Retired July 1, 1974. Died June 16, 2003.
Brigadier General Gerrit L. Hekhuis (pronounced "Hekhise") is command surgeon, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He advises the commander in chief, PACAF, on all medical matters and directs the command medical service program. His responsibilities include the command's hospital and dispensary systems, preventive medicine policies, flight medicine, aeromedical evacuation and the overall effectiveness of personnel as pertains to health and medicine.
General Hekhuis was born in Veliore, India, in 1917. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Yale University, New Haven, Conn., in 1939 and his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kan., in 1944. He completed his internship in 1945 and a year of radiology residency in 1946, both at Grasslands Hospital, Valhalla, N.Y.
In April 1946, General Hekhuis accepted a commission in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces as chief of Roentgenology for the hospital at Wright Field, Ohio. He went to the University of Chicago in November 1947 to study radiobiology and biophysics. In June 1948, he went to Los Alamos, N.M., to attend the Radiation Hazard Course and in August was transferred to Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., to become chief of the Radiobiology Defense Course. During this and subsequent assignments, he participated in several atomic field tests at Nevada and Eniwetok and in 1949 transferred from the U.S. Army Medical Corps to the U.S. Air Force.
In April 1950, General Hekhuis went to Washington, D.C., as chief, Biological Defense Branch, in the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General. He moved to San Francisco, Calif., in January 1953 as associate clinical professor of medico-military science and tactics at the University of California. During this assignment, he concluded his radiology residency.
General Hekhuis transferred to Chateauroux, France, in August 1955, as commander, 7373d U.S. Air Force Hospital. He returned to the United States in January 1958 and was assigned to the School of Aviation Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, where he became chief, Radiobiology Branch. In January 1962, he accepted the position of deputy chief of staff for operations, Aerospace Medical Division, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas.
General Hekhuis returned to Washington, D.C., in April 1964 to serve with the Defense Atomic Support Agency as surgeon and director of the Medical Division. In November 1966, he was reassigned to the office of the Air Force Surgeon General and worked as deputy director of plans and hospitalization and later, as deputy director of professional services. In May 1970, he became director of professional services.
General Hekhuis assumed his current duties as command surgeon, Pacific Air Forces, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in July 1972.
General Hekhuis is board certified in radiology and holds the aeronautical rating of chief flight surgeon. He is a member of American Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Sciences, Society of Nuclear Medicine, Radiological Society of North America, and the American College of Radiology. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective Dec. 31, 1970, with date of rank Dec. 26, 1970.