U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip to main content
Return to topReturn to top

Activities of Medical Consultants

The initial assignment ofconsultants in medicine, surgery, and neuropsychiatry in the U.S. Armyduring World War II was to the Office of the Surgeon General. Here,each functioned as ChiefConsultant and Coordinator in matters pertaining to his field ofmedicine throughout the Army.After considerable deliberation on the part of a few, the commandinggenerals of the nine corpsareas (later service commands) in the Zone of Interior accepted therecommendation thatprofessional consultants be assigned to the offices of their chiefsurgeons. As oversea commandscame into being, consultants were designated for them. Theconspicuously successfulperformance of these early consultant appointees provided conclusiveproof of their value to theMedical Department at home and overseas. By the end of the war, fairlycomplete coverage byconsultants had become established throughout the Medical Department,extending from theZone of Interior to the armies in the field.

The mission of the MedicalDepartment of the Army in time of war is to prevent disease andinjury and to provide optimum treatment for them when they occur, tothe end of maintaining thelowest noneffective rate possible. The consultants, most of whomentered active service directlyfrom civilian life and possessed little personal experience withmilitary medicine, either clinicalor administrative, related themselves to this mission in anextraordinarily effective fashion. Ofnecessity, their successful performances depended less uponauthoritative directives andcommands than upon reason and persuasion. This volume provides a reviewof some of theiractivities. It is not designed to record all of their contributions andaccomplishments. Nor will itmore than suggest, and this indirectly, the completeness of theirloyalty to country andprofession and the thoroughness of their dedication to the importantmedical officer assignmentin which they served.


Brigadier General, AUS (Ret.).