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Jackson County Doctor Leaves For 3rd Deployment

Last updated on Saturday, March 31, 2012

(SEYMOUR) - Dr. David Dollens is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard and is being deployed to northern Afghanistan. This is his third tour of duty since joining the Guard in 2006.

Dollens is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard and is being deployed to northern Afghanistan. This is his third tour of duty since joining the Guard in 2006.

Cindy Dollens says the hardest part about her husband's upcoming deployment overseas with the Army National Guard isn't worrying about the threat of injury, but their lost time together.

"I know he'll be safe. He's their physician and you protect them," she said of Dr. David Dollens.

But that doesn't make it any easier while he's gone, she added.

"There's a lot he misses. Our daughter's going to have (a baby) in May, and he'll miss that."

Dollens, an internal medicine specialist at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, recently learned he will be serving his country for a third time.

In 2007, he was sent to southern Iraq and then again to Balad, central Iraq, in 2009.

Because of his experience in the medical profession, he entered the National Guard at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

This time around, he will be going to Fort Benning in Georgia for training and then briefly to Kuwait before being sent to northern Afghanistan, where he will be the sole physician at the U.S. Army base there.

On Wednesday, Schneck staff held a reception in honor of Dollens, who had his own private practice for many years in Seymour before going to work for the hospital.

"They've been very supportive," Dollens said of his co-workers.

One of those co-workers, Becky Boas, said Dollens' commitment to others is what makes him special.

"He's a great and caring man," she said. "The hospital is really going to miss him."

His decision to join the Indiana National Guard in 2006 at the age of 54 was both personal and professional.

"They said they needed someone for this rotation, that they didn't have a doctor there, so I volunteered," he said of his recent assignment. "It's just satisfying. I enjoy using my skill set outside the medical environment."

The military has never been far removed from Dollens' mind, as several close family members served in times of war.

Dollens' grandfather served in the Rainbow Division during World War I and his father fought in the 66th Infantry during World War II. An aunt served in World War II, an uncle served in the Korean War and another uncle was a doctor in the Vietnam War. Also, his father-in-law served in the Navy during the Korean War.

Cindy Dollens said everyone is proud of her husband, and will miss him while he's gone.

"They are thrilled and very proud of him both in the family and the company," she said.
"When God calls you to do something, you have to go for it."

Dollens said his position and the training he receives lessens the danger some, but it's always at the back of his mind.

Besides regular military training, Dollens said he has learned a lot about cultural sensitivity, how to avoid trouble, what to do if in trouble including the use of firearms and local customs.

"You're in a pretty secure location and you receive a lot of training, but there's always concerns," he said. "Especially with what you hear in the newspapers."

For Cindy Dollens and other family, that worry is a constant.

"No news is good news," she said of waiting to hear from her husband.

Dollens has internet access when it's not turned off or when they aren't having a sandstorm.

"They don't have sandstorms like the pretty ones you see on TV," he said. "These are big and last for three or four days. Sand gets everywhere, even in the food."

Although they can sometimes chat on Skype, an internet-based video teleconference service, computer connections are usually bad and don't last long.

"There is a phone, but it's like one phone for 200 people," Cindy said. "We talked maybe once a week."

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