Dr. (Col.) Maryann Masone, chief of the Department of Women’s Health for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, finds joy in her job every day as she takes care of Fort Campbell Soldiers and their Families while bringing new life into the world.
“This has been my way of life, the military is all I’ve known,” Masone said. “Every day is an honor to put on the uniform and be able to give back. There are so many ways to serve in the Army, so many different routes. The Army has given me a career where when I retire from the Army, I still have a career. As I get ready to retire next year, I still want to find a way to give back to the military in some capacity because I love the care and training we provide.”
Masone is originally from New York but was raised in Florida. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida-Gainesville and pursued her medical training through the U.S. Army’s Health Professional Scholarship Program.
“I did not join the military in a traditional route,” Masone said. “I learned I could pay back the Army for paying for medical school by serving for four years after my residency. For me, I knew I wanted to go to medical school and thought it was a great opportunity financially with the costs of my undergrad schooling and medical school. My grandfathers, my great-grandfather and my dad were also in the military, so I decided I wanted to serve my country and go to school without financial hardship.”
Upon graduating from University of Florida-Gainesville, she commissioned as a second lieutenant and went through the basic officer course before beginning medical school at the university. Masone received her medical degree in gynecology and obstetrics in 1995.
“My job was to get my medical license during that time,” she said. “I commissioned as a captain on the day I graduated from medical school. Then I completed my four-year residency and internship at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Once I completed my residency, I was stationed for four years at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2010, I was in San Antonio at Brooke Army Medical Center, and I’ve been here at Fort Campbell since 2010.”
Masone met her husband, Jason Schwartz, while she was completing her residency at Tripler Army Medical Center. Together they have two children, J.D. and Madison. She counts her Family as just one of the many blessings she has been given thanks to her service in the Army, she said.
“I didn’t have to stay in after four years, but I had found a sense of pride to wear the uniform and serve my country,” Masone said. “I had a career I loved and I was enjoying treating patients. With the benefits of military medicine and (TRICARE) benefits, I didn’t have to worry about the red tape of taking care of patients and worrying if patients can pay for their health care or not. Additionally, while I was in Germany, the events of September 11 happened, and our world changed. I could have decided to complete my four years then, but I wanted to stay in and support the United States.”
During her 25-year service she also deployed three times – to Iraq, Kuwait, and Kosovo – and Masone said she is incredibly proud to have provided medical treatment for Soldiers overseas.
“I love that I get to take care of all active-duty Soldiers, their Family members and dependents,” she said. “I get to help bring life into the world. Every day I do my job, every delivery I do, even after 25 years it still feels like my first delivery.”
Masone also has had special opportunity to deliver babies multiple times for some Families, which is rare in the military because of the frequency of moving from post-to-post.
“It’s an honor to take part in a very special moment in a Family’s life and to just see the expressions of the mother and father,” she said. “We go from the first ultrasound where the baby is the size of a little piece of rice to delivering an actual human, the feeling hasn’t worn off yet.”
Masone volunteered to be part of the “Celebrating Women Who Serve” exhibit at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center in Clarksville
Recently, she volunteered to be a part of an exhibit with the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center in Clarksville to help share the many advances for women in today’s military, Masone said.
“A lot of times you don’t hear about women in the military,” she said. “The military has given both women and men a lot of opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise, such as advancing your education and career. I wanted to share my story because I remember taking my daughter to that museum, and if I can affect one child and inspire them toward the military, maybe it will help them reach their dreams, too.”
Masone encourages all Soldiers, especially women, to never give up on their dreams or themselves.
“There are a lot of opportunities in life, especially for women,” she said. “Women can do whatever they want to do if they put their mind to it. The Army is a place with a lot of opportunity for women. You can advance in the military and have a wonderful Family life. You have to put in the hard work to reap the benefits.”
With her retirement on the horizon, Masone is still enjoying what she calls “the best of both worlds” through her medical career while also serving in the Army.
“I plan to retire after 26 years,” she said. “After retirement I plan to stay local and either stay in the federal service or at least have some kind of affiliation with the military, even if it’s to help with recruitment of medical students in the Army. Military medicine isn’t going away, and we’ll need spokespeople to help share the message and opportunities of the military.”