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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


U.S. Naval Hospital Yokohama and the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Nearly 20 years after an era of self-imposed se­clusion was broken by an American trade treaty, the Japanese ports in Tokyo Bay had blossomed into thriving marketplaces of foreign trade. Prin­cipal among them was Yokohama.


Navy Dentistry's First Year

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

On August 22, 1912, President William Taft signed into law an act creating a formal corps of uniformed dentists in the U.S. Navy.


The Sailor’s Diet of 1862

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

On July 25, 1862, following reports of sickness and low morale, Fleet Surgeon William Maxwell Wood was ordered by the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to conduct a medical and sanitary inspection of the James River Flotilla.

Junior medical officer holding a first aid class prior to Iwo Jima engagement, 1943.JPG
Junior medical officer holding a first aid class prior to Iwo Jima engagement, 1943

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