Army Aviation Medical Officers
With more than 6,000 Army aviators now on active duty and the number expected to continue to increase during the next few years, there has been a correspondingly increased requirement for Army aviation medical officers to provide the necessary preventive and therapeutic medical care. During the year, seven more medical officers completed the required training to qualify as flight surgeons. At the end of fiscal year 1960, there were 18 flight surgeons in the Army Medical Service,the first 11 having qualified in the previous fiscal year.
The total number of aviation medical officers on active duty on 30 June 1960 was 59, only 1 more than on 1 July 1959 because of the high attrition rate among reservists completing their obligatory service. Of the 59, only 15 are Regular Army officers, the other 44 being short-time reservists. Included in the total are 1 colonel, 3 lieutenant colonels, 8 majors, and 47 captains.
Aviation medical officers are assigned to the medical company or the medical battalion of all combat divisions and as surgeons of transportation aviation battalions. In CONUS, they are assigned to posts having a population of 30 or more Army aviators. Of the 59 aviation medical officers on duty at the end of the fiscal year, 36 were assigned to medical installations, major tactical units, or special activities within CONUS; 10 to U.S. Army, Europe; 7 to U.S. Army Forces, Far East; and 1 each to the U.S. Army in Alaska, Caribbean, and Pacific, and the Southern European Task Forces. In addition, one was assigned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and another to the FederalAviation Agency.
Aviation Medicine Training
After orientation at the Army Medical Service School, the prospective aviation medical officer attends either the U.S. Air Force School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base, Tex., or the U.S. Navy School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola , Fla. The Air Force course is of 9 weeks' duration, with classes beginning in February, April, August, and October. Students attend this course in a temporary-duty status. The Navy course lasts 22 weeks, with classes beginning in January, April, July, and October, and assignment to it constitutes a permanent change of station. During the past year, 21 Army medical officers completed the 9-week primary course and 1 completed the advanced course in aviation medicine at the Air Force school, while 8 were graduated from the 22-week course at the Navy school.
Upon graduation from either the Air Force or the Navy school, these officers attend the 2-week course at the Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker, which is designed to orient them into the practice of Army aviation medicine. This was formerly a 4-week course, but the length was reduced in fiscal year 1959 to enable the aviation medical officer to report earlier to his duty assignment. Continued efforts are being made to expand and improve the instruction at the Army Aviation School.
During the year, The Surgeon General approved three applications for advanced training in aviation medicine. This training consists of 1 year of instruction in preventive medicine at a civilian school of public health, the 1-year advanced course in aviation medicine, and 1
year of residency training in aviation medicine at Air Force or Navy installations. Completion of this 3-year program of advanced training will qualify the flight surgeon for examination for certification in aviation medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. It is anticipated that this opportunity for advanced training will induce a number of young medical officers to seek a career in Army aviation medicine.
Medical Service Corps Aviators
Seventeen MSC aviators were trained during the year as pilots of fixed-wing aircraft. Courses for the training of aviation staff officers and aircraft maintenance officers were conducted at the Army Aviation; Center at Fort Rucker, along with helicopter instrument training and helicopter flight training. In addition, MSC aviators attended branch courses at the Army Medical Service School, and a selected number were trained at civilian institutions. Nineteen MSC officers qualified as helicopter pilots in the fiscal year.
There were 138 MSC aviators on active duty at the end of the fiscal year as compared to 125 on 30 June 1959 and the established requirement for 158. The policy of rotating these officers to ground duty was continued to enable them to gain and maintain familiarity with MSC activities.
Medical Helicopter Ambulance Detachments
Three of the four Army medical helicopter ambulance detachments in CONUS were absorbed into the 45th Medical Helicopter Company. The other is stationed at the Brooke Army Medical Center. There are three detachments in the Far East and five in Europe.
Types of Aircraft
Three AMEDS helicopter ambulance detachments in CONUS were equipped during the year with the new turboprop Bell HU-1A (Iroquois) helicopters, replacing the H-19D (Chickasaw) Sikorsky helicopters. Two of the detachments, from Fort George G. Meade, Md., and Fort Bragg, with the new helicopters were sent to Chile in May 1960 to assist in giving aid to disaster victims. Excellent reports have been received on the HU-1A's ability to perform well in all of weather and at varying altitudes while fully loaded. It can carry two litter or five ambulatory patients.
The only H-13 (Sioux) evacuation aircraft remaining in the Army Medical Service are located in the Far East. All of the detachments in Europe have H-19D helicopters.