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Surgeon who served in Afghanistan being sent to Iraq
Defiance, Ohio, Crescent-News


June 13, 2005

Defiance, Ohio - Dr. Nathan Fogt, a U.S. Army reservist who returned 18 months ago from a deployment to Afghanistan, has been called back to active duty.

This time his destination is even more scary - the Abu Ghraib district in Iraq. He is expected to arrive in Iraq in the next 10 to 14 days.

"I'm not the only person in this boat," he said. "I'm willing to do my part."

After 24 years of service to the country, one could argue he's already done his part.

"It was hard for my family the last time; it's going to be just as hard if not harder this time," admitted Fogt, an orthopedic surgeon at a clinic in Defiance. "I also feel bad for my patients. I will be coming back, but it's still tough."

Fogt received written notice of his new assignment about 30 days ago.

"I knew it was possible I would be activated again, but this came as a big shock," he said. "The problem is that there are less than 100 orthopedic surgeons in the Army and Army Reserves combined."

The medical team where Fogt will be stationed is comprised of one general surgeon, one orthopedic surgeon and a few emergency-room and internal-medicine doctors.

"That's not very many, especially since we will be dealing with heavy-duty trauma injuries," Fogt remarked. "It's not only going to be rougher work than Afghanistan, but there will be more of it."

Before studying medicine, Fogt had a career in the military and private industry. He is a 1981 graduate of West Point and served in a number of military leadership positions until accepting a position as superintendent of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in St. Marys, Ohio, from 1986-91.

He earned a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Ohio University in 1995, and served internship and residency stints in orthopedic surgery at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.

He has some worries about his new assignment.

"In Afghanistan, the general populace was happy we were there," he said. "Dissatisfaction is more widespread in Iraq - and where I am going nobody is apt to be very welcoming."

Roads leading to the Abu Ghraid prison have been a frequent target of insurgents, and just last month the U.S. military began an offensive directed especially at those who have staged bloody assaults on the prison.

"There's no question I will be working on more Iraqis than Americans," Fogt said. "That's typical of what I have seen through the years. We shoot them, but then we rush them out on choppers and do our best to take care of them. That says something about us as a people.

"I never miss the opportunity to tell folks back home what a great job our people in uniform do," he said. "They represent the best of what we are and what we should be. That's not to say our military is perfect. But, for most part, our intentions in Iraq have been very good."


Reach Jack Palmer at palmer(at)
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service

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