Joseph P. Patin, MD, was recently honored with the Basilone Freedom Award at the 91st UNICO National Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sgt. John Basilone was a World War II soldier who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for courage and heroism on Guadalcanal and was killed in Iwo Jima. The award is given to an individual displaying bravery and outstanding gallantry.
Patin was activated into the U.S. Army upon completion of his internship and residency in 1969 and was deployed to the 85th Evacuation Hospital, Phu Bai, Vietnam, in 1970. Patin, acting as chief of surgery, and his team of surgeons specialized in trauma and often worked 24-hour stretches during the heat of battles. In addition to treating American soldiers, the team also treated Vietnamese citizens, Vietnamese soldiers and soldiers of the Viet Cong.
For his service, Patin was decorated with the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in a hostile theater and received the Army Commendation Medal as well as the Vietnamese Commendation Medal.
Patin was board certified in general surgery and critical care. Upon discharge from the U.S. Army, he entered private practice in Baton Rouge, La., and was active in civic, hospital and medical communities as well as being involved in his church and his children's schools. He was also a runner and completed 12 marathons including the Boston and New York with his best time at 2 hours and 55 minutes.
In 2004, Patin was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a complication of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
The Patins have been permanent residents of Rehoboth Beach since 2005. Rose Marie DeFiore Patin, UNICO Rehoboth Chapter president, attended the convention and accepted the award on her husband's behalf.