On December 1, 2023, Dr. R. Paul Caudill, Jr, passed away at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital with his family by his side.
Paul was born in Louisville, KY, the son of the late Dr. R. Paul Caudill and Fern A. Caudill of Memphis, TN. He grew up in Augusta, GA, and Memphis, TN, and graduated from Central High School in Memphis. After completing his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest College, Paul decided to devote his life to caring for the sick. He entered the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, where he became the president of his medical school class.
Upon completing his medical studies, Paul was drafted and became an ensign in the US Naval Reserves. He completed his internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital in St. Albans, New York, which was followed by a period of sea duty. Having always dreamed of flying, Paul decided to become a US Naval Flight Surgeon and commit himself to caring for the US Naval Aviation community. After graduating from the Naval Flight Surgeon Course in Pensacola, FL, he began a new adventure aboard US Navy aircraft carriers. He was the Senior Medical Officer aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) during the Vietnam War. After completing his residency in aerospace medicine, Paul was awarded the Aerospace Medical Association’s Julian E. Ward Memorial Award for his performance as the outstanding Resident in Aerospace Medicine among all military aeromedical residents. During his residency, he participated in Operation Homecoming, flying into Hanoi and Hong Kong to bring home POWs just released from North Vietnam and China.
Paul was the Senior Medical Officer and a plankowner aboard the USS Nimitz (CVAN-68). After departing the Nimitz, he studied at the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, in Washington, DC.
Paul’s significant assignments included serving as Commanding Officer of the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, FL, the Naval Medical Command, European Region in London, England, and the Naval Medical Command, Mid-Atlantic Region in Norfolk, VA. He went on to serve as Deputy Director of Naval Medicine and Deputy Surgeon General of the US Navy in Washington, DC. His last duty station was in Honolulu, HI, where he was the Command Surgeon for Commander in Chief, Pacific. He retired from the Navy with the rank of rear admiral (upper half).
He was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.
After retiring from the Navy, Paul continued his dedication to serving the sick as the Vice President of Medical Affairs and Medical Director at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. He also became a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, serving as a Den Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 10, member of the Executive Board and Committee, and Chairman for Camping for West Tennessee Area Council. He was selected for the Silver Beaver and the Vigil Honor for the Order of the Arrow, and in 2010, he received the BSA Distinguished Citizen Award. Having a longstanding interest in veterans’ issues, Paul also served as a board member of the Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes.
He is survived by his wife, Joanne, and son, Paul III; brother, Dr. David Caudill, and wife, Donna; brother-in-law, Colonel William F. Culley, Jr., United States Army, and wife, Martha, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. His sisters, Netta Sue McKnight and Mary Fern Hollis, predeceased him.
Paul was a loving husband and father. He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, love of country, and work ethic. His faith and family were the center of his life.
Paul’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service held at Arrington Funeral Directors on February 10, 2024, beginning at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Homes For Our Troops, 6 Main Street, Taunton, MA 02780, or First Baptist Church, 1627 North Highland Ave., Jackson, TN 38301.