“Medicine Is An Art Using Applied Science”: Reflections From A Doctor From The Class Of ‘77

Stephen Spaulding


Dr. Stephen Spaulding grew up in Syracuse, New York, with a brother and two sisters. His father sold cans for Continental Can company and joined the Navy as a signal officer during World War II, serving on USS Arkansas. His mother was from New England and her father was an Army physician. His parents married in the early 1940s. He became interested in attending West Point after visiting the Academy with his dad. That was the first time he felt the hand of God shaping his destiny. He remembers the “calm before the storm” on R-Day and taking the oath at Trophy Point, recalling the mandate to “defend the constitution.” He did very well academically, using his “God-given gift” for studying. As a Firstie, he served as Company Commander, which detracted from his academic performance. As a Plebe, he played soccer, but then gravitated towards the Ski Team and Ski Patrol. He also enjoyed singing in the Glee Club and Catholic Choir, and performing with the Hop Band. He especially remembers a trip to Disney World, where he sang in front of the castle. The Vietnam War ended during his time at the Academy, and he recalls “people were nasty because you were in the Army.” During the spring of his Cow Year, the Electrical Engineering cheating scandal came to light, and he recalls it as a sad time for his class. During the summer before his Firstie year, the first women were admitted to the Academy. He notes the toughness of those groundbreaking women. Upon graduation, he branched Engineer, but felt called to become a doctor, the second time the hand of God directed him. He began medical school at Syracuse following graduation and decided to become a Family Practice doctor. He completed his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and met his wife there. It took him three months to ask her out, and they were married in July 1982. Next, he was assigned to the 56th General Hospital in Germany from 1984 to 1987, where he commanded a clinic. He returned to the States in 1987 and served as a family physician at Ft. Ord, California, where he was responsible for teaching residents. In 1992, he left the Army and entered civilian practice. At the end of the interview, he reflects on his service and on West Point. He notes, “We are put here and given gifts for a reason. Help other people and love God and your neighbor.” As for West Point, “Duty, Honor, Country – that’s your life.”


name Stephen Spaulding
institution USMA
graduation year 1977
service Engineer / Medical Service / Medical Corps
unit 56th General Hospital, Germany
specialty Doctor
service dates 1977 1992