"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"

USAISR Leadership




Col. (Dr.) Shawn C. Nessen grew up in the small town of Tremonton, Utah and attended Idaho State University on a football scholarship where he received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biology in 1990 cum laude and also graduated as a Distinguished Military Cadet. He then attended Des Moines University School of Osteopathic Medicine receiving a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in 1995. He completed his residency in General Surgery at William Beaumont Medical Center in El Paso, Texas in 2000 and in 2011 completed a Fellowship in Acute Care Surgery and Critical Care Surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is board certified in general surgery and critical care surgery.

Col. Nessen completed his ROTC training in 1988 and was commissioned in the early commissioning program as a 2nd Lt. He then served as an Armor Platoon Leader in the Idaho National Guard until he entered medical school in 1991 on a scholarship from the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. Following completion of residency in 2000, he served as a staff surgeon and later Chief of the General Surgery Service at Fort Riley, Kansas where he concurrently served as the flight surgeon for the 82nd Air Ambulance Company. Col. Nessen deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom for nine months in 2003. There he served as a surgeon for the 28th Combat Support Hospital and also flew multiple medical officer missions with the 82nd Air Ambulance Company. In 2005, following completion of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Command, Col. Nessen assumed command of the 782nd Forward Surgical Team (Airborne) which later was reflagged as the 541st FST (Airborne). His command of these two units included a humanitarian deployment to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and a 15 month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2006 to February 2008 in Afghanistan. There, his team successfully conducted split based operation in the Paktika and Helminth Provinces and treated over 800 combat wounded, performed over 500 surgeries and procedures, transfused 1,300 units of blood and achieved a 97.64 percent survival rate for all casualties. Upon completion of Fellowship training in 2011, Col. Nessen became the Deputy Commander for Clinical Services of the 212th Combat Support Hospital in Miseau, Germany. While in this position, he also served as a staff Critical Care Surgeon at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center located in Landstuhl, Germany and in 2013 Col. Nessen became the Chief of the Department of Surgery at LRMC. From Germany, Col. Nessen transferred to Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia where he served as the Deputy Commander for Clinical Service.

Col. Nessen’ s military education includes graduation from the U.S. Army Medicine Department Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Flight Surgeons and Airborne Courses, and Command and General Staff College where he received a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences in the field of Strategy.

Col. Nessen is the lead editor and author of the award winning textbook War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq A Series of Cases 2003-2007. Additionally, he has published 28 scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters focused on combat casualty care and blood transfusion of trauma patients. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.

Col. Nessen’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal (4 OLCs) and the Army Commendation Medal (2 OLCs). He is a recipient of the Order of Military Medical Merit, and a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. He and his co-editors received the American Medical Writer’s Association Medical Book of the Year Award in 2009. He is a recipient of the Combat Action Badge, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Expert Field Medic Badge.

Col. Nessen and his wife have a daughter.

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