LRMC commemorates milestone

Col. Bonnie J. DeMars
Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps

At a ceremony April 30, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Army Medical Specialist Corps.

Hospital commander Col. W. Bryan Gamble and Lt. Col. Bryan Boyea, chief of LRMC Physical Therapy, made remarks prior to cutting a birthday cake and launching a video that highlighted the Corps’ unique history.

***image1***One of six corps underneath the Army Medical Department umbrella, the Medical Specialists Corps began in 1917 when the Army Surgeon General sponsored an Executive Order that authorized the Civil Service Commission to employ physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and “dietists” as civilian employees leading up to the end of World War I.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that Congress passed Public Law 828, authorizing dietitians and physical therapists to receive military status with relative rank in the Medical Department for the duration of the war. After World War II, the contributions of the occupational therapists, physical therapists and dietitians were also recognized by civilian and other governmental agencies.

“It’s hard to imagine today’s military operating without the Army Medical Specialist Corps,” said Lt. Col. Laurie Sweet, LRMC Nutrition Care Division. “AMSC leaders in the 20th century made great strides in establishing each of the four specialties as integral parts of the Army Medical Department.”

Each specialty has since been deemed indispensable to the efficient and effective operation of Army hospitals across the nation and throughout the world.

The commissioning of male medical specialists in 1955 necessitated a change in the Corps’ name and insignia. Thus, the Corps was renamed as the Army Medical Specialist Corps and the insignia was changed to a gold caduceus with a black “S.” In 1992, physician assistants were commissioned into the Army Medical Specialist Corps.

Today the Corps serves in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and at home in the United States.