Veterans DayEach Veteran’s Day, the Department of Neurosurgery celebrates its own veterans by thanking all who have served our country.

This year, we would like to highlight faculty members who answered “yes” to the call of duty. We recognize: Jeffrey P. Blount, M.D., Winfield S. Fisher, III, M.D., Mark Hadley, M.D., Patrick R. Pritchard, M.D., and Curtis Rozzelle, M.D. Below is detailed information about their missions. Please take a moment to read about each faculty member’s experience in the armed forces.

    • Blount served in the Navy from 1996-1999 at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. He was deployed to Okinawa, Japan for mission support and served on the Surgical Rapid Response team.

    • Fisher is a retired captain in the United States Naval Medical Corps, having served active duty from 1974-1990 and reserve duty 1993-2003. He was affiliated with the Uniformed Services Medical School at Bethesda Naval Hospital while active duty. He achieved an academic level of associate professor from the department of surgery at the medical school. At the time, Bethesda was one of two ABNS-sanctioned military neurosurgical training programs. Fisher was the most senior neurosurgeon during the Operation Desert Shield portion of the war with Iraq. After completion of his active-duty military time at Bethesda, he began his tenure at UAB.

    • Hadley retired and was honorably discharged as a Major in the United States Air Force in September 1991. He received a Health Professions Scholarship from the USAF in 1979. He was on periodic active duty through his medical school and residency training and assumed full-time active duty status from July 1988 – June 1991. Hadley was stationed at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA. There, he served as chief of the Neurosurgical Service from 1989 - June 1991. He was deployed to England (RAF Digby in Lincolnshire) to an Allied staging hospital during Operation Desert Shield with Iraq from November 1990 through May 1991. Upon return to the states, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service (June 1991).

    • Pritchard began his military service in the US Naval Reserve in 1989, commissioned as an Ensign in the Health Professions Scholarship Program. On the day of his medical school graduation in 1993 (also his 26th birthday), he was promoted to the rank of Navy Lieutenant. Immediately following his promotion, Pritchard, on active duty,  completed his surgery internship at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland (1993-1994), followed by an operational tour with the United States Fleet Marine Force Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. There, he was a general medical officer for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (1994-1995).

      Pritchard served as staff medical officer 1995-1996 at the USMC Base Quantico, Virginia. Pritchard returned to the reserves to complete his neurosurgical residency training 1996-2001. He returned to active duty as a Lieutenant Commander at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California, serving as a staff neurosurgeon. During his time at NMC San Diego, he deployed with Fleet Hospital 8 in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Pritchard was promoted to full Commander and ended his Naval service in 2005.

    • Rozzelle was commissioned as a US Army Lieutenant from Duke University ROTC in 1987. He graduated with honors from the Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill, then completed one tour of duty in West Germany from 1988-1990. Assigned to a Lance missile battalion in VII Corps Artillery, he served as firing platoon leader, assembly and transport platoon leader, battalion ammunition officer, and battalion special weapons officer.

It has been  a challenging year, but let’s take time to honor those who have sacrificed their time, talents, families, and too often, their own lives for our freedoms. To all those who have served and are currently serving in the military – “Thank you for your service!”