Goodfellow vet clinic ready to serve base’s needs

Army Capt. Tom Mason, 20th Special Forces Group, Army National Guard, takes a moment to pose with his patient Savannah during her recent visit to the Goodfellow Air Force Base veterinary clinic Oct. 1. The Goodfellow vet clinic is open for appointments from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesdays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kasabyan Musal)

Army Capt. Tom Mason, 20th Special Forces Group, Army National Guard, takes a moment to pose with his patient Savannah during her recent visit to the Goodfellow Air Force Base veterinary clinic Oct. 1. The Goodfellow vet clinic is open for appointments from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesdays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kasabyan Musal)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- In Army Capt. Tom Mason's time in the Army National Guard, he's deployed overseas and provided veterinary care to every kind of animal from military working dogs to Afghan goats.

At Goodfellow Air Force Base, he sees some of those military working dogs as well, but the citizen-Soldier also takes time to tend to the pets of military personnel and retirees.

"I see mostly small cats and dogs," Capt. Mason said. "On occasion, I've seen a few gerbils."

Captain Mason is available by appointment, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. every Tuesday. To make an appointment with the clinic, call 654-3251.

Though the Goodfellow Vet Clinic used to be open once a month, that changed when Capt. Mason took the job.

"We figured the best thing was to be consistent with the good customer service and the calendar," he said. "We've tried to be geared more to the military household."

It's a change working at Goodfellow, he said. While he is assigned to the 20th Special Forces Group, Airborne, in Birmingham, Ala., he lives in Abilene, Texas, and travels to Goodfellow, Dallas and Dyess Air Force Base every week. Before accepting the job as a vet, Capt. Mason was a jump instructor.

When activated as a Guardsman, Capt. Mason continues those duties.

"As a Guardsman, my job is to support group activities by training and cross training special forces personnel in preparation for worldwide deployment," he said.

Additionally, while deployed as a veterinarian, Capt. Mason had a chance to positively impact the view in which citizens of Afghanistan hold United States forces by treating local animals.

"We did some host-nation vaccinations," Capt. Mason said. "A few horses and a few cattle, but mostly vaccinations and de-worming for goats." Additionally, the citizen-Soldier oversaw the care of several military working dogs.

"Any dog overseas is going to be a force multiplier," he said. "They've got the eyesight and smell that makes them well worth the time it takes to train them."