PA in the Spotlight: CDR Ian Marks
Friday, 01 March 2024

Name: Ian W. Marks




Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from, hobbies, family, etc):

58 years old this year, married to the lovely Jennifer Marks, MD (Chief, General Int Med at Keck/USC) for 28 years, super proud of her!  We met when she was a college student in DC and I was a HM2 just back from Desert Storm and we married 4 years later when she was 1st year med student. 3 kids Aaron 22 a Mech Eng student at Drexel, Kathryn 19 a nursing Student at Glendale College, and Owen 15 a HS Sophomore.  Hobbies are fly fishing, loving on our herd of adopted dogs, reading, antique collecting, and watching our kids do sports.


27 active duty years and 12+ years reserve (IRR/SELRES)


What did you do before the Navy?

I dropped out of college after being cut from the baseball team and enlisted to be an HM.  I spent 6 months waiting for my A school seat and served at SBU 11. 


Why did you join the Navy/CG?

I read about Navy corpsmen with the Marines in a book in HS and I thought I could reset my brain/soul a little with the Marines after leaving college. I left the Navy when I was offered an early out with no obligated service except IRR via VSI/SSB during the downsizing of the military in the late 90s. I joined the CG Reserve in the early 2000s after completing IRR requirements.


Where did you go to PA school?

The George Washington University


What motivated you to become a PA?

CWO4 Mike Davis was my boss at Quantico when I was an HM3 back in the 80s.  I had just left Security Forces Bn and he took me under his wing in the Outpatient Dept at Ray Hall Clinic and I wanted to be just like him.  Total hero of mine.  He was one of the first presidents of the AAPA along with another mentor Capt Bill Marquardt USAF another former president of the AAPA.


What did you like most about being in the Navy?

Being in the fleet/field with the Marines was fun and made me grow as a corpsman and human.  The Navy gave me opportunities, I just had to do the work to achieve my goals.


Previous duty stations:


Boot Camp San Diego, SBU11/MACG-2001, A school Great Lakes, FMSS Camp Johnson, Security Forces Bn PAC, The Basic School/IOC (Ray Hall Clinic), 2/3, 2/12, 3rd Recon Bn, SFIDC Portsmouth, VA, 8th & I, Sec Forces Bn LANT. (Never a hospital!!!)


Coast Guard:

Port Security Unit (PSU) 309, CG Sector Key West, CG National Maritime Center, PSU 305, Deployable Operations Group, Training Center Yorktown, Base Los Angeles/Long Beach, Senior PA Operational Medicine LANT, then PAC. Deployed on CGC MELLON, CGC WILLOW, CGC BERTHOF, CGC MUNRO, CGC VIGILANT, CGC DECICIVE, CGC LEGARE and the MIGHTY BARQUE EAGLE.  Deployed with MSRON (2,3,4) CORIVGRU 1, ESG-3.


Present duty station:

Pacific Area Surgeon also Deputy Chief of Operational Medicine


Favorite duty station and why?

PSU 309.  It was a reserve unit, and I had an awesome civilian job as an ortho PA at Univ of Virginia and an awesome unit that I loved drilling at.  I was the Medical Officer for a Role I and had super corpsmen (active and reserve) in my aid station. We deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, and Korea during my tours there.


Favorite place you have visited?

Port call Hachinohe Japan and for leave Croatia.


If you have a specialty, what is it and what do you like about it?

I did ortho for 10+ years both active and reserve.  Bones are awesome, hammers and chisels are fun and you actually can “fix” things.  Orthopaedic surgeons were great mentors.  CDR Greg Degnan USN (ret) was a killer and he cared about doing right by patients and team, not just advancing his career.  Great leader and better surgeon.


One thing you recommend to others in order to have a successful career in the Navy/Coast Guard:

Take advantage of opportunities to grow, even if it is inconvenient or doesn’t work out right away.  Getting out of your comfort zone will grow you as a person.


Any advice you would give your more junior self:

Save money earlier.