Called to Serve

“The military was a calling for me,” said Jake Taylor, DO, MPH, family medicine specialist, at Mercy Health Physician Partners Lakeshore Medical Whitehall.

Jake Taylor, DO

“I take pride in the service that I provided for our nation and for what I still can give as a US Navy reservist.”

Taylor recalls having been profoundly affected by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as he was a sophomore in college when he saw on TV the planes hit the North and South Towers in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and land in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“My grandfather honorably served in World War II, my father honorably served in Vietnam, my brother honorably served in OIF/OEF, and I wanted to do my part,” Taylor said.

His time spent in military was rewarding to him as he served alongside people from all over the country. The military also provided an element of adventure which he enjoys.

“The military really trained me to be prepared for anything,” Taylor said.

After joining the Navy, Taylor went to officer indoctrination at Newport, Rhode Island, and then completed a Family Medicine internship at Naval Medical Center Camp Pendleton at US Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Later in his career, he received orders to go to 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton with the ground combat forces of the Marine Corps and served as a medical officer within the infantry. One of the units that he was assigned to was 2nd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment.

“I would take care of all the medical needs of a battalion of US Marines, which was roughly 1,000 personnel, ages 18 to 55,” said Taylor. “I took care of the new recruits out of boot camp as well as the 2-star general who was in charge of 1st Marine Division. I would also learn and do what Marines do. Wherever they were, I was there with them.”

He was assisted by 40 embedded Navy corpsmen, with whom he still communicates today through social media, who operated like EMTs within Marine companies. Taylor then deployed overseas from San Diego onboard the USS Makin Island (LHD-8) to the 5th Fleet of operations within the Middle East Region for nine months.

“That ship enabled me see the world and all the water that is in it, as well as take care of Marines and Sailors who fought in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR),” Taylor said as he was away from his wife during the 2014-2015 timeframe.

“This land is free because of the brave; I am a witness to that,” said Taylor.

During his military experience, he completed a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. “I wanted to stay current with the world of academia while I was busy serving.”

Having grown up “all over,” Taylor considers himself an “adopted son of Michigan,” given that his wife is from Okemos, Michigan. He enjoys living in West Michigan especially when he lived in Grand Rapids during his clerkship years with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 “We spent a lot of time along the West Michigan lakeshore, in Holland and Grand Haven, and I just knew I wanted to live and work in the area.”

His love of rural health care was affirmed when he was a 3rd year medical student rotating in Family Medicine with Dr. Bargwell at Cedar Springs, Michigan. “I really fell in love with rural medicine, it was like I had found my niche.”

Taylor was delighted to be accepted into the Mercy Health Muskegon Family Residency Program at Fruitport Family Medicine, which is an affiliate of Michigan State University.

“I’m very grateful to the faculty and all who helped provide me an excellent education in an awesome residency program… I have also been impressed with the large, welcoming veteran community that lives and works within the area.”

Taylor is happy to be part of Mercy Health, as “we treat everyone with dignity and respect, and we will treat everyone.” 

He feels honored to continue to serve in the military and he looks forward to providing care and learning from patients and staff that reside along the Lakeshore. 

“I want to be able to look back and realize that I did my best. I gave back what I could, as best as I could.”

For more information on Taylor, please visit

Read how the military has also prepared another physician for the COVID-19 response>>

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