A Sweet commissioning

  • Published
  • By Col. Philip A. Sweet
  • 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
On March 29, I commissioned my daughter and a fellow classmate, Steven Gale, at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

I am the first member of my family to serve in the Air Force. I was on active duty at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and Reserve duty at the 440th Airlift Wing in Milwaukee, Wis. then went on to the 934th Airlift Wing in Minneapolis. My grandfather and two uncles served in the Navy and an uncle served in the Army.

Emily is my oldest daughter. She grew up on military bases and used to make rounds with her father in military clinics. When she lived in Wichita Falls, she used to line up her teddy bear and other stuffed animals and listen to them with her toy stethoscope.
At five, she performed her first open-heart surgery on her sister's Cabbage Patch doll. The doll survived though her three-year-old sister was none too happy.

Now, 17 years later, she has more of an interest in trauma and emergency medicine. She studied forensic science at Loyola University in Chicago and is a bit of a sleuth and medical history buff. She is interested not only in clinical medicine but in the investigatory and operational aspects of military medicine.
Her classmate, Steven Gale, is originally from Luxemburg, Wis. He attended St. Norbert College and graduated in May 2009 with a degree in Biology. He enjoys playing intramural sports, waterskiing and reading. Steven is interested in pursuing family medicine or some other primary care specialty.

Commissioning them both brought feelings of pride but also worry as it is a much more dangerous world than it was in 1991 in Wichita Falls. When I mentioned this to my squadron at commander's call on May 1 there was a huge sigh in the room.