Veterinarian & Veteran: Broadview University’s Vet Vet
Published on June 10, 2014 by Staff Writer
Dr. John Knowles is the resident veterinarian at Broadview University-Layton campus, and he recently returned from his deployment in Kuwait. Many students at the campus were curious about what he had been doing during that time. Dr. Knowles was kind enough to answer some questions about his time in Kuwait
Where were you stationed?
I was stationed at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and was the Kuwait Northern Camps OIC.
What were the living conditions for yourself and also for the animals?
Living conditions for the soldiers were actually very nice in Kuwait.There were times we were in self-contained hard structures.
We were in large group dwellings and at times were in tents and had to hike to the latrines and showers, but all the billeting was well maintained and far better than I anticipated and prepared myself for.
The Military Working Dogs (MWDs) had excellent housing at all bases. Kennels were clean and climate controlled. Exercise areas were well designed and transports were safe and comfortable.
Food was always plentiful…too plentiful.
What did you spend most of your time doing?
My teams had three general responsibilities:
1) MWD care and support: everything from emergency care to preventative health care to international health certifications to support of training and missions. We also provided trainings for the MWD handlers and conducted monthly audits of the kennel facilities at northern camp bases housing MWDs.
2) Food inspection: facilities that provided food and water on the bases as well as private companies that produced and supplied food to the department of defense installations were inspected by on a regular basis by army veterinary teams.
3) Feral animal control, disease monitoring and parasite management as well as collaboration with local shelters and rescues for various animals was a major part of our mission.
4) Off duty times were spent working out, running, writing and reading.
Why did you join the Army Reserves?
I wish I had a more noble reason, but I originally commissioned due to the incentives and benefits for medical officers. It quickly became more than that and has given me a new appreciation for the sacrifices made by military families and a deep sense of contributing to this country and the world.
Do you have a specific memory of something unusual or humorous that happened over there?
I honestly had a fantastic deployment and consider myself lucky to have had the experience and opportunity to serve this great nation. I think the most surprising experience was that I was sent to Jordan to audit food facilities in that country and while there, had the opportunity to visit Wadi Rum Desert, Petra and several sites of significant biblical history.
Returning home to see the family in the airport and my grandsons, one of which was born shortly after I was deployed, was a great experience.
We are so happy to have Dr. Knowles back at our campus again. He has already helped the Layton campus have a success AVMA visit. We appreciate all of the knowledge that he brings to our campus and to our students.