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Date Published: October 31, 2023

Happy Veterans Day!

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The PA History Society would like to thank all the PAs that have served or who are currently serving in the Uniformed Services!

The first three PAs were former Navy Hospital Corpsmen who graduated from the Duke PA program. The PA profession was created to utilize and expand upon the former medic and corpsmen training of veterans returning to the civilian sector, especially for those returning from the Vietnam War.

The success of the profession owes much to these early pioneers and the uniformed services approval of it, which lead to the creation of their own individual PA training schools (now condensed into one school known as the Interservice PA Program).

To help celebrate Veterans Day, we have put together a small collection of oral histories, videos, and biographies from our archival collections. Please take a moment to browse through!

Oral Histories:

The PA History Society started a project in 2020 to interview PAs who began their health practitioner careers as either military medics or corpsmen. To view the collection of interviews, please click here.

Some of our individual oral history interviews from our collection might also be of interest:

Llyod Buckmaster is a graduate from Army PA Class 5. He talks about how he enrolled in the Army Physician Assistant Program, how he helped to save the Society of Army PAs, and his time spent as a PA in the military and as a civilian.

James Cannon is a retired US Coast Officer. He shares with us how he became a PA and the most satisfying aspects of his PA career.

Pauline Gross

Amelia Duran-Stanton is an Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) graduate that is currently on active duty in the US Army. She shares how she became a PA, what drove her to become interested in the profession and her specialty, and her current work.

Pauline Gross is the second woman PA to receive Colonel rank in the Army. She has been in the Army for 40 years and 32 of those years as a PA. She shares how she became a PA, the mentors she has had throughout her career, how she joined as a teacher in the Army’s PA program, and what inspires her in her work. [Pictured right]

Amy Jackson talks about how she enrolled in the Interservice PA Program (IPAP), her experiences as a commander, and her work on the first Army PA handbook!

Jim Keller has been a PA since 1976 and served as the PA on the White House Medical Staff from August 1984-September 1998. He was the first US Army PA to serve as part of the White House Medic

Jim Kielek

al Unit (WHMU).

Jim Kielek is the only Navy PA to have attained the rank of Captain after first working his way up the enlisted ranks to Senior Chief Petty Officer, and the Warrant Officer Ranks to Chief Warrant Officer 3. He talks about what drew him to become a PA, his life as a PA in the military and as a civilian, how he inspired his son to also become a PA, and how he is a part of Navy PA history. [Pictured right]

Ben Olmedo shares how he learned about PAs while he was in the Army and about his work with the Indian Health Service.

Christopher Pase talks about his involvement with the Soldier for Life program, how he became a PA, and offers advice to those thinking of joining the PA profession.

To browse through the rest of our video oral history collection, please click here.


Doc! Lifesavers Then…Caregivers Now was created to honor medics, corpsmen, and other healthcare providers who served during the Vietnam War. The film has accounts from both healthcare providers and the patients that they tended to on the battlefield.


It would impossible to put all of the biographies that we have on men and women who have served their country on this page! Because of this, we have chosen a few that have been added to our biography collection recently. To browse through all of our biography collection, please click here.

LTC Scott Benson is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the Interservice PA Program (IPAP) through the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2003 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Specialist Corps.

LTC Maria Duggan served as the  Force Health Protection Chief for  the 168th Multifunctional Medical Batallion and the Wood Health Clinic Senior Physician at Camp Walker, Republic of Korea.  Currently she is the only  Physician Assistant  in Korea able to see children 2 years and up.

MAJ Bryan Jow serves as the Home Station Mission Command Surgeon at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. He entered active duty as a Quartermaster Officer after commissioning out of Lehigh University’s ROTC program in May 2011.

MAJ Joshua Radi is currently 93rd WMD-CST Deputy Commander (Hawai’i Army National Guard).

MAJ Ashley Wheeler serves as the Commander of the 555th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment at Fort Hood, Texas. She entered active duty as a Medical Service Officer after commissioning from the United States Military Academy (USMA) on May 21, 2011.

LTC Larry Wyatt serves as the Medical Director, Joint Task Force, National Capital Region, Military District of Washington. He entered active duty as a Marine in 1987. After four years in the USMC (United States Marine Corps), he had a short break in service and then completed the Army Special Forces Qualification Course(18D) and was assigned to 7th Special Forces Group.