Dr. Jesse Moskowitz was only 13 when he set his course.
"My father was a dentist. This was a job that gave him the ability to help people in pain," said Moskowitz, 40. "I thought that was a great thing to dedicate one's life to. He was my inspiration."
After studying medicine from Bulgaria to Ohio to New Jersey, the California native became a physician in 2001 and a trauma surgeon in 2005. And in 2011 he joined the staff of Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point as a trauma surgeon.
As he established his practice through the years, he found plenty of professional and personal success. But he wanted more, another way to contribute and share his talents. In 2006, he joined the Army as a trauma surgeon.
"I realized that I had the training to put my mind to the most important possible purpose," he said, "that of helping our soldiers. I told them, 'Just send me where you need me. I'm happy to go.' "
Maj. Jesse Moskowitz recently returned from a 90-day deployment in Kuwait; this following a 2010 deployment to Iraq. And on Thursday, he shared his experiences with peers at the hospital.
As part of the hospital's continuing education seminars, he detailed his experiences as a presiding surgeon in the Army's 349th CSH unit, a combat support hospital, just outside Kuwait City. In uniform, he addressed about 100 co-workers at Bayonet Point, giving them an idea of what it was like to administer critical care to the people who protect and defend our country.
After leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Moskowitz narrated a slide show that presented images of the hospital where he and a team of doctors and nurses served as a first-response team for soldiers and contractors ill or injured in the line of duty. The presentation also featured images of the people and architecture of downtown Kuwait City, and of hospital staff members celebrating the holidays on base.
Later he delved into the diversity and challenge of his duties.
"One day I saved the life of a soldier whose throat had been slit," he said. "At other times I performed surgeries on soldiers who had sustained hernias while working out, or who were suffering from appendicitis."
Moskowitz said that he also strove to provide his patients with moral support.
"It was a nice opportunity to form a supportive relationship with my patients," he said. "And since many of the soldiers were in their 20s, I could give that person an idea of what they could achieve."
Back home, meanwhile, his wife, Annette, was pregnant with their third child. He took advantage of modern technology to keep in frequent contact with Annette, Jake, 5, and Alex, 2.
"Thanks to Skype and other types of communication, I could keep in contact with my family more than was possible in the past," he said.
At Thursday's presentation he thanked several co-workers for checking in with his family during his absence. He also presented an American flag secured through his unit to officials at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, and certificates of appreciation to several doctors and administrators who helped facilitate his mission.
The sentiment was returned by Shayne George, the hospital's chief executive.
"It is with great honor and deepest appreciation that we recognize and thank Dr. Jesse Moskowitz, trauma surgeon, for his service to our hospital, our community, and our country," he said. "We are all glad to see his always smiling face back at Bayonet Point. He is the kind of guy who makes you feel proud to be associated with him."
Moskowitz was proud to make a contribution.
"If I can depend on these soldiers over there fighting," he said, "then they can count on me to back them up."