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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


The Enduring Journey: A Historical Review of Medical Readiness through Training

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

With the pressing need for skilled medical personnel in the Korean War the Navy established Field Medical Service Schools (FMSS) in Camp Lejeune, N.C., and at Camp Pendleton, Calif.[i] Between October 1950 and July 1953 over 5,000 Hospital Corpsmen trained as field medical technicians at these schools, among them four individuals who later received the Medal of Honor for their heroic deeds on the Korean peninsula.


Reaching the Pinnacle: The Origin of Independent Duty Corpsmen (IDCs) in the U.S. Navy

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

On the night of April 17, 1918, the ammunition ship SS Florence “H,” caught fire while moored in Quiberon Bay in the south coast of Brittany, France.


Remembering Navy Medicine in the Balkan Crisis

By Rear Adm. James A. Johnson, Jr., Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, Retired

When the United Nations peacekeeping mission started the U.S. agreed to provide medical support to Zagreb city where the U.N. set up its logistics headquarters.

/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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