How the Vietnam War improved health care

  • Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    State Sen. John C. AstlePRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Oct. 1, 2013) - State Sen. John Astle returns to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Thursday for an encore presentation of his first-hand experiences as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

    Astle, a Democrat who represents Anne Arundel County, will share his story - "Experience in Military Medical Evacuation in Vietnam" - at 1 p.m. in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts' theater. He gave a similar talk a year ago, which inspired the UMES faculty to invite him back in honor of National Physician Assistants week.

    He will be joined by retired Capt. Bill Dial, who flew on several missions with Astle as a medical corpsman.

    The experience of military corpsmen in providing critical and emergency field care and medical evacuations during the Vietnam war motivated educators to develop high-level medical training that today leads to a professional degree as a Physician Assistant.

    UMES is one of two historically black institutions - the other is Howard University - that offers a degree in physician assistant studies. The university, which launched its program in 1999, has produced 152 graduates.

    Astle, 70, joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966. His nine years of active service included serving in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and a tour as a Presidential helicopter pilot. According to his Maryland Manual biography, he worked as a medical evacuation pilot for the Washington Hospital Center from 1985 until 2005.

    His military service commendations include: the Legion of Merit, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Medal, 31 air medals and the Presidential Service Badge

    The UMES campus as well as the local community is invited to hear this informative and inspirational presentation.


    Bill Robinson, director, public relations, (410) 621-2355. (photo courtesy of Sen. Astle's staff)