The advent of late summer 1961 brought with it an increase in world tension. The possibility of armed conflict, in defense of the principles inherent in the maintenance of freedom of movement into Berlin, became more acute as did, concurrently, the possibility of total war which would, by the use of so-called unconventional weapons, embrace most, if not all, of the civilized world. The U.S. Government placed itself, on this occasion as in the past, in direct opposition to the great threats to peace and made clear, to friend and foe alike, its determination to fight, if need be, for the rights of man.
A major manifestation of this unequivocable determination to hold steadfast to our principles is the planned increase in the size of our military forces. This military buildup of ready forces was ordered in late July 1961, a date which immediately followed the close of this fiscal year.
It is, therefore, appropriate to report upon the activities of the Army Medical Service, both as a means of evaluating the degree of progress made toward achieving previously planned objectives and as a method of appraising its current capability of fulfilling its mission in times of crises involving either partial or total mobilization.
The Army Medical Service during the past year, and indeed for many years past, has concentrated its major efforts in two basic areas of interest. The first has been the rendering of the highest caliber of medical care to eligible persons who are in its charge, by assigning the most highly qualified physicians and allied scientists to medical treatment facilities and by placing the most modern and advanced drugs and equipment at their disposal. The second has been the constant and unending endeavor, through research and development, to discover the causes of heretofore unknown diseases, to develop preventives or curatives for these and other diseases, and to develop new or better lifesaving surgical procedures. In a like manner in the area of material, the Army Medical Service has endeavored to develop, field test, and adopt new medical equipment which will increase the mobility of field medical units, permit the rendering of a higher order of medical care further forward than ever envisioned heretofore, and thus fulfill the age-old mandate of the Army Medical Service-to conserve the fighting strength.
We are pleased to report that the first of these basic areas of interest is being accomplished and on a continuing basis, thus increasing the effectiveness of our forces and contributing to a higher state of morale among members of the Army and their dependents. In the area of research and development, there is also pride of accomplishment. There are, however, many of the old diseases which are not yet conquered, and new and unfamiliar hazards present themselves almost daily. The hazards brought about by the development of nuclear weapons and military machines, which but a few years ago were either laboratory curiosities or nonexistent, are examples of new problems for which answers must be found as quickly as possible. Every improvement, therefore, that we make in the care of patients prepares us for a wartime mission. In turn, every breakthrough which is made through basic and applied research and clinical investigation improves our ability to care for patients both in peace and in war. The search for knowledge of exotic diseases of the world underscores the global responsibilities of the Army Medical Service-and it does enjoy such a role not only in support of the Army tactical forces, but as one of the manifestations of the altruism and humanitarianism which are inherent in the American philosophy-and also results in contributions being made which may well reduce, if not eliminate, many of the diseases now plaguing the peoples of many countries.
The report which follows sets forth in greater detail the various activities of the Office of The Surgeon General and the Army Medical Service, which have resulted in accomplishments, both partial and complete, during the past fiscal year. It is important to state, however, that the Medical Service of the Army considers its greatest continuing responsibility to be the preservation of civilization's greatest single asset-man-and that it will continue as vigorously in the coming year, as in the past, in its endeavor to improve the lot of this country's most precious commodity.
LEONARD D. HEATON,
The Surgeon General