The Nevada Army National Guard's top medical officer has sandwiched a career of peacetime duty between Vietnam War and Iraq.
After 40 years of service in both the active Army and National Guard, newly promoted Brig. Gen. Christopher Rores retired from the military Saturday in a ceremony at the Nevada Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility north of Reno.
In looking back at his career, the retired state surgeon said his deployment to Iraq in 2004 was his most fulfilling endeavor.
"The support I received when I went to Iraq was just amazing. The Guard made it possible for me," he said.
Rores, an emergency room doctor at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno, commanded a troop medical clinic at Camp Anaconda, 68 miles north of Baghdad. The base is one of the largest in Iraq and houses 28,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians.
"I directed the care at the base," he said.
Rores was attached to the Tennessee Army National Guard's 278th Regimental Combat Team.
Life changed for the Oakland, Calif., native and many other military medics after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Retired Col. Ann Demolski of Incline Village has known Rores for almost 20 years. After Sept. 11, she began to represent Rores on a full-time basis at the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City.
"The mandates kept increasing as we prepared more and more soldiers (for deployments)," said Demolski, who was serving at the time as the Guard's state nurse. She now works as the deputy state surgeon.
Three years later when Rores told her he wanted to serve in Iraq, Demolski said she wasn't surprised.
"His level of involvement is certainly not the norm for a state surgeon," she said. "He wanted to go and take part in that war. He better understood the medical and fitness requirements for those being deployed," she said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Hayes, who served as the state's chief of staff and commander of the Army Guard until he left the military three years ago, said Rores had a vision on how he wanted to contribute.
Despite balancing the responsibilities of medical school, the National Guard and a family, Hayes said Rores wanted to pay the military back with his training.
"It's a good story, and it worked out well," Hayes said.
Rores, 60, joined the active army in 1966 as an aviation warrant officer candidate. Once he received his pilot training and rank in November 1967, he flew combat missions in a UH-1 "Huey" helicopter for the 92nd Assault Helicopter Co. He was wounded in February 1968 when he flew over hostile territory during the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive and was later transferred to San Francisco where he recovered from his wounds. He received the Purple Heart
After recovering from his injury, he served as a rotary wing aviator and later transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve as a helicopter pilot. Rores left the U.S. Army Reserve in 1976 and transferred to the Nevada Army National Guard's 1150th Medical Det., in 1976. Rores held different positions in the detachment and eventually became flight surgeon in 1984, a post he held for nine years.
The Guard appointed him state surgeon in 1993 and four years later, he became the first commander of a Nevada medical detachment.
Rores has been married to his wife, Rene, for 36 years, and they live in Reno. They have two grown children, Thomas and Rebecca.