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Medical News & Perspectives
September 4, 2018

A Day in the Life: Navy Flight Surgeon Handles Helicopters and Sailors’ Ills

JAMA. 2018;320(9):860-861. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11451

The lure of sea and sky isn’t just for fishermen, surfers, or astronomers. Sometimes physicians feel the draw, too. Josh Lesko, MD, knows the sentiment. He listened to a family friend recount experiences as a military flight surgeon and the attraction was immediate.

“It was just the appeal of being out there in the fleet…where you are the medical go-to person for 500 people,” Lesko said. But there’s more. “I wanted to be able to fly,” he added.

Today, Lesko is a US Navy flight surgeon with the rank of lieutenant. He’s attached to 2 helicopter squadrons at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. The 243-year-old US Navy has a long history of air transport. “We have fleets of helicopters and all sorts of aircraft that are based on ships,” said Lesko, who trained in emergency medicine.