Navy Medical Corps
The Navy Medical Corps is comprised of more than 4,300 active duty and reserve physicians who are practicing or training in 23 medical and surgical specialties with more than 200 subspecialties. Navy physicians are stationed at military treatment facilities, medical education institutions, clinics, hospitals, research units, on ships, and with Marine forces located within the United States and various overseas locations. Navy physicians provide direct support to Navy and Marine Corps commands, squadrons, battalions, and units. Navy physicians deploy in support of combat operations, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance missions, providing the best care our nation can offer ashore and afloat.
The U.S. Navy recognizes 3 March 1871 as the anniversary of the Navy Medical Corps, but this date does not represent the advent of uniformed physicians in the Navy nor the start of the Navy Medical Department. However, the passage of the Appropriations Act on 3 March 1871 gave Navy physicians a rank relative to their line counterparts, acknowledged their role as staff corps, and established the title of “surgeon general” for the Navy’s top medical officer/head of the Navy Medical Department.
For more information on the history of the Navy Medical Corps, read The Formative Years of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, 1798−1871, by André B. Sobocinski, Historian, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED).
Notable Navy Doctors
- Benjamin Harrison Adams
- Joel Thompson Boone
- George Wehnes Calver
- Robert Owen Canada, Jr.
- Elisha Kent Kane
- Frank Burkhart Voris
- Bernice R. Walters Nordstrom
- William Maxwell Wood
- James Allen Zimble
- Recollections of LCDR Samuel Robert Sherman, MC, USNR, Flight Surgeon on USS Franklin (CV-13)
- Recollections of the Battle of Midway by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)
Documentary Histories and Archives
- Surgeon General of the Navy Doctor William C. Braisted, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, 3/12/1918
- A Surgeon's Kit from the War of 1812: A Collection of Medical Implements from Commodore Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla
- Naval Surgeon Astronauts
- Wings for the Doctor: Naval Flight Surgeon (1971) – Part 1
- Wings for the Doctor: Naval Flight Surgeon (1971) – Part 2
- Wings for the Doctor: Naval Flight Surgeon (1971) – Part 3
- Legacies of Services: A Retrospective of the Navy Surgeon General, historical summary by André B. Sobocinski, Historian, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)
- The First Women Physicians in the U.S. Navy, historical essay by Kati Engel, NHHC Communication and Outreach Division
- William Maxwell Wood, the U.S. Navy Pacific Squadron, and the Conquest of California, historical summary by NHHC historian Joel Hebert, Ph.D.
- William Braisted, the Navy, and the Pandemic of 1918, historical summary by NHHC historian Thomas Shepherd, Ph.D.
- Navy Medical Corps Medal of Honor Recipients in the Battle of Vera Cruz, historical summary by Dylan L. Beazer, Navy Library
- Navy Medical Corps Medal of Honor Recipients in World War I, historical summary by NHHC historian Thomas Shepherd, Ph.D.
- Navy Doctor Becomes First Physician in Space, historical summary by André B. Sobocinski, Historian, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)
- A Hero’s Image: Dr. Al Mateczun and the Medal of Honor Photograph, historical summary by André B. Sobocinski, Historian, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)
- Songs Out of Time: Rediscovering a Navy Surgeon’s Life and Music, historical summary by André B. Sobocinski, Historian, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)
- Surgeons of the War of 1812
- Navy Medical Corps website
- Messages from the Navy Surgeon General
USS Missouri (BB-63). Commander Louis E. Gilge, Medical Corps, makes his rounds in the battleship's sick bay as Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Frank Mancini stands by at left. Photographed during Missouri's shakedown cruise, circa August 1944. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. (80-G-K-4554)