U.S. Army veterinarian fills several mission critical roles

Capt. Peony Kim, veterinarian and officer in charge of the Stuttgart Veterinary Treatment Facility, participates in a helicopter ride in preparation for 75th Anniversary of D-Day events in Normandy where she assisted with food inspections at the dining facility. (Photo Credit: Courtesy picture)

By Michelle Thum  June 3, 2020

STUTTGART, Germany – When Capt. Peony Kim joined the military four years ago, she did not realize the multiple roles a veterinarian in the U.S. Army has to fill.

“I actually didn’t seriously consider Veterinary Medicine until after graduating from college,” said Capt. Peony Kim, officer in charge of the veterinary treatment facility in Stuttgart. “I had a rather narrow view of veterinary medicine at the time.”

Kim’s older brother joined the Navy after high school and inspired her to explore the opportunities a career in the military offers.

“When I saw how vast the field of veterinary medicine in the U.S. Army was, from clinical medicine to research to Public Health, I knew I could never be bored,” explained Kim. “The opportunities for learning and growth seemed endless.”

Kim was born and raised in Claremont, California, commissioned as a second Lieutenant in student status in 2013 and joined Active Duty in 2016.

“It was a call to be a part of a bigger mission, to see more of the world, and to take on new challenges,” said Kim. “It is also a tremendous honor to serve and support our canine Soldiers, the military working dogs.”

In comparison to being a veterinarian on the economy, the U.S. Army offered Kim opportunities she had not initially thought of.

“From learning basic weapons maintenance to how to lead a team of Soldiers and Civilians, the Army has definitely kept me on my toes,” explained Kim. “I’m thankful for the Soldiers and Leaders who continue to challenge me and keep me accountable.”

A workday as the officer in charge of the Stuttgart Veterinary Treatment Facility is never the same, according to Kim. One day she might be treating privately owned animals or taking care of an injured military working dog, and another day she may be auditing a bottled water facility in Poland.

Being a veterinarian, managing a veterinary clinic, overseeing the food safety mission and leading a team of Soldiers are only a few of the many hats a Veterinary Corps Officers wears.

“There is no way I can manage all of this in a regular work week. I rely heavily on my amazing team of Soldiers and civilians to support the garrison mission on a day-to-day basis, both the animal care team and the food inspection team.” said Kim.

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