Two influences led Dr. John Hartman on the path to becoming a general surgeon and an officer in the Navy Reserves.
His grandfather was a W.W. II veteran and a pediatric neurologist at the University of Iowa. As a kid, he also watched the TV show "M*A*S*H" and knew early on he wanted to combine medicine and military service.
"I always thought it would be cool to be like Hawkeye Pierce on "M*A*S*H" when I grew up," says Dr. Hartman. "I did my surgical residency at Gundersen in LaCrosse, Wis. and joined the Navy as a Reservist."
As a Commander in the Navy Reserves, Dr. Hartman realized his dream of using his surgical skills while serving his country. In 2008, he was deployed to Landsthul, Germany, home to the largest overseas military hospital, where he cared for combat casualties from war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.
He saw first-hand the human cost of war. "It's pretty horrible to take care of young injured soldiers in that many pieces, and it makes you truly appreciate the cost of freedom," he says. "Trauma surgery is one of my big interests, so it was fulfilling to help that patient population."
While stationed in Germany, his wife, Lori, and their three children visited. "I would go 'home' to a normal life, and then return to the hospital for a day or two and see the terrible consequences of war," he says.
Raised in Boone, Iowa, Dr. Hartman went to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he played college football and sang opera. He worked at a biotechnology company after graduation, before pursuing a biochemistry degree and medical school.
In his future, Dr Hartman plans to continue his involvement with the Iowa Medical Society, serving as President in 2015. He also plans to become involved in the American College of Surgeons on a national level.
"My grandpa always said 'If you have an ability, you have a duty to use that ability,'" Dr. Hartman concludes. "You need to be involved to make a difference."