Dan E., 84, at the Cumberland of Green Hills, served in the United States Navy for 10 years in the 1940s and 1950s; then, he returned to the military for an additional 10 years of duty with the U.S. Air Force at the age of 57–retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
When he enlisted in 1951, he was assigned to serve as a physician examiner. A year later, he moved on to work as a surgeon in the Navy’s submarine service, combining two of his passions. He later attended diving and submarine school and went to Pearl Harbor for two years, working as a submarine and diving medical officer.
During the Korean War, Dan traveled on multiple tours of sea duty aboard a submarine rescue vessel as well as in one of 12 submarines that were part of his squadron. He enjoyed life on the submarine, interacting with all the volunteers and discussing the intricacies and mechanics of the vessel. He left the Navy to pursue a medical career. He went to school, became a surgeon, and ran his own practice for over 20 years. He returned to the military for an additional 10 years of duty with the U.S. Air Force at the age of 57, and was chief of surgery at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. At the age of 67, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. In addition to decades of military service, Dan has participated in countless volunteer and medical organizations, constantly thinking of others before himself. A more deserving older adult would be difficult to find.
Dan’s Wish of a Lifetime was to see what submarines look like today. He wanted to see a working sub with all the new technology. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living sent Lt. Col. Dan E., along with his grandson Michael, to King’s Bay Naval Base in Georgia on June 28, 2012.
Dan had an extended tour of the USS Maryland, an active U.S. nuclear submarine. They also visited the local Veterans Park. The Kings Bay Naval Base staff went above and beyond the call of duty to serve their fellow officer. Because of the difficulty of climbing down a submarine ladder, they supplied a special staircase to make Dan’s descent possible. Dan said he was very excited that “my son and grandson share in my fond memories of this once in a lifetime experience.”