months. The first class graduated on December 15, 2007.   These PAs became the first in the nation to earn a clinical doctorate degree.  The graduates included CPT George Barbee, CPT Yvonne Franco, CPT Sharon Rosser and CPT James Schmid who earned a Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant studies with specialization in Emergency Medicine (DScPA-EM).  In addition to that first graduation, as the newly established Director of Postgraduate PA Education, he oversaw the creation of a DScPA in Orthopaedics with MAJ Craig Paige and a new residency in General Surgery with MAJ Patrick Sherman and MAJ Dave Freel; the latter of which was recently approved for a DScPA.6 Today, Army PA education continues to progress with postgraduate fellowships and other activities on the cutting edge of PA evolution. 
Many PAs have set firsts. 
1 Aug 2008:  COL Michael Robertson became the first PA to take command of a Combat Support Hospital.24
September 2008:  COL Louis Smith held the highest ranking position of any deployed PA when he became the Deputy Commander, 44th Medical Command. 
January 2009:  MAJ Sherry Womack became the first female to serve as the XVIII Airborne Corps PA.25  
April 2009:  LTC John Balser, acting PA Section Chief, Assistant Corps Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps became the first PA to command a Forward Surgical Team. The 240th FST deployed to Jalalabad Afghanistan in September 2009.26 
29 March 2009:  The Army Medical Specialist Corps recognized its first Iron Major recipients.  The first two PAs recognized were MAJ James Jones and MAJ David Bauder.  These PAs along with other SP Corps recipients attended a one week leadership symposium in Washington, DC from 29 March- 2 April.  The Iron Major award was started to recognize Promotable Captains and Majors who have displayed outstanding leadership skills, the ability to mentor junior officers, and who can foresee and participate in the future growth and potential of the SP Corps (see appendix five for complete list of recipients).27
3 April 2010:  CPT Chris Cordova became only the second PA to earn the Silver Star.28 
General Stanley McChrystal presents the Silver Star to CPT Chris Cordova
May 2010: MAJ Amelia Duran-Stanton became the first PA to win the Army Medical Specialist Corps New Horizon Research Award.  The New Horizon Research Award was established in 2007 by the SP Corps Research Committee to develop a perpetual award recognizing outstanding up and coming research SP Corps Officers for their contributions to research and/or clinical investigation as they start their careers as researchers.
20 July 2010:  LTC John E. Balser became the first PA to be sworn in during a combat deployment becoming the 6th Chief, Physician Assistant Section and Assistant Chief of the Army Medical Specialist Corps.26
11 November 2010: MAJ (P) Tom Schumacher took command of the Womack Army Medical Center’s (Womack) Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB).30   Since then, he has been the first PA selected to command a Multifunctional Medical Battalion, South Korea.  He will take command in June 2013.  In addition, LTC Schumacher is the first PA to ever be selected double below zone to Major and Lieutenant Colonel.31
8 April 2011:  LTC Balser and MAJ John F. Detro became the first two PAs to pass the guidon during a field grade level change of command ceremony that was conducted at Fort Bragg, NC.32
20 June 2011:  MAJ Jonathan Saxe, General Surgery Fellow was awarded the inaugural LTG Frank Ledford (former Army Surgeon General) Post-Graduate PA Research Award.  This award recognizes research conducted by students who are currently attending or have recently completed graduate school.33 
January 2012:  MAJ Cleve Sylvester became the first PA to perform duties as the Deputy Chief of Orthopedics, Winn Army Community Hospital, Fort Stewart.  He was recently named 541st FST commander. 35
August 2011:  LTC Leonard Gruppo became Director of the Fort Bliss Wellness Fusion Campus (WFC).  The Campus is the first of its kind in the Army and became the template for other installations.  The WFC covers about a square mile on West Fort Bliss and provides a variety of assessments, education and treatment for Soldiers, Family Members and Department of the Army Civilians. It spearheads the installation risk reduction, suicide prevention and resilience campaign efforts by consolidating relevant assets from the major commands of FORSCOM, IMCOM and MEDCOM as well as consolidating related staff sections including Operations, Research, MRT, PRT, PPPT, ASIST, CSF-PREP, Suicide Prevention, and the CHPO for efficiency and synergy of purpose in an aggressive, programmed, deliberate, accountable and innovative application of Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness.34
July 2012:  LTC John Balser graduated from the Non Resident Army War College, Carlisle Barracks.  Currently, no other Army PAs are attending.  However, LTC Tom Schumacher has been recently selected to attend the resident course.35
Recently, several PAs have been selected as Clinic Officers in Charge (OIC) to include MAJ Michael Davidson, Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) Korea; MAJ Douglas (Sean) Foster, TMC 10, Fort Campbell; CPT Jody Dunkley, TMC, Fort Sill; MAJ (P) Rob Heath, Robinson Clinic, Fort Bragg; LTC Kohji Kure, Monroe TMC, Fort Hood and MAJ Erin Stibral, Pope Clinic, Fort Bragg.35 
Army PAs filling other key and developmental billets include LTC Richard Ares, Inspector General, Tripler Army Medical Center; MAJ Scott Baumgartner, Aide de Camp to the Surgeon General; MAJ Brian Burke, Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) Surgeon; LTC Larry France, National Training Center (NTC) Surgeon; MAJ Chris Georgiana, Executive Officer Recruiting Command; LTC Karl Kisch, Deputy Department Chief, Clinical Services (DCCS), Bavaria, Germany; MAJ John Knight, Chief of Soldier Health Services, Fort Campbell; LTC Leslie Randolph-Moss, Deputy IG, Pentagon and LTC Richard Villarreal, Deputy Commander, 10th CSH, Fort Carson.35
Today’s Army PA is not only a clinician but a leader.  Army Physician Assistants are seasoned veterans generally with years of prior service.  By drawing on their experiences, PAs can lead in both tactical and clinical settings.  They continue to pave the way for the future leaders of the Army PA profession and Army Medical Specialist Corps.  Perhaps in the future, a PA will become the Army Medical Specialist Corps Chief and maybe one day an Army PA will attain flag officer rank.  One thing is for certain, the future of the Army PA is bright and the potential is limitless.  
Acknowledgement:  This work is dedicated to the pioneers of our profession along with military PAs past, present and future. 
1.  Carter, R. (2001). Physician Assistant History.  Physician Assistant History Society, volume 12, number retrieved from
2.  Physician Assistant Illustrated History Timeline (2012).  Physician Assistant History Society.  Retrieved from
3.  Cawley, James F., Hooker, Roderick S. (2011).  Origins of the Physician Assistant Movement in the United States.  Bulletin of the History of Medicine.  Retrieved from
4.  Colver, Judith. E., Blessing, Dennis. (2007). Military Physician Assistants: Their Background and Education. The Journal of Physician Assistant Education, volume 18, number 3.  
5.  AMEDD Medal of Honor Oral History Interviews: CW2 Louis R. Rocco.  U.S Army Medical Department.  Retrieved from
6.  The History of Army Physician Assistants.  Retrieved from
7.  History of the Society of Army Physician Assistants (2012).  Society of Army Physician Assistants.  Retrieved from
8.  Kunstel, Marcia, Albright, Joseph (1989). Iran Hostages Go On With Lives:  Some Say They Have Nightmares- Some Think Careers Were Hurt.  Retrieved from
9.  Army Medical Specialist Corps (website for TSG-PA).;jsessionid=69381549A1D029F63C3978064994ADB2.appd03_1
10.  Liewer, Steve (2002) Special Operations Community Network.  Rangers spend Sundays visiting Kosovar villages, dispensing medical care (2002).  Retrieved from
11.  AMEDD Center and School. (2012). Interservice Physician Assistant Program.  Retrieved from
12.  U.S News and World Report (2011). Physician Assistant Rankings. Retrieved from
13.  Army Releases Names of Crash Victims (1997).  WRAL News.  Retrieved from
14.  Gross, Pauline (2010).  Colonel Tozier retires after Nearly 40 Years: Farewell to Army’s First 06 Physician Assistant.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 22, number 4a.  Retrieved from
15.  Knopper, Melissa (2003).  Providing Care on Middle East Battlefields:  Mentoring PAs Going to Iraq.  Clinical News.  Retrieved from
16.  Wilson, Elaine (2005). Trauma course preps medical officers to battlefield.  Fort Sam Houston News Leader.  Retrieved from
17.  Cornell, Stephen (2008).  Physician Assistants and the US Military.  Advance for NPs and PAs, volume 16, issue 5.  Retrieved from
18.  BACH Memorializes Classroom in honor of Fallen Soldier (2011).  Clarksville online.  Retrieved from
19.  Honor the Fallen:  Army Capt. Anthony R. Garcia (2006).  Army Times.  Retrieved from
20.  Honor the Fallen:  Army Capt. Cory J. Jenkins (2006).  Army Times.  Retrieved from
21.  Honor the Fallen: Army Capt. Michael P. Cassidy (2012). Army Times.  Retrieved from
22.  2007 Annual Awards (2007).  Bay Ledger News Zone.  Retrieved from
23.  Salyer, Steven W. (2008). A Clinical Doctorate in Emergency Medicine for Physician Assistants: Postgraduate Education.  Journal of Physician Assistant Education, volume 19, number 3.  Retrieved from
24.  Cornell, Stephen (2008).  Army PA Takes Command.  Advance Blog for PAs.  Retrieved from
25.  Rodewig, Cheryl (2011).  Fort Benning Observes Women’s Equality Day.  Fort Benning Observer.  Retrieved from
26.  Swearing-In Ceremony of LTC John Balser 6th Chief PA (2010).  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 22, number 4a.  Retrieved from
27.  Ellison, Brenda K. (2010). Deputy Chief Strategic Initiatives:  What is an Iron Major?  Army Medical Specialist Corps, Corps Connection. 
28.  Detro, John F. (2010).  Chris Cordova Earns Silver Star.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 21, number 2a.  Retrieved from
29.  Detro, John F. (2010). Major Amelia Duran-Stanton Wins 2010 New Horizon Research Award.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 21, number 3a.  Retrieved from
30.  Canfield, Brian (2011). Commander’s Letter.  Womack Army Medical Center Newsletter.  Retrieved from
31.  Detro, John F. (2012). LTC Tom Schumacher Sets Firsts.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 23, number 6a.  Retrieved from
32.  Detro, John F. (2011).  PAs Change Command.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 23, number 6a.  Retrieved from
33.  Detro, John F. (2011).  Saxe Wins Ledford Research Award.  Society of Army Physician Assistants Newsletter, volume 25, number 8a.  Retrieved from
34.  Garibay, Edward A. (2012).  Pittard showcases resilience resources for Soldiers.  Fort Bliss Monitor.  Retrieved from
35.  Jackson, MAJ Amy. Deputy Branch Chief/65D Assignments Officer MAJ John Detro. 18 09 2012.  e-mail.
Provided by MAJ Amy Jackson, Consultant, PA Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps
1981:  CW2 Gerald T. Mlaker, 1st Armored Division, Germany
1982:  CW2 Donald L. Parsons, 172ND Infantry Brigade, Vicenza, Italy
1982:  CW3 Keith B. Sunderlin, 82ND Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NCO   
1983:  CW2 William Donovan, 1ST Battalion (RANGER), 75TH Infantry, Hunter Army Airfield, GA
1984:  CW2 Stephen E. Brick, 2ND Battalion (RANGER), 75TH Infantry, Fort Lewis, WA
1984:  CW2 Henry B. Sablan, 5TH Battalion, 15TH Field Artillery, Fort Ord, CA
1985:  CW2 Samuel L. Jewett III, 1ST Battalion, 68TH Armor, 8TH Infantry Division, Germany
1986:  CW2 Charles M. Russell, 2ND Battalion, 75TH Field Artillery, Hanau, Germany
1987:  CW2 Patrick F. Roper, 2ND Squadron, 11TH Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, CA
1988:  CW3 Judith E. Colver, 547TH General Dispensary, Grafenwoehr, Germany
1989:  CW2 Terry L. Lewis, AMEDD Personnel Proponent Division, Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston, TX
1990:  CW4 Duane K. Paulus, 1ST Battalion, 319TH Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82ND Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC
1991:  CPT Michael K. Cavannagh, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC
1992:  2LT John E. Hurley, 3RD Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA
1993:  CPT Peter A. Forsberg, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX
1994:  CPT Joseph F. Creedon, JR., Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, CO
1995:  CPT Charles E. Solesbee, USA MEDDAC, Fort Jackson, SC
1996:  CPT Jonathan R.C. Green, USA MEDDAC, Fort Stewart, GA
1997:  CPT Dale J. Rush, 1ST Battalion, 10TH Special Forces Group, Stuttgart, Germany
1998:  CPT Anne M. Albert, USA MEDDAC, Fort Leavenworth, KS
1999:  CPT Leonard Q. Gruppo, JR, 2ND Battalion, 5TH Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, KY
2000:  1LT James J. McIlwee, 172ND Combat Support Battalion, Fort Wainwright, AK
2001:  CPT David L. Hamilton, 2ND Battalion, 37TH Armor, Friedberg, Germany
2002:  1LT (P) Kevin W. Burnham, USA FORCES CENTCOM, Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar
2003:  CPT Christopher S. Van Winkle, 82ND Forward Support Battalion, 82ND Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC
2004:  CPT John E. Hendricks, 1ST Battalion, 6TH Field Artillery, 1ST Infantry Division, Bamberg, Germany
2005:  CPT John F. Detro, HHC, 3RD Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA
2006:  CPT Patrick C. Williams, 172ND Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, AK
2007:  CPT William C. Swaims, 173RD Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Camp Blessing, Afghanistan
2008:  CPT Anthony J. Bohl, 173RD Special Troops Battalion, Bamberg, Germany
2009:  CPT Andrew D. Fisher, 1st Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, GA
2010:  CPT Christopher Cordova, 3-61ST Cavalry, 4TH Brigade Combat Team, 4TH Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO
2011:  CPT Manuel Melendez, 3RD Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA
2012:  TBD
APPENDIX 2:  Physician Assistant Section, Assistant Chief of the Army Medical Specialist Corps
Provide by MAJ Amy Jackson, Consultant, PA Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps
1992-1994:  MAJ Jimmie E. Keller
1994-1998:  LTC Patrick D. Feely
1998-2002:  LTC Louis H. Smith III
2002-2006:  COL William L. Tozier
2006-2010:  COL Michael A. Robertson
2010-Present:  LTC John E. Balser


 Provided by CPT Luis E. Vidal, PA Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps

COL   Michael A. Robertson

MAJ   Andrew H. Allen

MAJ   Robert Wade Bradley

MAJ   John Fitzgerald Detro (3 awards)

MAJ   Robert Bradley Rather

MAJ   Paul Joseph Schillaci  

CPT   Juan Briones

CPT   Christopher B. Dominguez

CPT   Thomas John Eigel Jr

CPT   Andrew D. Fisher

CPT   Brett C. Gendron

CPT   Richard Eugene Gieck

CPT   Joseph Newton Gomez

CPT   Travis L. Jacobs 

CPT   Andrew R. Kennedy

CPT   Garrett W. Larson

CPT   Jeremy A. McGuffey

CPT   Dustin T. Overholt

CPT   Michael A. Ramos

CPT   Marion J. Smith III

CPT   Nathaniel J. Taylor

CPT   Jeffrey L. Tyler

CPT   Cody Zane Williams

1LT   Allan Ray Thomas


Provided by CPT Luis E. Vidal, PA Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps

Silver Star                               Air Medal with Valor Device       

MAJ   Patrick Charles Williams                  LTC Robert S. Heath   

CPT   Christopher Berardo Cordova                CPT Thomas Morris Clopton

                                           CPT Lindsey Kyle Faudree          

Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device       CPT Thomas Paul Molton III

MAJ   Willie D. Booker                    CPT Nicholas William Vasios 

MAJ   Christopher B. Cole                 1LT Matthew Jude Corey

MAJ   John Fitzgerald Detro  

MAJ   Jeffrey P. Godwin

MAJ   Kenneth Ellis Hyde           

MAJ   George Stephen Midla   

MAJ   Dawn L. Orta                 

MAJ   William C. Swaims      

CPT   Euclid A. Cruz         

CPT   Andrew D. Fisher       

CPT   Paul Jones             

CPT   Brian Howard Earl Krebs

CPT   Daniel Cole Martens

CPT   James Levi Shearer     

CPT   Cody Zane Williams     

1LT   Paul Martin Schultz    

1LT   David J. Catron        

1LT   Matthew John Dower 

1LT   Joseph Benjamin Ronk   

1LT   Allan Ray Thomas       

 Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device

LTC   David A. Freel   

LTC   Roman B. Reyes

MAJ   Willie D. Booker       

MAJ   William C. Cranston          

MAJ   John Fitzgerald Detro (2 awards)

MAJ   Todd P. Kielman

MAJ   Bradley Robert Rather  

MAJ   Paul Joseph Schillaci  

MAJ   Mark P. Walther        

CPT   Patrick L. Barker      

CPT   Micah James Benson           

CPT   Euclid A. Cruz         

CPT   Lindsey Kyle Faudree   

CPT   Jamison E. Gaddy       

CPT   Brett C. Gendron       

CPT   Jason C. Hansen        

CPT   Robert M. Kistner      

CPT   Garrett W. Larson      

CPT   Abraham Leiato         

CPT   Jeremy A. McGuffey           

CPT   Marion J. Smith III    

CPT   Shane O. Smith         


Provided by MAJ Amy Jackson, Consultant, PA Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps


MAJ David Bauder

MAJ James Jones


MAJ George Barbee

MAJ Marni Barnes

MAJ Michael Franco

MAJ David Hamilton

MAJ Kane Morgan  


MAJ Bill Soliz

MAJ Amy Jackson

MAJ Dawn Orta

MAJ Stephen Delellis

MAJ Rob Heath




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The American Academy of Physician Assistants

The American Academy of Physician Assistants was founded in 1968 to provide a national professional society to represent all physician assistants in every area of medicine and to promote the profession to the public. The AAPA is structured to provide a chartered constituent chapter for each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Veteran Affairs and each of the Uniformed Services. The AAPA House of Delegates, consisting of delegates from each chapter, is the policy making branch of the AAPA. The Society of Army Physician Assistants is one of these chartered chapters. Visit the AAPA Web site at

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History of the Society of Army Physician Assistants

During the summer of 1976, a group of Army PAs, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, saw the need for a civilian organization to represent the Army PA. The first recorded official meeting was on September 24, 1976. A proposed Constitution and By-Laws were adopted at this meeting. These documents were forwarded to the AAPA for approval. Mr. Woodrow Ace, PA-C was notified on November 26, 1976 by Martha L. Wilson, Executive Assistant of the AAPA, that SAPA's application had been received and forwarded to the Constituent Chapter Committee Chairman, Mr. James Konopa, for approval. SAPA was approved as a chartered constituent chapter of the AAPA on April 4, 1977. The official charter document was received on July 25, 1977. The SAPA Board of Directors during the application process were as follows: President-Woodrow Ace, Vice President-Danny Englund, Secretary-Phillip Cordova, Treasurer-Michael Newman, and Student Representative-Michael Williams. A new Board of Directors was appointed in April 1977 concurrent with the approval of The Charter.

The 1st SAPA Board of Directors, as a chartered chapter of the AAPA, were: President-Rafael Oscar San Juan, Vice President-Robert A. Jones, Secretary-Paul Cephus, and Treasurer-Charlie Mitchell. Committee chairmans were CME-Francisco Bernal III, Public Affairs-Timothy Davis, Conus Coordination-Donald Mangarelli, and Overseas Coordination-Christopher Luck.

Due to the frequent movement of military personnel, SAPA struggled throughout the 1970's and early 1980's. The Society planned and held a small CME in 1979 at Ft. Belvoir, VA. This initial meeting was well received by all who attended. The U.S. Army Surgeon General, in 1980, indicated that he wanted an annual medical conference for the Army PA. The first was held in Fayetteville, N.C. in 1980. The first Army Annual PA Refresher Course was attended by about 60 Army and Air Force PA's. This started a relationship that lasted until 1994. Throughout this time, the conference was known as "The Office of the Army Surgeon General, in conjunction with the Society of Army Physician Assistants Annual PA Refresher Course." The annual conference provided a vehicle to conduct the Society's business and have formal meetings in conjunction with the high quality, low cost CME.

The mid-eighties brought new life to the society. This was the latest proposal for commissioning of the Army PA's. During this period, membership grew to over 800. The commissioning of Army PA's began in February 1992. After this peak, the society's membership has stabilized at around 600.

Starting in 1995, the society assumed full responsibility for the annual conference. This conference is the 2nd largest PA conference in the US, drawing attendees from all branches of the uniform services, retired, and civilian PA's. The Society of Army Physician Assistants Annual PA Refresher Course remains the most cost effective, high quality CME available. Visit our conference web page for more information.

Other benefits of membership include a high quality, bi-monthly newsletter. With membership spread worldwide in peace and war, interesting articles are available. See the newsletter web page for more information. Members are also provided with a lapel pin and a membership directory. There are membership categories for all PA's and other groups. See the membership page for more information.

The vision a few dedicated Army PA's had in 1976 has grown beyond anything that they imagined possible. The Society is a dynamic, healthy, and exciting organization. The future for the Society is extremely bright. Make yourself part of the Society's future, visit our membership home page.

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Contact Information

SAPA Business (573) 528-2307
Conference Line (309) 734-5446
Conference Registration (309) 734-5446
SAPA Business (888) 711-8543
Conference line (309)734-4489,
Conference Registration (309) 734-4489
Postal address
P.O. Box 4068, Waynesville, MO. 65583-4068
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