Excerpts from SFGate.com, article by John Koopman, SF Chronicle
If Dr. Martin Holland had his way, he'd be in Iraq right now. In Fallujah or Ramadi or Baghdad. Up to his elbows in blood and brain matter, operating on Marines and soldiers with severe head injuries.
As it happens, it's unlikely the doctor will find himself hovering over a battlefield operating table. But he has a strong desire to serve - to do something for the troops suffering severe combat injuries. Instead of teaching residents and interns, Holland is wearing Navy whites and operating on sailors and Marines in San Diego, at the Balboa Naval Medical Center.
Holland is not an 18-year-old who joins the Marines fresh out of high school. He's 44, and he quit a prestigious job as director of neurotrauma at UC San Francisco. But there are similarities: both put aside personal lives to enlist in the military.
"When I was a kid, I loved stories about knights in shining armor. There was something very appealing about the ideals of honor, courage and all that kind of stuff. The only thing I saw in the modern world that was even close to that code of chivalry was, one, the military, and two, was medicine with the Hippocratic oath."
In June 2005, he took the oath and entered the Navy at the rank of commander. He said the Navy offered to make him a captain, because of his medical experience. But, he didn't feel comfortable with such a high rank because of his lack of military background.
"I can look at myself in the mirror and just feel good that I'm doing things for the right reason."
To read his entire story:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/26/MNG8HMK6FO1.DTL