Dr. Swanson retires from Army Reserve


One of Southeastern Indiana’s most respected and beloved surgeons, Dr. Jim Swanson, has retired from the United States Army Reserve with the rank of Colonel.

Dr. Swanson has had a distinguished career in the United States Army and later in the US Army Reserve. His most recent deployment was in 2015 where he was assigned to the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team, Camp Dahlke, in Logar province, Afghanistan, a special operations unit assigned to the Special Operations Task Force.

He began his military career at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, in 1971. He graduated as a Second Lieutenant in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering and served five years in the US Army.

His assignments included serving as a Technical Officer with a Nike Hercules nuclear weapons unit in Italy, and as a Platoon Leader, Operations Officer and Battery Commander with the Air Defense Artillery, 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord in California. Active duty schooling included Airborne School in Georgia and multiple Air Defense Artillery schools in Texas.

In 1980 he left active duty, joining the Army Reserve in 1982 and serving until 1993. During that time period he attended medical school at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, and completed an internship and residency at University Hospital in Cincinnati.

After the completion of his residency, Dr. Swanson worked in the Clifton area for several years before coming to Lawrenceburg to practice in 1989.

As the Global War on Terror was in full progress, Dr. Swanson returned to the Army Reserve in 2008. He has since served with the 256th Combat Support Hospital based out of Sharonville and the 349th Combat Support Hospital (Forward) based out of Bell, California. Dr. Swanson also continued his successful civilian practice with Dearborn County Hospital in Lawrenceburg as well as working with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cincinnati.

He was deployed to Afghanistan with medical units three times in the last seven years. In 2009, Dr. Swanson was assigned to the 349th Combat Support Hospital (Forward) at Fort Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in Khost province, Afghanistan, with the 101st Airborne Division. In 2011, Dr. Swanson returned to FOB Salerno with the 352nd CSH (Forward) with the 1st Infantry Division. In 2015, he again returned to Afghanistan and was assigned to the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team, Camp Dahlke, in Logar province. In each of these assignments Dr. Swanson cared for American and Afghan forces, Afghan civilians and on occasion, an injured enemy soldier.

During his military career, Dr. Swanson was recognized with many commendations. His awards include the Meritorious Service medal, four Army Commendation medals, four Army Reserve Component Achievement medals, three Afghanistan Campaign medals, two NATO medals, the National Defense Service medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, Army Service ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve medal with M Device, Combat Action badge and the Parachutist badge.

“It has been and continues to be an honor to work with such an outstanding individual as Dr. Swanson,” stated Roger D. Howard, Dearborn County Hospital President and CEO. “Not only is Dr. Swanson an exceptional surgeon but he is a true patriot. He has dedicated his life to caring for those in need, whether they are here in Southeastern Indiana or on a battlefield half a world away. His work as a physician is a living testament to his love for his country and to his compassion for his fellow man.”

“Dr. Swanson is a dedicated and gracious man, devoted to his family, his country and his patients,” noted Mona Thies, Office Leader for DCH Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine. “In one form or another he has been associated with the military since 1971. He has provided service to our local community for more than 25 years and has touched many lives with his caring nature and expertise.

“We are truly blessed to have such a remarkable man as part of our lives,” Ms. Thies added. “We could never repay him for the giving that he has done on both a professional and personal level. Our sincere gratitude is a small portion of the recognition he deserves. God bless our military.”

Although honorably retired from the US Army Reserve, Dr. Swanson is in active practice at DCH Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, 272 Bielby Road, Lawrenceburg. He and his wife, Carol, live in Green Township. They have three grown children, Emily, Adam and David.