Dennis Doyle sometimes has to pinch himself.
Doyle, a 1975 Waite graduate who has risen through the ranks to the level of brigadier general in the United States Army, and his wife, Lisa, have lived in Germany and now reside in Honolulu. How good is life right now for the Doyles? They recently took a pleasure cruise around the Hawaiian islands.
“It really has been a great adventure for Lisa and me,” Doyle said of his more than three decades in the military. “We’ve had three assignments in Germany and lived all around the United States. To serve here in Hawaii — when I grew up and went to Waite, I never would have pictured this as my future. It really is an incredible opportunity.”
Doyle, 55, and his wife celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary with a cruise around the islands.
|Newly promoted Brigadier General
Dennis Doyle, wife Lisa and son
Devin at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“We live in Honolulu and departed from here to Maui,” he said. “We went around the big island of Hawaii and then to Kauai. So far my favorite is Kauai, which is very laid back. All of them are different and have different things to see.”
Doyle is the Commanding General at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. He has been based there since November 2012.
“We were in Fort Bliss, Texas (in El Paso), at the command center there,” Doyle said. “This is the only tertiary care referral center in the Pacific. Anyone needing specialty care would come to Tripler, in addition to providing care to the servicemen and their families on the island.”
Doyle was nominated to become a one-star (brigadier) general by President Obama in April 2011. Doyle said a military board meets with Army officials to pick just the kind of promotion Doyle received. The names are then given to the Secretary of Defense and then to the president, and the U.S. Senate has to confirm the nominations.
“I still find it incredible, when I look down seeing a (general’s) star,” Doyle said. “It is an awesome experience and an incredible honor to be able to serve at this level. When I came into the (military) I thought maybe I would serve 20 years in the service, and that came and went. Now it’s 31 years and it has been a wonderful opportunity to serve our nation and our soldiers. It’s hard to express what it means to wear the cloth of the nation and the flag of the U.S. on your shoulder, and you’re protecting the freedoms and the rights of all our people.”
Doyle played on the tennis team and was student council president as a senior at Waite. After high school he graduated from the University of Toledo in 1979 before earning a masters degree in science from Eastern Michigan University in 1981.
Doyle joined the army and attended officer candidate school in Fort Benning, Ga., where he was commissioned in 1982 as a second lieutenant.
His father, Harry Doyle, was a World War II veteran as a member of the Army Air Corps. The elder Doyle served as a gunner and crew chief on B-17 airplanes.
“That’s one of the things that accounted for me wanting to serve, just hearing his peer group talking,” Doyle said. “Not that they were trying to make it sound heroic, just the things they had seen and done in World War II. That’s where I got this sense of service and honor to the nation, from my father.”
Doyle served as commander of the 30th Medical Command headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, from 2009-11. His first tour of Germany was in 1985, and he served there again from 1998-2002.
“I studied German at Waite and was a member of the German Club, and we visited Germany in 1972,” Doyle said. “I enjoyed visiting Germany and meeting the people. I took a couple years of German in college, and I used to be fairly fluent.”
Doyle’s position as a regional medical commander and a U.S. Pacific surgeon also led him to Japan and Korea, in March. He said he has flown more than 100,000 miles since being promoted to brigadier general.
Doyle has also twice been deployed to Iraq as a member of the 30th Medical Command, and he also has served in Afghanistan.
He admitted it took some time to get used to being called “General Doyle.”
“It’s acceptable to refer to a higher ranking officer as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am,’ regardless if they are a general officer,” Doyle said. “When someone makes a statement like, ‘Let’s ask the general,’ I’m like, “they’re going to ask me!’ It does give you cause to pause. It’s been a year and a half now, but it’s still a very humbling experience. I don’t feel any different. I have a lot more gray hair than when I was a second lieutenant.”
Doyle and his wife have a son, Devin, 28, who is a freelance videographer living in Hollywood, Calif. Doyle said his family had to get used to packing up and moving to a different state or country in practically a moment’s notice.
“There have been a number of times we’ve made short-notice moves,” he said. “There have been a couple times when I wasn’t even home and Lisa ended up having to tend to the move by herself. She’s done all that with great patience and aplomb.”
Doyle said he appreciates being stationed in Honolulu, but he also realizes there’s a chance this might not be his final stop.
“I will have time until my projected retirement, in 2014 at the earliest with the potential to stay until 2015,” Doyle said. “There is potential where I could be transferred. I couldn’t think of a place that we’d ask to go. It’s a matter of, when does the army need me and when do I need to be there, and that’s where I need to go.”