JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center and the Army Institute of Surgical Research celebrated the 118th birthday of the Army Nurse Corps a day early, Feb. 1, by paying tribute to the contributions of Army nurses throughout history.Army Col. Michael Ludwig, BAMC chief nursing officer, welcomed everyone to the celebration. He also emphasized the Army Nurse Corps theme, "Anywhere, anytime, always ready.""We truly are an integrated force here at BAMC," he said, highlighting BAMC's joint environment.Army Maj. Deanna Hutchings presented the history of the Army Nurse Corps as nurses dressed in period uniforms showed how the uniform changed over the years.Army Lt. Col. Jodelle Schroeder, ISR chief nursing officer, introduced the guest speaker Army Col. John Melvin, chief nurse and chief of clinical operations, U.S. Army Forces Command.Melvin addressed the continuing need for Army nurses within the operational force. "That's where we have been and that's where we are going," he said."The bottom line is, since our establishment on Feb. 2, 1901, and even before that, we have been providing exceptional nursing care to Soldiers on the battlefield," Melvin said. "We continue to do that today."Melvin highlighted some famous nurses including Molly Pitcher, Clara Barton and many others throughout American history. He also touched on how the military has evolved over time and some of the lessons learned during each conflict."You have to fight the fight as a total Army if you want to win the fight," he said. "That's the medical fight as well, because our job is really to conserve the fighting strength."Melvin also highlighted some of the changes the National Defense Authorization Act will bring to military medicine and provided an overview of FORSCOM."This is a great opportunity for Army Nurse Corps officers to get into the operational force so that they can learn that operational art," Melvin said. "It's really all about doing medicine the way we are supposed to do it, which is focused on the Soldier.""This is a great time to be a nurse and a great time to be a Soldier," he added.