By Phil Reidinger (Fort Sam Houston)March 6, 2009
(FORT SAM HOUSTON - Texas ) -- Army Medical Department officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians met at the Army Medical Department museum Feb.27 to celebrate the anniversary of the Hospital Corps.
The ArmyAca,!a,,cs Hospital Corps was formally established on March 1, 1887. General Order 29 published in April 1887 stated Aca,!A"the Hospital Corps of the U.S. Army shall consist of hospital stewards, acting hospital stewards, and privates; and all necessary hospital services in garrison, camp, or field (including ambulance service) shall be performed by the members thereof, who shall be regularly enlisted in the military service; said Corps shall be permanently attached to the Medical Department, and shall not be included in the effective strength of the Army nor counted as a part of the enlisted force provided by law.Aca,!A?
General Order 29 further stated that the Secretary of War is empowered to appoint as many hospital stewards as, in his judgment, the service may require; but not more than one hospital steward shall be stationed at any post or place without special authority\' of the Secretary of War.
The General Order also established new chevrons denoting the ranks of the hospital stewards 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. Privates of the Hospital Corps wore the "white arm band with a Red Cross"
Guest speaker during the ceremony, U.S. Army Medical Command, Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon, noted that the 2009 Year of the NCO theme is celebrating and honoring the Army professional NCO traditions. Aca,!A"The focus of the theme is enhancing the education, fitness, leadership and pride of service of the NCO Corps,Aca,!A? she said. To reinforce teaching Army Medical Department Soldiers the basics and learning the roots and history of the enlisted corps, Dixon noted that the Army Medical Department is reissuing General Order 29 to all AMEDD enlisted medics.
The Army Medical Department NCO Corps traces its roots to July 17, 1776, when congress authorized the employment of hospital stewards or medical NCOs, which were the forerunners of the AMEDD NCO Corps.
In April 1777, a hospital steward medical NCO was allowed for every hundred sick or wounded. Their responsibilities were to receive, dispense and maintain accountability of articles of diet from the hospital commissary. Pay for the hospital steward was fixed at one dollar a day and two rations.
In March 1799, a hospital steward was authorized for each military hospital. While the Hospital Steward had no official rank in the Army and were soldiers detailed from the line, they played a key role in providing healthcare for the soldiers. They had to be able to read and write, and have some background in mathematics, chemistry or pharmacy. Few soldiers of this era had these abilities.
In 1856, Congress 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 General's annual report contained a recommendation that a "Hospital Corps" be formed of personnel trained in all aspects of medical support for field and garrison operations.
Sgt. Daniel Farrier, 2008 MEDCOM Soldier of the Year, who is a pharmacy technician, read the proclamation celebrating the establishment of the hospital corps prior to the official cake cutting.
Faculty member honored
During the Hospital Corps anniversary ceremony Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, AMEDD Center and School and Fort Sam Houston commander, presented Jan Aca,!A"CaseyAca,!A? Bond the Superior Civilian Service Award for his outstanding performance as program manager of the Center for Pre-Deployment Medicine, and previously as the Advanced Training branch, Department of Combat Medic Training.
Prior to the presentation Czerw said Bond represents the Army Medical Department team progressing from combat medic NCO, to Physician Assistant to serving today as a senior civilian faculty member.
Bond is the editor-in-chief of the first 68 Whiskey Combat Medic textbook. Bond led an NCO team that created the first Healthcare Specialist, 68W textbook. According to Lt. Col. (Dr.) Paul Mayer, Director, Department of Combat Medic Training, Aca,!A"The textbook improves the teaching methods and makes the process of developing the Combat Medic Soldier a more cohesive, insightful and active process. The textbook articulates the central organizing principles of Combat Medic competence and scope of practice. It will be used by 17,000 combat medics per year for recertification and 8,000 per year for initial entry training.Aca,!A?
As a subject matter expert in tactical casualty care, Bond developed the curriculum for the textbook revising training handouts; a collection of training tasks and lessons learned used in initial entry training and advanced noncommissioned officer training into a progressively linear training program improving training relevancy to the current operating environments Mayer noted.
The textbook also provides scenarios and situations that are tough, realistic, including the care under fire, and tactical combat casualty care components, he added.