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May 19, 1989

Army, Navy, Air Force, Reserve Flight Surgeons Share Aerial Working Conditions of 'Patients'

JAMA. 1989;261(19):2761-2769. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420190023004

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SO-CALLED PEACETIME hasn't been very peaceful for US military people in recent years. Still, relatively few US military flight surgeons become casualties themselves when the nation isn't in a shooting war.

One was Col John P. Allen, an Illinois Air National Guard (part of the Reserve of the US Air Force) flight surgeon. Allen, a Galesburg, Ill, neurologist in civilian life, was killed last year in the crash of one of his unit's OA-37 jets in which he was fulfilling his monthly flight requirements, flying as a passenger with a tactical pilot who also was killed.

Earlier, during the fighting in Southeast Asia, Air Force records indicate that a flight surgeon was lost in an F-4 Phantom jet crash in 1971. The Air Force surgeon general's office (at Bolling Air Force Base in the District of Columbia) says this death is presumed to have resulted from combat in Southeast Asia.