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Captain Michael E. Nellestein, MD - United States Navy, Retired

As a Retired US Navy Medical Corps officer, it is an honor, this Veteran's Day, to pay tribute to all those who serve our great country.

I served on active duty for 18 years and 7 years in the Navy Reserves. My General Surgery training was completed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, just outside Washington, DC. After that I was Chief of Surgery in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, then Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. During my 25 years of military time I served seven years overseas including Okinawa, completed Jungle Warfare and Airborne Paratrooper training, and was assigned to the Marine Corps for 4 years. Also, my wife of 34 years is a Retired US Navy Nurse Corps Officer.

It has been my privilege to operate on such people as:

* Sandra Day Oc'Connor - the first female Supreme Court Justice

* Jack Brooks - 42 year congressman from Texas and Chairman of the House Judiciary Commitee

* Frank S. - 83 year old Missourian who landed on Omaha Beach (only 10% survived)

* Missouri veteran who lost every finger and toe to frostbite at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea

* The pilot who flew the weather recon plan that gave the go-ahead for the D-Day invasion

* An 88 year old veteran who served with the 101st Airborn Division who parachuted into Normandy and was eventually trapped at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge

* And most recently, MB, an American Patriot and Soldier who puts his life on the line every day as Security Force for our embassy in baghdad.

Simply stated, I love my country and am incredibly proud to say "I served." And I have tremendous admiration and respect for my fellow Americans who have also served - in the past and currently.

My military background helped shape my core values of Honesty, Integrity, Character, and Commitment to excellence. These values, along with my strong Christian beliefs, guide my practice of medicine and dictate how I treat patients.

We at the Nellestein Vein Institute say THANK YOU to our Veterans. Thank you for your time, commitment, and willingness to voluntarily "step-up" and serve our country.