By John Carruthers, staff writer, December 03, 2012
In early 2009, Newport Beach, Calif. dermatologist Dore Gilbert, MD, began to take steps toward fulfilling something in his life that he felt he’d left undone. In his earlier days, Dr. Gilbert had very nearly joined the Army reserves, but found himself unable to make the time commitment with his career at its formative stage. But with his children raised and practice secure, Dr. Gilbert set his sights toward becoming a solider at age 59.
“These people sacrifice so much on our behalf. It's hard to fully appreciate just what they do.”
- As a physician, Dr. Gilbert was qualified to join the armed forces until age 60. He was inspired in part by his son, a member of the Marines.
- “Once I took my oath as an officer in the Army Reserve, the reality of basic training set in,” Dr. Gilbert said. “I had to make sure that I wasn’t going to wash out because of physical inability.”
- Dr. Gilbert’s physical training in preparation for basic training included daily sessions at the gym, timed runs, and 100 push-ups and sit-ups each morning. Though he was not required to pass the Army physical fitness test, he wanted to make sure he was as qualified as his younger colleagues.
- During basic training, Dr. Gilbert recounted, he had to deal with scorpions, narrow cots, and a lack of showers in addition to separation from his family and community. Yet at the end, he said, he recognized basic training as one of the best experiences of his life.
- Following basic training, Dr. Gilbert served in Afghanistan. He readily admits, “I had no idea what I was getting into.” He arrived in the war zone and was immediately in charge of the health care of 10,000 soldiers. The experience, he said, could be intense, terrifying, and mundane from day to day.
- “The fact that I was able to serve with such dedicated men and women was the highlight of my deployment,” Dr. Gilbert said.
To nominate a physician, visit www.aad.org/membersmakingadifference.