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QCOM Military Family

Awesome story about one of our graduates!
Brain Helsel, Quillen '04, US Army, Posted with the permission of ABC News

Faculty and Staff

Ken Olive, M.D.
USAF, 1982-1989
- We are physically located on a VA facility so that students who are eligible for VA medical care will find this convenient.
-Northeast Tennessee in general is a cultural environment which values military service.
-HPSP students have a visible presence here that is supported by the other students and administration.
-Several of the senior administrators are veterans.

Tom Kwasigroch, PhD
US Army, 1968 - 1974
Infantry Officer
Republic of Vietnam, 1969 - 1970
-The Quillen College of Medicine and the medical profession parallel the military in aspects of their mission, as they are service oriented, focused on the needs of the citizens regionally and globally.
-There is a military student interest group that is very active in supporting the involved students and addressing needs in the community.
-Many faculty have served in the military in combat and during peacetime.
-Because of the integral affiliation with the Veterans Administration (we are on the VA Mountain Home campus), the price of freedom is always apparent and understood by the students.
-As a result of the small class size, the classes tend to become supportive, “family” units.  This atmosphere is helpful in providing assistance to class members in need.


Brock Blankenship

The East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine welcomes home Brock Blankenship, Quillen ’04.  Brock is a Tennessee native and veteran of the US Armed Forces.  He trained and worked in the special operations community as a USAF Pararescueman, with combat deployments to Bosnia-Herzegovina and several non-combat related deployments.  After graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee, he attended Quillen College of Medicine and graduated - AOA Class of 2004.  Dr. Blankenship from there trained in emergency medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center where he was recognized with teaching accolades.  He is board-certified through the American Board of Emergency Physicians and Fellow - American Academy of Emergency Medicine.  Dr. Blankenship continues to train medical students and resident physicians in his clinical practice at several sites in Virginia.  While working as an attending emergency medicine physician, he has served in several capacities to include Chief of Staff at Johnston Memorial Hospital - Abingdon, VA.  Over the past several years, Dr. Blankenship was instrumental in building state of the art medical simulation training for Department of Defense medical personnel at Wake Forest.  He resides in Abingdon, Virginia with his wife and 3 sons.  When not working he enjoys coaching, as well as a variety of outdoor activities.  In January, Dr. Blankenship joins the ETSU/QCOM team as the Director of Interprofessional Simulation for the ETSU Academic Health Sciences Center and Quillen College of Medicine Director for the Center for Experiential Learning.  He remains excited about using his diverse background to assist in building an exceptionally high quality inter-professional simulation program for the college and university.  Welcome back Dr. Blankenship!

S. Brock Blankenship, Quillen Graduate, Class of 2004

USAF, 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL, Air Force Special Operations Command, Pararescueman (1993-1997). Preformed duties as a Pararescueman, consisting of search and rescue operations with advanced emergency medical care in austere and non-permissive environments while working with various special operations forces. Recognized for actions in the Bosnia-Herzegovina (over 2 deployments for Operations Joint/Decisive Endeavor), among others. Airborne operations (to include basic jump, and military free-fall (HALO) badges), Special Forces Combat Diver (SCUBA) badge, Tactical operations (to include advanced weapons and tactics), Ground/Survival operations (USAF Survival, Special Forces SERE, INTAC, and water survival), and Medical operations (NREMT-Paramedic and PJ Medicine). 

Debra Mills, M.D.
Quillen College of Medicine Medical HPSP
Pediatric Residency Naval Hospital, Portsmouth
Beaufort Naval Hospital 4 years
US Navy Medical Corps 1989-2000
Awarded two NAMS (Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals)

H. Patrick Stern M.D.
Air Force
Hickam AFB

Craig Davis
81150 Security Specialist
1989 - 1991 (2 Years)
Served in support of Operation "Just Cause" (Panama), and Desert Shield / Desert Storm

Robert A. Montgomery Jr.
U.S. Air Force
Sergeant  E-4
90650 Hospital Administration


Quillen College of Medicine Current Medical Students


Jennifer Bowman Jennifer Bowman
Quillen College of Medicine Student

My name is Jennifer Bowman, and I am currently a second year medical student at Quillen College of Medicine. I am originally from Cleveland, TN, and I did my undergraduate education at Carson-Newman University. I feel wonderfully blessed to have the opportunity to attend medical school, and I currently serve as president for the Military Medicine Interest Group. Our group mainly consists of Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) students from all three branches of the military. I first learned of the military’s HPSP program while attending a career fair during my undergraduate education. It is a great program for people desiring the unique opportunity of serving the men and women that fight to keep our country free while not worrying about the enormous monetary debt of attending medical school. So far, my military experience has been five weeks at Officer Development School in Newport, RI, during the summer between my first and second year of medical school. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve my country by being a medical officer in the Navy after I complete medical school. I have greatly appreciated that Quillen maintains a close-knit family environment and is military-friendly. It has helped me feel right at home here in Johnson City, and it has been very easy to get any information and help I need on military matters.


Jay Johnston Tillman Scholar

Congratulations to James "Jay" Johnston, M3. 

He has been named a Tillman Military Scholar and is one of just 58 individuals in the country to receive this honor from the Pat Tillman Foundation.

Read more: Quillen Medical Student Named a 2014 Tillman Military Scholar 

As a native of Smyrna, Tennessee, I enlisted in the Marine Corps in1996 and became an Infantryman. Later, I decided to join the Army in order to serve in the Army’s Special Forces (SF), the Green Berets. I was selected and then began training in unconventional warfare in 2000. I earned my Green Beret only weeks before 9/11. Upon graduation I was assigned to my Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), which had already received orders for Afghanistan. That deployment was to be the first of my seven combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and also marked the beginning of my thirteen years as an SF medic and Team Sergeant. Due to continuous training and deployments in support of the wars and my team, it took seven years of night school to finish my undergraduate degree.

During a mission on Christmas night in 2005, I lost a teammate when our troop made contact with the enemy. After that firefight I decided I wanted to be more than an SF medic and set my sights on medical school. At age 36 and after 18 years of service I applied to medical school. Quillen accepted my application and welcomed me into their family. I am grateful, and truly feel that I left one great team in the military to move into another in the science of medicine at Quillen.

The support and care that the school staff offers to all students and especially to veterans is exemplary. The faculty takes interest in each student’s story and holds his or her military service in high regard. I have the utmost respect for such a fine program and would encourage any veteran to apply.        


Anthony Angelone Anthony Angelone
Quillen College of Medicine Student

My name is Anthony Angelone. After high school I attended the U.S. Naval Academy. I graduated in May 2000 and received a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. After gaining the military occupational specialty of Amphibious Assault Vehicle officer, I was assigned as a platoon commander with Company D, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division. While at Company D I conducted 2 peacetime deployments to Okinawa, Japan and participated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. From 2004 to 2006 I was assigned to Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa as a company commander and in the operations section. From Okinawa I deployed to Iraq where I served with an adviser with the Iraqi military. In 2007 I attended school in Fort Knox then deployed to Iraq as an operations clerk. From 2008 through 2010 I was a company commander with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, during which time I deployed to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. During this deployment my interest in military medicine was sparked and reinforced. Consequently, I resigned in 2010 and attended post-baccalaureate pre-medical classes at Tufts University. I am honored and humbled to be part of the QCOM Class of 2018 as well as a newly-minted Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserves. After graduating from Quillen I hope to serve our Marines and Sailors with the same passion, competency, and professionalism which I saw time and again while on active duty. Semper Fi and Go Navy!




John Barcel John Barcel
Quillen College of Medicine Student

I am currently a student in Quillen College of Medicine's class of 2018. I am a native of Johnson City, Tennessee and attended undergraduate school at East Tennessee State University. As I applied to medical school I realized that the Health Professions Scholarship Program was a wonderful opportunity for me to serve our country and receive unique training. I chose the Air Force due to my interest in flight medicine. Thus far, the extent of my military experience is limited to Commissioned Officers Training, which I completed during the summer of 2014. It is an honor to be a member of the U.S. military and I look forward to future service as a medical officer



James A. Joslyn
Quillen College of Medicine Student
Captain, Infantry
United States Army
Baghdad, Iraq (2008-2009)
Wardak Province, Afghanistan (2010-2011)

I enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S. Army (VA ARNG) in May of 2004.  Following my initial entry training I was assigned to the 1-116th Infantry Regiment in the 29th Infantry Division.  I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in May of 2007, and I was commissioned as an infantry officer in the active duty component of the U.S. Army.  I completed my initial officer training and was assigned to 2-4th Infantry Regiment in the 10th Mountain Division (L).  I served there as a rifle platoon leader, heavy weapons platoon leader, company executive officer, and acting company commander, and I was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Baghdad, Iraq; 2008-09) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Wardak Province, Afghanistan; 2010-11).  Between deployments, in the fall of 2009, I married my amazing wife, Nicole Elizabeth.  Upon completion of my assignment in 2-4 IN, I attended advanced officer training, along with other specialized training, and was then assigned to U.S. Army Forces Command Headquarters as a staff operations officer.  I resigned from active duty in 2014 in order to attend graduate school at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and was assigned to the 1-317th Regiment in the 98th Training Division (IET) in the U.S. Army Reserve as a battalion operations officer.  I was later accepted into the class of 2019 at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine and transferred into the Inactive Ready Reserve in the fall of 2015.  My wife and I have two beautiful children, Paul and Katherine.  We absolutely love Quillen and East Tennessee; I would highly encourage veterans seeking a medical education to apply here and join our Quillen family.



Drew Medical Student Navy Drew Smith
Quillen College of Medicine Student

Captain Andrew Smith, originally a military dependent, graduated from Sumter High School in 1996. He attended Auburn University and commissioned as an Ensign through Officer Candidate School in Dec 2000. Drew reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for aviation indoctrination in November 2001, completed primary flight training in the T-34C Turbo Mentor at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, completed intermediate in the T-2C Buckeye, and completed advanced flight training in the T-45C Goshawk at NAS Meridian, Mississippi. He received his Wings of Gold in April 2003.

Drew then reported to Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101) in MCAS Miramar, San Diego California for initial training in the F/A-18C Hornet. Upon completion, Drew reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 151 (VFA-151) at NAS Lemoore, CA in January 2004, where he served as the Schedules Officer, Line Division Officer, Air-to-Air Weapons Training Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, Instructor Pilot, and Naval Air Training and Operations Standardization Officer. Drew completed two Western Pacific with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and supported Operations Unified Assistance. 

In 2007, Drew reported to Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine (VX-9) where he served as a Schedules Officer, Instructor Pilot, Naval Air Training and Operations Standardization Officer, and Special Projects Operational Test Director, and he was qualified on all variants of the Hornet, the F/A-18 A-G. During his tenure at VX-9, Drew deployed to Afghanistan with the the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he served as the Air Liaison Officer for Regional Command-West. 

Following his separation from the Navy in 2011, Drew joined the U.S. Navy Reserves where he served as the Training Department Head, Assistant Operations Officer, and Major Exercise Planner, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 2014, Drew deployed with the U.S. Air Force, working in the Combined Air Operations Center. He was part of the early planning and mobilization efforts of what eventually became Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria and remained on staff until February 2015. In November 2015, Drew transitioned from the Navy to Alabama Army National Guard. 

Drew first became interested in medicine in 2010 during a one week stay at UCLA for decompression sickness. After that, he spent 4 years preparing for his career change. Drew’s deployment to Qatar, where he took the MCAT, applied to medical school, and traveled to the States for his interview, all the while preparing and executing a major operation, came shortly after completing his pre-requisite classes. 


Quillen College of Medicine Graduates


Alicia McClintock Alicia Nicole McClintock
QCOM Graduate

As a graduate of the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), my love of the outdoors, the desire for being close to family and knowing that Quillen is on a VA campus naturally drew me to James H. Quillen College of Medicine. While Quillen has many wonderful aspects, what stands out to me is the welcoming family environment. A large part of this family (faculty, staff and students) has prior military experience which allows military students with or without military experience to feel at home. My own military experience is limited to 5 weeks of Officer Development School in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island in summer 2012. During the summer of 2013, I have requested orders to work with the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, FL for 4 weeks in hopes to learn more about underwater medicine and life as a Diving Medical Officer in the United States Navy. For the two other active duty tours that are required during my time as a medical student, I will complete two four week rotations in a Naval hospital to learn more about life as a military physician. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my country and am eager to work alongside the brave men and women that make this country the land of the free and home of the brave.

During my second year of medical school at Quillen, I served as President of Quillen's Military Medicine Interest Group. During the fall semester, we hosted speakers including a Quillen graduate that went on to serve as an orthopaedic surgeon in the Army, a trauma surgeon in the Army Reserves and a prior Navy neonatologist that now works at Johnson City Medical Center. In addition, a first year medical student at Quillen shared his experience in the field as a prior Army medic. Spring semester activities are currently being planned.


Mario Soto, Medical Student Mario Soto
QCOM Graduate
Major U.S. Army
Special Forces
11 years

A native of Snellville, Georgia and am currently a student at the Quillen College of Medicine Class of 2014. I graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1999 and earned the rank of Major in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, Colombia, Panama and Afghanistan in support of various military operations. My formal military education includes the Special Forces Detachment Officer's Qualification Course, the Survival Evasion Rescue and Escape (High Risk) Level C Course, the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification (SCUBA) Course, the Naval Special Warfare Dive Supervisor Course, and the Military Free Fall Parachutists (HALO) Course.  Military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device, the Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device, the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal. In my time away from the classroom, I enjoy skiing, skydiving, cycling and running.

Fred Bossert
QCOM Graduate
Staff Sergeant Air Force
Crew Chief on F-16s
6 years
As a veteran in our ever-changing political climate, I often wondered, "will the schools I am applying to look favorably or negatively on my veteran status? Will they even care?" Some schools will keep their thoughts on military service a secret, but I have found Quillen to be very honest and sincere regarding their affection of veterans. One of the many great attributes Quillen offers is a welcoming with open arms for military vets, and I have always felt welcomed and honored by the faculty, administration, and staff for my military service. 

Jason Barter
QCOM Graduate
US Army
11A, Infantry Officer
3 years

Jimmy Fisher, Quillen Graduate James "Jimmy" Fisher
QCOM Graduate

The military veteran and senior military-sponsored student presence at QCOM has been a true blessing. I truly feel that any veteran or student considering applying and accepting admission to Quillen would feel so very welcome at our school. 

Sarah Hockaday, Quillen Graduate Sarah Louise Hockaday
QCOM Graduate
President Military Medical Student Interest Group 2010-2011


My military experiences began during my undergraduate years at The University of Memphis when I participated in Army ROTC. Through ROTC, I discovered that the discipline, challenges, and career opportunities offered by the military fit my life goals and personality traits. After graduation and while I was applying to medical schools, I signed up for the Health Professions Scholarship Program through the Navy. James H. Quillen College of Medicine greatly appealed to me as one of my top choices for medical school for reasons such as proximity to home, camaraderie amongst the faculty and students, and location in the beautiful Smokey Mountains. However, what was most impressive to me after beginning classes at Quillen was the military presence and support at ETSU. I learned very quickly that there were many military students and faculty members at Quillen willing to help advise us and facilitate our transition between medical school and our military service commitments. On average, ten percent of each Quillen graduating class has been composed of military veterans and HPSP students. Several of our deans have past military experience and work hard to grant us every opportunity to expand our military careers. In addition, our location on VA property gives us early exposure into the realm of military medicine.

During my second year of medical school at Quillen, I served as President of our Military Medical Student Group. With the assistance of our faculty, we successfully brought in Naval and Army physicians to speak of their military experiences and visited nearby military hospitals to speak to residency directors. Through these experiences and with the influence of past HPSP students and military faculty, I feel my medical education here at Quillen will greatly prepare me for my future service in the Navy as a medical officer.




Kevin Jenkins, QCOM Medical Student Kevin Jenkins
QCOM Graduate
113th Army Band
Fort Knox, Kentucky

There was a specific demonstration of great respect for our veterans at Quillen College of Medicine which I remember very well. On our first day of Psychiatry Dr. Kelly asked for the veterans to stand then asked the class to join him in an applause as a show of gratitude for their service. Dr. Kelly earned my respect that day.

Kevin Jenkins Family Photos
Kevin Family

Med student Chriss OHara studying for MCAT while on active duty in Iraq

Chrissy O'Hara

Captain, MI
Battalion S2
QCOM Graduate
2002- Graduated from West Point and entered MI
2003-2004-Exercises for war
2005: Took Orgo 1 at UAF while an active duty Intelligence Platoon Leader in the 172nd Arctic Light Infrantry BDE.  Deployed ADVON to Iraq in the middle of Orgo, had to bring my book and adapt.
June/Jul 2005: Deployed as a unit to Mosul Iraq.  Studied for MCAT during war ops.
Jul 2006: Diverted to Baghdad to Surge.  Got MCAT sent to Baghdad.  Took MCAT.
Dec 2006/Jan 2007: Redeployed to AK.  Took Orgo II, Orgo lab, Micro, went on interview trail down to the lower 48.  Continued work as BN S2 throughout this time.  Offered Military Intelligence command and HHC BSB command- turned down for med school.
AUG 2007: Started med school
OCT 2007: Was recalled to Iraq on my cell phone in the middle of cadaver lab...being HPSP kept me in med school.
Now- JUL 2010: in TX in 4th year doing rotations with the Army.  Will be back in the Army as med in MAY 2011.

I applied from Mosul, Iraq. Having no doctors in the family, I googled med schools and called ETSU to see if I could get in. Doug Taylor picked up and let me know about a little something called AMCAS. He then stayed on the line. That changed my world, and inevitably led to me choosing Quillen over Tulane and USUHS.

12 days from my taking the MCAT back in Alaska, my unit (the 172nd Stryker BDE) was extended to Baghdad after 1 year in Mosul. This would be the 4th MCAT that I had missed due to deployments and military commitments. Between my BDR Commander, father, and talking with the MCAT people, a first ever MCAT sitting in the middle of Baghdad occurred. I did this in the middle of chaos, short notice, and commanding patrols, so if you want something,

Don't make excuses.

Just do it.

Stewart Stancil, QCOM Medical Student
Stewart A. Stancil
QCOM Graduate
USMCR 1991-1994
Artillery FDC 155 Howitzers

Aaron Beckwith Medical Student Aaron Beckwith
USAF 2008-Present
USMC 2004-2008

Georganna M. Haywood Rosel, M.D.
QCOM Graduate
USMC 1996-2001
Flight Equipment F/A-18 Hornets

Kristopher R. Sutherly
QCOM Graduate
United States Marine Corps
Marksmanship Instructor, Electronics Repairman, Recruiter
5 years of service



James Deering
QCOM Graduate
2d Lt
HPSP scholarship program
1 year of service

Stuart and Erin Winkler Stuart and Erin Winkler
QCOM Graduates


I am originally from San Antonio, TX and joined HPSP before my first year of medical school. My wife, Erin, is also a medical student in the HPSP program. After completing two military away rotations during my fourth year of medical school, I elected to apply for a civilian deferment for residency. I will be training in OB/GYN at Wake Forest and will fulfill my HPSP commitment after residency.

Jon Boy

Jon Boy
QCOM Graduate
Captain U.S. Army
Infantry, Airborne

My Army Story

I am Jonathan Boy and my Army story begins, believe it or not, with the American Revolution when Jacob Buch enlisted in the Continental Army. Jacob is my ancestor and joined under the surname Boy to hide his identity from the British who, it was feared, would take the family land if they won the war. After his discharge, he was given a land grant in Tennessee as a war pension. Naturally, the land was granted under his enlisted name and our family has gone by the name “Boy” ever since. Jacob Boy established a tradition of service that spanned generations and carries on to this day as my family continues to serve whenever the nation calls. We understand how unique the United States is in the world and that the freedom we enjoy is not granted, but earned with blood, sweat, and sacrifice.     

As I was growing up, there was never any question as to what I would do. I would join the Army like my Grandfather, Father, Brother, and many close family friends; I would also be Airborne. There was never any question on that either. As a young boy I had the fortunate experience of visiting Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, NC and watching the famed 82d Airborne conduct an Airborne Operation. I become enamored with the Airborne and made it my personal mission to become a Paratrooper. I enlisted when I was seventeen years old as an Airborne Infantryman and began a journey that would take me around the globe and give me the experience, confidence, and skills to excel in any environment.       

Service to country is the main reason I joined, but I also knew that the Army would develop me as a person and give me the skills and opportunities I needed to be successful in life. I realized that with the Army I would be able to develop myself as a leader and scholar. I became a health care professional and a college graduate. I led a Medical Platoon in combat and helped develop Iraqi health care facilities. I directed logistics operations for a 296-bed Combat Support Hospital and Commanded an 84-bed Hospital Unit Surgical; all this within the first five years after college. There is no other organization in the world that will give someone so young and relatively inexperienced these opportunities. In addition to my regular leadership duties, I was able to continue in the noble art of the Paratrooper and became a Jumpmaster, leading Airborne Operations and instilling confidence in young Paratroopers. No other aspect of my career has been so rewarding. It is an unbelievable feeling to reach an assembly area in the middle of nowhere in pitch black darkness and realize that every soul on the ground with you is safe and healthy because of your ability and skill as a Jumpmaster.   

The Army has many stories. Mine is one of service to country and an ongoing adventure that challenges me every day. I am proud to serve in an organization that values service above self and relentlessly develops its people. The Army isn’t for everybody, but those who have served are stronger and more capable because of it.   

I came to Quillen for many reasons. First and foremost because this is home for me and Quillen has become part of my extended family. The faculty care about producing world class physicians and their enthusiasm for our education shows in all that they do. Quillen is unmatched in its quality of instruction, its culture of cooperation and caring, and its ability to train compassionate physicians who will continue to serve.


Vanessa L. Canter, Military Spouse
Air Force Security Police
Stationed at Aviano Air Force Base, Aviano, Italy (son born there) and Scott Air Force Base Belleville, IL (daughter born there).

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