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The Army Medical Department Civilian Corps:
A Legacy of Distinguished Service, Page 6

The Army Medical Department Civilian Corps: A Legacy of Distinguished Service

The Army Medical Department Civilian Corps: A Legacy of Distinguished Service, page 5

of the fiscal year remaining, only 42% of the civilianization vacancies have been filled.”10 The AMEDD felt that the dual compensation restrictions on retirees had a negative impact on civilian recruiting, and obtained authority to waive the restrictions for retired military physicians to take civilian jobs at the GS-11 through GS-14 level. Within a year HSC had filled more than 90% of its civilian vacancies, but paradoxically only ten retirees were hired under the terms of the dual compensation waiver authority. Instead, the success in civilian recruiting is credited to energetic efforts at the lower levels (hospitals and MEDDACs at bases like Fort Knox and Fort Leonard Wood) and to rising unemployment rates in the United States, which made the stability of government employment seem more attractive.11

During the summer of 1975 the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel briefed the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA) on the status of civilian personnel management. The VCSA’s response was “very positive and supportive,” and he asked “how the Army Staff can get more involved in the civilian area and how we can better make civilians a part of the Army team.”12 An Army Circular of the same year, addressing plans for the Army’s Bicentennial Celebrations to occur in 1976, called for “Recognizing the contribution and role of civilian employees in the Army.”13 It seemed that senior Army leaders were increasingly aware of the contributions of Army civilians, largely because the transition to an all-volunteer force had driven a civilianization effort that converted nearly 10,000 active Army positions to civilian status. HSC, with its large civilian contingent, was a strong advocate for this population.

By the end of 1982 there were 23,700 civilian employees in HSC, comprising nearly half of the command’s total strength. Military members of the AMEDD were grouped into seven corps—the Medical Corps, Army Nurse Corps, Dental Corps, Veterinary Corps, Medical Service Corps, Army Medical Specialist Corps, and Enlisted Corps. The civilians, proud of their affiliation with the AMEDD but not officially recognized as a corps, sought their own identity. The December 1982 edition of the HSC Mercury—the official newspaper of HSC, and later US Army Medical Command—announced a contest to design a new insignia to represent HSC civilians. The winning design, submitted by Esiquio Gonzales of the Academy of Health Sciences, was unveiled in the June 1983 edition of the Mercury. This design, featuring the AMEDD caduceus backed by a shield, with the word “CIVILIAN” in a banner across the front and a smaller “HSC” banner at the top, was later adopted by the AMEDD Civilian Corps (with “HSC” removed) and still represents the Civilian Corps today.

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10 Memo, William R. Bruce, Director, Civ Pers, for IG, 15 MAR 74, sub: Army Quota for Civilianization, AMEDD Center of History and Heritage Research Collection, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
11 Memo, COL Robert N. Gilliam, DCSPER, for CG, HSC, 13 JAN 75, sub: FY 73-74 Civilianization Goals Met, ACHH Research Collection.
12 Ltr, Ben B. Beeson, DA Dir of Civ Pers, to William R. Bruce, HSC Civ Pers Dir, 17 JUL 75, ACHH Research Collection.
13 Ibid.