Brigadier General Frederick W. Plugge IV

Brigadier General Frederick W. Plugge IV


Retired Oct. 1, 1991.

Brigadier General (Dr.) Frederick W. Plugge IV is command surgeon, U.S. Transportation Command and Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He serves on the staffs of the commander in chief of both commands and is the medical adviser to the commander in chief on the physical well-being of command personnel. The general is also responsible for MAC’s worldwide aeromedical evacuation system, medical centers, hospitals and clinics.

General Plugge was born in 1932, in Washington, D.C., where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1949. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1953 and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Maryland in 1957. He completed a rotating internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Canada, in June 1958 and began his residency in general surgery at University Hospital, Baltimore. The general spent the third year of his residency (1960-1961) as the American Cancer Society clinical fellow in oncology at the Yale-New Haven Medical Center in Connecticut. He completed his residency at University Hospital in June 1962 and was certified by the American Board of Surgery in May 1963. General Plugge completed the program for senior executives in national and international security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1986.

During his residency, General Plugge was a Reserve officer with the Air Force Reserve’s 628th Hospital in Baltimore. Upon completing his residency in June 1962, he entered active duty as a general surgeon and was assigned to the 7505th USAF Hospital, Royal Air Force Station Burderop, England. In 1964 he entered private practice in Baltimore, and returned to active status in the Air Force Reserve with the 22nd Medical Services Squadron, Baltimore.

In July 1965 he returned to active duty and completed the primary course in aerospace medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. He then was assigned as staff surgeon to the USAF Hospital Wiesbaden, West Germany.

In October 1968 he was assigned to Malcolm Grow USAF Medical Center, Andrews AFB, Md., as chief of general surgery service. He became chairman of the Department of Surgery in August 1969. During this assignment, General Plugge established a teaching affiliation with The George Washington University’s Department of Surgery and served on the faculty as professor of surgery from 1973 to 1978. During this same period, he was actively involved in representing Air Force interests in the newly developing Uniformed Services’ University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He contributed to the establishment of its surgery department and was appointed to the faculty as associate professor of surgery. General Plugge is presently the university’s professor of surgery (affiliated). During his assignment to Malcolm Grow USAF Medical Center, the general actively participated in the medical mission of the 89th Military Airlift Wing at Andrews by providing physician support to missions involving Ronald Reagan, then California governor; Secretary of the Air Force John McLucas; Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger; Vice President Gerald Ford; and first lady Rosalynn Carter.

In September 1978 General Plugge returned to USAF Hospital Wiesbaden as chief of hospital services. He assumed command in June 1980. His command was highlighted by the hospital’s hosting of the American hostages newly freed from Iran during their initial medical evaluation and repatriation processing, medical treatment of the Belgian ambassador to Egypt and the four Americans injured during the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and the establishment of a war medicine training program for in-theater training of provider resources in essential life-saving skills.

General Plugge assumed command of the David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., in December 1981. During his command, the center expanded from 285 to 310 beds. On Aug. 22, 1984, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new medical center that had been in planning and development for nearly 20 years–the first replacement medical center in Air Force history.

In April 1985 General Plugge became the director of medical inspection, Headquarters Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. During his tour as director, he instituted significant changes in the health services management inspection process. These highlighted executive management accountability for all major program elements, gave separate ratings to wartime medical preparedness and peacetime medical performance, and defined the quality of health care practiced at a given facility by its three primary areas of expertise: medical, dental and nursing. These changes enhanced the Air Force in-house medical inspection process and the relevance of their findings in senior realignment policy formulation. At his reassignment, General Plugge was made an honorary chief master sergeant by the Norton chiefs group. He assumed his present position in October 1988.

General Plugge is a chief flight surgeon and a senior military consultant in surgery to the Air Force surgeon general. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Long with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with four oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Training Ribbon.

The general is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Southeastern Surgical Congress, Royal Society of Medicine (London), and the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. He is also a member of the Society of Air Force Clinical Surgeons and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.

He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1987, with same date of rank.

(Current as of January 1989)

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