Col(Dr) William W. Pond Military Retirement
“We are defined by the friends we have made, the experiences we have had and the good we have done” began the inspiring retirement speech by Colonel William Pond on 4 November 2017 before a full-house audience representing the many who had touched his life.
Military Retirement Speech
Col William W. Pond, MD
Chief Flight Surgeon
Indiana State Air Surgeon
4 November 2017
We are defined by the friends we have made, the experiences we have had and the good we have done. All of you have impacted my life; I would like to thank you and explain a little how you have each contributed and enriched the tapestry of my career. We are fortunate to have with us 3 very special guests, veterans from WWII:
Mr. George Pond, my father and whose 90th birthday is today; he enlisted in the Merchant Marines at the age of 17 and brought our troops home from Europe and returned German prisoners of war on the ship Edmond B Alexander; after that, he served in the Army.
Mr. James Stewart De Mond, Cami’s father, now 93, served in England, France, Belgium, and Germany; during night before D Day, he parachuted into France behind the beaches of Normandy to work with clandestine operations of French Underground and OSS under “Wild Bill” Donovan, later Director of the CIA.
Mr. Jack Cooper Rillema, a pilot, family friend and mentor, served 29 years in active duty and reserves. He learned to fly with his first 100 hours in the Steerman open cockpit biplane, complete with goggles, helmet and scarf flying. Later he flew the mighty P-40 fighter, Texan, DC-3.
I would now like to thank our hosts, the Col Renwick and the 122nd Fighter Wing as well as Brigadier General Clark, Chief Bloomfield, Chief Snyder and Lieutenant Colonel Hopper for all the work they have done to make this event happen.
Our family members have the most significant impact upon our lives; it is they who worry about us when we are gone, whose pictures we keep and whom we joyously greet upon our return—and who also sacrifice as we miss baseball games, recitals and holidays, noting that Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day deployments are especially lonely times.
My wife, Camille Marie Pond, is the quintessential military spouse–caring, supportive, worrying and devoted. She has great compassion and understanding for other military family members, being the driving force behind the military PTSD initiative in Indiana, long before it came to the national forefront. And she spent countless hours making this retirement event happen.
With us in spirit is my mother, Representative and teacher, Phyllis Pond who helped take care of our children and support Cami in my absence, and we remember my farmer grandparents Clifford and Rosa Ruble, simple folk who ingrained virtues of honesty, humility and hard work.
Also enriching my life have been my mother-in-law Patricia De Mond, who truly understands military sacrifice, having lost her brother in a fighter/torpedo bomber mission in the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history. My sister, Jean, a source of support for our family, and brother, Doug, and Paul, Diana, Jeremy De Mond, Lori Rosen, Jane & Michael Barret, and cousin Sue Ralston.
We have 4 children: Scott, an Eagle Scout and New Haven business owner, who took me out after I returned from Baghdad, when I just wanted to sit at home, Joel a manager at Kroger’s, and Greg, a physician and Critical Care Fellow, and his wife Amy who traveled from Texas to join us. Our daughter, Jennifer and her husband, Jon-Jon, successful in their own right, are the world’s best parents raising with solid values our 4 grandchildren Beatrice, Walker, Eleanor and Holden who are joy and energy unbounded and visions for our future.
Major General, retired, Gerry Harmon is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association and a mentor to me, as a well-rounded caring physician, able to do a emergency C-section, in the back country to save a mother’s life; he was equally facile in initiating the operation of the Baghdad 447th EMEDS hospital as the first major combat medical facility staffed and commanded by Guardsmen, and which I then had the privilege to lead. He and Colonel Matt Brakora represent the many physicians who have served and then returned to their civilian practice of medicine.
Major Matt Read and his wife Sarah represent our upcoming generation of military medicine. They both served alongside me in the Indiana 122nd Medical Group and the Baghdad hospital during the “2007 Surge.” Matt has become an anesthesiologist and is our narrator today.
Brigadier General Brett Wyrick, combat surgeon, and former Surgeon General of the Air National Guard and currently FAA Regional Flight Surgeon for the Western United States Mountain Region brightens any room as a leader and consummate storyteller.
Fighter pilots and leaders Colonel Chis Alderdice, Pat Renwick, David Augustine, Jeff Solder are the embodiment of crackerjack pilots and the camaraderie that we share, appreciating beauty of flight. And Jeff’s wife Karen, represents the many excellent nurses with whom I work.
Legislators Brown, Zent and Wyss represent not only the support that Indiana has for it military members, but they remind me of my mother, Phyllis Pond, a 35-year legislator who shared their integrity and fellowship.
Doctors Bill Bray, Brian Dykstra, Lisa Snyder, Chad Christman, Chris Shue are excellent military leaders and clinicians, who have shared an Air Force career path similar to mine and who will continue guide and lead military medical care.
Doctors Daniel Gallagher, Robert Hathaway and Robert Wuthrich represent local compassionate clinicians and partners, who have supported my military service and who more importantly, provided words of encouragement to Cami in my absence. Jane Wuthrich has been Cami’s sister in spirit.
Colonel William “Buck” Dodson, a brilliant physiologist from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, represents flight surgeons nationwide along with Colonel Dana Rawl of South Carolina who could not attend but who is represented by the beautiful gift of 25 foot flag pole that arrived on my front porch last week and which now proudly displays the American flag outside my study window.
Max Robinson, lifelong community member and pharmaceutical representative, is instrumental in the operations of the Northeastern Indiana Honor Flight, providing recognition for our veterans and for whom I have had the privilege of serving as team physician.
Tom and Shirley Deetz represent the honest, moral community where I was raised.
Doctor Joe Ladowski is a cardiac and heart transplant surgeon, with whom I have shared many a long night and grueling day, and also a tent at 19,000 feet on the face of Aconcogua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. Ann Ladowski is a dedicated, understanding physician spouse as well as fellow beekeeper, and Margaret Frith their daughter-in-law represents the many medical students I have had the privilege to teach over the past 35 years.
Doctor Christopher Zee-Cheng is an accomplished electrophysiologist and fellow instrument rated pilot and flying buddy.
To all Indiana Guardsmen and especially the medics, you have enriched my service and you will continued to do so for those who come in the future.
It is truly right that we recognize all of you; were it not for you all and so many others, I would not be here today and others would not be here tomorrow.
We learn from our failures as well as successes, and if we are lucky, from the advice of others, so may I charge you with some of Pond’s Pearls?
- The Air Force core values are “Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do”–live integrity, for others will follow someone they trust.
- Be humble to realize that you don’t know everything, but also willing to make a decision amongst ambiguity with the best information available.
- Don’t micromanage, let others have a chance at success as well as failure, and if things don’t turn out optimally, look at it as a learning experience.
- Look back every now and then, because if no one is following, you’re not leading.
- Compliment others in public, correct in private.
- 95/5 rules—95% of comments should be compliments/5% criticism, 95% of problems are caused by 5% of the people.
- Be empathetic and compassionate, and also a realist; if some do not share the vision or the work ethic, it is best to part ways.
- Always start the day with a good night’s rest, a cup of coffee and a kiss from your spouse; and tell patients that we are going to have a great day.
- But if you can’t start the day as I just suggested because you’re in Baghdad or on an all night C-130 mission, still smile and convince yourself that things are great, and others may believe it too.
- Cultivate those ethereal values of duty, honor, courage, respect and industry; then recognize and reward the tangible expressions thereof.
- Know that you are responsible for your own destiny, otherwise you become a victim of the vagaries of life.
- Smile, arrive a little earlier, stay a bit later, work a tad harder, and you will be a whole lot more happy and successful.
You have made my life, and others whom you have touched, so much richer.
Thank you & God bless you all.
Col(ret) William W. Pond, MD
4 November 2017
COLONEL(ret) (Dr.) WILLIAM W. POND
Colonel William W. Pond served as Indiana State Air Surgeon, JFAC-IN (HQ IN ANG). His responsibilities included the Fort Wayne 122 MDG and Terre Haute 181 MDG as well as geographically separated units throughout Indiana. His responsibilities include ensuring that all aspects of medical and professional care are performed thoroughly, accurately and professionally.
A lifelong resident of Northeastern Indiana, the colonel graduated from New Haven High School in 1972; he attended Butler University from which he graduated summa cum laude with highest honors in both Chemistry and Zoology in 1975. He graduated from Indiana University Medical School in 1979 followed by a residency in Anesthesiology. Due to a critical need for physicians following the Gulf War in 1992, Dr. Pond volunteered as a true citizen soldier and received his commission; he earned Wings in 1993 as the Aerospace Medicine Distinguished Graduate. As a citizen militiaman, he continues his military service while engaged in the full time practice of medicine and as an active member of his community.
He is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with 37 years of experience in a tertiary care community hospital providing anesthesia services for all surgical subspecialties including cardiac and renal transplantation, major vascular, neonatal, neurosurgical, pediatric, orthopedic, and obstetrical. As Clinical Associate Professor for the Indiana University School of Medicine, he has taught the Anesthesia & Critical Care Skills and Pharmacology course for the last 34 years for medical students, orthopedic and family practice residents. He is an instrument rated pilot, avid skier, mountain climber, high altitude physiologist, pianist, beekeeper, certified SCUBA rescue diver, and prior Boy Scout Leader. He is ATLS, PALS, ACLS, EMT/ Paramedic instructor, past-President of the 850 physician Fort Wayne Medical Society, and Team Physician for WWII Veteran Honor Flights, physician for humanitarian medical missions having served in Palestine, Thailand, China(x2), Honduras, Dominican Republic(x2), Brazil, Morocco, India, Bangladesh, Jordan, Mexico, Egypt(x2), Haiti and Bulgaria. In 2005, he led the Indiana Joint Task Force Katrina Air Guard Medical Response to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was named “Medical Officer of the Year, 2006” by the Air National Guard and in 2011 the 30th Anniversary IU School of Medicine/Fort Wayne “Outstanding Physician Educator” and in 2013 he was awarded the “Raymond L White Award for Distinguished Military Service.” During the 2007 “Surge,” he commanded the Air Force 447 EMEDs hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. He served as Medical Investigating Officer for Aircraft Mishap Investigation Boards (2008 T-38, Sheppard AFB; 2009 HH-60, Bagram, Afghanistan; 2009 training fatality, JB Andrews (Board President) & 2015 F-16, Douglas, AZ for Iraqi AF Commander), 2012 ANG medical representative for the Presidential Budget Operation Execution Working Group (OEWG), 2011-2013 Chair NGB Joint Surgeon General’s FAC and 2014 Commander of Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4, Knights Templar. He presently served as the ANG Medical Service representative to the Air Director’s Field Advisory Council (ADFAC), USAF/ANG National Level 1 Credentials Reviewer and continues to serve as President, Executive Board, Fort Wayne/Allen County Department of Health.
1975 Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Zoology, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana
1979 Doctor of Medicine Degree, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
1982 Residency in Anesthesiology, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
1997 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2000 Air War College, by correspondence
- April 1992 – June 1992, Aerospace Physician, 930 Medical Squadron, Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana
- June 1992 – January 1994, Flight Surgeon, 434 Clinic, Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana
- January 1994 – January 1995, Flight Surgeon, 434 Medical Squadron, Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana
- January 1995 –February 1996, Flight Surgeon Squadron Medical Element (SME), 72 Air Refueling Squadron, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana
- February 1996 – December 1998, Chief of Aeromedical Services, 434 Medical Squadron, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana
- December 1998 – December 1999 Chief of Flight Medicine and Squadron Medical Element, 163 Fighter Squadron, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- December 1999—February 2003, Chief of Aerospace Medicine, 163 Fighter Squadron, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- February 2003 – May 2003, Chief of Aerospace Medicine, 122 Medical Group, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- May 2003 –July 2007, Commander, 122 Medical Group, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- (Outstanding Rating—2006 Health Services Inspection)
- August 2007 – Present, Indiana State Air Surgeon, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Deployments/temporary assignments:
- 1995 Operation Joint Endeavor, SME 72 ARS, Pisa, Italy
- 2000,Operation Southern Watch, SME 163 FS, Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia
- 2002 Operation Commando Sling, SME 163 FS, Singapore
- 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Senior Theater Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) Physician. Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
- 2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom, SME 163 FS, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
- 2005 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chief Aerospace Medicine, Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait
- 2005 Joint Task Force Hurricane Katrina Relief, Commander Indiana Air Guard Medical Units, D’Iberville and Gulfport, Mississippi
- 2006 New Horizons Humanitarian Relief, Commander, Dominican Republic
- 2007 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Commander 447 EMEDS Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq
- 2008 Sheppard T-38 Aircraft Mishap Accident Investigation Board, Medical Officer, Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas
- 2009 Bagram HH60 Aircraft Mishap Safety Investigation Board, Medical Officer, Bagram AFB, Bagram Afghanistan
- 2009 Air Force Medical Service Capabilities Review and Risk Assessment (CRRA) Air National Guard Mental Health Process Sequence Model Working Group, Arlington, Virginia
- 2009 Andrews Ground Accident Investigation Board, President, Andrews AFB, Maryland
- 2009 Air National Guard CY09 Colonel Federal Recognition Review Board, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Denver Colorado
- 2010 Flight Surgeon and Attending Physician, USAF/Eurofighter Moron Air Base, Moron, Spain
- 2010 Interagency Institute for Health Care Executives, Washington, DC
- 2011 Senior Critical Care Air Transport Team Physician, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- 2012 Military Health System Executive Leadership Skills Capstone, Arlington, VA
- 2013 & 2014 Senior Physician, Indiana CERFP Homeland Emergency Response
- 2014 Fort Wayne, IN A-10 Class B, Aircraft Mishap Safety Investigation Board, Medical Officer, 122nd FW, Fort Wayne Indiana
- 2015 Iraqi F-16 Class A Aircraft Mishap Accident Investigation Board, Medical Officer, Tucson, Arizona
Rating: Chief Flight Surgeon
Flight hours: More than 700 hours and 200 sorties (62 combat sorties)
Aircraft flown: C-12, C-23, C-130E, C-130H, C-130H2, C-5A, C-5B, C-17A, E-8C, E-3B, F-15D, F-16D. KC-135E, KC-135R, HH-60G, T-38A, T-38C, UH-46C, UH-60A
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
- Legion of Merit
- Meritorious Service Medal (2 devices)
- Air Medal
- Aerial Achievement Medal
- Meritorious Unit Award
- Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device (3 Devices)
- Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
- National Defense Service Medal (1 Device)
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1 Device)
- Iraq Campaign Medal
- Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Armed Forces Service Medal
- Humanitarian Service Medal
- Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- Air Force Overseas Short
- Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
- Air Force Longevity Service Award (5 Devices)
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 4 “M” Devices
- Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol)
- Air Force Training Ribbon
- Indiana Long Service Medal (1 Device)
- Indiana Outside Continental United States Ribbon (2 Devices)
- Indiana Military Voluntary Emblem
- Mississippi Emergency Service Medal
Clinical Cardiovascular/Critical Care Anesthesiologist, Fort Wayne, Indiana Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Pharmacology, Indiana University School of Medicine
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS & MILITARY AFFILIATIONS:
Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA Life Member & AsMA Associate Fellow)
Air Force Association (Life Member)
Air Force Reserve Flight Surgeon Association (Life Member)
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
Alliance of Air National Guard Flight Surgeons (Life Member)
American Academy of Pain Management
American Legion (Life Member)
American Medical Association
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists
American Society of Regional Anesthesia
Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. (Life Member)
Fort Wayne Medical Society
Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists
Indiana State Medical Association
International Anesthesia Research Society
National Guard Association of the United States (Life Member)
National Guard of Indiana Association (Life Member)
ational Sojourners Masonic Military Fraternity
Phi Rho Sigma Medical Society
Reserve Office Association (Life Member)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (Life Member)
Dates of Promotion:
Major–January 1, 1992
Lieutenant Colonel–January 1, 1999
Colonel–February 27, 2004