in direct support of patient care; actively engaged in research; provide direct
professional service in support of the AMEDD Health and Environment Program.
b. Generally, officers of the AMEDD may exercise command only within the
AMEDD. As an exception to this general rule, officers of the MS may exercise
command of troops that are not part of the AMEDD when authorized by the Secretary of
the Army; by the commanders of major commands, Army groups armies, corps,
division, and units comparable thereto; by the chiefs of services; or by heads of other
Department of the Army staff agencies. Medical Service corp officers normally
command medical TOE units (medical battalions, combat support hospitals, and so
forth) when such units are in a training status and not involved in direct patient care.
3-31. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
a. From its organization as a permanent agency within the DA in 1818 until
1901, the AMEDD consisted of one officer corps--the MC--that was composed solely of
qualified physicians. These physicians, assisted by enlisted personnel and civilians
serving under contract, provided all medical service for the Army. They're not only
diagnosed and treated patients but also directed patient evacuation and movement;
kept medical records; made reports; performed laboratory tests; accounted for money;
and ordered, stored, and issued supplies.
b. As increasing medical knowledge made the practice of medicine more
demanding of physicians' time and energies and as the size of the Army added to the
complexity of administration, some assistance for the physicians was obviously
necessary if they were to continue to perform their professional medical duties
effectively. The AN established in 1901, the DC established in 1911, and the VC
established in 1916 provided professional assistance to medical officers, but
administration was still the medical officer's responsibility.
c. As the US prepared to enter World War I in 1917, the Sanitary Corps was
established. The Sanitary Corps met two critical needs of the Medical Department. It
provided a corps of officers to assume administrative and scientific duties, relieving the
medical officers of nonprofessional responsibilities. It also provided commissions for
skilled enlisted men who were trained and experienced in Medical Department
nonprofessional specialties and who might otherwise have joined officer corps of other
branches. These men, skilled in sanitation and in PVNTMED activities, were the first
nonprofessionals commissioned in the AMEDD. After World War I, the Sanitary Corps
became an Army Reserve Corps.
d. Congress established a Medical Administrative Corps in both the Regular
Army and the Reserves in 1920. The purpose of the new corps was to provide
administrative officers for the Medical Department, thus further relieving physicians and
the other professional corps of nonprofessional duties.