Roy Seitz ('74, fencing) provides medical care for a young Afghan girl. In addition to his work with U.S. Marines, Seitz aided many innocent Afghan villagers who were persecuted by the Taliban.

Military Medicine Man

Sept. 4, 2012

For former Notre Dame fencer Roy Seitz (’74), practically every day involves a life or death scenario.

An ER doctor in the Cleveland area, Seitz regularly ensures his trauma victims receive the precise care they need to survive. But it’s his part-time, emergency military work overseas that gives him the greatest sense of purpose.

“My dad was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, so you could say military service was always in my blood,” Seitz said.

Having long been interested in utilizing his ER skills to benefit the armed forces, Seitz found an opportunity to take action after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. He trained for three years to become a battalion doctor, before being deployed to Kuwait from 2004 to 2005 to provide medical services in a non-combat setting.

Seitz appreciated his time in Kuwait, but felt he could have a greater impact by aiding his battalion of 800 Marines on the front lines of war. He received that opportunity in 2010 after being re-deployed – this time to Afghanistan.

“During my second trip, I was able to provide care for combat victims that were literally coming in 5 or 10 minutes removed from the battlefield,” Seitz said. “The work was often executed near live fire, and many of the soldiers we assisted likely had three to five minutes remaining before they died.”

Despite the adverse circumstances, Seitz and his team of surgeons and anesthesiologists worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure every wounded soldier that arrived alive would be able to eventually return home.

Miraculously, they all did.

Now that he’s back in the U.S., Seitz continues to find ways to support veterans that served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is active in the Notre Dame Club of Cleveland, and has worked with the organization’s leaders to ensure soldiers and their families receive proper services and support once they return home.

And this past summer, Seitz and two of his sons biked from Ohio to Maryland to raise nearly $3,000 for the Wounded Warriors fund. During the trip, Seitz visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to meet with some of the Marines he worked with during his time in Afghanistan.

“These soldiers have little regard for themselves and are solely committed to their fellow soldiers and their duty,” Seitz said. “Working with them was truly a life changing event for me.”

Editor’s Note: This story will appear in the 2011-12 Monogram Club Annual Report. Monogram winners can expect to receive the annual publication the last week of September.

— ND —