***image1*** At Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, doctors receive most of the glory for their role in caring for servicemembers. There is another group of officers, who don’t wield a scalpel, but their role is just as significant to mission success.
The Medical Service Corps celebrates its 88th birthday Thursday with a luncheon, slideshow and guest speakers in the Landstuhl Dining Facility. The birthday celebration will recognize the vital part the corps plays in the Landstuhl mission.
“The (corps) is the glue that holds the Army Medical Department together,” said Maj. Mark Probus, a Landstuhl medical logistics officer by trade, now serving as the executive officer of outlying clinics. “We hold the doctors, nurses and medical specialists together administratively, logistically and in flight. Everything that is not a clinical practice is overseen by the Medical Service Corps.”
Corps officers can be recognized by their branch insignia on their left lapel. Theirs is the only one with a silver caduceus (snake). Doctors sport a gold one.
Major Probus, a Kentucky native who enlisted as a private in 1987, served as a unit supply specialist with the 25th Infantry Division before receiving a green to gold scholarship to become an officer. He said that joining the ranks of the corps was an easy decision.
“I wanted to contribute my talents to what I saw as a most noble vocation – health care and humanitarianism,” he said. “To restore the sick and wounded back to good health and conserve the fighting strength.”
In addition to administration, it is the responsibility of the corps to receive, store and distribute medical material, blood and blood products. The corps oversees optical fabrication in the field and the maintenance of all medical equipment.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of this job is putting the right equipment in to the right hands at the right time, because that saves lives,” he said.
Major Probus has deployed to Bosnia and Iraq, and served at Landstuhl and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“I think it’s important for officers to have a good balance between medical treatment facilities and go-to-war-units,” he said. “You need to experience both to really understand how the Army Medical Service Corps operates.”