Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine - Military Students

October 10, 2014

Liberty University’s Office of Military Affairs recently had the opportunity to visit the new Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) to meet a special group of military students from the school’s inaugural class.

In this inaugural class, eleven students are set apart by their military experience. Ten different states, three military branches, and a combined total of over seventy years of military service are represented within this group of military medical students.

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine Military Students

Each one of these students brings their own unique skills and experiences from their time in the military to their studies. Some have served as a Combat Medic, Medical Platoon Leader, or in the Medical Corps, while others were drawn to medicine through their non-medical jobs in the military. Zachariah J., whose specialty in the Air Force is logistics said, “Even though my job in the military wasn’t in the medical field, the amazing job hospitals did in deployed locations motivated me to pursue a career in medicine.”  

The theme of service to others is very apparent in the group dynamic. When asked about his proudest moment in the military, Matt R., a former Combat Medic in the U.S. Army, said he was grateful for the opportunity to have cared for injured soldiers from Afghanistan at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Bradley M. of the Army National Guard said he was proud of the opportunity he had to work with Iraqi civilians to help rebuild their hospitals.

When asked what brought them to Liberty, many cited Liberty’s core values and mission statement as deciding factors for choosing to be a part of LUCOM’s inaugural class. Others said their decision was easy after meeting LUCOM’s faculty and staff. Amanda R., Army Reserves, said, “I feel that the faculty care and have a genuine concern for the students here and are invested in us wholeheartedly. It's one of many factors that make LUCOM stand out amongst other medical schools.”

Retired Major James Cook U.S. Army

At their helm is Retired Major James Cook, U.S. Army, who currently serves as the Director of Admissions and Student Services for LUCOM. Major Cook embodies the attitude of selfless service that is apparent amongst this group of unique individuals.

“He has been an Airborne Ranger nearly all of his adult life,” Benjamin Smith, Associate Director of Student Services said of Major Cook. “His duty to his country and his family could be likened to something you would read about a Revolutionary War hero.  He has been leading medical missions to Guatemala over five years and continues to raise awareness and support for autism while just recently being elected president of his Rotary Club.  However, his most noteworthy accomplishment is his complete devotion to Christ and love for others.”

What does the future hold for this unique group of military students? Some have plans to continue in the military and become military physicians, while others are still considering the possibilities. However, there is one thing they can all agree upon – Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is an excellent place to expand their medical knowledge and continue in their service to others, while they wait for whatever may come next.