World Orthopaedic Leaders Learn to Fly

In conjunction with the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting in San Diego, the presidents of seven orthopaedic associations—all members of the Carousel group—and their spouses had the opportunity to test their flying skills in military flight simulators at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar. The Carousel group includes the presidents of orthopaedic associations from the United States (AAOS, American Orthopaedic Association), Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand who meet at each association's annual meeting to share problems, exchange solutions, and, occasionally, have fun.

The trip to MCAS Miramar was more than an opportunity for these orthopaedic leaders to interact with active-duty military Marines, Navy orthopaedic surgeons, and base staff. While there, Carousel members also "flew" four types of aircraft, met with the commanding general, and toured the air station.

The event was organized by the authors and hosted by commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, MajGen Mark Wise, USMC, and the commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, LtCol Dustin Byrum, USMC.

The seven presidents and their spouses spent the day exchanging orthopaedic stories with pilots and aircrew while flying in four flight simulators, including the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor, and the F/A-18 Hornet jet aircraft. They also tested their marksmanship with a simulated .50-caliber machine gun in the Marine Common Aircrew Trainer in CH-53E mode.

According to David D. Teuscher, MD, past president of the AAOS and a former US Army flight surgeon, "During our annual conferences, the host country generally provides a local opportunity unique to that country." The offer to visit MCAS Miramar provided a showcase for displaying "what we as a military do worldwide." The base tour enabled civilian orthopaedic surgeons from around the globe to see and, hopefully, better understand some of the demands of military operations. Specifically, this event provided insight into Marine Corps operations and the service members who carry them out. But it also underscored the importance of the AAOS motto—"keeping the world in motion through the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions"—to maintain a healthy fighting force.


From left: AAOS Past President David D. Teuscher, MD; Maj Gen Mark Wise, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing; Richard Keddell, MD, president of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association, and Wendy Keddell.
Courtesy of Sgt David Bickel, USMC

In his presentation, Dr. Teuscher discussed the five AAOS core values—excellence, leadership, professionalism, collegiality, and lifelong learning. "Excellence is something you do every day, not just every once in a while," he told the group, noting that "the pathway to leadership is active followship" and "everyone in the unit should strive to be a leader.

"Professionalism means you put others in front of your own needs," noted Dr. Teuscher, using the example of getting a 2 a.m. call from the emergency department. "When it comes, you get up and go to work."

He pointed out that collegiality can be broken into unity and diversity, both of which are needed to treat each other with mutual respect. Finally, he challenged the Marines to continue lifelong learning. "If all you are is what you graduated with from basic training, then you are not going to be a very good Marine. You have to constantly be striving to learn more—not just about your specialty but also about those around you."


Karen van Zyl, wife of Adriaan van Zyl, MD, president of the South African Orthopaedic Association, celebrates with her flight instructor, LtCol Dustin Byrum, after successfully flying her F/A-18 under the Coronado Bridge.
Courtesy of Sgt David Bickel, USMC

The event concluded with lunch at the MCAS Miramar Officers' Club, where guests explored the historic space and recounted scenes from the 1986 movie, Top Gun, which was filmed at the base. The event was a great success, helping to foster previously developed relationships among military and civilian orthopaedic communities around the globe.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States government.

LCDR L.S. McDonald, MC USN, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Naval Medical Center, San Diego. He can be reached at lucas.s.mcdonald@gmail.com

Sgt D. Bickel, USMC, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar/3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. He can be reached at david.bickel@usmc.mil

CAPT M.T. Provencher, MC USNR, The Steadman Clinic, Vail, Colo. He can be reached at mprovencher@thesteadmanclinic.com

LCDR J.R. Bailey, MC, USN, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Naval Medical Center San Diego. He can be reached at jamesbailey98@gmail.com

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