Navy Medicine Features

Remembering the “33”: Looking Back at Navy Cross Corpsmen of Vietnam

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED Petty Officer Third Class William Barber deployed to Vietnam in June 1968, a little less than two years after enlisting in the Navy.  When arriving in theater he was assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.  Months into his deployment, his unit was tasked with securing an abandoned landing zone …

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Navy Medicine and the Investigation on Thompson’s Island, 1823

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED When the United States acquired the Spanish colony of Florida in 1821, Key West was nothing more than a sleepy fishing village known originally known as Cayo Huesa (“Bone Reef”). Seeing the strategic value of the property, the Navy took control over Key West in March 1822 and renamed it “Thompson’s Island” in honor …

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Eleven Years in Kandahar: The Life and Legacy of the NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit, 2009-2020

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED Communications For nearly 15 years, the NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit (MMU) has served as the premier trauma and casualty receiving center in Afghanistan. And for 11 of those years, the U.S. Navy has stood at its helm. In September 2020, the U.S. Navy relinquished command of the Role III, ending a storied …

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President Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Rixey and the Brownson Affair of December 1907

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED On Christmas Eve 1907, Rear Adm. Willard Brownson, Chief of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Navigation, submitted his resignation to President Theodore Roosevelt in protest against the president’s controversial decision granting medical officers full domain and command over naval hospital ships. Sometimes known as the “Brownson Affair,” the president’s action would slice into heart …

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A Look Back at Naval Hospital Harriman, the Navy’s First Convalescent Hospital

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED On November 16, 1942, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) commissioned Naval Hospital Harriman. Formerly known as Arden House, the facility  had been the ancestral home of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, and later governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman. In August 1942, Harriman offered his home to the U.S. Navy for …

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