Philip Blaine


Philip Blaine

Class of 1990

United States Navy

Where are you originally from? I grew up on a 640-acre dairy farm northeast of Erie, KS. My father died when I was 15 years old, and I continued to operate the dairy farm. A few years later, I started pre-pharmacy classes at Labette Community College, and was later accepted to the KU School of Pharmacy.

Blaine & Armstrong

Blaine said he felt as though he had won the lottery when he got the opportunity to have dinner with a group of US astronauts, including Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong (pictured above). According to Blaine, "The reason we are laughing in the picture is that I told him I was one of the few in the room who actually watched him take his first step on the moon in 1969."

You graduated from the School of Pharmacy in 1990, but you returned a few years later? I graduated from the KU School of Pharmacy with a bachelor’s degree in 1990. In 1996, I completed a Masters in Management through night and weekend classes while stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat School. I was selected for the Navy’s out service education program in 1996 and returned the KU School of Pharmacy to complete a Pharm.D. and general practice residency.

In 2000, I was selected for the out-service education program and completed a pharmacy benefits management residency at AdvancePCS in Scottsdale, AZ. In 2005, I completed a fellowship in the Academy of Healthcare Management.

Humanitarian Mission

"This is a photo with my Afghan interpreter after a mission that involved blowing up two IEDs. He told me he'd quit if he had to go on another mission like that. He is hugging me pretty tight in the pic."

You joined the Navy immediately after you graduated from the school of Pharmacy. Would you describe the path your career has taken since then? I was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy in May 1990. Shortly after sitting for the pharmacy boards in June 1990, I drove to Newport, RI for officer indoctrination school. My first assignment was Naval Hospital Portsmouth, VA as staff pharmacist and division officer of inpatient and building one clinics.

In 1993, I transferred to Branch Hospital Adak, AK as pharmacy department head and director of ancillary services.  A year later, I transferred to Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, CA located on the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. There I served as head of pharmacy.

From January 1997 to January 1999, I was stationed at the University of Kansas for out-service training. From there, I transferred to Naval Health Care System Corpus Christi, TX, where I serve as a department head.

In 2001, I was stationed in Scottsdale, AZ for out-service training at AdvancePCS. The following year,  I transferred to TRICARE Mid-Atlantic Region 2 to serve as ancillary services program manager. Then in 2004, I transferred to HSO Norfolk VA with a lateral transfer to Navy Medicine East Region as the senior pharmacy executive.

In 2006, I served temporary active duty at the expeditionary medical facility in Kuwait. Upon return from temporary active duty, I transferred to Naval Fleet Hospital Pensacola as pharmacy department head.

Pharmacy Crew

Blaine poses for a photograph with the the other half of the "pharmacy crew," HMC Lou Soriano.

And in 2007, you were deployed to Afghanistan? Yes. In 2007, I volunteered as an individual augmentee for 15 month deployment orders to Afghanistan. Our team members were the first boots on ground to assist the Afghan Army establish hospital services at the regional hospital in Maser-e-Sharif, where I served as the mentor and advisor for ancillary services to include pharmacy.

Upon return from deployment to Naval Hospital Pensacola, I served as the director of clinical support services and as the assistant specialty leader for Navy Pharmacy. In 2010, I accepted 15 month individual augmentee deployment orders as the senior advisor and mentor to the Afghan National Police Surgeons General to build and right-size medical infrastructure and assets throughout Afghanistan. During the deployment, I transferred to the deputy command surgeon for the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, building medical infrastructure and the medical training mission for the Afghan Army and Police.

In addition, I directed the initial phase of reorganization for Class VIII (medical supply) logistical system for the Afghan Army and Police. I returned from deployment to Naval Hospital Pensacola and served as the associate director for professional education, establishing the new directorate the command. I was selected to be the Officer in Charge of Naval Branch Clinic, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida in March of this year, and that is where I am currently serving.

I’m still having fun and don’t know how much longer I will remain in the Navy. I could remain another eight years to reach 30 years of service.

Blaine with the director for business operations for the Afghan National Police Surgeons General.

Can you describe what a typical day is like for you? I don’t believe there is a typical day in the military, so I will give an example of a “typical” day during a recent Afghanistan deployment. 

Days were generally 14-16 hours with a half day off on Fridays. Hours were seldom shorter and sometimes longer, and we sometimes didn’t have Fridays off.

 I got up at 0530 (5:30 a.m.) to prepare for missions off-base in and around Kabul, including reviewing intelligence reports, briefs and gearing up prior to movements. We mentored and advised our medical counterparts five days a week. Upon return from the mission, I would generally have two or more briefs or meetings with Generals.

As a side note, I had the opportunity to brief General Petraeus in February of 2011 on the current status of country-wide medical infrastructure and assets. Following meetings and briefs, I answered emails, requests for information for various sources, and personnel issues. The day ended around 9 or 10 p.m.


Afghan children gather around the soliders as they arrive to deliver medical care during a recent humanitarian medical mission.


2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
3,000 free flu shots given to Kansans in need during the past 5 years
4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
20th among public schools of pharmacy.
—U.S. News & World Report
$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
100 percent placement after graduation for KU Pharm.D. students
Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU