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Section II, Chapter I

Contents

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SECTION II.

ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SURGEON GENERAL'S OFFICE.

CHAPTER I.

THE SURGEON GENERAL.

The Surgeon General of the Army, who has the rank, pay, and allowances of a major general,* is the ranking officer of the Medical Corps, Chief of the Medical Department, and head of the Surgeon General's Office. As the head of a bureau of the War Department he is charged with the supervision of the expenditures of the Medical Department appropriations, and is the adviser of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff upon matters relating to the health, sanitation, and physical fitness of the Army and the administration of the medical service in all its branches. He has exclusive control of general hospitals, hospital ships, and trains, except in matters pertaining to the administration of military justice, but not that portion of the Medical Department serving as parts of other commands except in so far as related to particular duties and Medical Department reports. He likewise had exclusive control of medical supply depots until November 15, 1918, when the major activities connected with Medical Department supplies were transferred to the Director of the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division, General Staff.

Maj. Gen. William C. Gorgas served as Surgeon General from April 6,1914, to October 4, 1918. Maj. Gen. Merritte W. Ireland succeeded him on October 30, 1918. During the brief interim Brig. Gen. Charles Richard was Acting Surgeon General.

THE SURGEON GENERAL'S OFFICE.

The exigencies of war and the enormous and sudden expansion of the entire Military Establishment necessitated numerous changes in and additions to the duties exercised by the Surgeon General in time of peace. The administrative machinery through which these functions were executed and the necessary changes therein made was operated in and from the Surgeon General's Office in Washington.

The expansion made possible by the national defense act of 1916, necessitated by the declaration of war, and furthered by the Overman Act of May 18,1917, authorizing the President to increase temporarily the Military Establishment of the United States, was effected through the agency of the Surgeon General's Office, under the administration of the Surgeon General.

* By act of Congress approved June 4, 1920.


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PLATE IV.- Maj. Gen. William C. Gorgas, Surgeon General of the Army, April 6, l914, to October 4, 1918.


125

PLATE V. -- Maj. Gen. Merritte W. Ireland, Surgeon General of the Army, October 30, 1918.


126

When war was declared the Surgeon General's Office consisted of the Surgeon General, the six medical officers of his staff, and the civilian personnel, including the chief clerk and 146 civilian employees, of whom 43 constituted the Museum and Library Division, stationed in the Army Medical Museum and library. The work of the Surgeon General's Office proper, which was then located in the State, War, and Navy Building, was directed by four divisions: Division of Sanitation; Supply Division; Record, Correspondence, and Examining Division; and Museum and Library Division.

It was soon realized that the personnel of the office, military and civilian, would be totally inadequate for expediting the work which the necessary expansion of the Medical Department in general would entail. It became obvious, too, that additional space would be required, as well as a complete reorganization of the office administration. Tentative plans for such reorganization were formulated in May, 1917, and in July six floors of the Mills Building, across the street from the State, War, and Navy Building, were secured for the Surgeon General's Office. The administration of office routine was then placed under an expert in business efficiency. At the end of one year the Surgeon General's Office had expanded into an organization of some 30 administrative units, with a personnel of 181 medical officers and 1,543 civilian employees, installed (May 3, 1918) in the building known as Unit F of the group of temporary structures on Sixth and Seventh Streets, extending from B Street NW. to B Street SW. Typical floor plans of one of the seven wings, three floors each, are shown in Plates VI, VII, and VIII. The utilization of the floor space, quite naturally, varied from time to time. Five wings of the seven wings were oc(upiedl by the Surgeon General's Office at the height of the war, during the summer of 1918. Chart I shows the organization at that time.

The administrative history of this expanded organization is given in the following accounts of the activities of the various divisions and subdivisions of the office.

PERSONNEL.a

(April, 1917, to December, 1919.)

ASSISTANTS TO THE SURGEON GENERAL.

Birmingham, H. P., Brig. Gen., M. D.

Richard, Charles, Brig. Gen., M. D. b

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS.

Church, J. R., Col., M. C.

Darnall, C. R., Col., M. C.

Furbush, L. L., Col., M. C.

ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE OFFICERS.

Delaney, M. A., Col., M. C.

Truby, A. E., Col., M. C.

a In each group names have been arranged alphabetically, irrespective of chronological sequence of service.

b Brigadier General Richard was acting Surgeon General during General Gorgas's absence in France.


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PLATE VI.  SURGEON GENERAL’S OFFICE, PROGRAMMATIC PLAN OF FIRST FLOOR, JUNE-JULY 1918.


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PLATE VII.   SURGEON GENERAL’S OFFICE, PROGRAMMATIC PLAN OF SECOND FLOOR, JUNE-JULY 1918.


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PLATE VIII.   SURGEON GENERAL’S OFFICE, PROGRAMMATIC PLAN OF THIRD FLOOR, JUNE-JULY 1918.


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Chart I.  ILLUSTRATING ORGANIZATION WITHIN THE SURGEON GENERAL'S OFFICE BY UNITS OF ACTION AND RELATIONSHIPS OF COOPERATING ACTIVITIES


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LIAISON OFFICERS.

On April 25, 1917, an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps was stationed in the Surgeon General’s Office as British liaison officer. On January 22, 1918, he was succeeded by another officer, Royal Army Medical Corps, who remained until the end of the war. The liaison officer of the Service deSante of the French Army arrived on June 4, 1917, remaining until the armistice; he had an assistant, who arrived July 30, 1917, and returned to France November 3, 1917.

On June 11, 1917, an officer of the Medical Corps was detailed to duty as liaison officer in the British War Office, Adastral House, London. The liaison officer, while reporting to the Chief Surgeon, American Expeditionary Forces, furnished the British Government with all necessary information regarding the Medical Department of the United States Army; gave similar information to our own medical establishment concerning the British medical organization; aided in securing from the British Government for our forces in England supplies, hospital sites, return of the sick and wounded; and fulfilled a large number of other duties, such. as reporting on American casualties, placing specialists and patients in British Army hospitals, making recommendations for promotion, and looking after pay allotments and Red Cross allowances. On July 7, 1917, the liaison officer was defined as chief surgeon of American forces on duty with the British Army in England. Similar officers were assigned to temporary duty in France in order to cooperate with the medical establishment of the French Army in effecting necessary business.

PERSONNEL.

(April, 1917, to December, 1919.)

LIAISON OFFICERS.

BRITISH ARMY.

Goodwin, T. H., Col., R. A. M. C.

Morgan, Claude K., Col., R. A. M. C.

Aitken, J. J., Lieut. Col., Veterinary Corps.

Gilmour, John, Capt., R. A. M. C.

FRENCH ARMY.

Dercle, C. U., Medecin Major de 1re Classe, du Service de Santé.

Rist, E., Medecin Major de 2e Classe, du Service de Santé.