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Medical Service Corps celebrates 100th Anniversary with MEDEVAC demonstration

By Jose Rodriguez | AMEDD Center and School, Army Health Readiness Center of Excellence Public Affairs | July 03, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --

A service member injured in combat currently has a 92 percent survival rate, due in large part to the ability of quickly treating injuries and evacuating the wounded within an hour.

The U.S. Army Medical Service Corps demonstrated that capability at a ceremony honoring their 100th anniversary at the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston parade field June 30, giving the public an up-close view of a medical evacuation, or MEDEVAC, in action.

A UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter, flown by Soldiers from the 2-227th Aviation Regiment out of Fort Hood, along with Soldiers from the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Training Support Activity and the Army Medical Department Non Commissioned Officer Academy participated in the event.

Maj. Gen. Patrick D. Sargent, deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Army Medical Command and Chief of the Medical Service Corps, was the host.

The demonstration began with a transport convey hitting an improvised explosive device then undergoing enemy fire by soldiers playing the role of the opposing force. Once attacked combat medics quickly defended and treated the wounded. After stabilizing the patient combat medics called for a MEDEVAC to transport the injured to a forward field hospital.

While the helicopter was the star of the demonstration, UH-60 pilot Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Jeurissen is the first to say that saving lives is a team effort.

“There is no one particular element that is more important than the rest. Without one of those links in the chain we can’t work together,” Jeurissen said.

His comments were echoed by Sgt. 1st Class Ashley Gilbert, a combat medic who treated and loaded a simulated injured Soldier onto the waiting helicopter.

“Getting a patient onto that aircraft then getting them out of the area is vital to the sustainment of our warfighters,” Gilbert said, as she described her experience in medically transporting the injured.

The MEDEVAC mission is just a part the Medical Service Corps that also provides administration, pharmacy, social work and research.

The Army Medical Service Corps traces its history back to the U.S. Revolutionary War with the appointment of an Apothecary General and continued during the Civil War with establishment of an Ambulance Corps and U.S. Army Medical Storekeepers.

In World War I, the requirement for a considerable number of officers who were neither physicians, dentists nor veterinarians, resulted in formation on June 30, 1917 of the Sanitary Corps. This corps modernized the Medical Department with officers in a wide variety of administrative and scientific specialties.

The unbroken chain, from June 30, 1917 to June 30, 2017, links the Sanitary Corps as the oldest direct antecedent of the MSC.

The Medical Service Corps mission is to provide a diverse, competent and multidisciplinary team of professionals who strengthen the Military Health System through responsive and reliable clinical, scientific and administrative services.

The MSC has two missions. First, it provides administrative officers the opportunity to manage various aspects of combat health support. Second, the MSC provides allied science officers who directly impact the health of Soldiers serving in the U.S. Army, as well as their families.

Most lieutenants will be initially branched as a health services officer to serve as a medical platoon leader, which may lead to various positions such as company executive officer and company commander.

AMEDDC&S Training Support Activity Army Medical Department Non Commissioned Offers Academy Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston MEDEVAC