Army Enlisted Medical Corps marks 129 years

| March 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Enlisted Medical Corps Anniversary Large

Spc Pingyang Liu
Tripler Army Medical Center Behavioral Health

HONOLULU — The Army Enlisted Medical Corps celebrated its 129th anniversary, March 1.

For 129 years, the Army Enlisted Medical Corps has provided care and selfless service to Soldiers, retirees and family members on the home front and the battlefield.

Currently, more than 36,000 Soldiers are in the Enlisted Medical Corps, and the Soldiers are attached to one of 17 military occupational specialties.

A brief history of the Corps goes back to 1847, when the Army surgeon general asked Congress, several times, to authorize positions for hospital stewards. He said he would establish a formal school to train them; however, his requests were continuously turned down.

In 1851, the Army issued an addendum to the regulations for the uniform and dress of the Army that authorized a half chevron, consisting of a green background with yellow trim and a caduceus, to denote the rank of the hospital steward.

In 1856, the Congress authorized the Secretary of War to appoint as many hospital stewards as needed in the Army and mustered onto the hospital rolls as “noncommissioned officers.” This action permanently attached the stewards to the Medical Department.

Finally, on March 1, 1887, the Hospital Corps was established. New chevrons denoting the ranks of the hospital stewards were introduced, similar to the chevrons worn by all NCOs in the Army.

Hospital stewards wore full-sized chevrons that had three stripes below and one on top with a Red Cross in the center. Acting hospital stewards wore the same chevrons, except for the stripe on top, and Hospital Corps privates wore a white arm band with a red cross.

Since then, March 1st has been considered the anniversary of the Hospital Corps.

Army Enlisted Medical Corps Soldiers contribute to today’s overall 90 percent survivability rate for combat-injured service members and are an invaluable asset in the health care process. These individuals work tirelessly to keep Soldiers healthy.

The Tripler Army Medical Center Enlisted Medical Corps Soldiers assist command teams in maintaining readiness by delivering services that promote safety, access, self-reliance, resiliency and stability during war and peace.

(Editor’s note: Jim “Goose” Guzior, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs, contributed to this article. Liu works at TAMC’s Behavioral Health.)

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Category: Health, News

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