Our Trojan Veterans: Kevin Lohenry

Kevin Lohenry once flew search and rescue with the U.S. Navy. Now, he provides care in a different way, directing the Division of Physician Assistant Studies and in his role as Associate Dean of Graduate Student Affairs with Keck School of Medicine.

Kevin joined the military as a way to serve his country. During his time with the Navy, Kevin was a Search and Rescue Hospital Corpsman and a Rescue Swimmer. His unit supported the Navy SEALs by flying them into and picking them up from their missions. His work found him stationed throughout the U.S., including at:

  • Great Lakes Naval Base, North Chicago, IL in 1986
  • South Weymouth Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, MA from 1987-1990
  • Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL in 1990
  • Point Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu, CA from 1990-1993

Kevin says his time in the military taught him discipline, leadership, patience, teamwork, and trust.

“It was physically and mentally challenging at times, but all well worth the time and effort,” Kevin notes. “Probably my most challenging experiences were completing Air Crew training in Pensacola, Florida, participating in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training, and my tour in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield/Storm.”

But then, there were the other unforgettable moments. Like coming home from the Gulf War and meeting Vietnam veterans who were waiting to cheer Kevin and his team as they walked into the hangar after landing in the U.S.

“Hundreds of them were there to ensure our welcome home was different than the one they experienced,” Kevin says. “Their selflessness and humility was a visual I will never forget.”

Eventually, Kevin has found himself planted firmly in California, this time with USC. Now as Director for the Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Kevin serves his students and team in administering the ongoing curricular and accreditation requirements for the program to be operational. He teaches a variety of topics in the program, directs several courses and publishes and produces grants to help fund the division’s various projects. He hasn’t forgotten what it means to serve – one of these projects is the relatively new street medicine program that provides care to the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.

Working at USC has some commonalities with working in the military, Kevin notes – for one, it means working with committed people who are focused on a mission and must rely on one another to succeed.

But there is one big difference. Because when it comes to USC, says Kevin, “I don’t get to fly through the mountains of the world just above the trees with my feet hanging out of the helicopter – or jump out of the helicopter into the ocean below.”

 

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