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Annual Report the Surgeon General United States Army Fiscal Year 1959


The Secretary of Defense concurred, on 5 August 1958, in the report of an ad hoc committee which recommended that the missions and functions of the Army Veterinary Corps and the Air Force Veterinary Service continue substantially as at present with no significant transfer of inspection functions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This reversal of policy was strongly endorsed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health and Medical), who pointed out the increasing activities of veterinarians in astronautical, chemical, bacteriological, and radiological medicine, as well as in studies on animal diseases transmissible to man.

This ad hoc committee also recommended that directives be revised to clarify the responsibility of the military veterinary services for subsistence inspection and to provide a more uniform utilization of veterinary services throughout the Department of Defense. Consequently, DOD Directive 6015.5, dated 5 December 1955, was revised as of 25 September 1958. The revised directive states that the veterinary services of the Army and Air Force will be utilized by all military departments to meet their individual requirements and that optimum joint utilization will be made of veterinary facilities and services to include the following:

1. Inspection of food products and sanitary inspections of establishments supplying food products to Department of Defense agencies.

2. Use of 'Lists of Approved Sources of Foods' published by the Army major commands.

3. Laboratory examinations of food products.

4. Control of animal diseases communicable to man.

5. Veterinary care for publicly owned animals (veterinary care for private pets was discontinued except as a protective measure for the health of other animals and humans).


6. Military research and development.

At the request of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense agreed, on 5 June 1959, to have the Army and Air Force furnish veterinary service to the Coast Guard by providing lists of approved sources of milk and dairy products and inspection services as necessary.

Following a visit to Asmara, a VC staff officer recommended that purchases of indigenous milk and meat in that area be discontinued because of tuberculous cattle. His report led to a conference of representatives of the Army Security Agency, the International Security Office, and the U.S. consul in Asmara. The U.S. consul considered it unwise to discontinue these purchases. It was pointed out that The Surgeon General would not condone the use of indigenous milk and meats in the area in view of the situation but that the Veterinary Corps could provide assistance in testing bovine herds for the purpose of eliminating tuberculin reactors to the extent that the herds might be considered modified tuberculosis-free. This proposal was enthusiastically endorsed. Consequently, the Veterinary Corps assigned an enlisted food inspection specialist to that station in August 1958 and a Veterinary Corps officer in January 1959. Reports from Asmara indicated that the elimination of bovine tuberculin reactors is being accomplished expeditiously and that adequately clean herds may be available shortly. A new abattoir was constructed in the area and that has been approved as a source of beef.