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Doctor’s commitment to public service, patriotism leads him to the Air Force Reserve

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bobby Pilch
  • 367th Recruiting Group, Air Force Reserve Command

Choosing to don the nation’s cloth is not for everyone, considering less than 1% of the U.S. population serves in the military. However, for Dr. Michael K. Hole, this was something he yearned for as a young boy.

Dr. Hole, otherwise known as Capt. Hole to his fellow Reservists at the 301st Medical Squadron at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, gained much of his inspiration to serve from those close to him and the individuals he cares for. 

“My grandfather, a Bronze Star recipient, fought in Korea,” Hole said. “Growing up, I loved hearing stories of his service. Today, some of my dearest friends are servicemembers and veterans I admire. However, I ultimately joined because so many of my patients – kids from disadvantaged backgrounds – courageously stepped forward and raised their right hand to swear a solemn oath to this country. Their sense of duty to the country I love inspired me and I knew I needed to join them in uniform.”

Hole’s commitment to service goes beyond the doctor’s office.

“First, I am a pediatrician,” he said. “I care for incarcerated youth inside Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, after years as a ‘street doctor’ serving families experiencing homelessness. Second, I’m an entrepreneur, as I’ve co-started nine organizations focused on tackling some of society’s toughest problems, such as poverty and hunger. Third, I’m a professor, having taught business and civics to more than 500 students at the University of Texas at Austin.”

The doctor said his college courses require community service in order to achieve his goal of building a talent pipeline of leaders who care about public service, public health and the well-being of all Americans.

Reserve Citizen Airmen, like Hole, are not manufactured or obligated to serve. For him, it was a calling that could not have been answered without the assistance and dedication of several people behind the scenes.

“I’m very thankful for Col. Lawson Copley, commander of the 301st MDS, and Master Sgt. Tabetha Honnold, my health professions recruiter, who guided me through the multiyear process to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve,” he said. “Additionally, I cannot thank my wife and family enough for consistently supporting my decision to commission.” 

Honnold, who began working with Hole in October 2021 to pursue his passion to serve in the military, stressed that joining a healthcare profession in the Air Force Reserve is not a quick and easy process due to the technical nature of the career field and the myriad of details leading up to the scrolling process to commission as an officer. All officers coming into the Air Force Reserve need to be approved by the Secretary of Defense or the President of the United States from a prepared list (scroll), depending on rank, to be legally appointed and accessed into the Air Force Reserve.

“It’s an entire process and an investment of my time and their time,” Honnold said. “I usually tell prospective candidates it takes a minimum of seven months because the scroll usually takes at least six months. Plus, medical professionals are busy people. You will talk to candidates, like Capt. Hole, late at night and on the weekends because you have to remember, they’re medical professionals who see patients Monday through Friday.”

Despite the nearly two-year waiting period to pin on his silver captain bars, Hole did not let the process deter him.

“I knew I was on the right path the moment I arrived at the Military Entrance Processing Station and met young people from every corner of our country who shared my sense of duty and patriotism,” he said. “My commissioning is simply an extension of my lifelong commitment to public service as a physician, teacher, innovator and leader.”

For people considering joining the Reserve, Hole provided his candid thoughts and perspective.

“The world’s problems are too big and too urgent to sit on the sidelines,” he said. “If you – like generations of Americans – see the honor of military service, then sign up. Make the investment in yourself and your country. I’ve seldom felt prouder and more grateful than when I took my oath, and I’m fired up about the journey ahead.”

To learn more about part-time healthcare careers in the Air Force Reserve, click here, or to speak with a recruiter near you, download the Aim High app and search by zip code.