Team Goodfellow honors Colonel Ross
By Airman 1st Class Anne Gathua, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 08, 2010
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With the singing of the National Anthem and the posting of the colors Nov. 8, the 17th Medical Group Clinic building dedication ceremony in honor of Colonel Jerry W. Ross began.
Family members, including Colonel Ross' wife, Sally Ross and their children, distinguished guests and servicemembers gathered to witness the unveiling of the monument erected in his memory and the official naming of the Ross Clinic.
Colonel Ross was selected as the Goodfellow Medical Group Commander in August 1992; the first pharmacist ever selected to command a military medical treatment facility in the Air Force. During his tenure as the medical group commander, 10 individuals from his organization were named best in command, and four were selected as best in the Air Force.
"It's not often that one single person makes such a profound impact across generations, but the more I study the life of Colonel Ross, the more firmly I believe he is one of those giants among men," Col. James Forrest, 17th Medical Group Commander, said.
A year after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Tennessee in June 1967, Colonel Ross entered the Air Force as an airman basic and was assigned to Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Teaxs. In June 1969, he was given a direct commission in the Biomedical Sciences Corps after his discharge as an airman first class.
By the time he reached the rank of captain, he had achieved six active-duty ranks in just 16 months.
Along with being the first pharmacist selected to command an MTF, Colonel Ross was also the first pharmacist selected to attend the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va. and to serve as the Director for Medical Force Management and Chief of Biomedical Sciences Corps while assigned to Headquarters United States Air Force Office of the Surgeon General.
Retired Colonel James Young, who worked with Colonel Ross said he admired and respected him adding that the colonel left a legacy no one else had and a trail for us to follow.
"He passed along lessons learned without thought of who would get the recognition and was the epitome of a team player," the colonel added.
In 1987, Colonel Ross was assigned to Keesler AFB Medical Center as the pharmacy department chairman, and was promoted to colonel on June 1, 1988. While at Keesler, he was appointed as the Air Training Command Pharmacy Consultant and was the recipient of the Maxine Beatty Award as the Senior Air Force Pharmacist of the Year in 1990.
Retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Wehrle, former 17th Training Wing Commander said Colonel Ross was deceptively smart, adding that if he could be somebody else he would like to be him.
Colonel Ross was assigned to Headquarters United States Air Force, Office of the Surgeon General, Medical Force Management and director, and Biomedical Sciences Corps chief in 1995. Again, the colonel was the first pharmacist to ever be selected for these positions. The colonel retired in 1998, but remained active in the civilian and Air Force pharmacy communities throughout his retirement.
Colonel Ross passed away Feb. 17, 2008.
"He was a gifted man of great intelligence, inspiration, humility and dignity," Colonel Forrest said. "He was a superior commander and unrivaled Air Force officer. He was the kind of man who was most adept out front leading the charge but would then quietly and without fanfare return to the rear to make sure no one had been left behind.
Among Colonel Ross' military decorations are the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
In 1997, the Society of Air Force Pharmacists renamed their Annual Awards program the "Jerry W. Ross Annual Pharmacy Awards Banquet" - "in recognition of sustained and significant contributions to Air Force Pharmacy." Colonel Ross also served as a board member for The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS.)
Known for the saying, "Now go out and make a difference!" Colonel Ross' son Jason Ross said his father did what he did because he loved to serve and loved to provide healthcare to the men and women in service.
The dedication ceremony welcomed Colonel Ross back home and will forever serve as a reminder of the legacy he left behind.