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Thomas A. Dooley III
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    (January 17, 1927-January 18, 1961)
    Born in St. Louis, Missouri
    US Navy Physician
    Served in camps treating refugees from North Vietnam (1954-55)
    Founded Medical International Cooperation Organization (MEDICO) to establish hospitals and clinics in Laos (1957)
    Wrote 'Deliver Us From Evil' (1956), 'The Edge of Tomorrow' (1958) and 'The Night They Burned the Mountain' (1960)
    Died from metastasized skin cancer
    He told people his middle initial stood for 'Anheiser' and that he was heir to a brewery fortune. (It actually stood for 'Anthony' and his family, while upper middle class, was hardly at the Anheiser-Busch level of wealth.)
    He would have flunked out of medical school, but the dean was a family friend who intervened with the administration on his behalf.
    Even with that help, he had to repeat his senior year and had his internship extended by six months when he was deemed too immature to begin his residency.
    A group of fifty civil servants working in Vietnam sent a letter to Dooley's publisher protesting that he had 'exaggerated his role in the refugee camps at the expense of the people who were working with him, many of whom did just as much, if not more, than he did.'
    'Deliver Us From Evil' included accounts of anti-Catholic atrocities by the North Vietnamese that had never appeared in his official reports or his letters home.
    He resigned abruptly from the Navy during his first book tour. (Decades later, it was revealed that he had been forced out after the Navy discovered that he was gay.)
    Before going to med school, he was a US Navy medical corpsman in World War II.
    He was described as 'one of the most charming people you would ever want to meet.'
    He looked like Gary Cooper.
    He wrote, 'If America as a nation ignores the Asian's physical needs while handing him pious platitudes, we justify the communists' characterization of our religion as 'the opiate of the people' and 'pie in the sky by and by.''
    He was known to the Laotians as 'Thanh Mo America' -- 'Dr. America.'
    He returned to Laos after his first round of treatment for cancer (1959).
    John F. Kennedy cited his example in launching the Peace Corps.

Credit: C. Fishel

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