By Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general, and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
The Medical Corps has come a long way since 1871 when the 41st Congress enacted the Naval Appropriations Act, establishing the Medical Corps as an official Navy Staff Corps.
Whether we look back 100 years, 50 years, or in recent years, we see Navy physicians making a difference to their craft, their patients and to future generations. Their achievements and innovation in naval medicine have made their mark on military and civilian health care across the globe. Over a hundred years ago, Navy Medicine sought to improve the way patients were transported in close confines aboard ships. Former Navy Surgeon General, Charles Stokes answered that call and developed a wire-basket stretcher, which is still in use today. Fifty years ago, Capt. George Bond pioneered the study of underwater habitats with a project called SEALAB, which helped advance the understanding of the strains our Sailors can endure while undersea. In more recent history, our Navy physicians pioneered the development of Forward Resuscitative Surgery Systems on the battlefield, saving countless lives and assisting in a survival rate unprecedented to past conflicts.
Our Medical Corps personnel are globally engaged. They provide the highest quality of care to those they serve whether it is on, above or below the sea, at home or overseas in far away lands. They meet the mission — from kinetic warfare to humanitarian assistance to research and development — anytime, anywhere.
The Medical Corps continues to pave new frontiers in biomedical research, medical education and training, and patient care delivery at our clinics, hospitals, aboard our afloat platforms, and in combat.
To the thousands of active duty and reserve Medical Corps Officers, I convey my deepest gratitude for your selfless service, your dedication to duty and your sacrifice in order to accomplish the mission and serve those who serve. I am so proud to be your shipmate and it is my honor to serve with you.