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National Guard Surgeon Receives Patriot of the Game Honor

National Guard Surgeon Receives Patriot of the Game Honor

Col. Ted Ware has spent four decades wearing a uniform of one kind or another. He has served as an Oklahoma City firefighter, and he worked his way through college as a paramedic and University of Oklahoma community service officer. But it’s the uniform he wears today that has afforded him the opportunity to make a lifelong impact on countless individuals over the past 25 years.

As a member of the Oklahoma Army National Guard 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, where he serves as brigade surgeon, Ware oversees medical care for more than 4,000 service members and supervises other brigade physicians. His job has taken him across the world, where he’s provided medical services while deployed in Afghanistan. He’s helped with hurricane recovery efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, and assisted in homeland security efforts as part of Operation Noble Eagle following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“My husband has served almost his entire life in uniform. He, like many others in the National Guard and reserves, has sacrificed his personal, professional and family life to serve and protect our country." - Shannon Ware

After learning about OU Extended Campus Patriot of the Game, Ware’s wife, Shannon Ware, nominated her husband for the honor. He was recognized as Patriot of the Game during the OU-TCU football game Nov. 23, 2019.

“My husband has served almost his entire life in uniform,” she wrote in her nomination. “He, like many others in the National Guard and reserves, has sacrificed his personal, professional and family life to serve and protect our country. He has more than 25 years of military service and continues serving as brigade surgeon for the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based here in Norman.”

While flattered that his wife had nominated him, Ware said he never expected to be selected.

“I was surprised and a little pleased that I’d been nominated, but I didn’t think I’d be selected,” Ware said. “The person honored right before me was a Purple Heart recipient, so I thought there was no way.”

Although he’s been an OU football season ticket holder for years, Ware said everything that went with being chosen, along with seeing the stadium from a different perspective, left him awestruck.

“It being senior day combined with the honor of being selected, it was pretty emotional,” he said. “It was so loud. When they were playing the video, I couldn’t hear anything because of the crowd. It was deafening. It left me choked up.”

Throughout his 25 years of service, Ware has served the National Guard in a number of capacities, including medical review officer, medical profile approval authority and medical director for combat medic training and transitioning, overseeing a program with a 100% successful completion rate. He’s also served as a mentor to junior physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

His efforts have earned him several awards, including the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters and the National Defense Service Medal, among others.

Ware said his interest in service started in his teenage years when he started building models of U.S. Navy ships.

“By the time I got to high school, I started looking at the Naval Academy,” he said. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”

Ware ended up not receiving an appointment, although he was selected as an alternate. Instead, he came to OU on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After graduating from OU with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Ware attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth on an Army Health Professions scholarship. Following his active duty commitment he joined the Army National Guard and completed his residency in emergency medicine.

Ware said he hopes to continue serving in some capacity, even following retirement.

“My National Guard career, unless I extend it, will end in January of next year. I’m asking for an extension, because we are so short on positions here in Oklahoma,” he said. “When I retire, I hope to get involved with some as-of-yet-unidentified organization.”

OU Extended Campus has a long history of meeting the educational needs of military-affiliated students by providing onsite and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs for service members, veterans and their dependents. OU Extended Campus began sponsoring Patriot of the Game during the 2019 football season to further its commitment to this mission. 

To nominate your military hero for Patriot of the Game, visit the Patriot of the Game website, patriot.pacs.ou.edu.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.