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John A. Perciballi

Class of 1975





John Perciballi, CHS ’75 is a highly respected surgeon, decorated Navy veteran, international chess player and an OUTSTANDING member of the 2017-18 CHSAA Hall of Fame Class.

John was Gold Medal Scholar at CHS, graduating with Honors in 1975. He attended and graduated in 1979 Summa Cum Laude from the University of Vermont. During his senior year at UVM he was the recipient of the prestigious “Outstanding Biochemical Research” Award.

Upon graduation from UVM, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was accepted into their Medical Program at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, School of Medicine in Bethesda, MD. After graduating from Med School, John progressed through the typical internship and resident assignments, then began his highly successful and decorated 30+ career as a U.S. Naval Surgeon. He retired with the rank of Captain in 2006. He continues his medical career in private practice in the Pensacola area.

John was a field surgeon in the mid-east serving in Iraq and part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He was the Officer in Charge, as part of the Forward Resuscitative Surgical System (FRSS) developed to provide vital emergency medical services for wounded military and/or civilian personnel. The military nickname for this group was the “Devil Docs”. As a Devil Doc, John would set up portable operating suites and provide “damage control surgery” to provide critical life saving early medical attention to the wounded. This assignment brings to mind the hit TV series M.A.S.H. John is our own Hawkeye Pierce!

John’s love of chess began in Chelmsford. He was a member of the CHS Chess Club and a member of the Town of Chelmsford Chess Team. He continues to play today. Presently he is a member of the Pensacola Chess Club. While on active duty, John was selected as the Captain for the U.S. Navy Chess Team (1998-2004) as well as the U.S. NATO Chess Team in Copenhagen, Denmark (2003). He was also selected to participate with the NATO Team in 2001. However the events of 9/11 cancelled the U.S. participation in the international tournament. In 2004, John entered a Chess Tournament while visiting his son at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and was awarded the Top Navy Award for his play.

John Perciballi, is truly an American hero in every sense or the word. He has used his medical skills to save literally countless lives on the battlefield, and continues today to use his skills to make people’s lives better.