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May 20, 2011 - Decorated WWII Veteran Part of Grandson’s Medical School Graduation
Dr. Nathaniel Lisenbee (left) received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine last week. Dr. Lisenbee will continue his medical education in the emergency medicine residency program at the University of Florida College of Medicine Shands Hospital in Gainsville, Fla.

During the Military Oath of Office at the medical school’s 36th Annual Honors Convocation, Dr. Lisenbee’s grandfather (center) helped present his grandson’s new military rank of office from 2nd lieutenant to captain in the U.S. Air Force. The younger Lisenbee’s military rank changed simultaneously as he received his doctorate of medicine degree.

“Having my grandfather change my rank for me was special and quite an honor,” Dr. Lisenbee said. “Being the last living grandparent in my life and one who has experienced a tremendous amount in his life, having him there added a great deal of sentimental value.”

Being able to achieve a medical degree and exceed in the military has a connection to the success and honor Dr. Lisenbee’s grandfather received in WWII.

“Determination, perseverance and bravery are qualities my grandfather holds dear, and are qualities passed down for me to embrace,” Dr. Lisenbee said. “Medical school has been a long road, and I have been able to reflect on my grandfather’s example for inspiration in earning my degree and new rank in the Air Force. My grandfather has shown me that there is no room for quitting regardless of the situation.”

Dr. Lisenbee’s grandfather, Rayford Lisenbee, is a WWII veteran from the Army Air Force who was awarded the Purple Heart. Rayford Lisenbee, 86, entered WWII at 18 years old and received a gunshot wound during battle.

“I received the Purple Heart because I was wounded in the Air Force during the Battle of the Buldge,” Rayford Lisenbee said.

Rayford Lisenbee explains the significance of changing his grandson’s military rank at graduation.

“It was really a special moment for me,” Rayford Lisenbee said. “I think it’s really good for him to serve some military time. My two sons did not enter the military, instead they chose to pursue their education. Nathaniel has shown you can do both.”

Emergency medicine was a field that Lisenbee ‘just knew’ was right for him. He found out that it was a niche and lifestyle that suited his busy, fast-paced desire, Dr. Lisenbee said.

“Emergency medicine is also very valuable in the Air Force,” Dr. Lisenbee said. “They expect us to adapt to any environment, such as Afghanistan. It will be exciting training in that environment when I’m deployed.”

Dr. Lisenbee has been married for three years to his wife Abby. They are currently moving to Gainesville, Fla. in order to complete residency training.

Dr. Lisenbee has dedicated himself to studying medicine, following his grandfather’s words of advice, and his living example of determination.

“My grandfather has always told me to make sure you maintain up most character and always stay true to your word,” Dr. Lisenbee said. “To see him living out a level of high character has shown me that you really can do it."

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