COL Dallas Hack, MD: The Day Before 9.11

COL Hack arrived for his first assignment in theater in the Middle East the day before 9.11. His work multiplied, but his commitment to helping wounded soldiers remained his main interest.

So my first assignment in the theater really occurred in 2001. I was assigned as the lead medical care entity in the Middle East, and I arrived from my new position the day before 9.11 So what I thought was going to be a nice little quiet job taking care of a few troops at a few bases quickly escalated into a very major, obviously, operation because most of the work that was set up early in the Afghanistan operation was done from within the theater and coordination efforts and so on. So trying to get that all going and going around making sure we had the medical care where we needed it throughout the whole region was part of what I had to be responsible for. So then I came back to Walter Reed for a couple of years as a department chair at the Walter Reed hospital, at which point, because of my experience and then having had the operations begin in Iraq, I was assigned as the command surgeon for the Multi-National Force--Iraq, which was the four-star command in charge of all of the aspects of dealing with the Iraq situation starting in 2004. So, responsible for combat troop care, trying to work with the Iraq Ministry of Health to stand up their health system, and then worked with the detainee health care in trying to get that back on track. So it was a fairly complex and interesting time, but the part that really impressed me, which really led me to want to do what I'm doing now, was taking care of the wounded troops.
Posted on BrainLine March 8, 2012.

Produced by Ashley Gilleland and Noel Gunther, BrainLine.