On behalf of the entire Navy Medicine family, it is my privilege and honor to congratulate our Navy Medical Corps as they celebrate 146 years of service, providing the very best care our nation can offer to those who have sacrificed to defend our freedom.
Since its establishment on March 3, 1871, the medical corps has been at the helm of Navy and Marine Corps health care, pioneering advances in medical technology, practice, and policy. The steadfast commitment of our nations most dedicated doctors has ensured our time-honored tradition of service to our sailors, marines and their families stationed around the world.
100 years ago, the United States entered World War I. As we faced the new realities of trench and chemical warfare Navy physicians were amongst the first to combat trench foot, mustard gas, and shell- shock. They developed novel approaches and pushed to the front lines in support of the war effort.
One year later, at the battle of Belleau Wood, Dr. Orlando H. Petty earned the Medal of Honor. Undaunted by the destruction of his aid station and even after his mask was rendered ineffective by an exploding gas shell, Lt. Petty threw himself into the direct care and evacuation of his patients, saving the lives of many, including a captain Lloyd W. Williams who would become a Marine Corps legend who became famous for his quote “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”.
Today, Navy physicians serve around the world in support of combat operations, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions, and in our military treatment facilities. They serve at sea, above the sea, under the sea, with the Marine Corps, with special operations, in our hospitals and clinics, in our research labs, our training programs, and a host of other locations where Navy Medicine has the watch
Wherever they are needed, the physicians of the Navy Medical corps are there to save lives and honor the trust placed in our hands that we will do all in our power to safely return home America’s sons and daughters.
As we look to the future, the medical corps is paving the way in operational medicine, contingency planning, patient care, biomedical research, education and training beyond the Hippocratic Oath. Our Medical Corps officers have sworn to uphold and defend the constitution; alongside our warfighters, they serve with corpsman and fellow health care professionals to care for those entrusted to us when they need us most. Because of them and the entire Navy Medicine team, families around our nation sleep soundly knowing that Navy Medicine has the watch.
To everyone serving in our Medical Corps, I want to thank you for your sacrifice, your steadfast dedication, compassion, and selfless service as you care for those who need us most.
Happy 146th Birthday!
FORREST FAISON III, Surgeon General