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I. William P.C. Barton (1842-1844) William Paul Crillon Barton (1786-1846) was the first Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Although he was the first Chief BUMED, he was not the first Surgeon General, as that title was not established until 1871. Dr. Barton's many accomplishments as Chief include advocating increased sick bay spaces aboard ship, proposing higher physical standards for naval recruits, and standardizing medical supplies and equipment. Barton is known as the father of naval hospitals.
II. Thomas Harris (1844-1853) Thomas Harris (1784-1861) was a surgeon during the War of 1812, participating in the battle between USS Wasp and HMS Frolic. He also served with Stephen Decatur fighting the Barbary pirates. Dr. Harris organized and conducted a medical postgraduate school in Philadelphia, the first American school to provide instruction in naval medicine and the precursor of the Naval Medical School. As the second Chief BUMED, Dr. Harris encouraged high standards for physicians admitted to the Navy, and helped systematize the production and procurement of drugs and dressings for the Medical Department.
III. William Whelan (1853-1865) William Whelan (1808-1865) was commissioned a surgeon's mate in the Navy in 1828. He later became Fleet Surgeon of the Mediterranean Squadron and also served aboard the USS Falmouth in the Pacific. Appointed Chief BUMED in 1853, he served until 1865, the longest tenure of anyone occupying that position before or since. He directed the Medical Department through the Civil War during which several new naval hospitals were commissioned as well as the Red Rover, the first U.S. Navy hospital ship. Dr. Whelan died in office.
IV. Phineas J. Horwitz (1865-1869) Phineas Jonathan Horwitz (1822-1904) joined the Navy in 1847 during the Mexican War. Commended by Commodore M.C. Perry, he directed the temporary naval hospital at Tobasco, Mexico. Dr. Horwitz became Assistant Chief BUMED in 1859 serving in that office throughout the Civil War. He was appointed Chief BUMED in 1865 upon the death of William Whelan. After leaving the Bureau in 1869, Horwitz directed the Naval Hospital at Philadelphia, served at the Naval Asylum in that city, and acted as President of the Medical Examining Board. He became Medical Director (comparable to captain) in 1873.
V. William M. Wood (1869-1871) William Maxwell Wood (1809-1880) was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the Navy in 1829. After a colorful and varied service, Dr. Wood served as Fleet Surgeon for a blockading squadron during the Civil War. President Grant appointed him Chief BUMED in 1869. During Wood's administration, the Naval Appropriations Act of 3 March 1871 was passed grouping medical officers in a separate and distinct staff corps with grades established by law. This act also prescribed the title of Surgeon General, which Dr. Wood assumed, along with the rank of commodore. Surgeons General of the U.S. Navy
1. William M. Wood (1869-1871)
2. Jonathan M. Foltz (1871-1872) Jonathan Messersmith Foltz (1810-1877) was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the Navy in 1830. After seeing action aboard USS Potomac in the East Indies, he became a friend and advisor to President James Buchanan. Dr. Foltz served as Fleet Surgeon with Admiral Farragut during the Civil War and took part in the Mississippi River campaign which saw the capture of New Orleans and the fall of Vicksburg. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1871, serving until 1872.
3. James C. Palmer (1872-1873) James Croxall Palmer (1811-1883) joined the Navy in 1834. He served as assistant surgeon first aboard USS Brandywine and then USS Vincennes during its circumnavigation of the globe. He accompanied the Wilkes Exploring Expedition to the Antarctic (1838-1842). He later was surgeon aboard USS Niagara when that vessel helped lay the first Atlantic Cable. During the Civil War Dr. Palmer was Fleet Surgeon of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and was with Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay. He became Surgeon General in 1872 and served until his retirement a year later.
4. Joseph Beale (1873-1877) Joseph Beale (1814-1889) was appointed an assistant surgeon in the Navy in 1837. After serving aboard USS John Adams in the suppression of the slave trade on the African coast, he was promoted to surgeon. He saw action in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and the Mississippi River campaign during the Civil War. Following the war, Dr. Beale became Fleet Surgeon of the Asiatic Squadron. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1873, and during his tenure a volume of Sanitary and Medical Reports was published, a document that later evolved into the Annual Reports of the Surgeon General.
5. William Grier (1877-1878) William Grier (1818-1911) emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland as a child, and was appointed assistant surgeon at age 20 in 1838. He first served at sea aboard USS Cyane, at the Naval Hospital in Brooklyn, and then with the North Pacific Squadron. During the Civil War Dr. Grier was attached to several vessels and a temporary naval hospital at Memphis, TN. He became Surgeon General in 1877 and retired in 1878. His 93-year life span witnessed every administration from President Monroe to President Taft, the railroad, telegraph, telephone, steam propulsion, and the transition from wood and sail to the all steel Navy.
6. J. Winthrop Taylor (1878-1879) J. Winthrop Taylor (1817-1880) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1838. During his early naval career he served at sea and was promoted to surgeon in 1852. During the Civil War he participated in Farragut's capture of New Orleans and was involved in the Mississippi River campaign. He became Surgeon General in 1878, a post he held for 10 months. During his administration, Dr. Taylor succeeded in getting a bill through Congress appointing apothecaries as warrant officers in the Navy. He also sponsored a study of the Navy ration, and developed a revised book of instructions for medical officers, the forerunner of the Manual of the Medical Department.
7. Philip S. Wales (1879-1884) Philip S. Wales (1834-1906) became an assistant surgeon in 1856 and was assigned to the East India Squadron. During the Civil War he saw duty aboard two warships and at the Norfolk Naval Hospital. Dr. Wales became Surgeon General in 1879. He founded the Museum of Naval Hygiene which, when later united with the naval laboratory and Department of Instruction, became the prototype of the Naval Medical School. During his term a subordinate embezzled Navy funds and Dr. Wales was court martialed and found guilty for "neglect of duty and culpable inefficiency in the performance of duty." Although SECNAV declared that no evidence existed of any corrupt act or motive on Wales' part, the unfortunate man lived out the rest of his years in disgrace.
8. Francis M. Gunnell (1884-1888) Francis M. Gunnell (1827-1922) was appointed assistant surgeon by President Zachary Taylor in1849. He served in the Pacific Squadron and, during the Civil War, was attached to the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons and to the Washington Naval Hospital. He became Surgeon General in 1884. During his term a naval hospital at Widows Island, ME, was commissioned which accommodated yellow fever patients until 1903. He retired from active duty in 1889, but performed special duty at BUMED for three months. He later came back for additional duty at age 80.
9. James M. Browne (1888-1893) James Mills Browne (1831-1893) became an assistant surgeon in 1853. His first duty was on a store ship in San Francisco and second duty was as the first medical officer at the Mare Island Navy Yard. He was later attached to the African Squadron engaged in suppression of the slave trade. As senior medical officer of USS Kearsarge, during the Civil War, Dr. Browne witnessed the sinking of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama. In 1883 he became the first director of the Naval Museum of Hygiene. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1888 and during his term the new steel Navy saw many innovations. Habitability became a top priority in the form of better ventilation, heating, lighting, berthing spaces, refrigeration, and larger improved sick bays.
10. James R. Tryon (1893-1897) James Rufus Tryon (1837-1912) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1863 and joined the West Gulf Squadron. Following the Civil War, he served as an assistant to the Surgeon General and on the Asiatic Station he supervised a smallpox hospital at Yokohama. He also directed construction of the Yokohama Naval Hospital in 1872. Dr. Tryon became Surgeon General in 1893. During his tenure he revived and renamed the Naval Laboratory and Department of Instruction. As a great visionary, Tryon emphasized hygiene and preventive medicine, advocated a medical supply depot, suggested establishment of a hospital corps, promoted construction of more hospitals, and proposed giving medical officers higher rank. Fulfillment of his progressive ideas came in later administrations.
11. Newton L. Bates (1 October 1897-18 October 1897) Newton L. Bates (1838-1897) joined the Navy in 1861 as an assistant surgeon. His first assignment was at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital followed by duty with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and later the Mississippi Squadron. He then served at the U.S. Naval Laboratory in New York, the forerunner of the Naval Laboratory and Department of Instruction, which respectively became the Naval Medical School (1902) and the Naval Medical Supply Depot (1906). Dr. Bates then had extensive sea duty and commanded the Naval Hospital in Yokohama. After serving at the Naval Museum of Hygiene, he became Surgeon General on 1 October 1888. Ill when appointed by his close personal friend, President McKinley, he died 17 days later.
12. William K. Van Reypen (1897-1902) William Knickerbocker Van Reypen (1840-1920) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1861. During the Civil War he served in the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. Later assignments included duty with the European Squadron and Asiatic Station, and service at the naval hospitals in Chelsea, Norfolk, Annapolis, and Brooklyn. He became Surgeon General in 1897 and led the Medical Department during the Spanish-American War. To serve the troops in Cuba, the hospital ship, USS Solace, originally the steamer SS Creole of the Cromwell line, was fitted out in 16 days. During Dr. Van Reypen's administration, the Hospital Corps (1898) and increased rank for medical officers came about as well as the commissioning of naval hospitals at Newport, RI, Sitka, AK, Port Royal, SC, and Cavite, PI.
13. Presley M. Rixey (1902-1910) Presley Marion Rixey (1852-1928) was commissioned an assistant surgeon in 1874. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1902 and his tenure was filled with achievements. New naval hospitals were built at Puget Sound, WA, Canacao, PI, Las Animas, CO, Great Lakes, IL, and Guam. Dr. Rixey doubled the size of the Medical Corps and moved the Naval Medical School to Washington in 1902. He sent officers abroad to study tropical medicine and to civilian institutions for specialized study. The Navy Nurse Corps was founded in 1908, and a second hospital ship USS Relief was fitted out to support President Theodore Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet" on its around-the-world cruise. He served Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt as personal physician and, as the latter's close confidante, had great influence on the political scene.
14. Charles F. Stokes (1910-1914) Charles Francis Stokes (1863-1931) joined the Navy in 1889 as an assistant surgeon. During the Spanish-American War he served as a surgeon on USS Solace, and later was professor of surgery at the Naval Medical School. As commander of the hospital ship USS Relief, the first medical officer ever to do so, he ignited a controversy that shook up the senior Navy leadership. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1910. He is best known for his invention of the Stokes stretcher, still in use, which proved of great value used in the close confines of ships. He raised the professional standards of the Medical Corps, instituted prophylaxis which practically ended typhoid in the Navy, planned and built the naval hospital at Pearl Harbor, and initiated planning for two new hospital ships USS Mercy and USS Relief.
15. William C. Braisted (1914-1920) William Clarence Braisted (1864-1941) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1890 and served at sea aboard several vessels before having shore duty at several naval hospitals and shore stations. Twice he was an instructor in surgery at the Naval Medical School. In 1906, as Assistant Chief BUMED, Dr. Braisted was in charge of reorganizing the Bureau. For a year, in the absence of the Surgeon General, he served as Attending Physician to President Roosevelt. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1914 and, during his tenure, was responsible for the establishment of special training schools for the Hospital Corps and the building of the hospital ship USS Relief, the only vessel ever designed as such.
16. Edward R. Stitt (1920-1928) Edward Rhodes Stitt (1867-1948) joined the Navy as an assistant surgeon in 1889. After several sea tours, he practiced medicine at the Norfolk Naval Hospital. After the U.S. became a colonial power acquiring several island possessions, Dr. Stitt made notable contributions to the field of tropical medicine. He later taught the subject at the newly founded Naval Medical School. He assumed command of the school and served there during World War I, and was awarded the Navy Cross for his exceptionally meritorious service. He became Surgeon General in 1920. During his term aviation medicine became a specialty. RADM Stitt's two textbooks, Practical Bacteriology, Hematology, and Animal Parasitology, and Diagnosis and Treatment of Tropical Diseases made him internationally renowned.
17. Charles E. Riggs (1928-1933) Charles Edward Riggs (1869-1963) entered the Navy as an assistant surgeon in 1898. First assigned to the Mare Island Hospital, he then served at sea and aboard a gunboat during the Spanish-American War. Dr. Riggs was then a medical officer with the Marine Guard at the American Legation in Peking, China, and he became Fleet Surgeon of the Atlantic Fleet in 1917. He was appointed Medical Officer in Command of the Washington Naval Hospital in 1927. Dr. Riggs became Surgeon General in 1929. His term was devoted to improved training, the building and renovation of hospitals, and the planning for a new naval medical center.
18. Percival S. Rossiter (1933-1938) Percival Sherer Rossiter (1874-1957) served in the Army in Cuba and the Philippines before joining the Navy as an assistant surgeon in 1903. After studying at the Naval Medical School he served in Honolulu, at the Naval Academy, and then in Tutuila, Samoa. Following duty afloat, he served in World War I at Base Hospital No. 2 in Scotland. Following the war, Dr. Rossiter was medical officer with the Marines in San Diego, and then Medical Member or the U.S. Naval Mission to Brazil. He was then in command of the Brooklyn Naval Hospital and later the Washington Naval Hospital until his appointment as Surgeon General in 1933. He was the first Surgeon General to accompany the Fleet on extensive maneuvers, and was instrumental in planning for the new National Naval Medical Center.
19. Ross T. McIntire (1938-1946) Ross T. McIntire (1889-1959) entered the Navy as an assistant surgeon in 1917. After serving aboard ship during the Allied intervention in the Bolshevik revolution, he was assigned to an overseas naval hospital, and also served on the USS Relief. He also saw duty at the Washington Naval Hospital. In 1933 he became White House physician, and in 1938 was appointed Surgeon General. With the outbreak of World War II, Dr. McIntire played a dual role. He had primary responsibility for the health of the President, traveling with him on diplomatic missions and military inspection trips. He also presided over the largest Navy Medical Department in history. VADM McIntire led over 175,000 physicians, dentists, nurses, and corpsmen in the war effort.
20. Clifford A. Swanson (1946-1951) Clifford Anders Swanson (1901-1984) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1925. He served in varied assignments at home, abroad, and aboard ship. While an instructor at the Naval Medical School, he researched night and color vision and the effects of pressure and oxygen consumption on the eye. During World War II, Dr. Swanson was senior medical officer on USS Iowa. As an operating surgeon at the National Naval Medical Center, Dr. Swanson performed pioneering eye surgery. He accompanied President Roosevelt to the Teheran Conference and was with the Congressional Committee that inspected the Pacific War area. He became Surgeon General in 1946. During his tenure he sponsored legislation that made the Nurse Corps a permanent staff Corps, and established the Medical Service Corps.
21. H. Lamont Pugh (1951-1955) Herbert Lamont Pugh (1895-1984) was commissioned a lieutenant (jg) in the Medical Corps in 1923. He progressed through the various grades and made a name for himself as a skilled surgeon and teacher. Following Pearl Harbor, Dr. Pugh went to Hawaii and was instrumental in treating many of the seriously injured from that attack. He was appointed Deputy Surgeon General in 1946 and was also commanding officer of the Naval Medical School. RADM Pugh became Surgeon General in 1951 during the height of the Korean War and was the first Surgeon General ever to visit an active war zone. Following his term, Dr. Pugh was Inspector General, Medical and commanding officer of the National Naval Medical Center. He authored an autobiography, Navy Surgeon in 1959.
23. Edward C. Kenney (1961-1965) Edward Christopher Kenney (1904-1983) was appointed assistant surgeon with the rank of lieutenant (jg) in 1929. He served at many naval stations, and on battleships, destroyers, at naval hospitals, and with the Marines. He participated in the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942 and was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. He participated in penicillin research during the early days of its clinical investigation. He then participated in the landings on Guam, Leyte, and Lingayen Gulf. Following the war, Dr. Kenney became commanding officer of the National Naval Medical Center. In 1959 he became Deputy and Assistant Chief BUMED and was appointed Surgeon General in 1961. During his term, RADM Kenney promoted advances in medical research and in submarine, aviation, and preventive medicine.
24. Robert B. Brown (1965-1969) Robert Bruce Brown (1908-1973) reported for active duty in 1942 and reported to Naval Hospital, Philadelphia. He served aboard USS Solace and reported in 1943 as Chief of Surgery at Naval Hospital, Annapolis. In 1945 he became Chief of Surgery aboard USS Tranquillity. During the Korean War he joined USS Repose. For his action, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He assumed command of Naval Hospital, Bethesda and, in 1962, became CO of the National Naval Medical Center. In 1964 Dr. Brown became Deputy and Assistant Chief BUMED. As Surgeon General, he oversaw the medical requirements supporting forces deployed to Vietnam. He also promoted medical research, critical training in critical specialties and combat medicine, and the construction of new and replacement medical facilities.
25. George M. Davis (1969-1973) George Monroe Davis (1916-2004) joined the Navy in 1939. During World War II, Dr. Davis participated in the battles for Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. During his post-war service, he was Chief of Medical Service at Naval Hospital, Annapolis and became Chief of Medicine aboard the hospital ship USS Haven during the Korean War. While CO of Naval Hospital, Bethesda, he also assumed command of the National Naval Medical Center. He became Deputy Surgeon General in 1968 and Surgeon General a year later. During his term, he managed the Medical Department during the latter stages of the Vietnam War, maintained the Department's support of wartime medical requirements, and increased support of health care for family and retirees. He also obtained flag rank for the Nurse Corps.
26. Donald L. Custis (1973-1976) Donald Lauren Custis (1917- ), after joining the Naval Reserve, came on active duty in 1944. As a junior medical officer aboard USS Clinton, Dr. Custis treated many kamikaze victims of the bloody Okinawa campaign. He left active service in 1946 and went into private practice. Dr. Custis returned to active duty in 1956 and had assignments to several naval hospitals. He went to Vietnam in 1969 as senior medical officer for U.S. Naval Support Activity Da Nang. He then assumed command of Naval Hospital, Bethesda. In 1973 he became Surgeon General. During his term he led the Medical Department through downsizing and military budget cutting following the war, expanded regionalization of medical and dental facilities, and was a strong proponent of graduate medical education and research.
27. Willard P. Arentzen (1976-1980) Willard Palmer Arentzen (1921- ), after joining the Navy, interned at Naval Hospital Chelsea. He then served at sea before being assigned to several naval hospitals. In 1968 he became commanding officer of the medical treatment facility aboard USS Sanctuary operating off Vietnam. Following Vietnam duty, Dr. Arentzen became CO of Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and then Naval Hospital, Portsmouth. Following duty as CO of Naval Regional Medical Center, San Diego, Dr. Arentzen became Surgeon General. During his term he oversaw studies on the hospital ship construction project, established BUMED's Contingency Planning Division, made major improvements in the Medical Department's training and assignment policies, and organized and supported the Navy's alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs.
28. J. William Cox (1980-1983) John William Cox (1928-2003) joined the Naval Reserve in 1954, interning at Naval Hospital San Diego. He then served at Naval Hospital, Subic Bay followed by a tour at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia. Dr. Cox went to BUMED in 1970 and took command of the Health Sciences Education and Training Command in 1974. He then became commanding officer of the Naval Regional Medical Center, San Diego. VADM Cox became Surgeon General in 1980. During his term he obtained flag rank approval for the Medical Service Corps, developed the fleet hospital and hospital ship concepts, and oversaw the reorganization of BUMED and the Medical Department into the Naval Medical Command.
29. Lewis H. Seaton (1983-1987) Lewis Hiram Seaton (1931-1995) joined the Navy in 1951. After training in radiobiology, he reported for submarine duty as Squadron Medical Officer for Submarine Squadron Five. Dr. Seaton was a member of USS Seadragon's precommissioning detail and was aboard during that vessel's historic 1960 polar cruise, when Seadragon became the first submarine to transit the North Pole submerged. He also served aboard the Navy's first nuclear carrier, USS Enterprise. Dr. Seaton assumed command of the Naval Submarine Medical Center at Groton, CT, in 1977. He then became Pacific Fleet Surgeon. He returned to Washington, DC, to head the Naval Medical Command and was appointed Surgeon General in 1983. In that office, he oversaw construction and delivery of two new hospital ships, USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort.
30. James A. Zimble (1987-1991) James Allen Zimble (1933-2011) joined the Navy in 1955, served his internship at Naval Hospital St. Albans, and then chose undersea medicine and submarine duty. After a tour aboard the fleet ballistic submarine USS John Marshall, Dr. Zimble acquired skills as obstetrician-gynecologist serving at several naval hospitals. He became CO of the Naval Regional Medical Center, Orlando in 1978, and Medical Officer of the Marine Corps in 1981. He then served as Fleet Surgeon for Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. During his term as Surgeon General, Dr. Zimble presided over the disestablishment of the Naval Medical Command and the return of BUMED, and managed the deployment of the hospital ships Mercy and Comfort, the Fleet Hospitals, and Medical Department personnel for the Gulf War.
31. Donald F. Hagen (1991-1995) Donald F. Hagen joined the Navy in 1964. He then served in Vietnam as a battalion surgeon with the Marines, aboard the hospital ship USS Repose, and as a surgeon in the Mekong Delta. Following a series of shore assignments at naval hospitals, Dr. Hagen became Commander of the National Naval Medical Center. As Surgeon General, his experience in operational medicine enabled the Medical Department to meet unprecedented demands for operational medical support for peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, and disaster relief. Navy medical personnel were deployed to Zagreb, Croatia, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort in support of Haitian migrants. VADM Hagen was instrumental in the implementation of advanced telemedicine throughout Navy medicine, and was an outspoken advocate of health promotion and disease prevention.
32. Harold M. Koenig (1995-1998) Harold Koenig, a native of Salinas, California, graduated high school in 1958. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Brigham Young University. He received his Medical Degree from Baylor University College of Medicine and was certified in general pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology. Vice Admiral Koenig has served as a general medical officer, residency training program director, department chairman, and director of medical services. In June 1984, he became executive officer of Naval Hospital Portsmouth, VA. From July 1985 through June 1987, he was commanding officer, Naval Hospital, San Diego, CA. He assumed command of Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command, Bethesda, MD in July 1987. His staff tours included positions as Director, Health Care Operations in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) for Health Services Operations. Vice Admiral Koenig served as Deputy Surgeon General of the Navy from 1994 to June 1995. Vice Admiral Koenig's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.
33. Richard A. Nelson (1998-2001) After entering the Navy in 1967, VADM Nelson spent a short time at Naval Hospital, Corpus Christi, Texas, then served as senior medical officer at the Naval Ammunition Depot, McAlester, Oklahoma. He also served as a medical officer at Naval Hospital, Bremerton, Washington, and Head of the Occupational Medicine Branch, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, DC. After an assignment with the Navy Environmental Health Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, he returned to Bremerton as the Director of Occupational and Environmental Health Services and Fleet Liaison Team coordinator for the Naval Regional Medical Center. His other assignments include commanding officer of the Navy Environmental Health Center in Norfolk; Director, Occupational Health and Preventive Medicine Division, and the Deputy Commander for Fleet Readiness and Support at the Naval Medical Command in Washington, DC; and Director of the Health Care Review Division for the Naval Inspector General in Washington, DC. From 1989-1991 he served as Commanding Officer, Naval Hospital, Bremerton. In 1991 he returned to Norfolk where he had three concurrent assignments as Fleet Surgeon, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Command Surgeon, U.S. Atlantic Command, and Medical Advisor, Supreme Allied Command Atlantic. While assigned as Commander, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California from 1993-98, Admiral Nelson also was the Lead Agent of TRICARE Region Nine.
34. Michael L. Cowan (2001-2004) Michael L. Cowan began his Navy career as a General Medical Officer at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 1971, and was promoted to flag rank while serving as Commanding Officer at the same hospital 25 years later. On 10 August 2001, VADM Cowan became the 34th Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He is considered the “father” of Force Health Protection and his efforts as leader of Navy medicine focused on reshaping fleet hospitals and their resources to make them flexible enough to go on location with today’s war fighters. As Surgeon General, VADM Cowan was known as a strong supporter for more physical fitness programs in DOD school systems, fighting America’s battle with growing child obesity rates. He also helped promote anti-smoking and smokeless tobacco cessation campaigns. Because of his support, Navy health providers focused on preventive medicine measures for Sailors and Marines, ensuring that they are healthy and fit for today’s mission, and tomorrow’s future.
35. Donald C. Arthur (2004-2007) Donald C. Arthur entered naval service in 1974 and attained his Doctor of Medicine degree from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He completed Navy training in Flight Surgery and Undersea Medicine, and a residency in emergency medicine. His diverse duty stations included clinical, operational and executive medicine positions. Following his Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM deployment with the Marine Corps Second Medical Battalion, he served as Director of Medical Programs for the U.S. Marine Corps. He was also Commanding Officer, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and Commander, National Naval Medical Center Bethesda and held the positions of Assistant Chief for Health Care Operations and Deputy Surgeon General at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He became the Navy’s 35th Surgeon General in 2004. As Surgeon General, he played a vital role in the Military Health System’s transformation by improving Force Health Protection methods, enhancing Wounded Warrior services and advancing initiatives and policies that were vital to the operational readiness of our military forces and the quality of life for their families. Under his leadership, Navy Medicine consistently delivered over 4,000 deployed medical personnel in support of the Global War on Terror and surged to deploy USNS Mercy in support of 2005 South Asia Tsunami relief efforts.
36. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. (2007 - 2011) Adam M. Robinson, Jr. entered naval service in 1977 and attained his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine, through the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. Following completion of his surgical internship at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, he was commissioned in the Navy. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, and a fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Illinois School of Medicine. He later earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. His diverse duty stations included clinical, operational and executive medicine positions. He was the Head of the General Surgery Department and Director of the General Surgery Residency Program at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA, then served as its Acting Medical Director. He was Force Medical Officer for Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, then served as Executive Officer of Naval Hospital Jacksonville. As Fleet Hospital Jacksonville Commanding Officer, he commanded a detachment of the fleet hospital as a medical contingent to Joint Task Force Haiti (OPERATION NEW HORIZON/UPHOLD DEMOCRACY). He commanded U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka then returned to BUMED as Deputy Chief for Medical Support Operations while serving as Acting Chief of the Medical Corps. He then commanded National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD while assuming duties as Commander, Navy Medicine National Capital Area Region before assuming duties as the 36th Surgeon General in 2007.
37. Matthew Nathan (2012 - Present) Vice Admiral Nathan is the 37th surgeon general of the Navy and chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Nathan received his Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Tech, and his Doctor of Medicine from The Medical College of Georgia in 1981. He completed internal medicine specialty training in 1984 at the University of South Florida before serving as the Internal Medicine department head at Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 1985, Nathan transferred to Naval Hospital, Groton, Conn., as leader of the Medical Mobilization Amphibious Surgical Support team. In 1987, Nathan transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego as head, Division of Internal Medicine with additional duty to the Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division. In 1990, he served as a department head, Naval Hospital Beaufort, SC, before reporting to Naval Clinics Command, London, U.K., where he participated in military-to-military engagements with post-Soviet Eastern European countries. In 1995, he was assigned as specialist assignment officer at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, providing guidance to over 1,500 U.S. Navy Medical Corps officers. In 1998, he accepted a seat at the Joint Industrial College of the Armed Forces located in Washington, DC, graduating in 1999 with a Master’s degree in “Resourcing the National Strategy.” Nathan went on to serve as the fleet surgeon, Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, aboard the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), out of Yokosuka, Japan. In 2001, he transferred as deputy commander, Navy Medical Center Portsmouth, Va. In 2004, Nathan assumed command of Naval Hospital Pensacola with additional oversight of 12 clinics in four states where he oversaw Navy medical relief efforts following Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina. Despite all facilities receiving crippling blows, his command still garnered the TRICARE/DOD award for “highest patient satisfaction in a medium-sized facility”. In June 2006, he transferred as the fleet surgeon to the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, instrumental in organizing the Fleet Health Domain integration with the Fleet Readiness Enterprise while providing medical global force management. In 2007, Nathan was assigned as commander, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Navy Medicine Region East with command of over 18,000 personnel and an operating budget exceeding $1.2 billion. Nathan also served as commander, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Navy Medicine, National Capital Area where he was the Navy component commander to the largest military medical integration and construction project in Department of Defense history. Nathan is board certified and holds Fellow status in the American College of Physicians and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He also holds an appointment as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is a recipient of the American Hospital Association “Excellence in Leadership” award for the Federal Sector. Nathan’s personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (1); Legion of Merit (5); Meritorious Service Medal (2); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2).
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