In honor of Veterans Day, we are sharing stories of our amazing doctors who have served as members of the U.S. military. These veterans now dedicate their time to treating our patients at Columbia Skin Clinic. We thank them for their service and appreciate everything they do for our patients every day.
Dr. Leah Spring, DO FAAD, joined the Navy to pay for medical school with the intent of serving the required four-year payback. After 16 years, 13 countries, six states, two flight squadrons, countless military operations, a residency and a fellowship, she found herself personally and professionally molded by a broad spectrum of mentors, colleagues, squadron mates and leaders of Marines and sailors.
“The Navy prepared me, in so many ways, to face and succeed in life’s challenges,” says Dr. Spring.
She developed stamina and adaptability while serving as the sole physician and flight surgeon for VMGR-152 “Sumos” during her squadron’s continuous relief operations to mainland Japan during the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear power disaster of 2011. During squadron hikes in full “battle rattle” around Okinawa, while climbing Mount Fuji, and during an ascent from the black sands of Iwo Jima to the summit of Mount Suribachi, she learned mental and physical toughness and felt admiration for those who have gone before.
Spending two months on a humanitarian medical mission in the jungles of Honduras and Guatemala taught Dr. Spring the importance of communication, camaraderie and creativity. She harnessed initiative, teamwork and peer leadership skills while serving as Chief Resident, then later as head of Procedural Dermatology at a major military treatment facility.
“The successes and rewards (and perhaps greatest lesson) of my military career came from one serviceman – my husband – who left a nine-year career as a United States Marine pilot to fulfill the role of stay-at-home parent to our newborn,” Spring says. “I remain humbled by his choice of family over self and work daily to honor his commitment to our family.”
Dr. Spring says serving her country and caring for its warfighters and their families has been one of the great privileges of her life.
“I have witnessed selfless service, sacrifice, strength and fortitude – the best of the American spirit,” she says. “What made the Navy so special was the people – those with whom I served, those under whom I served, and those whom I served as a leader.”
Dr. Spring and her family are proud to call South Carolina their forever home. “The men and women of Columbia Skin Clinic embody that same spirit, teamwork and sense of family I thought I would miss when I left the Navy,” she says. “But it turns out it was here all along.”
Dr. Spring practices in the Columbia, Irmo and Lexington offices. Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr. Spring.