MEDCOM History

SGT Cruz, Jane

Module 2 Homework (MEDCOM History), ALC

1. Utilizing a MS Word document, answer the following questions in paragraph format

with a minimum of 4-5 sentences per question. • What date did Congress authorize the


1. What date did Congress authorize the establishment of a Medical Service? In your own

words, explain the importance of this move.

On 27 July 1775, Congress authorized the establishment of a “hospital” or Medical

Service. This date is known as the Anniversary of the Army Medical Department. This step

made provisions for a Director General and Chief Physician, four surgeons, one apothecary, 20

surgeons mates, one clerk, two storekeepers, one nurse per every 10 sick and laborers as needed.

The establishment of a Medical Service supports the United States national defense missions,

during times of peace and war. The evolution of the U.S. Army Medical Corp includes

Revolutionary War apothecaries, Civil War Ambulance Corps, World War I Sanitary Corps, all

as a temporary part of the Medical Department. The expansion of this Corp, during war time,

allowed physicians relief from not only administrative, technical and scientific responsibilities,

but also freed physicians for patient care responsibilities. During the inter-war years, it became

evident that the Army required a permanent Medical Service. The importance of this move is to

ensure the Army maintains a staffed medical capability prepared to execute its mission during

times of peace and/or war.

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2. What is General Order #29? What is the significance of this order to you?

General Oder #29, published in April of 1887, assigned enlisted members to the Hospital

Corps and permanently attached them to the Medical Department. This was an act of Congress

that allowed for the organization of the Hospital Corp of the Army of the United States. The

significance of General Order 29 was Congresss acknowledgment of the Hospital Corp as part

of the Medical Department. This Act outlines assignment, pay, skill qualifications, personnel

strength requirements, and career and promotion opportunities of hospital stewards and privates

assigned to the Hospital Corp. This Act is part of the evolution of todays AMEDD NCO and

was an important step by congress to acknowledge the importance of the enlisted members at

that time.

3. Explain the lineage of the “Hospital Steward” (Medical NCO) in the U.S. Army and give

some significant milestones.

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, insufficient care for the wounded and lack of

treatment and prevention of the diseases led to the establishment of a “Hospital”. Congress

authorized the employment of Hospital Stewards as early as December 1775. From 1777-1813,

authorization of a Hospital Steward increased from one for every hundred sick or wounded to

one for each military hospital. Their responsibilities expanded from receiving, dispensing and

maintaining accountability of articles of diet from the hospital commissary to purchasing

anything necessary for the care of the sick and wounded and handling major administrative and

logistical functions. Additionally, during this time, the first manual on hospital administration

was published and the Secretary of War authorized the enlistment of individuals and NCOs who

were taken from the line and learned patient care by “on the job training” to become Hospital

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Stewards. From 1851-1856, the need grew as Hospital Stewards began to accompany surgeons

into battle (Civil and India Wars) and Congress issued an addendum that authorized a “Half

Chevron” to denote the rank of the Hospital Steward and authorized the Secretary of War to

appoint as many Hospital Stewards as needed in the Army and mustered onto the hospital rolls as

“NCOs”. This action permanently attached the stewards to the Medical Department. In 1885,

the Surgeon Generals recommended that a “Hospital Corps” be formed and on 1 March 1887,

the Hospital Corps was finally established and expanded by 1891 with the formations of

“Companies of Instructions” for the training of the enlisted of the Hospital Corps. By 1903-1945,

the Corps replaced the term Hospital Stewards with what we know as today, the Medical NCO.

4. Explain the advancement of training for the “Hospital Steward”(Medical NCO)

throughout its history.

Prior to 1851, Hospital Stewards gained their knowledge and training by working with

the surgeons and physicians they were assigned to. Much what they learned and how they

learned by an approach we used today called, “on the job training”. The knowledge gained was

basic compared to todays standards. There was no formal school, thus, Hospital Stewards were

required to take tests. After the Civil War and during the Indian War era, only individuals who

served as hospital stewards for over 25 years were exempted from the exams. All other stewards

were required to take written tests, testing math, chemistry and writing skills. After one year of

service with Hospital Corps, privates were eligible for appointment as acting hospital stewards.

After one year of probation and passing of another examination, they could be appointed

“Permanent” hospital stewards. The Surgeon General made great efforts to establish a formal

school to train Hospital Stewards, and this effort was eventually supported by the Army in 1851.

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In 1891, the “Companies of Instruction” were established to ensure the newly formed corps had

the necessary skills to perform their duties. Under this concept, Infantry drill regulations were

integrated with medical training in the areas of anatomy and physiology, nursing, pharmacy and

first aid. In 1924, the first formal course of instruction for Noncommissioned Officers of the

active, National Guard and Reserves was conducted at Medical Field Service School, Carlisle

Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1944, enlisted female soldiers of the “Womens Army

Corps” (WAC)” were trained as pharmacy, laboratory and x-ray technicians. The availability of

trained female soldiers in the United States reduced the critical shortages overseas. In 1946, the

Medical Field Service School (MFSS) was relocated to Fort Sam Houston, Texas and all

specialized training for enlisted personnel was consolidated except for the line medic. In 1950,

the Surgeon General directed that a 48-week course in practical nursing for enlisted soldiers be

established at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1950, the Medical Readiness Training

Centers increased their training capacity to meet the needs of the Korean Conflict. In Vietnam,

personnel who volunteered to become Flight Medics received their training on the job gaining

experience with each mission. The Medical Training Center (MTC), Fort Sam Houston, Texas,

increased their training capacity due to the shortage of enlisted medical personnel and in 1969,

the MTC trained 25,982 medics, 24,135 enlisted men in other specialties and 1,846 female

soldiers. Over 225,000 medics were trained since 1954. Today the training has expanded its

curriculum, testing to include examinations before boards, internships and specialized training to

receive an additional skill identifier (ASI) todays category of CMF 68 Medical Specialist.

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5. Aside from combat duties and support of Soldiers, the “Hospital Steward” (Medical

NCO) provided service during humanitarian missions. Give a historical account of one

such mission.

In July 1958, the Medical Department sent several units to support the US Operations

“Eisenhowers Operation Blue-Bat” in Lebanon during the Lebanon Crisis. The Lebanese Crisis

was a political crisis, caused by political and religious tensions in the country that required a U.S.

military intervention. Lebanon was threatened by a civil war between the Maronite Christians

and Muslims. The units included the 58th Evacuation Hospital, Medical Platoon of the 187th

Airborne Battle Group, Medical Detachments of the 3d Tank Battalion and 299th Engineer

Battalion, 100th Veterinary Food Inspection Detachment and the 485th Preventive Medicine

Company. This dispatch of U.S. Armed Forces to Lebanon provided the first real test since the

Korean War of how well the Army Medical Department was accomplishing one of its basic

missions-combat readiness. The number of participating troops ashore was approximately

13,000, including marines, and the operation lasted slightly more than 3 months (July-October

1958). No combat was involved; instead a “semi garrison” situation was encountered, with most

of the medical problems being in the field of preventive medicine. Nevertheless, the incident did

provide a test of the capability of the Army Medical Department to deal with a sudden,

unexpected situation in an overseas area. Subsequent detailed analysis established that Army

Medical Department personnel performed their basic mission in a creditable manner. Early

deficiencies were resolved, and the effectiveness of the Medical Department increased as the

operation progressed. Several important lessons were learned during the Lebanon Operation

which were later incorporated in operational plans: (1) was that medical support, particularly

preventive medicine support, must accompany the first contingent of troops, since medical

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problems are greatest at the onset of a campaign; (2) that sanitary orders must be prepared for

issue before troops are committed. These orders should be sufficiently comprehensive and

detailed to assure maximum protection from disease; (3) preventive medicine units included in

the task force must have balanced and complementing organic elements reflecting all their

capabilities when they are committed. Survey and control sections should be committed

simultaneously to be effective; (4) that, in planning phased shipment of organizational

equipment, adequate insect and rodent control materiel must be included in the first or second

phase; (5) that The Surgeon General must be provided with timely and comprehensive statistical

and sanitary reports from any joint commands in which Army troops are involve; (6) in planning

for operations of this type, an appropriate medical staff must be assigned to assure preparation of

adequate medical plans and to coordinate, control, and supervise the execution of these plans; (7)

that planning for any task force operation must provide for sufficient surgical capability

concurrent with the arrival of troops in the area; (8) that plans should be developed whereby

individuals are not only designated for deployable units but are also indoctrinated and trained

with the unit for their assigned mission; (9) that careful study must be made to ascertain that the

troop lists and the equipment lists will satisfy anticipated requirements; and finally, automatic

supply shipments must be augmented with adequate quantities of any unusual items that might

be required because of the nature of the country in which the task force is to operate. Though, no

combat was incurred, had there been, the U.S. would have had a medical disaster on its hands.


AMEDD/NCO Enlisted Soldier History. 2011. Retrieved from

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U.S. Army Medical Department, Army Medical Department Regiment, General Order #29,

Retrieved from

Reidinger, P. (2009, March 6). Hospital corps celebrates 122 years of service – year of the NCO.

Retrieved February 6, 2017, from US Army,—-


U.S. Army Medical Department, Meeting the Challenge in War and Peace, Combat Readiness,

Emergency Missions, Lebanon Operation, July1958, Retrieved from

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1. What date did Congress authorize the establishment of a Medical Service? In your own words, explain the importance of this move.

1A.27 July 1775 is when congress authorized the establishment of medical service. This date is known as the Anniversary of the Army Medical department. The establishment of a Medical Service supports the United States missions during times of peace and war. During the inter-war years, it became apparent that the Army required a permanent Medical Service .The importance of this move is to ensure the Army maintains a staffed medical capability ready to execute its mission during times of peace and/or war.

22. What is General Order #29? What is the significance of this order to you?

General order #29 assigned enlisted members to the hospital corps permanently attaching them to the medical department. General order #29 was published April of 1887 This act of congress allowed the organization of the United States Army Hospital Corp. This act acknowledged the Hospital corps as part of the medical field and Outlined qualifications, personnel requirements, and career specifics for the Hospital corps.

3.Explain the lineage of the “Hospital Steward” (Medical NCO) in the U.S. Army and give some significant milestones

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