JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, formally established by an Act of Congress June 3, 1916, celebrated its 106th anniversary with a ceremony at the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum amphitheater at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston June 3.
Veterinary Corps and Veterinary Service personnel from the past and present came together to reflect on their history and celebrate the Veterinary Corps. A review of the Corps’ history was presented by Army Medical Department historian Andy Watson.
While the Veterinary Corps was made official in 1916, the recognition of the need for veterinary expertise began in 1776 when Gen. George Washington of the Continental Army directed that a "regiment of horses with a farrier" be raised.
In 1916, the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was formally established. However, recognition of the need for veterinary expertise had been evolving since 1776 when General George Washington directed the raising of a "regiment of horse with a farrier."
During the Civil War, the War Department general orders provided each cavalry regiment with a veterinary surgeon. The Spanish-American War further raised awareness for human and animal health.
During the Civil War, the War Department provided each cavalry regiment with a veterinary surgeon in the rank of regimental sergeant major and pay of $75 a month.
During the Spanish-American War, veterinarians were used to inspect meat, poultry and dairy products destined for frontier posts.
The early veterinary corps was located in the old veterinary hospital on then-Fort Sam Houston. At that time, it was made up of various contract veterinary surgeons, physicians and dentists who received $100 a month.
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps now provides service to more than 400 installations around the world. Veterinary officers, Reservists, enlisted and civilian personnel provide myriad functions, such as food safety and security, animal care, veterinary public health and research and development.
Today, the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps are professionals with military, public health and specialty skill sets rarely found in the private sector. These highly trained specialists have a unique role in the nation's defense strategy. U.S. Army veterinarians ensure the strength of veterinary public health capabilities through veterinary medical and surgical care, food safety, and biomedical research and development.