Edward Michael Feldman, DO, passed on Oct. 3, 2017. An intensely patriotic man, he volunteered to serve in Vietnam. For his service, he was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars and nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is the first and only DO to be nominated for the highest award given for valor in action.
Heroic display of courage
The nomination came following a particularly heroic display of courage on Dr. Feldman’s part: In September 1968, as a triage officer at the Marine medical facility in Quang Tri, near the DMZ, Dr. Feldman was airlifted to the edge of a violent firefight where wounded soldiers needed medical assistance.
From where he was dropped off, Dr. Feldman could see a column of Armored Calvary Assault Vehicles a short distance away being violently attacked by a battalion-sized North Vietnamese force, firing automatic weapons and launching rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells. Heedless of the enemy’s small-arms fire, Dr. Feldman rushed to the head of the column of assault vehicles. Dr. Feldman worked his way down the column, attending to the wounded and encouraging the men, all the while exposing himself to steady enemy fire moving from assault vehicle to assault vehicle, returning fire as he maneuvered.
Two additional armored track vehicles, immobilized at the top of a hill, were covering the column’s flank with .50 caliber machine gun fire to prevent the column being overrun by the enemy, while at the same time repelling an enemy attack of their position from Viet Cong soldiers advancing up the hill from the South. After making his way down the entire column of assault vehicles and back, Dr. Feldman recognized there was an attrition of Command Leadership during the ambush.
As the senior ranking officer on the ground, Dr. Feldman took tactical command. Not only did he provide defensive aggression against the enemy in protecting himself and his wounded soldiers, Dr. Feldman provided command leadership, directing the armored vehicles to move to the top of the hill, where he guided the men in forming a defensive perimeter. Within that perimeter Dr. Feldman treated the wounded, many of whom had gone into hypovolemic shock. Those who were expectant were administered morphine to ease their suffering. Once the wounded were stabilized and there was a small break in the weather, Dr. Feldman had the soldiers clear a landing zone where he called for a Chinook helicopter to evacuate all the wounded and dead at one time.
Remarkably, rather than departing on the medevac with the wounded, Dr. Feldman chose to stay on the ground overnight, where his leadership and encouragement were needed most. He remained with the unit until senior army leadership replaced him the next day.
A life in medicine
Following his tour in Vietnam, Dr. Feldman completed his residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the former New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry University Hospital, where he went on to serve as an assistant professor. In 1980, he moved to California, where he was an associate professor at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California. He was board-certified in ob-gyn in California, where he also ran a practice focused on gynecologic surgery until his retirement.
Dr. Feldman earned his BS degree at Columbia University and his DO degree at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Following his military service, he served as a subject matter expert for SOCOM (Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Detachment One), vice chairman of the California Department of Veteran Affairs, and national surgeon of the Jewish War Veterans of America.
Dr. Feldman is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his children, Stuart (Carol), David (Erin) and Jessica Grunvald (Dan), and his seven grandchildren: Carly, Ally, Sophia, Dahlia, Luca, Jordan and Preston. He is predeceased by his parents, Sid and Ann, and his brother, John.