A Look Back

Historical Notes from Navy Dentistry’s First Year

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED On August 22, 1912, President William Taft signed into law an act creating a formal corps of uniformed dentists in the U.S. Navy.  This date did not mark the beginning of dental care in the Navy, but rather the formal establishment of a professional community of trained uniformed dentists. Some form of dental care had …

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The Sailor’s Diet of 1862

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED On July 25, 1862, following reports of sickness and low morale, Fleet Surgeon William Maxwell Wood was ordered by the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to conduct a medical and sanitary inspection of the James River Flotilla.[i]  Fleet Surgeon William Maxwell Wood Travelling aboard the steamer USS Satellite, Wood visited the principal vessels …

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Building Corpsmen Culture: The Early Years of the Hospital Corps School

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED Students at the Hospital Corps School Newport, ca 1914 For almost as long as there has been a Hospital Corps there has existed a school charged with imparting the values, traditions and requisite tools to prospective corpsmen.  On June 18, 1914, the Navy established the Hospital Corps School at the Naval Training Station in …

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The Navy’s Fight against Scurvy

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Scurvy patient, ca 1842. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine Few diseases have been more synonymous with sailors than scurvy.   From the dawn of time scurvy has been described as the “Black Death of the sea,” and was once even as deadly as smallpox. Yet years after the British …

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Beyond Heroism: Hospital Corpsmen and the Battle for Iwo Jima

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Arthur C. Clayton administers a blood plasma injection to a wounded Leatherneck, Feb 1945. At 0900 on February 19th, 1945, the first assault waves from the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions hit the beaches of Iwo Jima.[i]  Embedded within these units were corpsmen like Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class …

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