By Kirk Frady, MEDCOM Public AffairsMarch 4, 2013
"Congratulations to our enlisted medical Soldiers as we celebrate 126 years of faithful service. Without hesitation, our enlisted corps provide quality medical care to our injured, ill and wounded in times of need. They are always there when our nation calls. Ready to respond at a moment's notice, 365 days a year. They are the backbone of Army Medicine." - Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock
The Army Medical Enlisted Corps celebrates 126 years of faithful service to the Army and our nation on March 1. Today, there are more than 36,000 enlisted medical Soldiers serving proudly in 17 different Military Occupational Specialties (MOS's) at home and abroad.
"As Army Medicine transforms to a system for Health, our medics stay on top of the latest and greatest innovations to help our force stay healthy and Army Strong," said Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock, U.S. Army Medical Command & senior enlisted advisor to The Surgeon General.
"Army medical enlisted Soldiers are at the tip of the spear when it comes to providing patient-centered care and play a major role in helping the Army Surgeon General transform Army Medicine from a healthcare system to a system for health," said Brock.
America's Army -- Our Profession
As part of the CY13 "America's Army -- Our Profession" campaign, Army enlisted medical Soldiers will reaffirm their understanding of themselves as Army professionals, to recommit to a culture of service, and identify with the Army ethic and culture.
While the Army Medical Enlisted Corps was formally established as the Hospital Corps on March 1, 1887, their history dates back to the Revolutionary War.
At the outbreak of the war, medical support was hampered not only by the limited availability of trained medical personnel, but the lack of adequate medicine and equipment. Insufficient care of the wounded and lack of treatment and prevention of the diseases that ravaged the Army caused Washington to address the issue of medical care with Congress.
Finally, on July 27, 1775, Congress authorized the establishment of a Medical Service. This date is known as the Anniversary of the Army Medical Department. This important step made provisions for a Director General and Chief Physician (Surgeon General), four surgeons, one apothecary, 20 surgeon's mates, one clerk and two storekeepers. It also provided one nurse to every 10 sick, and laborers as needed.
Today's Medical Enlisted Soldier
Today's enlisted medical Soldiers are some of the most skilled and technically proficient Soldiers on today's battlefield. The advanced medical training they receive during advanced individual training and follow-on schools allows them to not only save the lives of their fellow Soldiers on the battlefield, but the lives of non-combatants as well.
As a result of their specialized training, recent medical innovations and rapid response times of Army Medevac helicopters (Dustoff), the survival rate on today's battlefield is one of the highest in the history of Army Medicine -- 98%.
Today's Army medics are now required to pass the civilian National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)-Basic examination, the entry-level civilian certification. "Whiskey training" then follows, where medics are taught the principles and techniques of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC). These skills are then assessed at the end of their four months of training in a sophisticated 16-day field experience that incorporates mounted and dismounted patrolling, urban operations, and forward operating base and aid station operations.
Initial entry medic training is now, for the first time, under the supervision of emergency medicine physicians with subspecialty training in EMS. This enables the latest pre-hospital medical innovations, training techniques, and research to be rapidly incorporated into medic training. Army medics are better trained in providing point-of-injury battlefield care today than at any time in history.
Not only do enlisted medical Soldiers save lives, many have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. As of September 2011, 163 combat medics have given their lives during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Since the Civil War, a total of 52 Soldiers have earned the Medal of Honor while serving with the
U. S. Army Medical Department.