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AMEDD Museum upgrades honor legacy and contributions of Army medical community

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | June 11, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The stories and contributions of Medal of Honor recipients in Army Medicine are included in upgraded exhibits at the U.S. Army Medical Department, or AMEDD, Museum located at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

George Wunderlich, AMEDD Museum director, is hoping an exhibit area dedicated to the 52 Medal of Honor recipients who served in AMEDD will be completed and open to public viewing by June 15.

The new exhibit for the Medal of Honor recipients will be placed on a wall in the main hallway and foyer of the museum.

Wunderlich said the Medal of Honor exhibit was moved from another part of the museum to the foyer to grab the attention of visitors and AMEDD students who do part of their training at the museum.

“These Medal of Honor recipients exemplify that Army value of honor, selfless service, personal courage, duty and loyalty,” he said. “We are putting them in the hall to inspire people and remind them of what others have done to live the Army values and save lives.”

The exhibit includes the photos of the Medal of Honor recipients, brief biographical information and citations. Wunderlich said the new exhibit has an improved modern design that is more compelling than the old Medal of Honor display.

The number of Medal of Honor recipients who served in AMEDD – 52 – is the second highest in the Army behind the infantry, according to Wunderlich.

“This is part of our identity and we wanted to showcase their contributions in a prominent and accessible way,” Wunderlich said.

The exhibit design includes three panels in navy blue that represent the Medal of Honor ribbon pinned on the dress uniform of the medal recipient. Each Medal of Honor display has a photo of and text of the recipient that is protected by Lucite, a solid transparent plastic that will make it easier for museum visitors to read.

Citations for the Medal of Honor recipients are displayed in two books in front of the exhibit.

Christopher Goodrow and Angelique Kelley, museum specialists for the AMEDD Center of History and Heritage located in the museum, designed and put the exhibit together.

Other upgraded exhibits at the museum include the Command Sgt. Major Jack Clark Jr. Best Medic Award competition and plaque, named in honor of the former command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Health Services Command and awarded to the medic team that wins an annual competition of medics from AMEDD; and on two symbols associated with Army medicine – the caduceus and the Geneva cross.

All three new exhibits are displayed in the main hallway and foyer of the museum. The Command Sgt. Major Jack Clark Jr. Best Medic Award had been displayed in the hallway in a smaller case, which made it less noticeable to the public. The improved exhibit includes a bigger case display made of dark oak wood that contains the award trophy and plaque, a photograph of Clark, and new labeling.

The exhibits for both the caduceus and Geneva cross symbols are displayed in new and secure custom fitted cases.  The caduceus is the traditional symbol of the Greek god Hermes and features two snakes around a winged staff. It has been part of the AMEDD uniform regulations since 1902.

The Geneva cross is a red Greek cross on a white background, identifying medical equipment and facilities, especially in conflict, as a sign of neutrality.

Wunderlich said the custom fitted cases for the Command Sgt. Major Jack Clark Jr. Best Medic Award and the two medical symbols are attached to the wall to give the displays a sense of permanency, provide for better security and more of a natural look. The exhibit cases, made of acrylic, also provide better protection of artifacts.

He said the exhibit cases were made by museum staff, which allowed the museum to develop displays that were specific to the needs of each artifact in a cost-effective way.

“We hope the new exhibits will bring people into the story of AMEDD,” Wunderlich said. “It is a new way to experience the story. We want people who are coming here for any purpose, whether they are a civilian, or they have a family member who is graduating from one of the AMEDD courses, or an active servicemember, to see the Army medicine symbols we use to identify ourselves and our service. It is a matter of pride, but it should also cause us to think how important all of our jobs are.”

The exhibit upgrades are part of several improvements that started last year at the museum. Those improvements include better lighting, a renovated activity room, a new sound system in the museum auditorium and new exhibit cases for holding objects and artifacts.

The cost for the museum upgrades is $500,000, which is being covered through donations from the AMEDD Museum Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the museum and its programs that cover the 200-year-plus history of AMEDD, from its founding in 1775 to the present.

The AMEDD Museum, located at the corner of Harry Wurzbach and Stanley Roads at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, is  free and open to both Department of Defense cardholders and the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Visitors who want to come to the museum but do not have DOD access to get into JBSA-Fort Sam Houston should refer to the JBSA website at http://www.jbsa.af.mil/library/visitorinformation.asp for base entry requirements.

Museum information is at http://ameddmuseum.amedd.army.mil/index.html. To contact the museum, call 210-221-6358.