Air Force

July 13, 2012

Doc begins ‘service before self’ at 61

Tags:
By Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Joseph Keenan, a 380th Expeditionary Medical Group flight doctor, checks a patient’s throat in Southwest Asia on June 26, 2012. Keenan is a flight doctor assigned to the 131st Fighter Squadron in his hometown of Westfield, Mass.

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — (Editor’s Note: We were so impressed by this individual’s willingness to put forth ‘service before self’ at the age of 61, to support our troops, we want to print this for all those ‘seniors’ out there who want to support our military.)

Walking into the office of Lt. Col. (Dr.) Joseph Keenan, one could possibly imagine him in private practice in his home town — the warm, caring doctor the community has known for many years.

But his Air Force “community” has only known him for two years.

Keenan, who has been an ear, nose and throat doctor for more than 30 years, will celebrate his third anniversary of becoming an Air National Guard member in October. It will also be his 64th birthday.

As he got older, the more he realized how fortunate he was to be born in America, said Keenan, who is a flight doctor assigned to the 131st Fighter Squadron in his home town of Westfield, Mass.

“All four of my grandparents were immigrants from different countries,” he said. “They came here because there was more opportunity. I just realized that as I got older, how lucky I was here and how good life was to me.”

He initially was unsure of his ability to achieve that desire, knowing there were age restrictions to joining the military. He said he came to realize that he could receive an age waiver and decided to try to join.

His first application was unsuccessful.

“It was only when one of the (approval authority) colonels who was deployed to Afghanistan came back,” Keenan said. “He looked at my credentials and said, ‘We’re going to try everything possible to get this guy in.’”

The process took about a year and included many steps, the final being with the secretary of the Air Force, Keenan said. He was finally sworn in on his 61st birthday.

“It was really quite a time for celebration, one of the best birthday presents I could have received,” he said.

Not only has the doctor gained new patients at his Guard unit, he was sent far from home to treat others.

Keenan is currently assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group on his first deployment. Though he said the majority of his patients here are young and healthy and are seen for urgent care matters, he has had a few opportunities to assist with patients during temporary duty in Afghanistan.

“I was at Bagram and Kandahar and saw first-hand the sacrifices that are being made by the troops over there,” Keenan said. “(I saw) how the coalition partners work with the nationalities that we deal with, and how seamless the medical care is that is being delivered to the troops in the field.”

Keenan said he has been very happy with his life as a guardsman.

“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to join the United States Air Force,” he said. “I’m having a great time and I feel so fortunate to be able to serve my country. I know from the feedback I get that people are very happy that I’m here and doing what I’m doing. It’s just been a win-win situation for everything.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Borchardt, the 380th EMDG deputy commander, said he most appreciates Keenan’s attitude.

“I can train someone to be a doctor, but I can’t train enthusiasm,” Borchardt said. “It’s difficult to recruit doctors, so when one steps forward, willing to accept the challenges and hardships imposed on their families and lifestyle, it is truly a force multiplier for this mission and the Air Force. Our patients have already benefitted from his unique skills and experience, and I know he’s been having the time of his life contributing to our mission.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Air Force places 18 A-10 aircraft into ‘Backup Status’

WASHINGTON — The Air Force, with congressional authorization, will convert 18 primary combat-coded A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from active units and place them into Backup-Aircraft Inventory status with the possibility to convert another 18 at a later date in fiscal 2015. The secretary of Defense has authorized the Air Force to place up to a total...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page

ACC commander unveils priorities

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, speaks with Airmen during his first all call for the ACC Headquarters staff at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 23. Carlis...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Nellis readies for Red Flag 15-2

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, approaches the runway for landing during Red Flag 15-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb....
 

 

Nellis to host AF wounded warrior trials

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, British and Australian wounded warriors will convene here Feb. 27 through March 5 for the 2015 Air Force Trials. The trials are an adaptive sports event designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of seriously ill and injured military members and veterans. Nellis...
 
 

75-day leave carryover ending September 30

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Effective Sept. 30, military members will no longer be able to carry more than 60 days of leave into the next fiscal year, in accordance with 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requirements. Unless they are approved for special leave accrual, regular Air Force and Active Guard Reserve members who have...
 
 

AEF Teaming brings new order of business to deployments

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — For many Airmen deployments are hard to understand, and for leaders they’re hard to sell and to sustain. Implemented in Oct. 2014, Air Expeditionary Forces Teaming was designed as a way to improve predictability, visibility and stability for units and Airmen while maintaining the flexibility to satisfy combatant commander...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin