The Surgeon General has placed greater emphasis upon the training and utilization of VC officers in research activities in order to develop improved techniques in food inspection and to provide timely and efficient support of field armies in keeping with the latest concepts of modern warfare. He is seeking to improve the capability of veterinary field units to detect and evaluate the amount of radioactivity in subsistence so that they can advise the surgeon concerning the food's
acceptability for consumption. In this connection, a research project has been established in the Veterinary Division, WRAIR, to develop techniques, procedures, and doctrine for field examination of radioactively contaminated food, and to make recommendations concerning the development of new detection equipment or the modification of existing equipment.
The organization of veterinary field units is being revised to permitdispersed operation with a minimum of centralized control in order toincrease their capability of providing assistance to medical personnel in reducing the number of casualties that could result from the use by an enemy of chemical, biological, or radiological agents. This would enable the unit to place a zoonotic disease control plan into operation over a wide area, thus assisting the Army Medical Service in the early detection of animal-transmissible diseases resulting from biological warfare. Personnel from these units would also be available, on an area basis, to assist medical personnel in the care and management of mass casualties.
Approximately 80 Army veterinary officers were assigned to research and development activities at the end of fiscal year 1960. Continuous research is being conducted on animal diseases transmissible to man. As new food preservation methods are developed, research is necessary to determine the safety of these methods. Research is being conducted to develop improved techniques of inspecting foods that have been subjected to extreme heat and cold and to simulated modem warfare conditions. Army veterinarians are also collaborating with the Chemical and Quartermaster Corps and the Atomic Energy Commission on research projects.
Despite the limited number of its personnel, the Veterinary Section at Kagnew Station in Eritrea has developed into an invaluable adjunct to the preventive medicine program in that area. Strict sanitary measures and frequent inspections of local food supplies have aided materially in protecting the military personnel and their dependents stationed there from the foodborne diseases endemic to the region. Sanitation in the local establishments continued to be a problem and constant supervision has been necessary.
The Surgeon General concurred in a revision of the policy, initiated by the Military Subsistence Supply Agency in September 1959, which requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect and grade carcass meats at the expense of the contractors. The new procedure relieved the Army Veterinary Corps of this responsibility and made possible the fuller utilization of veterinary officers for staff and supervisory duties and for verification of the inspections of contractors and of other agents.
Army veterinarians are stationed in Yugoslavia to inspect meats procured there by the Armed Forces of the United States for the use primarily of post exchanges and for resale through commissary stores on military bases in Europe. These veterinarians have done much to improve the meat industry in that country. Because of the restriction imposed by Yugoslavia on travel abroad by its citizens, the production methods and laborsaving devices used there have often been found to be years behind those employed in other countries. The suggestions made by the U.S. Army veterinarians for improving the situation have been well received and usually adopted.