Virginia Tech has a long and proud history of alumni who have served this country in a variety of roles. Recently, Haley Davis, a captain in the Veterinary Corps for the U.S. Army and a Class of 2020 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, shared her experience of service.

Davis wears many hats in her position, which provides around-the-clock emergency and routine care to military working dogs in Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, she’s responsible for public health awareness, food safety oversight for products acquired by the U.S. Department of Defense, and routine outpatient care for the pets owned by military members.

As part of her daily responsibilities, Davis runs her own clinic where she oversees seven enlisted soldiers and two civilians. She spends some of her week taking appointments and the other days attending to other aspects of her mission.

“My time [at the veterinary college] definitely prepared me for a lot of the teamwork and communication skills required to function within the military,” Davis said. “They also prepared me for the clinical and public health portions of my job, or at least gave me a strong enough foundation to figure the rest out. I depend a lot on my soldiers for things that I don’t have a lot of knowledge on … like our food mission and some aspects of being a soldier.”

Davis said her experience as a student on externship stood out for her in an important way.

“Our in-house clinicians are amazing, and some of my best rotations were in the hospital,” David said. “But the rotations I spent away from the hospital really opened my eyes to the scope of practice that veterinarians have. In particular, I got to spend a rotation at Fort Myer, Virginia, with the Caisson Platoon and their horses. The job of the unit is to relay the caskets of fallen service members to their final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. It was an honor to watch and care for the horses that pull the caissons."

While the nation honors its veterans on Nov. 11, the experiences of alumni such as Davis serve as a reminder of how Virginia Tech fulfills its motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

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