15 July 2016
U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Celebrates 99th Anniversary
Jenni Benson, USAG Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Medical Service Corps was formed in 1947, but those who wear the silver caduceus celebrated the 99th anniversary of the branch June 30. How can this be?

Dating back to the Revolutionary War the Army had personnel who prepared and dispensed drugs, and during the Civil War through World War I the Army Ambulance Corps and Sanitary Corps, that assisted doctors on the battlefield and in outposts around the world.

The Sanitary Corps, established on June 30, 1917, as a temporary part of the Medical Department, which freed physicians from administrative, technical and scientific duties. The Sanitary Corps included officers with administrative and scientific specialties, ranging from accounting, personnel, medical equipment repair, hospital design, medical supply, patient registrar, and adjutant; to bacteriology, parasitology, physiology, psychology, occupational therapy, sanitary engineering, x-ray, and nutrition. The officers commanded hospital and sanitation detachments, motorized ambulance companies and hospital trains.

Following World War I the Sanitary Corps was demobilized, the War Department transferred the Sanitary Corps to the Army Reserve where it stayed until Aug. 4, 1947. The Medical Administrative Corps was formed on June 4, 1920, and during World War II expanded from fewer than 100 officers in 1939 to over 22,000 by 1945.
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