NORFOLK — When most people enter their 60’s, they start thinking about retirement.
But Dr. Tyrone Krause decided it was the perfect time to start a new career.
At 63, the heart surgeon from Skillman, N.J., joined the Navy after receiving a waiver that permitted him to enter the Reserves a year past the typical age limit because people with his skills are in demand.
“Sometimes I say to myself, ‘How did I get into this? Why don’t I just relax and sit in my backyard and drink some beer?’ But that’s not my style. I’ve always been on the move. And hopefully I’ll always be on the move,” Krause said.
“I feel, surgically, I’m in my prime. I could still operate very well, and if I can give back and help some of our young men and women in the military, that’s what I want to do.”
Krause was commissioned as a commander Friday aboard the destroyer USS Ramage, where his 27-year-old daughter, Laura, is an ensign and performed the ceremony.
She was the first person he saluted.
“I can’t even describe to you what this means right now,” she said.
The two have always shared a close bond that has included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together and watching sports. He was inspired to join the Navy after speaking with his daughter’s recruiter, who was in the medical corps and mentioned that the Navy had a shortage of surgeons.
He saw it as one more way to connect with his daughter while also helping others.
“I don’t ever see this man ever retiring,” Laura Krause told her shipmates on the Ramage’s flight deck.
She has good reason to believe that.
After all, her father had already worked in private medical practice for decades when he earned a law degree at night after his hospital shifts while he was in his 50’s. He also moonlighted as a philosophy professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Krause said he doesn’t have any plans to slow down. He notes that in his own practice, people who come to him with heart problems are often recent retirees and those who live to 100 tend to stay active.
“That’s a good motto,” he said. “Just don’t stop.”
He wants to help young hospital corpsmen learn about treating patients with trauma and is excited about the possibility of working aboard a hospital ship, like the USNS Comfort, which is home ported in Norfolk.
For now, he’ll serve once a month at a Navy clinic in Sandy Hook, N.J. But just minutes after he was commissioned, he started serving in another way: by doing a bit of recruiting of his own to let others know it’s never too late to try something new.
“A lot of people don’t even you know you can join the Reserves and contribute. A lot of people in the private sector have a lot of skills they can bring to the Navy and military in general,” he said. “You can be 40 years old, 50 years old and your profession may be something that’s necessary in the military. You can certainly give back by joining the Reserves.”
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