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U.S. Army Medical Service Corps: supporting the Army since 1917

By Wesley Elliott | U.S. Army Medical Command Public Affairs | June 30, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The U.S. Army Medical Service Corps was formally established in 1947, however, corps officers celebrate the anniversary of their corps on June 30, 1917.

The Medical Service Corps began with the appointment of an Apothecary General during the American Revolution and continued with the establishment of an Ambulance Corps and U.S. Army Medical Storekeepers during the Civil War.

The anniversary comes from World War I, where the requirement for officers who were neither physicians, dentists, nor veterinarians resulted in the June 30, 1917 formation called the Sanitary Corps.”

This corps modernized the Medical Department with officers in a wide variety of 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. Positions included hospital command and sanitation detachments, motorized ambulance companies, and hospital trains.

After the war, the Sanitary Corps remained a component of the Army Reserve until 1947 when Congress consolidated it with the Medical Administrative Corps and the Pharmacy Corps to create the Medical Service Corps.

The unbroken chain, from present day to June 30, 1917, links the Sanitary Corps as the oldest direct antecedent of the Medical Service Corps and serves as the cause for the date.