FORT KNOX, Ky. –
Maj. Christopher Greenleaf and his wife of five years, Maj. Erin Greenleaf, had always thought about service in the U.S. Army, but the time never seemed right.
They met in medical school. He always wanted to be a doctor, but it was a period of “self-discovery” that led her to medical school. It was only recently that this doctor duo decided Army service was right for them.
On July 11, 2019, the husband and wife team commissioned into the U.S. Army as general surgeons.
“I have always had an itch in the back of my head urging me to serve,” Christopher stated. “As I continued to hone my surgical training and advance through several fellowships, I started to realize, more and more, that I was gaining skills that could help those Soldiers that have sacrificed so much of their lives to serve our nation. Their sacrifice has given me the safety to pursue my civilian endeavors.”
Erin echoes her husband in her desire to serve.
“I’ve been given a lot of opportunity to try new things, to fail at others and to ultimately arrive at this point as a well-trained surgeon,” she said. “It seemed to me, that supporting the men and women of the U.S. Army who protect each of us and our ideals every day is the least I could do in a way I know how.”
Doing this as a team made the decision to join the Army that much easier; it was the nudge they each needed.
Christopher and Erin hope they can use their skills to save lives and that their care will better the lives of Army Soldiers and their families. While they are trained and prepared for all levels of patient care, Chris hopes “to see nothing but stubbed toes.” The pair are ready to go wherever needed and would readily volunteer for a forward surgical team.
If you are considering a career in Army healthcare, Erin advises not to lose sight of your reasons for serving. She serves to help military service members who sacrifice the comfort of home to protect our country and our freedom.
“The worth is in the people you meet along the way, experiences you’ll have, and service you’ll provide,” she said.
Christopher agrees and reminds future Army medical professionals to be patient with the process.
He also suggests finding a special recruiter like they had in Maj. Sara Perkins. Perkins, the senior officer in charge at Columbus Medical Recruiting Center in Columbus, Ohio, is part of the family now. According to the Greenleafs, Perkins was unbelievably helpful and a bright spot in the process. She was invaluable.
Christopher is currently a Pediatric and congenital heart surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas and Erin is currently completing a vascular surgery fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.