The Anatomy Test                       Donald Clement

It was always my impression that we received a world class education at the Academy and this story underscores that belief.


I entered medical school, two years after graduation, I came to appreciate the wonderful preparation I had received in what I later came to recognize as one of the best pre-med programs in the country.  I was accepted to begin medical school in the summer of 1976. However because of service commitments, I was unable to start on July 1st with the rest of my classmates.  Because of this I arrived on campus at medical school two weeks late. 


My classmates had already started studying gross anatomy in the cadaver lab and were completing this module with a test covering those first two weeks. They had been in the lab for over four hours every day during this module. Portions of their assigned cadavers had already been dissected and labeled. As I toured the lab on my first day, I observed them preparing for their test the following Monday. The Dean of Students met with me when I arrived and assured me that I could make up those first two weeks during my Christmas break later that year.  I wasn’t particularly interested in giving up any vacation for additional class time and I was also quite confident in my knowledge base from my Academy gross anatomy class taught by Major O Sampson over two years previously.  So I asked if it would be possible for me to take the test without the two weeks preparation.  He confirmed to me that there would be no penalty for attempting to pass the test but he reminded me that my fellow students had been preparing for this test every day for the past two weeks.  With almost no preparation, but armed with the solid foundation provided by Major Sampson, I took the test and passed.  I saw the Dean later that week and he marveled at my success.  He asked me how I did it. I told him I had had a great teacher who demanded excellence. (My Christmas vacation of ’76 was most enjoyable!)


Bill Van Horn

9491 South Johnson Court 

Littleton, CO 80127


303-948-8435   work

303-596-3615   cell


USAFA Class of '74 - published a book of our experiences for our 40th reunion!



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