MEDICAL RESERVE PROGRAM
The disturbing features of the Medical Reserve Program, as reported at the end of the last fiscal year?those of an inability to provide continuity of plans which would provide long-range, well organized progressive development?were not alleviated during the past year. On the contrary, the situation remained, in general, as unresolved and uncertain as it had been during the past 3 years.
Fortunately, to date, only a slight adverse effect has been noted with units. There is, however, evidence of increased anxiety as to the future of the Reserve program?modified by an apparent lack of interest and a lag in participation in Reserve activities. The only satisfactory facet
which can be reported is the fact that the indecision just noted has resulted, thus far, in an avoidance of any changes within the current Troop Program. This is, of course, a questionable advantage which could well be subjected to short life and subsequent modifications.
Status of Units
There has been some increase in the assignment of medical and dental officers to units. The Army Nurse and Army Medical Specialist Corps, on the other hand, have maintained a relatively static strength. This is equally true of the other corps of the Army Medical Service, as well as the enlisted strength, which has shown very little fluctuation, although the effects of the attributive provisions of the Reserve Officer Personnel Act will shortly begin to reduce the AMSC and VC levels.
The units themselves have demonstrated considerable improvement in the development of realistic and well-planned training, both at home stations and during ANACDUTRA (annual active duty for training), where support mission-type exercises continue to show a marked increase as the vehicle of choice for practical and realistic-type teaching.
Actions and Programs
The Reserve program especially as it pertained to the Army Medical Service received a much-needed boost with the passage, on 30 June 1960, of H.R. 8186, a bill amending the Reserve Officer Personnel Act of 1954 to equalize rank and promotion opportunities for ANC and AMSC officer personnel. Unfortunately, during the past years, the advantages inherent in this law have not been sufficiently exploited, and there has been a continued reluctance to modify personnel policies applicable to these two officer corps.
Attempts to provide this group of officers with incentives comparable with those already available to their male counterparts have not been successful. In spite of the difficulties encountered, a new attempt has been made to upgrade the ANC and AMSC structure, at least on a temporary basis, within the TOE and TD units. It is hoped that some equalization will result from these proposed changes.
Some gains were made in the area of processing of appointments. Certain unnecessary steps were eliminated, and thus, the process has been reduced from one which entailed many months to one which now can be concluded in a few weeks.
The saving in personnel within the majority of the officer corps of the Army Medical Service, which had been forecast with the passage of the amendments in H.R. 8186, has modified considerably the picture
which would have otherwise presented almost unsurmountable obstacles. The improvement in morale has gone even further than anticipated and will be of tremendous import in the acquisition of younger officers into all the professional groups.
A number of the regulations applicable to Reserve matters have been modified and combined. Many modifications to the training requirements and policies concerning promotions have been incorporated in these new regulations and are of particular interest to all officers of the Army Medical Service.
Of special significance is the fact that these new regulations clarify the extent of and responsibility for training and, to a considerable degree, permit responsible officers to reduce military training to the extent which they feel advisable?although, admittedly, a reduction in training participation concurrently lessens chances for selection for promotion, it does not carry with it a termination of status by virtue of ?non?participation.? This feature is most important where interns, residents, and staff nurses are concerned. The long-established policy which had permitted medical and dental officers?as an exception to Executive Order 10714 of June 1956?to be subjected to involuntary recall to active duty, if they had not completed 12 months or more of prior active duty, has finally been modified by AR 135?14. Such draft-eligible individuals may now be protected from involuntary call, except as members of their units and in times of national emergency, providing they are assigned to and participate with a TOE or TD unit of the Ready Reserve.
Advisory Council Meeting
A meeting of the Advisory Council to The Surgeon General for Reserve Affairs was held on 3-4 December 1960. Brig. Gen. John B. Lagen, MC, USAR, commander of the 820th Hospital Center, San Francisco, participated for the first time. This meeting marked the final appearance of the Council Chairman, Brig. Gen. Alexander Marble, MC, USAR, of the 804th Hospital Center, Boston, who was subsequently transferred to the Retired Reserve. General Marble will be succeeded, as Chairman, by Brig. Gen. Frank E. Wilson, MC, USAR.
Subjects of special concern discussed by this Council were (1) status of equipment of medical units, (2) storage and training facilities, and (3) the medical implications of the new type of combat organization.
Of major importance in training was the modification of policy concerning Reserve participation. For the first time in its history,
LOGEX-61 was extended to a total of 3 weeks. This extension permitted participation in the exercise by units and individuals of the Reserve who played the problem during the second 2 weeks, after orientation and unit training during the first week. Although these units were originally offered this training in addition to ACDUTRA (active duty for training), funding restrictions required that it be ?in lieu? of ACDUTRA. The exercise, however, proved to be a very effective vehicle in stimulating interest and training of the majority of personnel within the units.
Because of continued reduction in man-day training spaces, unfilled quotas are resulting in almost all courses made available to Reserve components. In some instances, this has necessitated cancellations of scheduled programs or courses.
As in past years, the Navy again made available its course ?Medical Military Training Program for Armed Forces Medical Department Officers.? This course was attended by 84 AMEDS officers (USAR and ARNG) when it was held at the U.S. Naval Medical School, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., during 12-26 March 1961. Other courses open to AMEDS Reserve officers which were offered include ?Military Entomology,? offered by the U.S. Navy; and ?Basic Radiological Health,? ?Atmospheric and Source Sampling,? and ?Water Quality Management,? all offered by the U.S. Public Health Service.