UNSUNG HEROES: Army Doctor Returns To Service After 20 Years

Unsung Heroes
Photo courtesy of AARP

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Dr. Fred Lough felt the call to return to service after working as a civilian for nearly 20 years.


After spending two decades as a civilian surgeon in the area of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, and with the U.S. military engaged in two long wars, Lough was drawn back to the idea of service by his desire to help save soldiers.

Over the process of a few years, he worked with Army medical recruiters and in 2007 was able to sign up and serve in the Army Reserves.

“I was 58 years old when I joined the United State Army Corps Medical Reserves,” Lough told AARP. “I was trained by the Army, I had always considered myself a soldier, and now there was a need for military surgeons.”

He was deployed twice to Afghanistan, once in 2010 and again in 2012.

On the second deployment, Lough’s base was attacked by a truck bomb that destroyed the Forward Surgical Team facility. In the midst of the attack, among the wounded, the medical support staff was able to quickly respond and perform dozens of surgeries in the field.

Later, the members of the unit were all awarded the Combat Action Badge, which is unusual for medical support units, he said.

His most fulfilling experience, he said, was his second tour in Afghanistan. Lough was so inspired that he realized what he really wanted to do was to go back to the Army full-time.

So in 2013, at 64 years of age, Lough rejoined the Army as active duty, giving up his position as director of cardiac surgery at George Washington University Hospital, and began working at the Uniformed Services Hospital at Walter Reed Medical Center.

"I was given the skills by the country to be a physician and to employ those skills for those that are serving in harm's way, to ease the burden of their wounds, save lives. That is just a great opportunity and a great gift. I am thrilled to be able to do this on a daily basis and to be back in the Army," Lough told WUSA9 in Washington, D.C.

Lough’s affiliation with the military is lifelong. His father was a 40-year career service member who served during World War II, and four of Lough’s children also attended West Point. He too commissioned in the Army in 1970 after graduating from West Point and served until 1987.

During his time as a civilian, he had a successful career working as a surgeon in private practice; and eventually at a major hospital system, his medical school alma mater The George Washington University hospital.

Lough has no regrets about leaving his comfortable life in civilian medicine to serve a second time.

“I just felt I needed to go, because I did feel our country was under threat,” he said.

Watch Lough’s interview with AARP below.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less