WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Ryan McGill has served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, with the role of being a combat medic. While in the Army, he has had 11 different assignments and three different combat deployments. He is set to officially retire on Dec. 1.

The Army veteran says attending medical school is his path to better assist others with a military background.

“My purpose is to give back to the veterans. Because even when they come back, they’re dealing with something. They’re always dealing with something. I want to be there to help them,” said McGill.

McGill is in his first year as a medical student at the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and says his classmates remind him of who he worked with while in service.

“You’re seeing the same thing, highly proficient, highly educated, great Americans who are putting their teamwork first for a common goal, which is medicine and helping people,” said McGill.

McGill is the second oldest med student at KansasCom at the age of 45. He says he tends to joke with his peers about being the elder statesman of the group.

“They say ‘father of the class,’ or it’s like ‘pops,’ and I kind of laugh at it. But I am like, yeah, I thought I was the cool young uncle, but I guess father’s good, right?” said McGill.

McGill says he’s thankful for all of the support that he has received, which motivates him even more to achieve his ultimate goal.

“To strive for being a better clinician, a better person, and that’s why I like Kansascom. They’ve allowed me to do that,” said McGill.

McGill’s family resides in Texas, where he was last stationed, and is hopeful to reunite with them after his son, who is a senior in high school, graduates.