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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


Revisiting Navy Medicine’s Field of Dreams: A Look Back at Navy Medicine’s Curious Baseball Heritage

By André Sobocinski

April 1st is the first day of the Major League Baseball season. For baseball fans across the globe “Opening Day” is a special occasion marking the return of America’s pastime—and with it, a hint of a post-pandemic world and return to normalcy.


Medical Corps Ship Namesakes

By André Sobocinski

Since 1920, when the first warships were named in honor of naval medical personnel, the US Navy has honored 15 physicians (Medical Corps officers) as namesakes for some 20 vessels. They range from heroic doctors who served on the battlefields of the Civil War, World War I and World War II to prominent leaders, innovators and pioneers who helped guide the Navy Medical Department in pivotal times in our history.


Remembering the “33”: Looking Back at Navy Cross Corpsmen of Vietnam

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

Petty Officer Third Class William Barber deployed to Vietnam in June 1968, a little less than two years after enlisting in the Navy.  When arriving in theater he was assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

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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