Earlier this month, Caitlin Knutson was finishing her first year as a veterinary student at Iowa State University.
Today she is a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
Knutson is the latest in a long line of Iowa State veterinary students who have entered military service while completing their studies. And although she wasn’t a member of the Army Reserves nor was in ROTC as an undergraduate, Knutson says military service was always a possibility for her.
“I’ve always had military service in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do,” she said. “ A number of my family members are or were involved in the military and they are big supporters of my choice to look into the Army.
“Military service runs in our family.”
When she learned that not only could she be in the military but she could continue her veterinary studies, Knutson was sold on an Army career.
“Not only could I be a veterinarian but I could serve my country at the same time as a member of the Army Veterinary Corps,” she said. “It was like everything just fell into place and was meant to be.
“The Army satisfies my desire to serve my country and serve both animals and people.”
While she continues her studies, Knutson will attend Army training courses geared toward future medical officers in the summers after her first two years of veterinary school. The first summer’s training is on hold for now due to COVID-19 however.
After she graduates, Knutson will begin serving fulltime in the Army. But before that she feels the time she will spend in Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine will prepare her for that next journey.
“I chose Iowa State for their excellent reputation and combined with the amazing opportunities through the Army, I think I will be very well prepared to be a gentle doctor anywhere in the world,” she said.
Knutson was among 100 health care professionals who took the oath of office to become a medical officer in the U.S. Army during a live, virtual commissioning ceremony on May 20.