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Excerpts From The Preface

About the MSC > History > Excerpts From The Preface

"The purpose of this volume is to present a history of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps (MSC) from its origins during the American Revolution to its status in 1994. With this objective in mind, it addresses several audiences.

First are the young MSC officers who may be unfamiliar with the historical underpinnings of their corps. For them, the evolution of the corps' past reveals insights into its future since the types of problems met and solved in the past are the ones most likely to recur in the years ahead. I am told that colonels are supposed to read what captains write. This time a colonel wrote something for captains to read.

A second audience is the scholarly community of historians. For these professionals, the work adheres to established rules of historical research and serves as a tool for further analysis of the often baffling bureaucratic structure of our armed services. The third audience consists of those who served in the MSC or its precursors, as well as other members of the Army Medical Department and the public at large. For that group the book endeavors to elucidate the principal themes in this administrative history in which evolution rather than revolution has been an enduring characteristic.

The book belongs to the Medical Service Corps, especially to those who will carry its legacy into the future. It also belongs to all the people of the Army Medical Department and the other branches of the Army. It should be of assistance to anyone interested in how the Army provides medical support to soldiers and their families. Above all it belongs to American soldiers, those splendid, noble patriots whose support is the raison d'etre of the MSC. I have attempted to provide enough Medical Department history, doctrine, and principal debates to illuminate how the MSC emerged from more than two centuries of American history. I hope that the book and its documentation of sources will serve those who will labor to understand how that process occurred so as to prevent repeating previous mistakes and to capitalize on earlier successes. The text ends in 1995, but appendixes have been updated to the time of printing."

"...This work would not have been undertaken without the strong determination of two officers who decided to prosecute and underwrite the initiative and served as successive chiefs of the Medical Service Corps: Brig. Gens. France F. Jordan and Walter F. Johnson. Their successors as chiefs of the corps maintained support for the project."

"...The Army and our nation have a great deal to be thankful for in the contributions of the men and women of the magnificent U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. I have always been proud to wear the silver caduceus. The privilege of writing this book has reinforced that pride."

Springfield, Virginia
November 1996

Richard V. N. Ginn
Colonel, MSC (Ret.)