Wear Red Story: Local Doctor Served in Iraq

We are continuing our summer-long wear red campaign, honoring our troops.

Tonight we bring you the story of Dr. Kevin Marsh.

Today he is a pediatric hospitalist at Kadlec Regional Medical Center but he started his career serving in Baghdad during the Iraqi war.

Marsh enlisted in the army in 1997 as a way to help pay for medical school, never thinking the United States would enter into a war.

He went to school near New York City and went to Hawaii for his residency and then everything changed.

"After medical school, I graduated in May 2001 and my last image of New York City was with the old skyline with the Twin Towers and two months into my residency 9/11 happens," said Marsh.

A few months later, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

Marsh said he was still a trainee and safe from deployment then, but at the end of 2005 he got the call and headed to Baghdad for a one-year tour.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I'll never forget it," said Marsh. "It was very far outside my comfort zone."

Marsh tended to trauma on the front lines of the battlefield.

"I'm a pediatrician and people often asked, 'Why would a pediatrician be involved with frontline combat troops?'" said Marsh "I got there and figured out why. 50% of our soldiers were under the age of 23, which falls into the adolescent medicine population."

Marsh said it was challenging, being fairly new to the medical field and not having all the tools that a hospital would have.

He did all he could to prepare, reading up on medical issues in combat so he wouldn't repeat a mistake if there was already a known solution out there.

Marsh said more than anything else, being in combat magnifies your life values.

He realized what really mattered to him: family, faith and freedom.  

"You really go through your mind and think, 'What does this mean to me?' Whether or not the effects of that war were going to last for generations or not didn't matter," said Marsh. "I was there to provide the freedom for my family and fellow citizens for my time, and that's we did."

Marsh said his service has made him a better man all together and he takes that experience with him everyday when he takes care of his patients.

Marsh has also been a volunteer at the Columbia Basin Veterans' Coalition helping vets transition back into civilian life.

From all of us here at Your Local ABC, we thank Dr. Marsh for his service.

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