Herb Yee (DVM '10): From veteran to veterinarian, alumnus Dr. Yee follows his passion
Written by Lynn Blevins
October 1, 2016
A Los Angeles native with a decorated military career, Herb Yee’s entrance into veterinary school was not the traditional path most students take to become a veterinarian.
When he was a small child, Yee always wanted to be a pilot. His was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1982. Yee selected naval aviation as his career path and earned his wings as a navigator in 1983. He was assigned to a P-3 patrol squadron and stationed at Moffett Field in northern California in 1984.
It was at this time that he purchased a couple of horses for pleasure riding. They stayed with him and his wife, Chris, wherever they moved in the continental United States. Yee’s jobs were diverse and involved much travel throughout his time in the Navy. He deployed to the western Pacific and participated in maritime surveillance missions, which included hunting Russian submarines and monitoring commercial shipping activity at sea.
Yee transferred to another sea duty assignment aboard an aircraft carrier in Bremerton, Washington for a two-year tour and participated in Operation Desert Storm. Returning to shore duty for just a year, Yee was assigned to the Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He learned about Army tactics and drafting campaign plans in the event of war. The Navy then transferred him to a P-3 squadron in Brunswick, Maine for a two-year assignment.
Yee then deployed to the Mediterranean where his squadron participated the maritime embargo missions against the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The Navy transferred Yee to U.S. Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado for a three-year tour as a staff officer. He was involved in satellite communications and space systems.
Yee’s last assignment was in southern Maryland, where he was in charge of the Navy’s drone squadron for four years. His squadron participated in maritime surveillance operations and counterdrug surveillance missions. Yee retired in 2002 with 20 years of service.
Throughout his transfers from state to state, he and Chris transported their horses, dogs, and cats and met a lot of fun and interesting people along the way. Yee’s interest in becoming a veterinarian became very apparent when he saw his veterinarians come to the farm with high-tech portable medical equipment to diagnose problems on their horses in real time.
Impressed by this, Yee decided to look into the possibility of becoming a veterinarian and discovered that there is no age limit in applying to veterinary school. He decided to give it the ol’ college try and started takin prerequisite science classes at night and then the GRE. During the day, he worked with engineers as a defense contractor on the acquisition of new naval aircraft.
Yee applied to veterinary school and, to his surprise, was accepted into the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He even received some scholarship assistance from the post-9/11 GI Bill.
Yee and Chris have owned a horse farm in Maryland since 2003. They still have one of their original horses that they started with and the addition of others over the years. After graduation, Yee opened Breton Equine Veterinary Services, a mixed animal practice in Leonardtown, Maryland. He says he gets great job satisfaction every day by being able to help his vast array of patients. Yee even finds time to serve on the college’s Alumni Council, which has representatives from each graduating class.
If he had to do it all over again, he said he would like to have pursued becoming a surgeon. If it’s not a dental float or scalpel blade that he has in his hands, it’s a post hole digger or saw. Having tools in his hands and fixing things appears to be in his nature.
Who knows? Maybe he will pursue yet another career one day.
Written by Lynn Blevins, director of alumni relations