CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION
It began the day the Continental Congress legislated the U.S. Navy into existence. With the Revolution won, the Continental Navy was disbanded. Under the Articles of Confederation, a Navy was a luxury the United States could ill afford. But necessity—the insolence of the Barbary pirates—revived the Navy in 1794, and four years later Congress established the Navy Department. The first Navy medical commissions would be given in 1798.
By the time the Medical Corps was officially established as a unique staff corps in 1871 a cadre of professional career medical officers was already serving ashore and with the fleet. Most practiced their healing art unobtrusively on wooden ships and, during the Civil War, aboard the new ironclads. With the advent of the all-steel ships, Navy physicians learned to contend with tropical diseases and with what we now call environmental and occupational medicine. Many of these Navy physicians lead colorful careers, executed historic feats, accomplished great achievements, and served as pioneers. All have imbued the Navy Medical Corps and the Navy Medical Department with a rich heritage. The following are a few of these giants.
From his prolific mind came the first writings in American military medicine—writings that promoted the health of sailors and Marines aboard ship and at foreign ports. In Observations on the Means of Preserving the Health of Soldiers and Sailors (1808), Cutbush proposed techniques for cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilating ships. He advocated strict physical examinations of all recruits coming aboard to eliminate disease. He also urged sailors to wear their hair short, to shave regularly, and to wash themselves and their clothing.
One of the Navy’s most colorful surgeons in its history, Cowdery first gained fame as a prisoner of the Barbary pirates. After being taken captive when the frigate Philadelphia went aground near Tripoli in 1803, he interceded on behalf of the other American prisoners, cared for them, and saved the life of one of the Pasha’s children. Cowdery’s journal, published after his release, is one of the finest accounts of the U.S. War with the Tripolitan pirates.
While in service, Baldwin travelled through eastern Georgia and Florida collecting botanical specimens and penning detailed descriptions of local flora that would be used by botanist Stephen Elliott in his Sketch of the Botany of South Carolina and Georgia (1821). His botanical observations would be published in the Journal of American Science (1818) and posthumously in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1825). The thousands of specimens he collected would be distributed for various herbaria and museums throughout the country and be used for study. The respect for Baldwin’s work among fellow botanists was so great that the plant genus Balduina and the Baldwin Herbarium in Philadelphia, Penn. would later be named in his honor.
On February 16, 1804, during the War with the Barbary States, German-born surgeon Lewis Heerman assumed command of the ketch Intrepid. From this vessel, Stephen Decatur and his daring raiders boarded and burned the captured frigate Philadelphia. Following his return to the U.S., Heermann’s pleas for better medical care for sailors prompted Congress to authorize hospital construction at several naval stations. Heermann used his own funds to build a hospital in New Orleans which he leased to the government for the care of naval personnel. General Andrew Jackson used this structure as his headquarters during the Battle of New Orleans.
A veteran of the War of 1812, participating in the battle between USS Wasp and HMS Frolic, Harris would also serve with Stephen Decatur fighting the Barbary pirates. In 1823, Harris used his “personal” income to establish a dissection laboratory to teach medical students, and, specifically, newly commissioned Navy medical officers anatomy and operative surgery, and share his experiences as a naval surgeon. This educational experiment proved such a success that Harris was encouraged by his Navy students to “give the course under government auspices.”
In January 1832, Harris was called upon to extract the bullet that had been lodged in President Andrew Jackson’s since 1813. The surgery—performed without anesthesia—was a resounding success and would further cement his reputation as an eminent surgeon.
In August 1823, when President James Monroe was seized with an acute illness, Navy Surgeon Bailey Washington (1784?-1854), then on duty at the nearby dispensary, was called to attend to the Chief Executive. Dr. Washington (a distant relative of the first Commander in Chief) was one of the first military physicians to actually treat a sitting president and would help establish a tradition that continues to this day.
Like many young physicians at the time seeking adventure and honor, Dr. W.P.C. Barton decided on a career in the U.S. Navy, receiving a commission in 1809. In his lengthy career—which extended until his death in 1856 —Barton would keep scurvy at bay by introducing a citrus ration to the U.S. fleet; publish the first writings on hospital administration in the military; help prohibit alcohol rations aboard Navy ships; and finally serving as the first chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (1842-1844). While on active duty Barton also served tenures as professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania and at Thomas Jefferson Medical College, respectively, and set forth on an ambitious field research project to document American plant life. In the process, Barton compiled several compendiums of American plants including Flora Philadelphiae Prodromus (1815), Vegetable Materia Medica of the United States (2 volumes, 1817-1825) and Flora of North America (1821-1823); each would be considered standards of botanical science.
With the unbounded enthusiasm befitting of Navy medicine’s earliest pioneers, Usher Parsons began his career as a naval physician at the start of the War of 1812. Surgeon’s mate in the days of sail was a demanding, if not often bloody profession, as Dr. Parsons learned when on one day he treated over 100 wounded patients during the Battle of Lake Erie. He spent the following day, September 10, 1813, performing amputations, the state-of-the-art treatment for mangled limbs.
Parsons would later publish a textbook on naval medicine, Physician for Ships Containing Medical Advice for Seamen and Other Persons at Sea, On the Treatment of Diseases, and on the Preservation of Health in Sickly Climates, and also in California (also known as, The Sailor’s Physician).
Commodore William Maxwell Wood was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the Navy in 1829. After a colorful and varied service, that included an assignment as a covert messenger in the Mexican War, Dr. Wood served as Fleet Surgeon for a blockading squadron during the Civil War. In 1869, President Grant appointed him Chief of BUMED in 1869. During Wood's administration, the Naval Appropriations Act of March 3, 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.
In a long and distinguished career, Foltz stood in the midst of many bloody wars and skirmishes from the 1832 battle against the Malay pirates to service in the Mexican War and the Civil War. His life was also colored by his numerous friendships, which included Edgar Allen Poe, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Admiral David Farragut whom he served under as Fleet Surgeon during the Civil War. At the close of his career, in 1872, Foltz was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as the Navy Surgeon General (becoming only the second to hold this title). In 1931, the Surgeon of the Seas, a biography about the life of Fleet Surgeon Foltz was published, becoming an instant classic.
An outspoken critic of impure and ineffective drugs, Passed Assistant Surgeon Squibb convinced the Navy to allow him to open a laboratory for medical research, manufactured ether and other drugs, and innovated such medical devices as all-purpose splints for home station and shipboard use. As a private citizen, Squibb founded E.R. Squibb and Sons, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
After serving with the Marines in the Mexican War, Passed Assistant Surgeon Elisha Kent Kane made his mark as an arctic explorer. In 1850, he sailed aboard the Advance in search of the lost Franklin expedition. Three years later Kane headed his own expedition, at which time he charted coasts of what is now called Kane Basin in northern Canada. He and his men reached 80 degrees 10 minutes, closer to the North Pole than any explorer had yet achieved. After being stricken with scurvy and forced to abandon the Advance, Kane both ministered to the sick and led them to safety after an epic 83-day trek across the ice. It was this feat that stands in the annals of arctic exploration.
Phineas Jonathan Horwitz 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. In this capacity, Horwitz
is credited for establishing a system for tabulating the casualties of disability and of disease. Upon the death of William Whelan in 1865, Horwitz was appointed Chief of BUMED in 1865. At just 43 years of age he is the youngest person ever to serve in this role. 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. He retired in 1884.
James Mills Browne 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.
Gihon entered the Navy in 1855 after a short tenure as professor at the Philadelphia College of Medicine. While attached to the USS Portsmouth in 1856, Gihon would take part in the attack on the Barrier Forts in Canton, China and serving with the landing party in the capture of these forts. Gihon would spent the greater part of his career has a sanitary reformer and leader in the Navy Hygiene movement. His textbooks Practical Suggestions in Naval Hygiene (1871) and The Need for Sanitary Reform in Ship Life (1877) were standards of the time. In 1870s and 1880s, Gihon became a vocal opponent of tobacco use in the service. While serving as medical officer at the Naval Academy, Gihon called tobacco the most “important matter in the health history” of the midshipmen and urged its strict enforcement.
In the last year of the Civil War, U.S forces embarked on the largest amphibious assault ever before undertaken in world history. Over 15,000 men and 70 warships with more than 600 guns stormed the beach on the way to topple the enemy’s “impenetrable” defenses of Fort Fisher, N.C. Charging the 1,200 feet from shore to the entrenched enemy was a suicide mission for many and casualty rates were significant. Among those tending to the wounded at the risk of his own life was a 25-year-old Navy physician named William Longshaw whose selflessness and bravery was noted by many. Longshaw’s final act would be binding the wounds of a wounded Marine before making the ultimate sacrifice.
James Rufus Tryon 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.
William Knickerbocker Van Reypen 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, R.I., Sitka, Alaska, Port Royal, S.C, and Cavite, P.I.
Presley Marion Rixey was commissioned an assistant surgeon in 1874. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1902 and his tenure was filled with many significant achievements. During his tenure in office, new naval hospitals were built at Puget Sound, Wash., Canacao, P.I., Las Animas, Colo., Great Lakes, Ill, 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.
In a career that spanned 41 years (1880-1921), Duncan established a reputation as the Navy’s chief expert in the fields of hygiene and sanitation. In 1909, Duncan published Naval Hygiene, a 779-page textbook covering the topics of ship ventilation and lighting, dietetics, uniforms, and recruit medicine. The culmination of 20 years of study, Naval Hygiene would later be translated into French, Italian, German, Italian, Japanese and Swedish and used by foreign navies of the world.
Charles Francis Stokes 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 wire-basket 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.
William Clarence Braisted 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 served in the position through 1921. During his tenure in office, Braisted 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.
The fifteenth Surgeon General of the Navy, Stitt made his reputation as a teacher and the world’s leading authority on tropical medicine and clinical laboratory procedures. His great interest in the subject was stimulated following the American victory in the Spanish-American War. Suddenly, U.S. sovereignty and responsibility included the populations of Guam, and the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Each of his books, Diagnosis and Treatment of Tropical Diseases, and Practical Bacteriology, have become classics read to this day.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Ammen Farenholt (1871-1956) was the son of Oscar Farenholt the first enlisted man ever to rise to the flag rank. Farenholt spent the greatest part of his career on the west coast or with the Pacific or Asiatic stations. He served with Admiral Dewey at the Battle of Mobile Bay (1898) and in the mid-1890s had special duty with the U.S. Marine Guard in Seoul, Korea. He was the first Commanding Officer of the War Dispensary (later to become the Naval Hospital San Diego, 1917-1918), and served as Commanding Officer at Naval Hospitals Mare Island, Calif., (1918-1921; 1928-1930), and Bremerton, Wash., (1910-1911). An avid collector of military memorabilia, Farenholt decorated various commands with his collections including guns from the Mexican War. He commissioned special sundials for naval hospitals, several of which can be seen to this day. Also, a skilled carpenter, Farenholt made grandfather clocks, and half-models and hospital seals for various naval commands, many of which can still be seen today.
A native of Taunton, Mass., Frank Lester Pleadwell was commissioned as assistant surgeon in the Navy in October 1898. During the Spanish-American War Pleadwell served aboard USS Nashville during its engagement at Cienfuegos, Cuba in May 1898. In World War I, Pleadwell served as naval attaché in London, medical aide to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, and as a member of a joint Army-Navy mission studying medical aspects of the war. He would later serve as Fleet Surgeon of the Atlantic fleet (1920-1921), as well as Commanding Officer of Naval Hospitals Pearl Harbor, T.H. (1925-1926) and Chelsea, Mass. (1928-1929) Pleadwell was a prolific author, an accomplished a naval historian, and editor of the Naval Medical Bulletin (1909-1910 and later 1921-1924). He was also the co-author of The Life and Works of Edward Coote Pinkney (1926) and The Life and Times of Joseph Rodman Drake (1935). Pleadwell retired from service in December 1929 with the rank of captain.
Middleton Stuart Elliott, Jr. entered the Navy in 1896. Over the course of his career he would serve in the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Campaign and World War I. During the Navy’s engagement in Vera Cruz in April 1914, Elliott established first aid stations under fire and personally supervised the treatment and evacuation of wounded. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1915. Throughout his career Elliott rose through the ranks and retired from active duty in 1936 as rear admiral; in his retirement he was promoted to Vice Admiral (the first medical officer ever to hold this rank).
Cary DeVall Langhorne was appointed assistant surgeon in the Navy in July 1898. Langhorne was attached to the USS Vermont during the U.S. Navy’s engagement in Vera Cruz earning the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism under fire. He resigned his commission on December 18, 1916, and entered the Naval Reserves.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Richmond Holcomb was commissioned as an assistant surgeon in the Navy in December 1898. Early in his career he served in the Asiatic Squadron aboard USS Helena and Manila. After service aboard the hospital ship Solace and battleships North Dakota and Delaware, Holcomb reported to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as the Assistant Chief/Deputy Surgeon General. In 1920, he reported aboard USS Relief (AH-1) where he served as the hospital ship’s first commanding officer. He would follow this duty as Commanding Officer of Naval Hospitals League Island, Penn. (1921-1925) and Norfolk (1926-1930). While serving at the latter hospital, Holcomb became interested in its history and wrote the A Century with Norfolk Naval Hospital 1830-1930 (1930). Holcomb retired in 1935 with the rank of Captain.
In a naval career that extended from 1900 to 1939, RADM Butler served at stations in Haiti, the Philippines, the Virgin Islands, as well as five separate duties at the Naval Medical School in Washington, DC, where he earned renown as an expert in bacteriology and tropical medicine. Although, wholly forgotten today, Dr. Butler was once internationally recognized for his work on communicable and tropical diseases. In his book, Syphilis Sive Morbus Humanus: A Rationalization of Yaws So-Called for Scientists and Laymen Interested in the Damage to Man from Venereal Diseases (1936), Butler insisted on the unicity of yaws and syphilis and disputed the theory that Christopher Columbus’ men contracted syphilis in the New World and spread it to Europe. Both controversies are still subjects of debate among investigators even today.
After obtaining his M.D. from The George Washington University Medical School, Admiral Calver chose a career in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Calver, remarkably, would spend 45 years out of his 53-year service in Washington, DC. In 1928, Calver was appointed the first Attending Physician to Congress. He would serve in this post for 38-years. George Calver’s profession came before his politics. As he often reminded his partisan pals, “There’s not a whit of difference between Democratic and Republican belly aches—they all hurt.”
The work of the missionary turned Navy Reserve physician Cmdr. Corydon Wassell at a field hospital in Java would go on to inspire one of President Roosevelt’s fireside chats and serve as the subject of a book by James Hilton, The Story of Dr. Wassell. The film adaptation of the book would star Gary Cooper in the title role as Dr. Wassell.
In 1919, Lt. Orlando Petty was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marines in France during the attack in Belleau Wood on June 11, 1918. His citation would read, “While under heavy fire of high-explosive and gas shells in the town of Lucy, where his dressing station was located. Lt. Petty attended to and evacuated the wounded under most trying conditions. Having been knocked to the ground by an exploding gas shell which tore his mask, Lt. Petty discarded the mask and courageously continued his work. His dressing station being hit and demolished, he personally helped carry Capt. Williams, wounded, through the shellfire to a place of safety.” He was one of only two physicians with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I to be honored with the prestigious award.
It has been said that not all heroes carry bayonets, rifles, or grenades. Joel Boone, the most decorated Navy medical officer, was such a hero. He won the Medal of Honor in World War I. He also had one of the most colorful, varied, and distinguished careers in the Medical Department. Boone served in Haiti even before winning fame in France, was chosen to be presidential physician to Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover, was one of three officers selected by Admiral Halsey to liberate American POW’s in Japan even before the surrender documents were signed, and represented the Navy Medical Department during those ceremonies on the deck of the USS Missouri. VADM Boone did it all.
Ross T. McIntire 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. In 1933 McIntire became a White House physician, and in 1938 was appointed Surgeon General. With the outbreak of World War II, 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—over 175,000 physicians, dentists, nurses, and corpsmen.
Navy Medicine can claim many heroes in the cause of global health but Julius Amberson deserves special mention. In the 1940s, he traveled across Africa, the Middle East and India searching for causes of epidemics and their prevention. He was the first individual to discover that Penicillin was effective against louse-borne Relapsing Fever in Egypt (1944) and later helped develop mobile chemo-therapeutic technique for the cure of cholera in India (1945). From 1966 to 1970, he served as Global Health Instructor at the Navy Medical School (1966-1970) and a technical advisor for a series of Navy produced global medicine training films.
Rear Admiral Charles Frederick Behrens, a radiology specialist and “Father of Atomic Medicine,” served 36 years in the Navy as a medical officer (1920-1956). During World War II, he pioneered the development of 35-milimeter photofluorography for chest surveys and tuberculosis control techniques. After the war, he stood vanguard in the development of atomic medicine, studying radiological safety, introducing photodosimetry, and establishing procedures in the clinical use of radioisotopes. Throughout his career, he published more than 35 papers on radiology and internal medicine as well as two seminal books. In 1949, he published Atomic Medicine, the first textbook on the subject. After witnessing the atomic bomb tests of Eniwetok in 1951, he wrote After the A-Bomb: Emergency Care in Atomic Warfare which looked at the immediate and long-term effects of radiation on the populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and analyzed emergency care following atomic bomb blasts.
Throughout his career as a Navy physician, Robert Phillips earned a reputation for his research and treatment of tropical diseases, including the development of a vaccine against trachoma. His conception of a simpler cholera treatment was realized in the late 1960s with the development of glucose-based oral rehydration therapy, a monumental breakthrough to which many other investigators made vital contributions. Today, these simple advances have been integrated into everyday medical practice across the globe, saving millions of lives annually.
In World War II, Thomas Canty established the first comprehensive rehabilitation program in the Navy at Convalescent Hospital in Sun Valley, Idaho (1945). Later in 1945, Dr. Canty served as the Officer-in-Charge of both the Amputation Center and Artificial Limb Shop at Naval Hospital Mare Island, CA. When the Center relocated to Naval Hospital Oakland in 1950, Canty was selected to serve as Chief of Amputee Services and later the Navy Prosthetics Research Laboratory where he oversaw advances in soft and suction socket prostheses. In 1956, the CBS television program “Navy Log” dedicated an episode to the work of Dr. Canty, entitled “Not a Leg to Stand on.”
In April 1943, Congress approved directly appointing women physicians and surgeons in the Army and the Navy with the same pay and benefits as men (Public Law 38). Drs. Achsa Bean, Cornelia Gaskill and Hulda Thelander are credited as first women physicians in the Navy. In June 1948, under the Women’s Service Integration Act (Public Law 625), the first (non-nurse) women officers are sworn in as commissioned officers in regular Navy. Navy psychiatrist Lt.Cmdr. Frances L. Willoughby would make history that year as the first female physician in the regular Navy.
Dr. Gioconda Rita Saraniero’s service in the Navy spanned two decades. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to achieve the rank of captain in the Navy Medical Corps. In 1950, she was appointed Officer in Charge of the Blood Bank and Hematology of the Naval Medical School, Bethesda. She, also, had a tour of duty at Naples, Italy. She was promoted to lieutenant commander August of 1951. In 1955, she was the first woman in the Navy to be selected for promotion to the rank of captain in the Medical Corps. In an interview with the press in the late 1950’s, Saraniero stated: “Words cannot express my debt of gratitude to my colleagues in the Navy who have fostered my career with their kindness and warm welcome. She added, “Half the secret of doing a good job is knowing that you’re wanted.”
As Project Mercury was transporting public imagination to the stars, one Navy Medical Officer looked to the seas as the new frontier of exploration and habitation. In 1958, George Bond proposed an ambitious plan of underwater research that seemed to have been inspired by the writings of Jules Verne. Bond saw a literal untapped ocean of opportunity for mineral mining, marine archeology, biology and colonization that could lead to discoveries of new medicines and harvestable resources. In the 1960s, Bond pioneered the SEALAB program, which would serve as one of the first underwater habitation projects and the first open water experiment in saturation diving.
In the 1950s, Lt. Thomas Dooley was a popular television personality on regularly on interview and even game shows. He was most famous for his humanitarian and political activities in South East Asia during the late 1950s. He authored three popular books that described his activities in Vietnam and Laos: Deliver Us From Evil, The Edge of Tomorrow, and The Night They Burned the Mountain. These three were later collected into a single volume and published as "Dr. Tom Dooley's Three Great Books." The book jacket of "The Edge of Tomorrow" states that Dooley traveled "to a remote part of the world in order to combat the two greatest evils afflicting it: disease and Communism. Despite his premature death in 1961, Dooley's legacy lives on through the work of the Dooley Foundation-Intermed International, which continues to carry on the work of Dr. Dooley.
On October 1, 1966, while serving as Chief of Surgery at the U.S. Naval Support Activity, Danang, Republic of Vietnam, Dr. Dinsmore volunteered to perform a surgical operation that actually endangered his own life. The patient, a South Vietnamese soldier, had a live 60 mm round stuck within his chest wall that contained between one and two pounds of TNT and a partially depressed firing pin. As Dinsmore later remembered, “The patient was taken to the operating room by stretcher, and I never saw such a careful, tiptoeing stretcher carriers. They placed him on the operating table, stretcher and all. He was sedated, given a general anesthetic…intubated and then attached to the ‘Bird’ machine, an automatic respirator.” Seeing that the round should not be moved until lifted straight from the chest wall, he made an elliptical incision completely around and away from the mortar shell, lifting the overlying soft tissues directly from the chest wall. Dinsmore completed the entire procedure in about a half hour. The patient returned to full duty status within 2 months and Dinsmore would later be awarded the Navy Cross for his fearless devotion to duty.
In June 1965, Joseph Kerwin was selected by NASA as a scientist-astronaut. He operated as a capsule communicator on the Apollo 13 mission (1970) and in 1972 he was selected to serve as scientist pilot in the Skylab 2 mission. When the mission launched in May 1973, Kerwin earned the distinction of being the first American physician in Space. Kerwin spent 672 hours, 49 minutes aboard the Skylab space station and 3 hours 58 minutes in extravehicular activities. The crew of Skylab 2 (Kerwin, Charles Conrad, Jr., and Paul J. Weitz) were the first in the history of space flight to accomplish major in-flight repair tasks on a space vehicle.
At 6:20 am on October 23, 1983, a truck bomb detonated outside the First Battalion, Eighth Marines Landing Team Headquarters (1/8 BLT) at the Beirut International Airport. The resulting blast killed 220 Marines, 17 Navy Sailors, three Soldiers and one Navy physician—Lt. John Rice Hudson. Hudson was a well-liked and talented battalion surgeon with a promising future cut short all too soon.
James Zimble 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.
In 1997, Bonnie B. Potter became the first woman physician to attain flag rank. Two years later, in December 1999, she was awarded her second star becoming the first Navy woman physician to do so. Potter is also the first woman to command a Medical Treatment Facility of a hospital ship (USNS Comfort).
Throughout her distinguished career Dr. Mariano achieved many firsts. In June 1992, Mariano joined the White House Medical Unit. The very next year she was selected by President Clinton to be his primary physician and director of the White House Medical Unit. In 2000, Mariano was promoted to Rear Admiral (lower half) earning the distinction of being the first Filipino-American to reach flag rank.
Adam M. Robinson, Jr. entered naval service in 1977. In 1994, 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). Following tours as commanding officer of Naval Hospital Yokosuka and later the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Robinson was selected as the 36th Surgeon General of the Navy. He was the first African-American to serve in this role.
Lt. Cmdr. Richard Jadick earned distinction as being the most highly decorated Navy Medical Corps officer in the Iraq War. Jadick, a former Marine, served in the Battle of Fallujah (2004) where he was credited for saving the lives of 30 Sailors and Marines in what is considered by some to be the worst urban battle since the Vietnam War. Jadick would later be awarded the Bronze Star with combat Valor and be featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine.