Retired July 1, 1993.
Brigadier General (Dr.) Robert W. Poel is commander, Malcolm Grow USAF Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., a wing-equivalent organization under the Military Airlift Command's 21st Air Force. The center provides medical and dental care to the Air Force community throughout the national capital region and is a training ground for medical students from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.
General Poel was born in 1934, in Muskegon, Mich., where he graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School in 1952. He received a bachelor of science degree from Calvin College in 1955 and a medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in 1959. He completed four years in general surgery at St. Mary's Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich., in January 1966, and was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1967. The general completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1977.
He entered the Air Force in January 1962 and received a direct commission as a captain. After completing the primary course in aviation medicine at Brooks Air Base, Texas, he was assigned as staff surgeon, USAF Hospital, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., from April 1962 to June 1963.
After completing surgical residency under Air Force Institute of Technology sponsorship in January 1966, General Poel became chief of surgery and hospital services, USAF Hospital, Castle Air Force Base, Calif., from June 1966 to June 1968. He served as chief, hospital services, 401st Tactical Hospital, Torrejon Air Base, Spain, until July 1971 and, then, as hospital commander, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., until September 1973.
General Poel was director of professional services, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., until September 1974. He then was assigned to the Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as chief of the Operations Plans and Health Care Delivery Branch, then as chief, Medical Plans and Health Programs Division.
From August 1978 until July 1983 he was regional hospital commander at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He then became director of professional services and deputy surgeon, Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In May 1985 he became vice commander of Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
From April 1987 until January 1988 he was chief of the Quality Assurance Division, Directorate of Professional Affairs and Quality Assurance, Office of the Surgeon General. He then became director of medical plans and resources. He assumed his present command in September 1989.
The general is a flight surgeon with more than 1,000 flying hours. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Humanitarian Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
General Poel is a member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States and the American Medical Association, and a senior member of the Air Force Society of Clinical Surgeons.
He was promoted to brigadier general June 1, 1988, with same date of rank.