As a young man at the height of the Vietnam War, Bogdan Dziurzynski had to make a choice. Should he wait to be drafted, or volunteer with the hope of landing a better assignment? Dziurzynski decided to volunteer. He had a degree in laboratory technology from a community college, and that was enough to earn him a place as a Navy corpsman – a specialist who provides field combat first aid and other medical care for Navy sailors.

After training, Dziurzynski spent a year in Cuba assisting with sea-air rescues and then joined a ship off the coast of Vietnam, tending to soldier's injuries and illnesses. When his tour of duty was complete, he briefly considered medical school, but decided to find a career that would let him sleep through the night. He began contacting pharmaceutical companies, hoping that his combination of laboratory and medical experience would appeal to...

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