Raised in Sewanee, Dr. Reynold Kirby-Smith graduated from the medical school at Sewanee in 1895. He became a surgeon in the Tennessee National Guard and served in the Spanish-American War. In 1902, he was commissioned into the Medical Corps and eventually rose in rank to the level of Colonel. In World War I, he was appointed Surgeon in Charge of two medical units sent to France by the American Red Cross. He established a hospital in Pau, France, and later went to Serbia to help fight a typhus epidemic.