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ANNUAL REPORT THE SURGEON GENERAL UNITED STATES ARMY Fiscal Year 1959
MEDICAL RESERVE PROGRAM
Relatively little change occurred in the overall medical Reserve situation in fiscal year 1959. Despite the natural tendency to expand the program in view of the international situation, the budgetary limitations imposed during the previous year were maintained and actually became firmer. Indicative of the conflicting pressures to which the Reserve program is subjected is the fact that about the same time the crisis over Berlin developed, additional legislative efforts were being exerted to reduce the total size of Reserve forces. The continued uncertainty as to whether the program is to be expanded, contracted, or maintained at the same level makes long-range planning virtually impossible and tends to affect adversely the morale of those participating in Reserve activities.
A stabilizing factor of considerable importance developed with the announcement in December 1958 of the new Reserve Forces Troop Program. With the recognition that future wars would preclude the use of the larger units, because of their size, vulnerability, and lack of maneuverability, the elimination from the program of the 1,500- and 2,000-bed general hospitals, the 750-bed evacuation hospital, and the larger station hospitals came as no surprise. The fate of even the 1,000-bed general hospital had been uncertain, but thus far it has been retained as an authorized unit, and only four of these hospitals have been eliminated from the listing. A few of the smaller units were also removed either to maintain proper balance or because they had been moved up to an "Active Army" priority. The most significant modifications resulted from adding to the program a number of aviation medical companies and about 100 professional teams from the TOE 8-500 series. The overall result produced considerably less turbulence and shifting of personnel than had originally been forecast.
Status of Units
The effects of the restrictive influences which have been exerted upon all Reserve matters were revealed within the 80 units visited during the year by either the Special Assistant to The Surgeon General for Reserve Affairs or his representatives. Limitations on new appointments and enlistments, particularly in nonpriority units, the continued screening out of nonobligated reservists, coupled with reductions in training funds and spaces, have resulted in reversing, in many units, the gains previously recorded, with some units actually losing strength.
While a few additional new armories were completed, the construction program has not yet caught up with previous growth, so that crowding and reduced training effectiveness are unavoidable. The limited training opportunities for enlisted medical specialists continue to delay the hospital units from reaching their optimum levels of readiness.
More favorable features are (1) the arrangement by which officers within the Early Commissioning Program are now permitted to occupy any vacant officer space within a unit, (2) the notable increase in actual patient care training for appropriate units, and (3) the diversion of annual unit training to locations beyond army areas when this would provide opportunities not available within the closer geographic limits, as well as greater rotation of training sites and patterns, with its resultant broadened interest and participation.
Actions and Programs
Considerable activity in the legislative field having significance to all reservists and considerable impact upon the mobilization potential of the AMEDS Reserve has finally given promise of reaching conclusive stages. Department of Defense Legislative Item 86-60 became H.R. 3365 and was passed by the House of Representatives. Its short title, "Credit for Certain Service," does not completely reveal its value. When passed by the Senate and signed by the President, it will extend the military careers and establish eligibility for the retirement of female officers who served in the Medical Department before 10 July 1944. Such service has not yet been authorized for retirement credit, under the provisions of Section 1331, Title 10, U.S. Code, although it is already approved for other purposes.
Certain changes in the Reserve Officer Personnel Act of 1954 have seemed particularly desirable to the technical services, although not so important to the combat arms. Some of the changes have already been approved and submitted to the Congress as DOD Legislative Item 86-69. These, together with certain additional items, have been incorporated into a single bill, H.R. 5083, and presented by the Chairman of the House Armed Forces Subcommittee on Reserve Matters. Early passage of these bills would be helpful in stabilizing the pattern of the future and in making planning more realistic and productive. If all the provisions of this bill become law, the average military life of most AMEDS Reserve officers would be extended by several years.
Department of the Army Message 31480, dated 26 August 1958, authorized the assignment of any officer in the Army Medical Service (except MSC) to a Reserve unit vacancy anywhere within the army area. Likewise, final approval was obtained for the establishment of satellite detachments for hospital-type Reserve units. This will make it considerably easier to take maximum advantage of the existing potential of individuals who live beyond the geographic limits of the currently authorized units. The use of this feature was specifically encouraged in the recently published Reserve Troop Program.
Repeated efforts to increase the officer strengths of the ANC and AMSC Reserve structure have met with technical, legal, or other equally formidable objections. Consequently, there is considerable concern about the capacity of the Army Medical Service to meet its objectives and missions, particularly in regard to the responsibilities supported by these officers, before the effects of any legislative actions which might become effective could produce the required number of trained individuals. Certain compensatory measures have been recommended
to provide a stopgap for this in the event of an emergency, but any long-range solution seems possible only after much time and many radical adjustments.
Advisory Council Meeting
Because of the reduced budget, the Advisory Council to The Surgeon General on Reserve Affairs was limited to a single meeting during the year. It was held on 22-23 November 1958. Following the transfer of Brig. Gen. Perrin H. Long, MC, USAR, to the Retired Reserve on 28 February 1959, Brig. Gen. Alexander Marble, MC, USAR, was assigned as chairman. An addition to the Council was Brig. Gen. David E. Mayer, MC, USAR, the Commanding General, 818th Hospital Center, New York, N.Y.
Matters of particular concern discussed by the Council included the (1) proposed cyclic training of USAR medical units, (2) establishment of tables of distribution for Reserve hospitals in CONUS, (3) liaison between USAR hospital center commanders and commanders of U.S. Army Corps (Reserve), and (4) proper role and training of AMEDS Reserve units to meet potential civil defense requirements.
The Army sponsored more than 25 professional short courses for which spaces were allocated for AMEDS Reserve officers. Attendance at these courses proved beneficial to the reservist.
The U.S. Navy sponsored a course, Medical Military Training Program for Armed Forces Medical Department officers, 9-22 March 1959, at the U.S. Naval Medical School, National Naval Medical
Center, Bethesda, Md., which was attended by 134 USAR and Army National Guard AMEDS Reserve officers.
The U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, sponsored two courses for sanitary engineer Reserve officers during the fiscal year. The courses, Water Quality Management-Engineering Aspects, 1-13 June 1959, and Community Air Pollution, 13-26 June 1959, were given at the Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Eight spaces each were allotted to and utilized by Reserve officers of the Army.
The RFA-55 (Reserve Forces Act of 1955) 6-month active-duty-for-training program has enabled the TOE AMEDS units to reach 39.7 percent of the full TOE mobilization capability. The Army Medical Service has continued to receive about 4 percent of the total number entering into this program. As a result of studies conducted by the Personnel and Training Division, OTSG, and the Brooke Army