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Recruiter Spotlight: Russ Kotwal

An image of the bust of F Edward Hebert with the text "Recruiter Spotlight: Q&As with Alumni from the School of Medicine" over top
The Office of Recruitment and Admissions in the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University (USU) offers opportunities for alumni to travel the country and recruit on behalf of America’s Medical School. Dr. Russ Kotwal, an alumnus of the School of Medicine and retired Army Colonel, shares his experiences as a recruiter.

Two men is military dress uniform stand behind a table laden with USU gear at a recruitment fair
Col Chetan Kharod (left) and COL (Ret) Russ Kotwal attend the
2017 Health Professions Symposium in the Bethancourt Ballroom
within the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University on
February 28, 2017. (Image credit: courtesy of Russ Kotwal)
Q. What have you been up to since graduating from the School of Medicine?

A. After receiving a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1996, I transitioned from the Medical Service Corps into the Medical Corps and completed an initial residency in Family Medicine at Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1999. I then served as the Battalion Surgeon for 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia, for four years. Following this, I did a second residency in Aerospace Medicine at the Naval Operational Medicine Institute in Pensacola, Florida, in 2005, and returned to Fort Benning and served as the Regimental Surgeon for the 75th Ranger Regiment for five years. During both of these assignments with the Rangers, I conducted multiple combat deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq, where I participated in hundreds of combat ground and air missions as the senior pre-hospital medical provider. In 2010, I moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and served as the Deputy Command Surgeon for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. In 2012, I moved to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where I served as the Director for Trauma Care Delivery at the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Trauma System. I retired from the military in 2014 to College Station, Texas where I currently work as an Independent Consultant for multiple organizations to include the DoD Joint Trauma System and the US Army Institute of Surgical Research.

Q. Why did you want to become an Alumni Recruiter?  

A. My education and experiences at USU helped me to become the person I needed to be in the military. Providing military family care and optimizing combat casualty care was my life’s work. Thus, when asked to assist with recruiting on behalf of USU, I felt it was my duty to give back to the organization whenever possible, and to share the opportunity and possibilities of USU with others.

Q. Where have you recruited for us in the past?

A. Since graduation, I have always recruited for USU. As young men and women contemplated and shared life aspirations, I helped them to realize the option of USU. Thus, in addition to currently recruiting at Texas A&M University and College Station, Texas, I have previously recruited at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Sam Houston, Texas; as well as at US military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Q. Why do you think it's important to volunteer to be a recruiter?

A. As leaders, it is our job to give more than we take. We must live by example and promote the expectations and values of our Nation. In the military and in medicine, we are chartered to serve others and not to serve ourselves. We should all take time to mentor and assist others. Helping others to achieve career and life goals, as well as purpose and meaningfulness, can prove quite rewarding. Doing so through the conduit of USU will have a ripple effect that will positively impact the lives of many for years to follow. As a recruit volunteers to serve their Nation, through the military and through medicine, they have taken a significant step toward serving something greater than themselves. A recruiter who has previously taken this path can prove most helpful in finding recruits who have the right character and who are willing to make such a sacrifice.

Our alumni and students are our best ambassadors.
If you are a USU alumnus interested in becoming a recruiter, please complete the
If you are a current student, please email