On January 20, 2007, the orthopaedic community lost one of its own in support of the Global War on Terrorism when Dr. Brian D. Allgood was killed in action at the young age of forty-six years. Brian was serving as the top physician in Iraq when his helicopter was shot down by insurgents. The son of an Army colonel, Brian traveled throughout his earlier years, eventually graduating from high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1978. After high school, Brian was selected to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1982. He continued his education at the University of Oklahoma, receiving a medical degree in 1986. After completing his internship in general surgery in 1987 at Brooke Army Medical Center, Brian had the rare opportunity to serve as the general medical officer for the Army's elite Third Ranger Battalion in Fort Benning, Georgia. During his assignment to Fort Benning, he participated in a combat airborne operation in 1989 during the United States invasion of Panama during Operation Just Cause and earned the Army's Combat Medical Badge and Combat Parachutist Badge.G1
Next, Brian was selected for residency training in orthopaedic surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. On completion of his residency in 1994, his first duty assignment was at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as the division orthopaedic surgeon for the 82nd Airborne Division, the chief of the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic, the orthopaedic consultant to Joint Special Operations Command, and, ultimately, the commander of the 274th Forward Surgical Team.
Brian left Fort Bragg in 1999 to serve as the battalion commander of the 232nd Medical Battalion and course director for the Combat Medic course, an honor that is very rarely bestowed upon an Army physician. In 2002, Brian had the opportunity to return to his alma mater, West Point, to serve as the commander of the Keller Army Community Hospital as well as surgeon to the United States Military Academy. Brian's love for orthopaedics never wavered. Despite being the hospital commander, he frequently found time to go to the operating room. Thomas M. DeBerardino, a fellow orthopaedic surgeon, said, “I remember a time when Brian was standing outside the operating-room door, whispering in to one of the nurses and asking if it would be okay if he came in to help with surgery. We of course said, `Yes, please join us.' He was like a kid in a candy store. You could see in his eyes that being a surgeon was still an important part of his life and that just being amongst our operating-room team and helping care for our patients made his day.”
Brian's next assignment was as the commander of the 18th Medical Command and the 121st General Hospital in the Republic of South Korea. Brian was the epitome of the soldier-medic. At his change of command ceremony, as a token of his appreciation to his staff, he gave a gift with the inscription of the Army Values, Soldier's Creed, and Warrior Ethos of “Always place the mission first; never accept defeat; never quit; and never leave a fallen comrade.” Brian lived the Warrior Ethos and Soldier's Creed. Brian's final assignment was as the command surgeon to the Multi-National Force-Iraq at Camp Victory in Iraq.
This is but a brief synopsis of the wonderful life of Brian Allgood. He is a hero to so many people in so many ways, and he touched the lives of all whom his path crossed. Brian was a wonderful father, husband, and family man. He was a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon, a decorated soldier, and a top performer in the Army Medical Department whose destiny was to be one of its future leaders. We are all better for having known him.
Brian is survived by his wife Jane, a retired Army Medical Service Corps colonel, and his son Wyatt. A memorial service was held on February 2, 2007 at the Memorial Chapel in Fort Carson, Colorado, where mourners gathered from far and wide to share their memories of Brian, to express their feelings of affection and admiration, and to pay their final respects to the surgeon, colleague, husband, father, and friend they knew so well. The great turnout was a tribute to the impact Brian had on so many lives.
In closing, Colonel Dean C. Taylor (Ret), another fellow orthopaedic surgeon, stated it best when he said, “The world will be better if we never forget Brian and what he stood for, and if we try to live up to the example that he set for us during his limited time on earth.”
On October 12, 2007, Colonel Brian D. Allgood was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, with full military honors.