United States Navy Chose Kimberly Oelschlager '12 to Become a Physician Assistant
May 20, 2013 — “I have the freedom and choice to serve my country, which alone is worth defending,” said Kimberly A. Oelschlager, a Physician Assistant at the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Coronado, California. “What started as an initial four year commitment is now 12 years on active duty.”
Oelschlager has a long family history of service in the military. Four of her uncles served in the Army during World War II, one of whom received a Silver Star and Purple Heart for wounds received during the invasion of Normandy. Another served in the Air Force during WWII and yet another uncle served in the United States Air Force for 24 years, including during the Vietnam War. Oelschlager’s father served 24 years in the Air Force and was deployed to Korea and Vietnam; her brother served five years in the Air Force. More recently, one of her cousins retired as an Air Force General after having served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Oelschlager lost a cousin who served in the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm. She emphasized that Memorial Day is a remembrance to honor all men and women of the Armed Forces who have died while serving.
After beginning her military career as a Navy Hospital Corpsman in 2001 just before September 11, Oelschlager was commissioned as a naval officer and worked as an Aerospace Operational Physiologist from 2003 to 2010. Her last duty station was in the Marine Aircraft group 39 at Camp Pendleton, located in San Diego, California.
She was selected by the Navy in 2010 to become a Physician Assistant and was accepted to the program at the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions, where she received her degree in 2012. Today, Oelschlager works at the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Aviation Medicine and Family Practice. She is also responsible for helping Navy Medicine to establish an aviation medicine program for Physician Assistants. “The Navy has the best training programs in the medical field for officers and the enlisted. The experience gained is invaluable,” she said.
Oelschlager’s experience in the United States Navy allowed her to work alongside people of diverse cultural backgrounds, personalities, and varying opinions who put them aside to work as a team toward a common goal. “I feel everyone should be of service to their community, state and country without hesitation,” she concluded.