Troy Prairie graduated from West Point in 1988 and started his career as a Field Artillery Officer. Young and physically fit, he felt himself bulletproof while stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, as a Fire Support Officer and a Fire Direction Officer in 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery. He met his wife Shannon in 1989. In 1991, he was diagnosed with aggressive testicular cancer, and was operated on immediately. After recovering from cancer, he decided to pursue the path of becoming an Army Doctor because he was so impressed with the quality of health care he received. After attending the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1999, he started his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, from 2003 to 2006. He was then stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, before being deployed in 2008 to Camp Bucca, Iraq. He served in the 115th CSH (Combat Support Hospital), which provided care for 21,000 detainees. Returning from Iraq in November, 2008, he was reassigned to West Point.
In this interview, Troy talks about his childhood in Minnesota and how his grandfather, a World War II veteran, sparked his interest in attending West Point. He describes his time as a Field Artillery officer, and how his youth and health made him feel indestructible. He discusses the shock of being diagnosed with cancer, and the rapidity with which he was operated on and cured. He indicates that this was a life changing moment, and how, he and his family shifted course when he decided to become an Army Doctor. He then explains what that process was like, and the rewards and challenges of his new profession. He provides a unique glimpse into detainee operations, and the care and treatment of Iraqi detainees at one of the major detention centers in Iraq. Finally, he describes returning to Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, his son’s appointment to the Academy, and what West Point means to him.