Story by Greg Mitchell, USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Service members from U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka took time out to commemorate the 145th Medical Corps Birthday during a cake cutting ceremony held at the hospital quarterdeck March 4.
March 4 marks 145 years of faithful and dedicated service by the Medical Corps. Since 1871, when the 41st Congress enacted the Appropriations Act which established the Medical Corps as a separate entity and as a Staff Corps, the medical corps has been one of the most key essential parts of the United States Navy service.
“It is a tradition in our Navy that we celebrate the community’s birthdays that contribute to making our Navy the finest in the world,” said Capt. Glen Crawford, commander, USNH Yokosuka. “Navy Medical Corps has been around for 145 years although medical men have served on ships for as long as our nation has been in existence.”
Crawford’s brief message was followed by the hospital’s corps chiefs reading of messages from Chief, Navy Medical Corps, Rear Adm. (Sel.) Paul Pearigen; Director, Navy Nurse Corps, Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle; Chief, Navy Dental Corps, Rear Adm. Stephen Pachuta; Director, Navy Medical Service Corps, Rear Adm. (Sel.) Anne Swap and Director, Navy Hospital Corps, Force Master Chief, Terry Prince.
Senior Medical Corps officer, Capt. Jacky Cheng had the honor of reading the final message, which was that of the U.S. Navy Surgeon General, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III. Faison spoke of the medical corps unwavering efforts over the past 145 years to provide the very best care the nation can offer to those both service members and their families who have sacrificed to defend the freedom of the United States.
“Today, Navy physicians serve around the world in support of combat operations, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions, and in our military treatment facilities,” said Faision. “They serve at sea, above the sea, under the sea, with the Marine Corps, with Special Operations, in our hospitals and clinics, in our research labs, our training programs, and a host of other locations where Navy Medicine has the watch. Wherever they are needed, the physicians of the Navy Medical Corps are there to save lives and honor the trust placed in our hands that we will do all in our power to safely return home America’s sons and daughters.”
While mentioning the origins of the medical corps and some of their medical milestones such as the first to use blood plasma in field surgery, as well as the first to use penicillin for treatment of gas gangrene, pneumonia, and local infections, Faison continued to state that in the future, the Medical Corps will pave the way in areas such as biomedical research, medical education and training, and patient care.
“With unprecedented board certification rates, our Navy physicians remain ready and capable to care for those entrusted to our care,” said Faison. “They serve, often at great sacrifice, to care for those entrusted to us when they need us most. Because of them and the entire Navy Medicine team, families around our nation sleep soundly knowing that Navy Medicine is on duty.”
Faision concluded his message with a closing quote of appreciation.
“To everyone serving in our Medical Corps, I want to thank you for your sacrifice, your steadfast dedication, compassion, and selfless service as you care for those who need us most. Happy 145th Birthday!”
The ceremony concluded with Cheng and USNH Yokosuka Emergency Room Physician, Lt. Matthew Smith, cutting the honorary birthday cake together as a symbol of unity of purpose.
U.S. Navy Medicine is a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.