Highlights of Medical Service Corps' HistoryThe story of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps is evolutionary. Precursors such as Revolutionary War apothecaries and officers of the Civil War Ambulance Corps evolved into the World War I Sanitary Corps which was established on June 30, 1917.
The Sanitary Corps was demobilized following the war, but during the inter-war years, it became clear that the Army needed a permanent medical ancillary organization. This led to the establishment of the Medical Administrative Corps (MAC) on June 4, 1920. Growth in World War II was spectacular. The MAC increased from less than 100 officers in 1939 to over 22,000 in 1945. These officers freed physicians for patient care responsibilities by occupying an expanding variety of positions. These positions included replacement of the second physician in maneuver battalions.
A third precursor, the Pharmacy Corps, was established as a Regular Army branch on 12 July 1943. Finally on 4 August 1947, the Sanitary, Administrative and Pharmacy Corps were replaced by the Medical Service Corps consisting of four sections: Pharmacy, Supply and Administration, Medical Allied Sciences, Sanitary Engineering and Optometry. MSC Battalion commanders in Korea remained in command as those units performed their combat missions upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1950. MSC aviators were assigned to the first helicopter evacuation detachments in Korea, units that presaged the revolutionary role of the helicopter ambulances. These MSC officers and their crews wrote a glorious chapter in Vietnam with the receipt of every award of valor including the Medal of Honor.
Today, MSCs provide administrative, clinical, scientific and leadership support to every Army Medical Department effort. They maintain the Armyís wartime medical capability through command of its field medical establishment. They operate what may be the most effective logistical system anywhere. In countless ways, the men and women of the Medical Service Corps are at the most forefront of the Army Medical Departmentís humanitarian role in national defense.
MG David A. Rubenstein with four of our former Corps Chiefs (May 14, 2009): BGs Jim Young, Bruce Miketinac, Mack Hill, and Rich Ursone.
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SCA Historian - Col Richard V. N. Ginn, U.S. Army Retired
Read In Their Own Words: The 498th in Iraq, 2003 edited by Colonel Richard V. N. Ginn
U.S. Army Medical Service Corps — Corps Chiefs
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