- [S74] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 7 Sep 1990.
Mary Lynn Allen Swann obituary
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 21 Oct 2006.
Col. Steve Swann to be recognized by alma mater
By: GAIL CRUTCHFIELD, Community News Editor
October 21, 2006
One of Sevier County's bravest will be honored tonight before the Sevier County High School football games against Bearden. Army Col. Steve Swann, MD will be recognized as he and his wife are in town to visit family living in Sevierville.
Swann, 49, is on 30 days leave after returning from serving a year as commander of the 30th Medical Brigade headquartered in Baghdad. Swann described the assignment as an honor by the fact that the position is normally held by an officer of higher rank.
"The position I held was actually a position (normally) held by a brigadier general," Swann said. "But the Army medical department has a limited number of generals, so I was called by the Army Surgeon General to deploy this brigade in lieu of brigadier general."
As commander, Swann had 3,000 soldiers under his immediate command, but was also responsible for four hospitals in the region.
"To be selected as a colonel to fill the position of brigadier general is a special recognition," he said. It's also a reflection of the trust his superiors had in his ability and leadership as proven by his previous service.
"If they didn't have a lot of trust in someone, they wouldn't put them in general command and especially not in combat," Swann said.
The assignment was not Swann's first stint in the Middle East. The 27-year career soldier also served in Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003, both in special operations.
The military life was nothing new for Swann, whose father served for 27 years and his brother for 20.
"It's kind of become a family business," he said.
He and Gail, his wife of 27 years, have three children, two of whom are in or planning to serve in the military. Their oldest son, 22-year-old Nate, is learning to fly helicopters at Fort Rucker, Ala., while 21-year-old Jacob, a senior at West Point, will enter the service after graduation. Their youngest child, 19-year-old Katey, lives in Sevierville with Swann's brother Rick's family and works at the Book Warehouse in Pigeon Forge. Rick Swann owns Sevier Lock and Safe.
Swann's mother was originally from Sevier and his father was from Dandridge. The family lived here while Swann was in Kindergarten, before the Army took them to Atlanta and Germany. They returned in 1969 while his father served in Vietnam and Swann attended Sevier County schools from sixth grade until he graduated from Sevier County High School.
He and his wife both graduated from Tennessee Tech in August of 1979 and he entered the Army after graduation.
In 27 years, the family moved 15 times, serving in Georgia, Washington state, Washington, DC (where he went to medical school), Japan, California, Kentucky, Korea, Alabama, North Carolina and Louisiana. Swann and his wife will return to Heidelberg, Germany when his leave is up.
Swann is touched by the school's recognition.
"Just being recognized by my hometown after being gone so long, after serving the nation, is so special," he said.
It's support like that, he said, that helps soldiers get through assignments which take them far from their homes and families.
"I've been in the Army 27 years, and going to combat is the hardest thing anyone can do," he said. " Serving as a soldier in combat is very difficult, and the only way a soldier can be focused and serve his country well is know he has the full support of the nation.
"The support I received from friends and family here in Sevierville and East Tennessee made a world of different to me," Swann said. "Without that support it would have been much more difficult and challenging. I can't thank the people enough for supporting me.
"I'm proud to be from Sevier and East Tennessee and proud to call Sevierville and East Tennessee home," he added. "I'm awful proud to tell people I'm from Dolly Parton's hometown and honored to represent this part of the country."
As for the future, Swann said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. He has another year left to serve as commander of the medical brigade in Germany. He'll then study for a year in Carlisle, Penn., at the Army War College, another honor, he said, as less then 1 percent of physicians get a chance to go to the Army War College.
"I'm not sure after that," he said. "The Army still tells me they have things for me to do, so my job's safe."