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Navy Medicine History

Navy Medicine has a long and proud history. The first shots of the American Revolution fired at Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775 marked both the birth of a nation and the Continental Army. However, it was the British blockade of the American coast and the need to break that blockade that spawned the Continental Navy and ultimately what we now call the Navy Medical Department. Aboard ships captained by the likes of John Paul Jones and John Barry, were the first sickbays where ship surgeons, assisted by loblolly boys, practiced their healing craft. Although science and medicine has changed greatly over the last three centuries, Navy Medicine’s mission of healthcare and readiness remains true today as it did in the “Age of Sail.”​


 History Blog


A Hero’s Image: Dr. Al Mateczun and the Medal of Honor Photograph

By André B. Sobocinski

Before his career in the Navy, retired captain Dr. Al Mateczun, MC, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964. After pilot training and reconnaissance school at Shaw AFB, tours in France and Idaho, he deployed to Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam where he flew 200 missions in the RF-4C Phantom reconnaissance plane.


A Portrait of HM2 Bobby Ray, Heroic “Doc” of Liberty Bridge

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

In the early morning of March 19, 1969, a Marine combat base at Phu Loc 6 near An Hoa, Vietnam, became the scene of a surprise enemy attack. As the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) infiltrated the camp’s barbed wire perimeter, a 24-year old corpsman named Bobby Ray charged into the melee to render emergency aid to the mounting casualties.


The story of Sgt. Schmid and Navy Medicine’s rehabilitation of the blind in World War II

By André B. Sobocinski

For thousands of World War II veterans wounded during the conflict, the war’s end was only the beginning of a long and trying road to recovery. Al Schmid was one of these veterans.

/History Images/Casualties being transferred ashore from troopship at Guam, 1945.jpg
Casualties being transferred ashore from troopship at Guam, 1945

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