62-year old MD realizes dream of being military doctor in NY Air Guard

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Daniel Farrell

F.S. GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. -- Dr. David Feldman, a 62-year old New York City gastroenterologist and private pilot, is now also Air National Guard Lt. Col. David Feldman.

"Joining the military was a lifelong dream," Feldman said. "But it was something I never had time for."

Feldman took the oath during a ceremony on May 25, but getting to that point took some doing.

Feldman said he decided he had time to become a military doctor when he was 59. He applied to join, but his application process met some challenges.

About a year later, Feldman reached out to the c and Lt. Col. Stephen "Doc" Rush, the 106th Medical Group commander.

"I met Col. Rush and it seemed like a great fit," Feldman said. "The comradery was there. And the mission of the group really appealed to me."

But because Feldman was 62, Air Force rules stood between him and a uniform. Rush didn't want that to stand in the way.

"Here is an American that wants to raise his hand, wear the uniform and we don't get doctors left and right," Rush said. "He's a civilian flight surgeon, he's a pilot, he's a good doctor."

So Rush turned to 106th Rescue Wing Director of Staff Col. Charles Killian to find a way to make Dr. Feldman, Lt. Col. Feldman.
Killian started combing through Air Force instructions on age waivers and working with experts at National Guard Bureau.
The accession "was a herculean effort of superb collaboration from start to finish," Killian said.

The 106th requested an exception to policy.

Killian said after four months of coordination with Lt Col. Jennifer Norwood at the National Guard Bureau Officer Branch, the accession of Feldman was complete.

Feldman is slated to complete two to three months of officer training and flight surgeon training. “We are grateful to have someone with his immense wealth of experience join the Air National Guard to make a difference with the 106th Rescue Wing,” according to Rush.

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