With the reorganization of OTSG, the Veterinary Division was redesignated as Office for the Assistant for Veterinary Services. The Meat and Dairy Hygiene Branch and the Liaison, Standards and Animal Branch were changed to the Food Inspection Policy Branch, and Professional, Planning, and Programming Branch, respectively.
The strength of the Veterinary Corps at the close of the fiscal year was 165 Regular Army and 231 Reserve officers on active duty. During the year, 101 veterinarians had entered upon active duty and 108 were separated from the service. The authorized strength of the Regular corps was also increased to 250 during 1961, and 13 officers were integrated into the Regular Army service during the same period.
Considerable difficulty, however, is still being experienced in the procurement of young veterinarians to maintain the corps at its authorized strength. The shape of world events as they appeared at the close of the fiscal year, however, may well serve as an inducement to those young men who are professionally qualified and who heretofore have been disinclined to consider the military service as a career. Additionally, veterinarians will soon be permitted to take advantage of the Berry plan, designed to obtain specialized physicians and dentists for the Armed Forces. Under this plan, which has been agreed to in principle by the DOD and the Selective Service System, needed veterinary specialists could be given Reserve commissions, but deferred from active duty until they had completed their specialized training.
The Veterinary Service established two new courses during the year. One, a 3-week course in Veterinary Food Inspection Statistical Quality Control, was developed by the U.S. Army Medical Service Meat and Dairy Hygiene School, Chicago, Ill. Two classes were scheduled during fiscal year 1961, each to consist of 7 to 10 veterinary officers. The other, a veterinary laboratory procedures course, designed to train veterinary officers destined for assignment to Army areas and oversea medical laboratories, was established at WRAIR.
Course 8-A-3203, Veterinary Medicine, was dropped from the curriculum of the Medical Field Service School. To substitute for this course, student input was increased in Course 8-A-C22, AMEDS Officer
Career Course, which qualifies students for higher military training courses. The professional portion of the course is now provided by selected short courses at military and civilian institutions.
One class in Course 8-R-934.2, Advanced Food Inspection for Enlisted Personnel, had to be canceled because of an insufficiency of eligible applicants. Proficiency testing in this level of proficiency (skill digit) showed that many now holding this and higher skill digits are in need of training in Course 8-R-934.2.
African horse sickness and African swine fever which have been confined to the continent of Africa for many years recently spread into the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula. These highly fatal animal diseases have had a very serious effect on the animal populations in the affected countries. U.S. Army veterinary officers have participated in meetings and surveys to determine most effective means of preventing further spread of these diseases, and the Army Veterinary Corps is lending support to these projects.
The effectiveness of sentry dogs to protect sensitive military installations has caused a gradual increase in the number of these dogs worldwide. The veterinary preventive medicine program has been implemented in all areas on a routine basis. The remoteness of sensitive sites and the small number of dogs at a site have created some difficulty in providing emergency veterinary care and treatment.
Food inspection activities of veterinary personnel were extended in a number of areas to meet local requirements. Outstanding progress was made in Eritrea, in the improvement of local sources of fresh foods. A significant accomplishment was the production of a wholesome supply of fresh milk. The capacity of the Asmara Pasteurizing Plant in Eritrea is now at a record 400 gallons daily, and sufficient to meet the needs of American service personnel and their dependents at Kagnew Station. Continuing efforts in Yugoslavia have developed an increasingly larger number of acceptable meat plants for use by Army procurement activities in USAREUR. In Okinawa, Japan, and Korea, education and training in American food handling and processing methods, plus extensive supervision by individuals of the Veterinary Service, resulted in expanded purchase of locally produced foods. In Europe, the search for new and improved food products which are wholesome and nutritious was successfully continued this year. These activities reduced
the cost of maintaining service personnel and their dependents overseas, improved morale, and aided the local economy in many areas of the world.
The use of statistical quality control techniques and contractor inspection with military verification was expanded in CONUS inspection activities, in accordance with broad policies established by the Department of Defense. A joint regulation became effective during the year, which increased veterinary inspection activities in the field of non-animal foods, so as to better fulfill the responsibilities of The Surgeon General.
Requirements for veterinary officers to support research and development activities of the Army Medical Service and the Chemical Corps continued to increase during the year. Many worthy projects could not be supported because of the strength limitations of the Veterinary Corps.
The Nuclear Energy Division, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, was strengthened by assigning a veterinary officer specialized in radiobiology for staff duties in this field. This provided centralized control and monitoring of the many military projects conducted throughout the service and on contract at civilian institutions and in industry. To meet this increased demand in radiobiology, the annual training input of two veterinary officers was increased to four.
Laboratory animal medicine increased in importance with the trend toward long-term testing of low-level dosages of noxious agents. Requirements for board-qualified veterinary pathologists make this a vital area for continued training of service personnel.