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The United States Army Medical Service Corps

The purpose of this volume is to present a history of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps (MSC) from its origins during the American Revolution to its status in 1994. With this objective in mind, it addresses several audiences.

First are the young MSC officers who may be unfamiliar with the historical underpinnings of their corps. For them, the evolution of the corps' past reveals insights into its future since the types of problems met and solved in the past are the ones most likely to recur in the years ahead. I am told that colonels are supposed to read what captains write. This time a colonel wrote something for captains to read.

A second audience is the scholarly community of historians. For these professionals, the work adheres to established rules of historical research and serves as a tool for further analysis of the often baffling bureaucratic structure of our armed services. The third audience consists of those who served in the MSC or its precursors, as well as other members of the Army Medical Department and the public at large. For that group the book endeavors to elucidate the principal themes in this administrative history in which evolution rather than revolution has been an enduring characteristic.

The book belongs to the Medical Service Corps, especially to those who will carry its legacy into the future. It also belongs to all the people of the Army Medical Department and the other branches of the Army. It should be of assistance to anyone interested in how the Army provides medical support to soldiers and their families. Above all it belongs to American soldiers, those splendid, noble patriots whose support is the raison d'etre of the MSC. I have attempted to provide enough Medical Department history, doctrine, and principal debates to illuminate how the MSC emerged from more than two centuries of American history. I hope that the book and its documentation of sources will serve those who will labor to understand how that process occurred so as to prevent repeating previous mistakes and to capitalize on earlier successes. The text ends in 1995, but appendixes have been updated to the time of printing.

One editorial note is in order. As a rule, the rank of an individual is cited as held at that point in the narrative. Generally, no attempt is made to document the final grade upon separation from the military.

This work would not have been undertaken without the strong determination of two officers who decided to prosecute and underwrite the initiative and served as successive chiefs of the Medical Service Corps: Brig. Gens. France F. Jordan and Walter F. Johnson. Their successors as chiefs of the corps maintained support for the project. It stands on the shoulders of many individuals who worked on earlier attempts at writing the history of the corps, beginning in 1953. Their accumulation of files and documents was of invaluable assistance, as was

their foresight in pursuing the goal of documenting the MSC story. All chapters of the first draft were reviewed by former chiefs of the corps as well as by many others from varied backgrounds. Twelve of that group served as active readers during the initial drafting of the volume: Mr. Frank Boccia; Mary C. Gillett, Ph.D.; Brig. Gen. William A. Hamrick, FACHE, USA, Ret.; Brig. Gen. France Jordan, USA, Ret.; Col. John T. Leddy, O.D., USA, Ret.; Col. Roy D. Maxwell, Ph.D., USA, Ret.; Col. Douglas E. Moore, USA, Ret.; Brig. Gen. Manley C. Morrison, USA, Ret.; Brig. Gen. Andre J. Ognibene, M.D., USA, Ret.; Col. James E. Spiker, USA, Ret.; Mrs. Emily Ginn Van Orden; and Lt. Col. Joseph W.A. Whitehorne, USA, Ret. Their candid criticism kept the author in check and compelled a wider range of view.

Mary F. Loughlin was the first editor. She helped shape the early drafts, but her participation was ended by her untimely death in 1992. Susan Carroll replaced her as editor in 1994. She was superbly professional, and did yeoman work in straightening out the manuscript and later in creating the index. Helen Wadsworth took the corps to heart and was faithful and patient as a talented photo researcher whose contributions continued into the printing of the book. Col. Timothy Jackman, MSC, was appointed assistant to the corps chief in the fall of 1989 and became a treasured help as my Washington connection while I was in Europe. Tim also served as a member of the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) panel for the book. Ann Martens, the secretary to the chief during the time I was in Europe, was always helpful.

I leaned heavily on the CMH staff from the beginning. Although the book had been dropped from the center's projects, its staff continued to provide me with assistance at every step of the way. Brig. Gen. William A. Stofft, and later Brig. Gen. Harold W. Nelson, as CMH commanders, were supportive and encouraging. Jeffrey J. Clarke, Ph.D., CMH chief historian, became a guiding light as the head of the CMH panel that reviewed the manuscript. The members of his panel were most helpful, particularly Col. Robert J. T. Joy, M.D., USA, Ret., a long-standing mentor to whom I had turned for coaching when I was first tapped for this task. I am also grateful to Dr. Clarke and Albert E. Cowdrey, Ph.D., of the CMH staff, for coaching me during the final drafts of the manu­script. Jeff's support was unflagging, and Bert was enormously giving of his time and considerable talent in shaping the text. My appreciation also goes to John Elsberg, CMH editor in chief, who oversaw the production of the volume, and to Steve Hardyman, Beth MacKenzie, and Catherine Heerin of CMH who shepherded the manuscript through its printing, adopting the book as their own.

Special commendation is also due to Donna Griffitts, for twelve years, until her untimely death in 1986, the head of the Joint Medical Library of the Army and Air Force Surgeons General. Donna had an abiding faith in the Medical Department and a genuine love of its history. Her assistance was treasured by me and countless others over those years. She was a great help during the initial research phase of the book from 1983 to 1986. Donna symbolizes the many peo­ple who gave of themselves to this project and who made it possible.

Finally, computers were with me from the beginning as automation swept through the military, government, and industry. The solitary author in his study

is about the right picture, electronically enhanced. But the cast of helpers would not be complete without saluting my wife, Angelica, and our two children, Angie Ann and Rick. I cannot repay them for their forbearance and love, especially since the task of writing and research occupied my evenings and weekends for much of over eleven years.

The Army and our nation have a great deal to be thankful for in the contri­butions of the men and women of the magnificent U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. I have always been proud to wear the silver caduceus. The privilege of writing this book has reinforced that pride. Yet, as always in these things, any errors of fact or interpretation are the author's responsibility alone.

Springfield, Virginia
November 1996

Richard V.N. Ginn
Colonel, MSC (Ret.)