Top surgeon, killed in helo crash, memorialized in Germany
January 27, 2007
HEIDELBERG, Germany — At 46, Col. Brian D. Allgood had a biography that read like the life of a much older man.
After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1982, he went to medical school, became an orthopedic surgeon and served in a number of challenging assignments, including as commander of the Army hospital at his alma mater.
For the last six months he served as the top U.S. medical officer in Iraq as command surgeon for Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad. He oversaw medical practices and policies for the force and advised Gen. George Casey, the force commander.
It was a job he was well-suited for, according to his friends and colleagues, some of whom spoke at a memorial ceremony Friday in Heidelberg, where Allgood was assigned as a member of the 30th Medical Brigade, European Regional Medical Command.
Allgood was among 12 U.S. troops who died when a Black Hawk helicopter was downed in Iraq on Jan. 20.
The man his friends described was a modest, competent, natural leader, whose down-to-earth demeanor earned him the respect of his peers and his soldiers.
Since the crash, Col. Scott Cass, who served under Allgood at Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, has received numerous e-mails from former colleagues at the U.S. Military Academy who spoke fondly of their former boss.
“I remember his speech when he came to West Point; ‘Stay focused and never forget what is important: your religious beliefs and your family,’" Mary Gallagher, one of the hospital's nurses, wrote to Cass. “When he said those words, it was the first time I ever saw the human side of a commander,” she wrote.
It was a trait for which Allgood was well-known.
Maj. Andrew Corrow, who also spoke at the memorial, said Allgood didn’t spend much time in his office behind his computer.
“You would often see him walking the halls getting updates from his staff,” Corrow said. “He would often stop by and sit down just to talk about the important issues of the day. He would stop soldiers in the hall to speak with them, just to see how they were doing.”
He also ate in the dining facility nearly every day, and would sit and chat with anyone, regardless of rank, Carrow said.
“I think this is what endeared him to his soldiers. He was personable and likeable and he was always visible to his troops.”
“It was evident to me from the moment I met him that he was an incredibly capable and remarkably dedicated military officer and medical professional,” Col. Jonathan Fruendt, who served under Allgood in Iraq, said in remarks he made on behalf of Casey.
Under difficult circumstances in Iraq, Allgood “provided rock-solid leadership with an aura of calm orderliness in an environment that was anything but calm or orderly,” Fruendt said.