Thomas A Dooley
- Category : Healing-Fields-Social-worker
- Type : GP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Obscuration 2
American physician and humanitarian who wrote the bestseller "The Night They Burned the Mountain." In a 1961 Gallup poll listing the most admired men Tom Dooley was third behind Eisenhower and the Pope.
He was born into a St. Louis Irish Catholic family. His father was a hard-drinking railroad foundryman. He wanted his son to be a prizefighter. Dooley grew up a lanky young man given to exaggeration and to a flamboyant personality. He had truckloads of energy but lacked the discipline to concentrate on a direction. He went to Notre Dame University but failed to graduate. He entered St. Louis University Medical School but languished at the bottom of his class hovering towards flunking out. His family's connections to the school's dean pulled him through in the end.
He entered the Navy, was stationed at Camp Pendleton for a year and then shipped out to Japan. While he was in Japan, Operation Passage to Freedom was underway by the armed forces and French speaking medical officers were brought in to help with the evacuation. Tom Dooley became a member of the Task Force 90 and threw himself into his work of medical help to the Vietnamese people fleeing the communists in North Vietnam.
His superior officers were impressed by his dramatic descriptions and poetic patriotic commentary of his work. He became the youngest U.S. Navy officer to receive the Legion of Merit award, the highest peacetime honor. Because of his writing ability, the Navy gave Dooley a one year leave to write his book about his experiences in Vietnam. Dooley hoped his book would lead to his own dream of becoming the Navy Surgeon General. His book, "The Night They Burned the Mountain," became a runaway bestseller. He wrote of sensational atrocities to the Vietnamese people by the communists and underlined a stern warning to the American people that they must concern themselves with the plight of Vietnam. He was unhappy with his new desk job at Bethesda Naval Hospital. His book tour was abruptly canceled when the Navy uncovered suspicions that Dooley was gay.
The Navy quietly discharged Dooley and he publicly announced his decision to leave the Navy to serve the Vietnam people. In Laos, he first established a 30-mat hospital in September 1956. By 1958, Dooley was working with the MEDICO organization, reaching rural areas where modern medicine had never been used before. His critics contend that his hospital was set up by the CIA in a sham clinic project that was a base for military weapons more than medicine.
Dooley never married and his inability to integrate his gay sexuality into his life made him feel isolated from people. The Navy discharged him when they discovered his homosexuality and the men that backed his work in Laos tried to help him stifle his "telltale" gay mannerisms. When Hedda Hopper began to get closer to the reason Dooley left the Navy, the Navy denied and continued to talk of Dooley's need to do humanitarian work. Dooley became more popular during his stay in Laos having his own radio broadcasts aired in the U.S. and raising money for MEDICO. Magazine reporters did many public relations features on Dooley, comparing him to Albert Schweitzer. At this time, Albert Schweitzer became angry with the comparison believing Tom Dooley to be a dilettante and charlatan.
Dooley suffered a fall that raised a lump on his shoulder that would not recede. He discovered he had cancer and he took his time returning to the U.S. for medical treatment. He had his cancer operation taped on April 1960. His popularity soared with the airing of the television show. Navy Surgeon General Bartholomew Hogan visited Dooley in the hospital with a new copy of his "Honorable" discharge from the Navy. He died on 1/18/1961 in New York City, NY. Thousands of people turned out for his funeral in St. Louis and President John F. Kennedy gave him a post-humus Medal of Freedom.
After his death, Dooley's clinic in Laos was overrun by the Pathet Lao.