Veterinarian is highest-ranking Iraqi-American in Army

Published on May 01, 2005
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Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Miskena, a veterinarian serving as a political military affairs officer in Iraq, was promoted to full colonel in March, making him the highest-ranking Iraqi-American in the U.S. military, according to an Army memo.

Dr. Miskena is an adviser to Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., head of the multinational forces stationed in Iraq, and has been "a big part of operations in Iraq since early 2003," the memo stated (see JAVMA, Aug.1, 2004).

Born in Baghdad, Dr. Miskena served two years in the Iraqi army after graduating from Baghdad University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree. He immigrated to the United States in 1977 to be with his brother and sister, and later married Lamia, also an Iraqi expatriate.

In 1984, a year after becoming an American citizen, Dr. Miskena joined the Army as a captain. He stayed on active duty until October 1996, when he became a Reserve officer. When he's not on duty, Dr. Miskena runs a small animal hospital with his family in Detroit.

Dr. Miskena has been activated several times since then and deployed to Albania in 1999 and Kuwait in January 2003. He was among the first U.S. soldiers to fly into Baghdad that March.

Although his tour of duty ended in December 2003, Dr. Miskena chose to remain on active duty to brief the 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Forces about Iraqi culture before they were deployed.

In August 2004, Dr. Miskena volunteered to be deployed back to Iraq. He was to remain there until mid-February, but he again offered to extend his deployment until mid-May 2005.

Dr. Miskena received the Bronze Star for his achievements during Operation Iraqi Freedom and an Army Commendation Medal for his participation in the search-and-rescue operations following the attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19, 2003.