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Paul K. Carlton Jr.

Veterans in Blue

Photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

Veterans in Blue

Photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Paul K. Carlton Jr. was the 17th Surgeon General of the Air Force.  As chief of surgery in 1983 at Wiesbaden, Germany, he and his group of surgeons proposed a different method of caring for wounded service members, resulting in the best survival rates in the history of war.  


During the 1991 Gulf War, Carlton was assigned as the commander of the medical center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.  Upon his return, he had the chance to perform actions to improve the casualty care of military members.  While Carlton was Surgeon General of the Air Force, medical responders conducted a scenario in May and August 2001 that included an aircraft crashing into the Pentagon; when the Sept. 11, 2001, attack occurred, many people thought it was part of the exercise, which resulted in lives being saved. 


“I was part of the greatest family in the world – the United States military, and I’m still part of that family,” Carlton said.  “Being an Air Force veteran is wonderful, but being a military veteran is better.  It encompasses a broader feeling, and you have to remember, it is family.  I’ve never left the family…I've just taken off my uniform.”