Vice Adm. Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, was sworn in as the 17th surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service on Aug. 5, 2002. Born and raised in New York City, Carmona dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army in 1967. While enlisted he earned his General Equivalency Diploma, then joined the Army's Special Forces, ultimately becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran. After leaving active duty, Carmona attended Bronx Community College, of the City University of New York, where he earned his associate of arts degree. He later graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with a bachelor of science degree (1977) and medical degree (1979). At the University of California Medical School, Carmona was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate. He also earned a master of public health degree from the University of Arizona (1998).