MADISON, Wis. (WTVO) — UW Health flight physician Dr. Ryan Newberry joined the Army in 2008 and did three tours overseas, including two combat tours in Afghanistan.

After he graduated from high school in Freeport, Ill., in 1998, Newberry began training as a firefighter and paramedic. He worked for the Freeport and Rockford fire departments, but in 2008, the lure of military service beckoned him – as did medicine.

“I was struggling with the decision to leave the fire service to become a physician and the military offered me the best of both worlds: the opportunity to become a physician in a culture that I valued,” he said. “Specifically, the military and the fire service always place the mission and selfless service above any one individual.”

Newberry began working for UW’s Med Flight service in 2019 and says his military service prepared him to adapt to situations outside of the hospital.

“The military prepared me very well to take very good medicine and principles of good medical management to practice outside of a large facility with very limited resources and that helps us with Med Flight, bringing the highest level of care to the roadside or outside hospitals everyday,” he said.

Veterans make up over 10% of Med Flight’s workforce.