Col. (Dr.) Kirby Gross, Acting Commander, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, left, Sgt. Maj. Quinton Rice Jr., right, cut a ceremonial cake March 2 with the oldest and youngest USAISR Soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mason, second from left and Pfc. Andres Penagosnino to celebrate the Army’s Hospital Corps 128th birthday.
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
27 FEBRUARY 2015
The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) staff at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas celebrated the Army’s Hospital Corps 128th birthday March 2 with the reading of the original general order and a cake cutting ceremony hosted by USAISR Sgt. Maj. Quinton Rice Jr. Rice stressed that this ceremony is important because it serves as reminders of the Hospital Corps long-standing proud and distinguished history and traditions.
“A lot of Soldiers don’t know about the Hospital Corps history,” said Rice. “As Army Medicine Soldiers, we need to know where our roots come from because just like in the past, we’re all cream of the crop Soldiers and our attitude should be that of servitude.”
General Order 29, issued on March 1, 1887 established the Hospital Corps and a new chevron for hospital stewards to wear that was similar to the ones worn by all Army noncommissioned officers. Hospital stewards, up until then, were Soldiers detailed from the line and had no official rank.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Johnson, a respiratory NCO at the USAISR Burn Center and Master of Ceremonies read the enduring history of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD), General Order 29 and the establishment of the Hospital Corps.
“The Hospital Corps of the United States Army shall consist of hospital stewards, acting hospital stewards, and privates; and all necessary hospital services in garrison, camp, or field (including ambulance service) shall be performed by the members thereof, who shall be regularly enlisted in the military service; said Corps shall be permanently attached to the Medical Department, and shall not be included in the effective strength of the Army nor counted as a part of the enlisted force provided by law,” read Johnson from General Order 29.
General Order 29 further stated “that the Secretary of War is empowered to appoint as many hospital stewards as, in his judgment, the service may require; but not more than one hospital steward shall be stationed at any post or place without ‘special authority’ of the Secretary of War.”
Since 1887, hundreds of thousands of Soldiers have proudly served in the Hospital Corps and Rice added that he’s honored to be a member of the Army’s most premier corps.
“Army Medicine continues to select the best Soldiers to serve in its ranks,” said Rice. “A lot of our Soldiers have college degrees and certifications not needed in other fields of the Army. We should always remember that we are part of the best enlisted corps and should live the Army Medicine motto: Serving to Heal…Honored to Serve.”