By Dexter Chase 

On this Memorial Day I look back 75 years, to May 30, 1941. This was just months before the December 7th invasion at Pearl Harbor, the day that would go down in infamy!

It was at that parade in New York City that a five-year-old appeared uniformed (right, front row center) to patriotically support our troops. Neither he, the marching bands, troops, and dignitaries in attendance were unaware of what was to come six months later. Nor did my father, Ronald M. Chase foresee his enlistment in the U.S. Navy as a physician and a psychiatrist during the time of the Vietnam War and Tet Offensive – March 1968.

ronald m. chaseDuring his career as a psychiatrist, my father had two tours with the Department of Veterans Affairs in which he established the first PTSD treatment program for Vietnam combat veterans at Lyons, VAMC, New Jersey in 1983.

He has been passionately concerned with health issues of combat veterans for so long that when the War in Iraq and Afghanistan was making headlines regarding the inordinate suicide rates among returning veterans, he was challenged to do something about it.  In 2008 at the age of 72, my father took a position as civilian contractor in psychiatry at Winn Army Community Hospital, Third Infantry Division, Ft. Stewart, Georgia, seeking to develop programs for PTSD and to favorably impact mental health care delivery for combat veterans.

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs became his focus.

On this day, Memorial Day, my father and I both celebrate the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives.

Dexter Chase is an Insurance Agent in Apopka. His father, Ronald M. Chase, M.D. wrote a book about his experiences as a psychiatrist in the military entitled “Solo With Giants.”



  1. Happy Memorial Day! Thank you for the very nice Memorial Day Service at the cemetery in Apopka, and for all who took the time to attend, and for the VFW of Apopka for putting on the service, and for the dignitaries that attended. One thing I would like to post is that there were some names left out of those who served in wars, that were in attendance, and were not named, for those in attendance, to applaud their serve. I do not know all of them, but Gene Knight’s Jr.’s name was not called, and he was in attendance. I believe he was in the Iraq War. I hope I got that right, if not, Gene you correct it, ok? Also Gene’s son, Robert, was in attendance today at the service at the cemetery, and at the luncheon that followed at the VFW, and he deploys to Kuwait, tomorrow, and that fact about Robert, and his dad, Gene Knight Jr.’s service was supposed to be announced at the VFW, but it never was for whatever reason. Also Commissioner Billie Dean served in the Korean War, and he was in attendance, and was not named also. I am sure there were probably others that were not named that served in wars too, and were in attendance, so thank you for your service, if you were not personally named, as you are very much appreciated and greatly respected by our Apopka citizens. If I got any facts wrong, you all correct me, ok? Also if you were a veteran, and in attendance, and did not get your name read, tell us so we will know. Okay? I am going to send the memorial program to Mr. Mascia’s widow, as she will be happy that his name was announced at the service, and that her late husband was honored.


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