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Date Published: May 23, 2024

Memorial Day: Day of Remembrance

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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).

Below are a few biographies of veteran PAs in the military and uniformed services that have passed. This Memorial Day, please read their stories and learn more about their contributions to the profession and to healthcare.


Nate Alston – Served in the Army during Korea and Vietnam as a paratrooper and then became a PA educator focused on the recruitment of minority students to the PA profession.

Scott Chavez – Served as a medic in the Air Force. Became a president of the AAPA and made meaningful contributions to the profession and to correctional healthcare.

Doug Condit – Served as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam, was one of the first PAs to practice in the surgical field.

William Feyh – Advocated for the commissioning of Navy PAs as officers and was one of the first Navy PAs to be made director of a clinic.

Victor Germino – One of the first three PAs in the US and a former Navy Hospital Corpsman.

David Gwinn – A Vietnam War veteran and a staunch supporter and advocate for the AAPA Veterans Caucus and the Society of Air Force PAs.

Tom Lemley – Was a lifetime member of the Society of Army PAs and the Society of Air Force PAs. He also was very active with the Veterans Caucus.

Luis Rocco – First PA to be awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor. Attended the first class of the Army PA Program.

Dick Scheele – One of the three original graduates of the Duke PA program’s first class, he was instrumental in promoting the profession and founding the AAPA.

John Trimbath – Served in the US Airforce, became instrumental in PA legislation and education.

Steven Turnipseed – A former Army PA, was a graduate from the first class of the MEDEX program and the first African American of the program. Was instrumental in the formation of the AAPA Minority Affairs Committee.

To browse through our complete Biography Collection, please click here.

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.

PA Veterans Garden:

The PA History Society is proud to have created the first and only veterans garden dedicated to only PAs who have served or who are currently serving in the US uniformed services. The John McElligott PA Veterans Garden is located at the Stead Center in Durham, North Carolina. The Society has also discovered additional space for new engraved brick pavers to honor your service or that of another. To learn more about the Garden or to order a brick paver, please click here.

For articles and essays that may be of interest, please see below:

A First Hand Account of the Founding of the AAPA Veterans Caucus

The Veterans Caucus Award Plaque

The Creation of God Loves the Grunt

Honoring Those Who Served: LCDR William Feyh