From the Front Line to the OR

October 31, 2023

Meet PGY-4 General Surgery resident and veteran Dr. Ryan Anderson and learn more about him below!

You are one of several veteran residents here at NGMCGME. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are from, what branch of service you served in, and when you served?

I’m married to my wife, Susie, of 17 years. We have two kids, Jason (15) and Kierstin (12). I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, and enlisted in the US Navy. I left for basic training two weeks out of high school. I was stationed at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California for six years from 2004-2010. I served as a helicopter search-and-rescue swimmer and over-land combat search and rescuer. I also conducted anti-submarine warfare. I was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz for two deployments. During one of my deployments, I spent three months out at sea without seeing land. At the end of my enlistment, I was able to log a total of 1,000 flight hours in the H-60 helicopter. 

Did your experience in the military lead you to want to become a physician? 

My goal was to always be a physician, from my earliest memory. However, I felt like serving in the military was something I had to do first. I knew going in, my ultimate goal was to eventually go to medical school and become a physician.

When did you decide you wanted to be a surgeon?

I didn’t decide I wanted to be a surgeon until my third year of medical school. I was between General Surgery and Emergency Medicine. I’m somewhat of an adrenaline junkie and knew those were the only two fields that would suit my personality.  After a rotation in both specialties, I knew surgery was what I was meant to do.

How do you maintain wellness here in residency?

I maintain wellness during residency by enjoying all the things there are to do around the area with my family. We like enjoying the lake, hiking and traveling to the small mountain towns. My wife is probably my best support system; I’m able to talk to her about anything. I also like to go to the gym whenever I can squeeze in some time. 

Do you have a fitness regimen, such as workouts, healthy diet suggestions or wellness tips you can share?

I try to stay active as much as possible, whether that be going to the gym, hiking or just mowing the lawn.  My wife helps to keep our family eating as healthy as possible.

How can others support veterans within their workplace or community?

I’m grateful for the support the community gives to its veterans. Being thanked for our service really does mean a lot. I’m proud to have served this country and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Learn more about our General Surgery residency by visiting