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Adapted from "Captain Thomas Jerrell , Medical Corps, United States Navy, Deceased" [biography, dated 4 November 1957] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • Yangtze Service 1926-1927, 1930-1932
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Thomas Jerrell Carter

3 July 1899 - 20 January 1975

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Thomas Jerrell Carter was born in Lawrence, Kansas, on July 3, 1899, son of William Jesse and Vanata Macca (Underwood) Carter. He graduated from Lawrence High Scholl in 1920 and in 1924 received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. He attended the Medical School of that university between 1923 and 1925, then transferred to Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from which he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1927. He also holds the degree of Master of Public Health (1940) and Doctor of Public Health (1941) awarded by the School of Hygiene and Public Health, the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

On June 27, 1927 he was commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) in the Medical Corps of the US Navy, having had previous service in the Navy during World War I, May 1917- December 1919. Advancing progressively in rank, he subsequently attained that of Captain, to date from June 1, 1943.

After receiving his commission in 1927, he interned at the US Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York until June 1928, when he was assigned to the Naval Medical School, Washington, DC in February 1929 he reported as Medical Officer on board USS Tulsa, operating on Asiatic Station, and in December of that year was detached for duty as Battalion Surgeon with the Fourth Marines, Marine Corps Expeditionary Force, Shanghai, China.

Returning to the United States in May 1931, he had a postgraduate course in surgery at the US Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois and upon completing his instruction remained as Assistant in Surgery until May 1933. He was next assigned to the Civilian Conservation Corps Base Hospital, Fort Brady, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. During the period April 1934 to October 1935 he served as Deputy Health Officer, Deputy Quarantine Officer and Medical Director, Samoan General Hospital, Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa. There he was actively engaged in a Yaws survey (examining 4500 cases); a trachoma survey (6000 examinations) and a tuberculosis survey (65000 examination).

In January 1936 he reported for duty at the US Naval Dispensary, San Pedro, California. From June 1936 to August 1939 he was assigned to the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Bureau of Medicine and Survey, Navy Department, Washington, DC, serving as Assistant to the Officer in Charge of the Division and as Head of the Vital Statistics Section from June 1948. While there he had additional duty as Associate in Military Preventive Medicine and Naval Hygiene at the Naval Medical School, Washington, DC.

Ordered to duty afloat, he served as Medical Officer on board USS Salt Lake City, operating with Cruiser Division Four, Scouting Fleet until January 1941, when he returned to the Division of Preventive Medicine, Bureau of Medicine and Survey to serve as Assistant in Charge and from November 1942 as Chief of that Division. In September 1945 he became Executive Officer of Fleet Hospital #103, Guam, Marianas Islands.

He received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon, from the Secretary of Navy. The citation follows in part: “For his outstanding service… as Officer in Charge of the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery during the period of National Emergency and of World War II until July 1945, at which time he was assigned as the Executive Officer of Fleet Hospital 103. His professional training in hygiene and sanitation was utilized by the Bureau of Medicine and Survey in developing the high standard of preventive medicine throughout the ships at sea, shore bases and with Marines in the field. He was personally responsible for the assistance he rendered the Chief of the Bureau in the creation of epidemiological units and malaria control units which he proven invaluable factors in the control of tropical diseases. He personally was responsible for the high level of preventive medicine the Navy has attained and is highly regarded by other government activities and by civilian medical authorities…” His division was the only division in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery commended from the field by the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas in recognition of outstanding service in epidemic disease control in the fighting forces.

He was Medical Officer in Command of the Naval Medical Research Unit #3, Cairo, Egypt, between November 1945 and July 1947, after which he served as Executive Officer of US Naval Hospital, Pensacola, Florida, California. Transferred to the Naval Training Station, San Diego, California, in January 1948, he had duty as Senior Medical Officer until July 1951, when he reported as Executive Officer of the US Naval Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland. In May 1953 he became Commanding Officer of the US Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and in August 1957 was ordered to duty as the Base Medical Officer on the Special Staff of the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California.

In addition to the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Carter  has the Victory Medal (World War I); the Marine Expeditionary Medal; the Yangtze Service medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal. He has also been awarded the USA Typhus Medal.

Dr. Carter was a Delegate, on the part of the United States of America, to the Fifth Pan-American Conference of National Directors of Health and from 1942 to 1945 was Navy Representative to the National Advisory Health Council of the US Public Health Service. He is a member of the American Epidemiological Society; American Medical Association; American Association of Industrial Physicians and Surgeons; National Advisory Police Committee on Social Protection; United States of American Typhus Commission; Committee on Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations and the Committee on Control of Communicable Diseases of the American Public Health Association.

He died January 20, 1975.



Published: Wed Sep 09 12:50:29 EDT 2020