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AMEDD Corps History > Medical Specialist > Publication

The Period of Stabilization, July 1953 to January 1961

Colonel Harriet S. Lee, USA (Ret.), Colonel Ruth A. Robinson, USA (Ret.), Lieutenant Colonel Beatrice Whitcomb, USA (Ret.), and Lieutenant Colonel Hilda M. Lovett, USA (Ret.)


On the sixth anniversary of the Women`s Medical Specialist Corps, 16 April 1953, the members of the corps could look to the future with pride in the record of their achievements during the Korean War. Because of the shortage of personnel, the number of corps officers assigned to the Surgeon General`s Office had been reduced to five (chart 9). In August 1953, however, as a result of the expanding career management plan for the Army Medical Service, Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Beatrice Whitcomb was assigned to the Personnel Division as Chief, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps Assignment Section (later Army Medical Specialist Corps Assignment and Career Planning Section).

To help meet needs in personnel procurement, Capt. Mary Behlen, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps procurement officer at Headquarters, Second U.S. Army, was assigned in January 1954 to the Technical Liaison Office, Surgeon General`s Office, to assist in publicity for the Army Nurse Corps and for her own corps. When Captain Behlen resigned her commission in 1956, Capt. (later Lt. Col.) Cordelia Myers replaced her.

Effective on 23 February 1954, a reorganization in the Surgeon General`s Office changed the status of the Office of the Chief, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps from division level to staff level. This change was deemed to more nearly reflect the policymaking and advisory responsibilities of the chief of the corps. Lt. Col. Harriet S. Lee was appointed to this position on 1 November 1954 to succeed Col. Nell Wickliffe who retired. Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Agnes P. Snyder replaced Colonel Lee as Chief, Physical Therapist Section (fig. 105).

There were no further changes in Women`s Medical Specialist Corps personnel in the Surgeon General`s Office until October 1955 when Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Myra L. McDaniel (fig. 106) was appointed Chief, Occupational Therapist Section, replacing Lt. Col. Helen R. Sheehan who had requested early release from her statutory tour for compassionate reasons. In July 1956, Lt. Col. Hilda M. Lovett, Chief, Dietitian Section, completed her statutory tour and was replaced by Lt. Col. Helen M. Davis (fig. 107) who had served as an assistant


CHART 9-Organization, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps Division,1 Surgeon General`s Office, July 1953-January 1961


FIGURE 105-The new chief of the Women`s Medical Specialist Corps and the new chief of the Physical Therapist Section listen to the reading of the special orders assigning them to the Surgeon General`s Office. Left to right: Maj. David E. Marchus, Jr., JAGC, holds Bible on which the officers will take their oath of office; Maj. Agnes P. Snyder, incoming Chief, Physical Therapist Section; Maj. Gen. George E. Armstrong, The Surgeon General; Lt. Col. Harriet S. Lee, incoming chief of the corps; and Maj. Vincent P. Verfuerth, MSC.

in the section from 1949 to 1953. Both Colonel Sheehan and Colonel Lovett reverted to their permanent grades of major.

In May 1957, it was learned that Army Medical Specialist Corps spaces in the Surgeon General`s Office were to be reduced from seven to three effective on 30 June 1958. This drastic cut in personnel was a result of an overall reduction in Department of Defense personnel. To implement the Army Medical Specialist Corps cut, higher authority recommended the following action:

1. Elimination of the second dietitian space in the Food Service Section, Domestic Operations Branch, Medical Plans and Operations Division, by 30 June 1957.

2. Immediate reassignment of the corps officer in the Technical Liaison Office to the Procurement Branch, Personnel Division, with elimination of the space as of 31 December 1957.

3. Immediate elimination of the Physical and Occupational Therapy Branches, Professional Division, and reassignment of chiefs of these


FIGURE 106-Lt. Col. Myra L. McDaniel, Chief, Occupational Therapist Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps, 1955-59.

branches to the Office of the Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps. On 30 June 1958, these officers were to be assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C., from where, in addition to their duties as chiefs of their respective sections at the hospital, they would serve as consultants to The Surgeon General on professional matters relating to their specialties and to the Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps, on matters relating to the corps.

The proposed action met with strong opposition by the chief and assistant chiefs. They believed that if the three positions retained were


FIGURE 107-Lt. Col. Helen M. Davis, Chief, Dietitian Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps, 1956-60.

those of the Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps, the Chief, Dietitian Section, and the Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps Assignment and Career Planning Section, professional section representation in the Surgeon General`s Office would inevitably be lost.

Efforts were made to obtain an authorization of five Army Medical Specialist Corps officers in the Surgeon General`s Office, the number considered to be the bare minimum for effective operation. When


FIGURE 108-Lt. Col. Barbara R. Friz, Chief, Physical Therapist Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps, 1958-62.

these proved unsuccessful, an attempt was made to obtain four spaces in order to assure the continued assignment of the chief and section chiefs in the Surgeon General`s Office. This attempt was also fruitless.

Accepting the inevitability of accommodating to this drastic personnel cut and confronted with the necessity of operating within its limitation, the chief of the corps proposed to The Surgeon General the following organization to be effective on 1 July 1958:

1. The three Army Medical Specialist Corps spaces authorized in the Surgeon General`s Office would be occupied by the chief of the corps and the chiefs of those two sections of the corps of which the current chief was not a member. The chief of that section of which the chief of the corps was a member would be assigned to Walter Reed


General Hospital with additional duties as a consultant to The Surgeon General on all professional and personnel matters pertaining to her section. It was the firm belief of the chief and section chiefs that if provision were not made for representation in the Surgeon General`s Office of each professional group comprising the corps, adequate professional guidance and direction would not be available to the members of the unrepresented section and their effectiveness and morale would be seriously impaired.

2. The two section chiefs physically located in the Surgeon General`s Office would be assigned to the office of the chief of the corps. It had been first proposed by the chief of the corps that the Chief, Dietitian Section, remain assigned to the Medical Plans and Operations Division, but a subsequent reorganization of that Division eliminated the Food Service Section in the Domestic Operations Branch.

The Surgeon General approved the proposal, and during fiscal year 1958, changes were implemented as programed. Captain Myers, with Department of the Army approval, however, was retained in the Personnel Division, Surgeon General`s Office, until 30 June 1958 to complete several important procurement projects. On 1 July 1958, Colonels Lee, McDaniel, and Davis were assigned to the Surgeon General`s Office and Colonel Snyder was assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital. On 1 September 1958, Lt. Col. Barbara R. Friz1 (fig. 108) replaced Colonel Snyder as Chief, Physical Therapist Section, and was assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital.

On 1 November 1958, Col. Ruth A. Robinson (fig. 109), an occupational therapist, was appointed Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps, succeeding Colonel Lee, a physical therapist. In order to maintain balanced section representation in the Surgeon General`s Office, it was then necessary to reassign the Chief, Occupational Therapist Section, to Walter Reed General Hospital and the Chief, Physical Therapist Section, to the Surgeon General`s Office. The administrative inefficiency inherent in such assignment shifts was well recognized. Lack of equity of representation in the Surgeon General`s Office of each section of the corps, however, was still considered the greater evil.

On 1 October 1959, Colonel McDaniel was succeeded by Colonel Myers (fig. 110) who was assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital to function in the same dual capacity as had Colonel McDaniel. In view of the extreme dissatisfaction of the chief of the corps with this arrangement, and to provide Colonel Myers with a thorough orientation, permission was obtained for her to spend full time at the Surgeon General`s Office for a period of 9 months. In April 1960, authorization was obtained for the assignment of Colonel Myers to the U.S. Army Medical Service Field Activity Unit, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, with station at the Surgeon General`s Office.2

1Formerly Maj. Barbara M. Robertson.
2The statutory nature of the section chief appointment precluded assignment to another unit, so a fourth Army Medical Specialist Corps space was authorized in the Surgeon General`s Office effective in fiscal year 1963.


FIGURE 109-Lt. Col. Ruth A. Robinson, new chief of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, receives the insignia of colonel from The Surgeon General and her predecessor. Left to right: Maj. Gen. Silas B. Hays, Colonel Robinson, and Col. Harriet S. Lee. (U.S. Army photograph.)

Although the administration of the Army Medical Specialist Corps was greatly facilitated by the arrangement which enabled the chief and section chiefs to function together full time, the other adverse effects of the drastic cut in corps personnel in the Surgeon General`s Office were not eliminated. The professional activities of the chiefs of sections, including their consultation visits to the field, were seriously curtailed since they now had to assume many of the personnel and procurement duties formerly accomplished by the staff officers whose spaces had been abolished.

Inasmuch as the chief of the corps was an occupational therapist, there was no problem of dual assignment facing Lt. Col. Katharine E. Manchester (fig. 111) when she was appointed Chief, Dietitian Section, to succeed Colonel Davis who retired in July 1960.

To avoid operation by expediency and to eliminate duplication of effort, additional duties were assigned. In the fall of 1958, the Chief, Physical Therapist Section, was designated Chief, Army Medical Spe-


FIGURE 1l0-Lt. Col. Cordelia Myers, Chief, Occupational Therapist Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps, 1959-63. (U.S. Army photograph.)

cialist Corps Personnel Branch, to coordinate personnel activities and maintain liaison with the Personnel Division. Early in 1960, the Chief, Occupational Therapist Section, was delegated the responsibility of coordinating corps procurement activities with the Procurement Branch, Personnel Division, and for maintaining liaison with Army Medical Specialist Corps procurement counselors assigned to Army headquarters. In both instances, these secondary duties required approximately half of the working time of each officer.


FIGURE 111-Lt. Gen. Leonard D. Heaton, The Surgeon General, listens as Col. Maurice Levin, JAGC, administers the oath of office to Lt. Col. Katharine E. Manchester, incoming Chief, Dietitian Section, Army Medical Specialist Corps.

As time passed, it became glaringly apparent that the Army Medical Specialist Corps organizational structure in the Surgeon General`s Office as it evolved during this period could never be effective in time of mobilization. As the result of the recommendations by the chief of the corps, the mobilization table of distribution of the Surgeon General`s Office, when next amended, provided for the establishment and adequate staffing of a Food Service Section, Domestic Operations Branch, Medical Plans and Operations Division, and a Physical Therapy Section and an Occupational Therapy Section in the Professional Division. There was also provision for the staffing of the corps Personnel Branch, Personnel Division, and for all sections to be represented in the Office of the Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps.

When The Surgeon General authorized the appointment of civilian consultants for the Women`s Medical Specialist Corps in 1950, their prime mission was to solve problems pertinent to personnel procurement and retention. In 1958, the emphasis on their use was broadened to include consultation in the professional areas. In June 1956, the appointments of Miss Mildred Elson, physical therapist, and Mrs. Winifred C. Kahmann, occupational therapist, were terminated and


Miss Lucy Blair, physical therapist, and Capt. Wilma L. West, AMSC, USAR (occupational therapist), were appointed as their successors. Miss Alta B. Atkinson continued as consultant to the dietitian section until early in 1960 when Miss Fern W. Gleiser was appointed as her replacement.


Certain legislative measures which were passed from 1954 to 1961 resulted in benefits to both the Regular Army and the Reserve components of the corps. Inequities caused by previous legislation which affected promotion and service credit were eliminated and promotion opportunities to the grades of major and lieutenant colonel were increased to provide further incentive to remain in the Army as career officers. Spaces in National Guard units were opened to female officers. The appointment of male specialists in the Reserve component was authorized, eventuating the change in the corps` name to the Army Medical Specialist Corps and a change in insignia.

Public Law 773, 83d Congress, 3 September 1954

Public Law 83-773, cited as the Reserve Officer Personnel Act of 1954, became effective on 1 July 1955. The purpose of this law was to achieve uniformity for the Reserve component of the armed services in promotion, precedence, constructive credit, retention, and elimination of officers. The mandatory retirement provisions of this law were of particular concern to the Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps as these corps were threatened with the impending loss of many experienced officers. It was not until 1959 and 1960 that legislation was enacted which alleviated this threat.3 In the interim period, an exception to policy was made which permitted the retention of many Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officers beyond the limit prescribed in the Reserve Officer Personnel Act.

Public Law 229, 84th Congress, 4 August 1955

Public Law 84-229, enacted in August 1955, corrected one inequity of the Army-Navy Nurses Act of 1947 by directing the Secretary of the Army to adjust the dates of rank of all officers in the Army Nurse Corps and Women`s Medical Specialist Corps, Regular Army, to reflect the total amount of service creditable under existing law. Before this date, officers appointed under the provisions of the initial law which granted Regular Army status4 could be and were outranked by officers appointed under subsequent legislative acts including the

3(1) Public Law 197, 86th Congress, approved 25 Aug. 1959. (2) Public Law 559, 86th Congress, approved 30 June 1960.
4Public Law 36, 80th Congress, approved 16 Apr. 1947.


law which extended the integration period for Regular Army.5 This had placed the former officers at a promotional disadvantage in relation to their Army peers.

Public Law 233, 84th Congress, 4 August 1955

In 1955, the Army-Navy Nurses Act of 1947 was further amended by Public Law 84-233. By this law, service credit was obtained for certain nurses and medical specialists appointed in the Regular Army. Up to 5 years` credit would be granted to those with active Federal commissioned service performed since 31 December 1947, after becoming 21 years of age and before appointment. A 3-year promotion-list credit was authorized those who by reason of previous civilian experience were initially appointed in the Regular Army in the grade of first lieutenant and who had not performed as much as 3 years` active commissioned service since 31 December 1947 and before Regular Army appointment. The law further authorized consideration for their promotion to the grade of captain along with their professional Army peers. Without this proviso, such officers would have had to serve 7 years before becoming eligible for a Regular Army promotion to the grade of captain.

Public Law 294, 84th Congress, 9 August 1955

After repeated attempts over a period of 5 years, Representative Frances P. Bolton succeeded in obtaining commissions for male nurses and medical specialists in the U.S. Army Reserve. This was achieved by Public Law 84-294. While no change in name was necessary for the Army Nurse Corps, the medical specialist group was inappropriately titled for the inclusion of men and was, therefore, renamed the Army Medical Specialist Corps.

Subcommittee hearings on this bill indicated that the Department of Defense favored its enactment for two major reasons. First, it was felt that the authority to appoint qualified male nurses and medical specialists would expand the sources of procurement for each corps. Second, the authority to commission male nurses and medical specialists would end the existing inequality in their professional status in the Army. At the hearings, it was noted that 50 male physical therapists and 6 male occupational therapists had come into the Army through the Universal Military Training and Service Act and had been serving in enlisted status.

In October 1955, additional Army service number prefixes and designations were established as follows: MR, male dietitian; MM, male physical therapist; and MJ, male occupational therapist. The insignia was changed to a gold caduceus with a black "S" superimposed thereon (fig. 112). It became available on 15 September 1957.

5Public Law 514, 81st Congress, 2d Session, approved 16 May 1950. (See ch. X,  p. 364.)


FIGURE 112-Insignia of Army Medical Specialist Corps.


By the end of fiscal year 1957, seven male physical therapists and four male occupational therapists had been appointed in the Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve component and called to active duty.

Public Law 845, 84th Congress, 30 July 1956

The appointment of nurses and medical specialists in the Army and Air National Guards was authorized by Public Law 84-845. At that time, only the Dietitian Section of the Army Medical Specialist Corps was affected since the table of organization and equipment for the evacuation hospital, the largest hospital unit in the National Guard, provided for one dietitian space and no physical or occupational therapist spaces.

Public Law 155, 85th Congress, 21 August 1957

Morale of many Army Medical Specialist Corps officers was at low ebb when the subject of grade with its accompanying benefits was considered. The grade structure did not relate accurately to the responsibilities of corps members and was found to be inconsistent with comparable responsibilities and grades in other corps within the armed services. Only a small number of officers could be promoted to the permanent grade of major because only 35 spaces in this grade were authorized. The majority could look forward to retirement in a grade no higher than captain. Also, there was no provision of law for Army Medical Specialist Corps officers to serve in the permanent grade of colonel or lieutenant colonel.

On 2 August 1954, Col. Nell Wickliffe forwarded to The Surgeon General a study which pointed out the need for higher grades within the corps which would be more nearly commensurate with the responsibility these officers carried. She recommended that 22 temporary lieutenant colonel and 61 major spaces be authorized since it was known that these could be accomplished without legislation. While no action was taken on the recommendation, it served as the groundwork for future action toward obtaining a more realistic grade structure.

Another study of the corps` grade structure was submitted by Colonel Lee to The Surgeon General on 12 October 1955. Based on a recommendation of the Chief, Personnel Division, The Surgeon General appointed a task force to evaluate the grade requirements of the Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps. Concurrently, on 6 November 1955, President Eisenhower, in a personal letter to General Maxwell D. Taylor, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, requested that legislation be prepared which would provide more equitable and attractive career opportunities for the nurses of all three services.6 While a patient at Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colo., President Eisenhower had

6Memorandum for Record, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Personnel and Reserve), 23 Nov. 1955, subject: Meeting With Mr. Bryce Harlowe in the White House Offices with Regard To Implementing the President`s Desire for Improving Conditions and Career Incentives in the Nurse Corps of the Armed Services.


FIGURE 113-Reviewing the Career Incentive Act are (left to right) Col. Inez Haynes, Chief, Army Nurse Corps; Lt. Col. E. L. Waddell (standing), Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, who presented the Army testimony to Congress; Maj. Gen. Silas B. Hays, The Surgeon General; and Col. Harriet S. Lee, Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps.

become aware of the need to improve the grade structure, retirement benefits, and housing for these officers.

On 22 November 1955, a meeting of appropriate officials was held in the White House to discuss ways and means for carrying out the President`s request. The Department of the Army was given the responsibility to initiate, prepare, and coordinate the project which was subsequently expanded to include the medical specialists in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Proposed legislation, approved by the Secretary of Defense, was forwarded to the House Armed Services Committee in May 1956. Maj. Gen. Silas B. Hays, The Surgeon General, wholeheartedly endorsed the objectives of the legislation and gave unstintingly of his support to achieving its enactment (fig. 113).

Because of delay in congressional action, a number of career reservists lost the opportunity to apply for a Regular Army commission. They reached the maximum age in grade before the law was passed.

Hearings on the legislation were begun on 6 February 1957.7 It was enacted as Public Law 85-155 on 21 August and thereafter commonly referred to as the Career Incentive Act of 1957. In brief, the

7Subcommittee No. 2, Committee on the Armed Forces, House of Representatives.


legislation provided for the Army Medical Specialist Corps, Regular Army, as follows:

1. Increase in field grade spaces to authorize 1 permanent colonel and 20 permanent lieutenant colonels.

2. Promotion to major on the fully qualified basis rather than on the best qualified. This meant that all captains with 14 years of service, if fully qualified, could be promoted to permanent major.

3. Authorization of appointment in the Regular Army in the grade of captain, thereby increasing the age ceiling for appointment.

4. Mandatory retirement provisions such as applied to other corps, including credit toward retirement for constructive service of integrated officers. This would provide for the orderly retirement of officers occupying senior grades in order to assure a continuous flow of promotion opportunities to those grades. Since Army Medical Specialist Corps officers had not previously been subject to mandatory retirement before age 60, the legislation would have some unavoidable traumatic effects on the corps and on individual officers.

Public Law 197, 86th Congress, 25 August 1959

The retention for retirement and the retirement provisions of the Reserve Officer Personnel Act of 1954,8 written with the intent of equalizing Regular and Reserve retirement criteria, would have been disastrous had the bill not been amended before the provisions became fully effective in July 1960. Many officers would have been eliminated because of technicalities in the law which drastically shortened their military careers.

Already concerned that Reserve medical units authorized Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers would not have the capacity to meet their missions in time of mobilization, the Army, as a result of the Reserve Officer Personnel Act, was now faced with the forced elimination of many experienced Army nurse and medical specialist Reserve officers. The Surgeon General, therefore, recommended immediate, aggressive action to remedy the situation.

The dogged persistence of Col. (later Brig. Gen.) James H. Kidder, MC, USAR, Special Assistant to The Surgeon General for Reserve Affairs, and his staff, Maj. (later Lt. Col.) John Lada, MSC, and Capt. (later Maj.) Margaret A. Ewen, ANC, and the support of the Reserve Officers` Association, were largely responsible for the provisions enacted in legislation during this period which affected Army nurse and medical specialist Reserve officers.

Public Law 86-197 granted credit for certain service for retirement purposes for duty performed by Army nurse and medical specialist Reserve officers before they attained commissioned status. This service, already creditable for other longevity benefits, included the periods after 6 April 1917 and before 1 April 1943 for dietitians and physical therapists and before 1 January 1949 for occupational therapists if

8See footnote 3 (1), p. 401.


they had been full-time civilian employees of the Army Medical Service. Time spent as a civilian student or apprentice was never creditable.

As a result, many Army Medical Specialist Corps officers, previously ineligible for retention, were retained in the Active Reserve because they could attain 20 years` service creditable for retirement before reaching mandatory retirement age. This legislation did much to eliminate inequities and therefore to raise the morale of these Reserve officers. One particularly gratifying aspect was the full recognition it finally gave to the wartime accomplishments of intrepid women who accompanied oversea units as civilians without the protection afforded their military associates.

Public Law 559, 86th Congress, 30 June 1960

Further benefits to the Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officers were obtained as a result of Public Law 86-559, an amendment to the Reserve Officer Personnel Act of 1954. This law gave the Secretary of the Army authority to retain medical, dental, nurse, medical specialist, and chaplain reservists in an active status within the Reserve, with their consent, until they reached age 60. The Secretary of the Army immediately exercised this authority to permit the selective retention of Reserve officers who otherwise would have been eliminated under the provisions of the Reserve Officer Personnel Act which became effective on 2 July 1960. This action retained those who could attain 20 years of creditable service before reaching age 609 and thus assured the probability of their retirement with accrued benefits.

The provisions of the bill equalized promotion opportunities by raising the authorized grades for Army Nurse Corps Reserve officers from lieutenant colonel to colonel and for Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officers from major to colonel and provided that officers of both corps would be selected for promotion to the rank of major on a fully qualified instead of best qualified basis. In addition, it made it mandatory to consider both Reserve unit and nonunit officers for promotion up to the grade of major upon their completion of specified periods of promotion and commissioned service.10 Previously, unit officers could only be promoted to fill vacancies in their unit.

9(1) DA Message 503941, July 1960. (2) Title 10, U.S.C., sec. 3855.
10This provision tends to promote Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers out of Reserve units because of limited opportunity in grades above captain. It has been mitigated in part by: (1) The establishment of a policy which permits Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps unit officers promoted after mandatory consideration to be promoted to the next higher grade and remain in the unit even though no vacancy in that grade exists; that is, occupy one grade lower. A unit officer promoted two grades higher than the one which is occupied could elect to defer the promotion for 3 years in order to remain with the unit or accept the promotion and be transferred out of the unit. (2) A provisional change in Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps grade authorization in table-of-organization-and-equipment and table-of-distribution units which authorizes a limited number of promotions to higher grades. (DA Message 589533, 6 Feb. 1962.)



Strength and Distribution

The authorized as well as the actual strength of the Army Medical Specialist Corps which had shown a steady decline since the end of the Korean War, continued this trend during 1957, but leveled off and remained fairly constant during 1958-60. (See Appendix J, p. 611.) This situation reflected, as would be expected, a similar situation in the strength of the Army during the same period. (See Appendix O, p. 621.)

The Army Medical Specialist Corps spaces authorized annually by the Department of the Army never equaled the numbers needed to meet professional requirements. Until 1959, however, these authorizations always exceeded the actual corps strength because it was never possible to procure personnel to fill even these limited authorizations.

As the strength of the Army declined, the Army Medical Specialist Corps authorizations were reduced to make the unfilled spaces available to other Army services. The result was that, in July 1959, the corps had more personnel on duty (425) than were authorized (400). Authorizations were increased during fiscal years 1960 (410) and 1961 (425) but not to the numbers that the chief of the corps felt essential to effective operation.

Annual reports of the Army Medical Specialist Corps showed a wide distribution of officers both in 1953 and 1960. (See Appendix K, p. 613.) The number of hospitals shown in table 17 indicate that 139 officers in 1953 and 121 officers in 1960 were serving as chiefs of their respective hospital operations. In addition, there were ap-

TABLE 17-Number of hospitals to which Army Medical Specialist Corps officers (excluding students) were assigned, 1953 and 1960

proximately 20 officers in full-time teaching, administrative, research, and procurement assignments. An average of 35 percent, excluding students, had major administrative, supervisory educational, or consultative assignments (fig. 114) in addition to actual professional practice.

While there were 65 Regular Army appointments in the Army Medical Specialist Corps from 1 July 1953 through 30 June 1960,


FIGURE 114-Col. Harriet S. Lee, Chief, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps, visits Maj. Gen. Earle G. Standlee, Surgeon, Army Forces Far East and Eighth U.S. Army. Left to right: Maj. Marion M. Donaldson, dietetic consultant, Far East; Lt. Col. Katharine V. Jolliffe, Chief Nurse, Army Forces Far East and Eighth U.S. Army Medical Section; Colonel Lee; General Standlee; Lt. Col. Mabel G. Stott, ANC, Personnel Division, Surgeon General`s Office; and Maj. Elizabeth C. Jones, physical therapy consultant, Far East.

the losses exceeded the gains. At the end of that period, the Dietitian Section had dropped from 81 Regular Army members to 68, the Physical Therapist Section from 93 to 82, and the Occupational Therapist Section from 27 to 25.

In May 1955, a new policy was established for Reserve officer periods of service on active duty.11 The category renewal system was abolished. All newly appointed officers came on duty for an initial 2-year tour following which they could request an indefinite category, submit a request for relief from active duty,12 or resign from the service if eligible.

The new policy was a definite asset to the Army Medical Specialist Corps. Heretofore, members had to renew their categories well in ad-

11Army Regulations No. 135-215, 27 May 1955.
12"Relief from active duty" is a term applicable to military personnel who are to be discharged, returned or transferred to a Reserve component, or retired. (Army Regulations No. 320-5, 13 Jan. 1961.)


vance of expiration dates. To some of the young women members, this decision of future intention and commitment was one they preferred not to make. Formerly, too, some members had just signed on a year-to-year basis, realizing that the possibility of transfer was minimized for the short commitment, and they were thus able to stay a longer period at a location particularly desired by them. The seeming unlimited nature of the indefinite category was tempered by the new policy on Reserve resignations which required only 90 days` advance notice.

Further revision of Department of the Army policy in 1957 permitted the retention of Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers who could complete retirement eligibility by their 60th birthday. Eleven officers in the latter corps benefited by this revision. Maj. Ruth Boyd, the first Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officer to be forced out because of not being able to attain 20 years of service before reaching her 60th birthday, in fiscal year 1957, set a precedent for the medical specialists and nurses by being given an appointment as a master sergeant in the Women`s Army Corps in order that she might complete 20 years of active duty. In accordance with the newly established policy of the Women`s Army Corps and of The Surgeon General, Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers transferring to enlisted status in the Women`s Army Corps would be assigned to the Army Medical Service in positions where they would not be working with other members of their profession who would be serving in officer status. Sergeant Boyd was assigned to the U.S. Army Hospital, Fort McPherson, Ga., where she was allowed to function as a dietitian although she could no longer assume the full responsibilities of an officer. She retired in the permanent Reserve grade of major in 1959.

The majority of Regular Army losses during 1953-60 resulted from marriage and retirement. Approximately 25 percent of the total annual Army Medical Specialist Corps losses were attributable to marriage. Other losses were largely from among the younger Reserve component officers who were curious to see what civilian positions had to offer.


Even though the requirements for Army Medical Specialist Corps personnel decreased following the Korean War, the national competition for dietitians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists continued to be staggering. There could, therefore, be no abatement in the pace of procurement efforts.

During the period from January 1954 to May 1957, Army Medical Specialist Corps officers assigned to the Technical Liaison Office acted as Army Nurse Corps-Army Medical Specialist Corps liaison between civilian and military agencies in officer procurement (chart 9). Their duties included development of brochures, posters, and exhibits, prep-


aration of press releases, assistance in the production of films and tapes, attendance at national meetings of professional and nonprofessional civilian associations, and participation in Army procurement conferences. The officer in this assignment was actually a combined public information-procurement officer whose contribution to procurement was sorely missed when the position was abolished.

Of the procurement projects developed, two come to mind as being unique and particularly successful. In May 1957, through collaboration of the Chief, Dietitian Section, and the Director, Dietetic Internship Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, the interns made a 5-day trip to Washington. They stayed at Walter Reed General Hospital and were individually assigned to Army dietetic interns for the day the group spent at the hospital. They also visited DeWitt Army Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va., and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. In 1958, Operation FEEDBACK was initiated. In this inexpensive project, each Army Medical Specialist Corps student recorded a brief report to her alma mater underclassmen and instructors in which she discussed her activities in the Army and her educational, social, and recreational experiences since joining the corps. The tape recordings, together with black and white photographs, were forwarded to the curriculum directors for use either in classes or with appropriate college clubs and groups. Such projects evoked interest and enthusiasm, but direct procurement results were intangible and impossible to estimate.

Experience of procurement officers assigned to Army area headquarters soon indicated that there was a great disparity in the procurement potentials of the six Army areas. This was related to the comparative population of the areas and the number of colleges which were potential sources for procurement. Since the Fourth U.S. Army area had the lowest potential, the assignment of an Army Medical Specialist Corps procurement officer to that headquarters was terminated in July 1955. The corps procurement officer space was eliminated in the Sixth U.S. Army area in August 1957 for the same reason but was restored in July 1958. In those headquarters where no Army Medical Specialist Corps officer was assigned, the Army Nurse Corps procurement officer was always most helpful.

The disparity in procurement potential of the Army areas and the consequent pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized procurement were among the factors considered in a study of Army Medical Service Officer Procurement conducted by The Surgeon General`s Army Medical Service Board in 1957. The board`s report highlighted the need for the assignment of two Army Medical Specialist Corps procurement officers to Fifth U.S. Army headquarters, a proven source of corps procurement. Such an assignment was made in September 1957 for one academic year.13

13A second Army Medical Specialist Corps officer was assigned to Fifth U.S. Army headquarters in August 1962.


The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services continued their efforts to obtain more widespread acceptance of women in the service. Of great assistance in this area was "The Price of Liberty," a film sponsored by the committee and distributed in 1954. Among the several successful brochures developed through the committee in the years 1953 to 1960 were "Eyes Right," "Your Daughter`s Role," "Careers for Women in the Armed Forces," "Builders of Faith," "Four Futures," and "Careers in Medical Services in the Armed Forces." The latter two brochures dealt specifically with the professions of nursing, dietetics, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

Experience has shown that the Army Medical Specialist Corps professional educational programs are the corps` only dependable source of personnel. During the period 1953 through 1960, a decline in the number of applicants for the dietetic internship, difficulty in obtaining both qualified occupational therapists and clinical affiliates, and a steady decrease in the number of applicants for the physical therapy course, forced a review of the effectiveness of the educational programs and the innovation of new procurement measures.

The Army student nurse program, an aid to the educational program begun in 1956, had been watched with keen interest by the Army Medical Specialist Corps. Selected applicants for this program were enlisted in the Women`s Army Corps Reserve for purposes of pay and allowances, but wore no uniform and attended no military meetings. The financial assistance which amounted to over $200 per month enabled the student to complete her basic professional education. After meeting other requirements, she was commissioned in the Army Nurse Corps and was obligated to serve 2 years for 1 year`s assistance or 3 years for 2 years` assistance. Most of the 250 spaces annually authorized for this program were filled.

The success of this program was contagious. In August 1957, the Army student dietitian program was announced for students enrolled in home economics. As of January 1961, 38 students had participated or were currently enrolled. In 1960, approval was given to a similar program for occupational therapy. Fifteen students per year were authorized.

A summer practicum was established for junior home economics students in 1958 to familiarize them with Army hospital food service activities. Over 100 students had participated in the program by 1961. This 4-week orientation to the role of the hospital dietitian and function of the Army hospital proved so valuable for dietetic internship procurement that summer practicums were approved for both physical and occupational therapy students in 1961. These civilian student employees received a stipend of approximately $165 per month and paid for their housing, subsistence, laundry, and travel.

In May 1957, approval was obtained to grant waivers for appointment in the Dietitian Section of persons who had completed college with the appropriate major and who desired to obtain experience that


might qualify them for membership in the American Dietetic Association. This program proved unproductive and was discontinued in 1959. In 1958, the Army graduate student dietitian program was authorized. To be eligible for this program, the dietitian had to be enrolled in or accepted for enrollment in a graduate curriculum. Commissioned for pay purposes, the dietitian came on duty following completion of graduate work. A service commitment of 3 years included the period of graduate work which could not exceed 12 months. This program by its very nature was restricted to a small group of selected individuals and by 1961 only two dietitians had participated in it.

In addition to the student and practicum programs in occupational therapy, a 1958 policy change permitted the Army occupational therapy clinical affiliate to complete only the balance of her affiliation as designated by her civilian school rather than participate in the entire 9-month program as previously required by the Army. A midyear clinical affiliation was also approved in 1960 which permitted students graduating in midyear to enter training without a 6-month delay.

The Physical Therapist Section maintained its strength at a fairly even level during this period because of the appointment of qualified male physical therapists. The steady decrease in the number of applicants for the physical therapy course, however, was an increasing cause for concern. The decrease was attributable to the trend in physical therapy education toward a 4-year degree course, most appealing when compared with the 1-year program following graduation from college, the pattern of the Army course. Since the assignment of male physical therapists was restricted by Department of Defense policy to hospitals where three or more physical therapists were authorized,14 the decline of the input into the physical therapy course was serious since it was the prime source of female physical therapists.

Grades and Promotions

The subject of grades and promotions continued to be of prime importance to the Army Medical Specialist Corps in terms of procurement and retention of highly qualified officers. Because of the postponement of congressional action on the career incentive legislation, The Surgeon General, in June 1956, proposed that temporary field grade distribution be increased for the corps. This was effected in November with an increase in authorization from 3 to 7 lieutenant colonel spaces and from 48 to 79 major spaces. These additional spaces considerably raised the morale of the corps and the increase was an important step toward the goal of giving rank commensurate with responsibility carried and of promoting all captains who were fully qualified.

For the first time in the history of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, a board met in the fall of 1957 to consider officers for promo-

14Letter, Frank B. Berry, M.D., Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health and Medical, to Hon. Carl Vinson, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, 11 Aug. 1959.


tion to the newly authorized permanent grade of lieutenant colonel. In view of the absence of any previous opportunity for such consideration, the number of officers in the promotion zone was unusually large. The board was instructed to select the 10 officers considered "best qualified" for promotion. The number of Regular Army lieutenant colonel spaces, limited by law to 20, had been further limited for fiscal year 1958 to 10 in accordance with Department of the Army policy that the newly authorized spaces should be filled by gradual increments over a period of several years. Although the wisdom of this policy was not questioned, the allocation of a somewhat larger number of spaces at this time might have resulted in retention of some of the highly qualified and valuable officers whose nonselection resulted in their mandatory retirement in May and June 1958 because of age. The first eight officers mandatorily retired by 30 June 1958 were all serving as chiefs of food service divisions or physical therapy sections in large Army hospitals. Their loss was keenly felt. The 10 officers selected for promotion to the Regular Army grade of lieutenant colonel were promoted in March 1958. Of those promoted, three were dietitians, four were physical therapists, and three were occupational therapists.

In accordance with Department of the Army policy, the allocation of lieutenant colonel spaces by gradual increments continued during fiscal years 1959-60. The Army Medical Specialist Corps was limited to 22 lieutenant colonel spaces (permanent and temporary) until fiscal year 1961 when the authorization was increased to 23. The Regular Army colonel space authorized by the Career Incentive Act was not programed until fiscal year 1961. On 1 March 1961, Colonel Robinson was selected to fill this space.

Increased opportunities for promotion to field grades were afforded by the career incentive legislation. On 30 June 1960, 136 Army Medical Specialist Corps officers were serving in field grades in contrast to 51 officers serving in field grades on 30 June 1953. The percentage ratios of officers serving in these grades to the total strength of the corps for these dates showed an increase from 8.40 percent to 32.53 percent.

On 1 July 1957, with an authorized Army Medical Specialist Corps strength of 425, there were 76 officers serving in the grade of major. By 1 January 1960, with an authorized strength of 410, 120 officers, 29 percent, were serving in the grade of major. This was 10 percent more than the 19 percent authorized in this grade for the Army as a whole. Even recognizing the fact that promotion opportunities to the grade of lieutenant colonel were limited, it became necessary to restrict the number of promotions to the grade of major.

On 1 February 1960, it was determined that Army Medical Specialist Corps promotions to the temporary grade of major would be made on the best qualified basis from among those officers who fell within the zone of consideration and who had been found fully qualified. A selection rate of 55 percent, the same as for all other officers in the


Army, was used.15 Under this system, officers found fully qualified but not promoted as best qualified had no onus placed against them. They were not considered to have been passed over. In addition, truly outstanding young officers were recognized through the selection of a small predetermined percentage from those who fell below the zone of consideration for temporary promotion to the grades of captain or above.

Public Law 86-559, which amended the Reserve Officer Personnel Act, authorized the grades of lieutenant colonel and colonel in the Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve. Two promotions to the grade of lieutenant colonel were programed for fiscal year 1961. Promotion to the Reserve grade of colonel could not be programed at that time as no Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officer was eligible for that grade.

Career Management

Although the 1948 career pattern for the Army Medical Specialist Corps was brought up to date in 1956, its basic provisions remained unchanged.16 It was recognized that, because of changing individual interests, varying degrees of both latent and demonstrated ability, and unpredictable and everchanging operational requirements, there could be no single career pattern which applied to all officers or even to all officers in a given section of the corps.

In fiscal year 1955, digit prefixes to the military occupational specialty were authorized in the Army Medical Service to assist those officers concerned with assignments and career planning in the more effective screening of personnel records. Of the eight-digit prefixes which were authorized, prefixes 4 (research) and 8 (instructor) seemed most applicable to Women`s Medical Specialist Corps members. The research prefix designated qualification for the design, analysis, testing, or improvement of military material or methods, and the instructor prefix designated qualification for assignment as full-time formal instructor at an Army service school or other organized training facility.

A survey of the Army educational rosters in 1954 indicated that more than half of the Regular Army Women`s Medical Specialist Corps officers had not attended any advanced military courses. There appeared to be few courses which were applicable, especially to the intermediate group of officers with from 5 to 15 years of service. Therefore, plans were made to send a representative of each of the three sections of the corps on a trial basis to the Women`s Army Corps 19-week Advanced Officer Course conducted in January 1955 at Fort McClellan, Ala. Two officers also attended the course the following year. Attendance at this course, however, was discon-

15The Army Medical Specialist Corps did not suffer by this policy. On 1 July 1962, with an authorized strength of 460, 148 officers, 32 percent, were serving in the grade of major, 77 of these were serving in temporary grade.
16(1) See chart 7, p. 355. (2) Department of the Army Technical Manual (TM) 600-3, 15 Oct. 1956.


tinued because the 15-week semiannual Army Medical Service Officer Advanced Course had become available to them and the Institute for Women`s Medical Specialist Corps Officers had become firmly established. These two seemed to fulfill the current need.

The Hospital Administration Course at the Medical Field Service School, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., was attended by a physical therapist in 1948 and by a dietitian in 1950. A critique of the course at that time indicated that the content was not pertinent to the needs of the Women`s Medical Specialist Corps. With an expanded course content and an opportunity to earn a master`s degree in hospital administration from Baylor University, the course became a part of the corps career pattern in fiscal year 1954 and was attended by dietitians the following years.

The Institute for Women`s Medical Specialist Corps Officers was the culmination of a long-considered plan to establish a military inservice program which could provide an opportunity for these officers to enhance their administrative, supervisory, and teaching abilities. Based in part on the framework of the 1951 Symposium for Chief Physical and Occupational Therapists, the first 2-week institute was conducted in May 1955 at the Army Medical Service Graduate School (now Walter Reed Army Institute of Research), Washington, D.C. Representatives from the National Training Laboratory, National Education Association, Washington, D.C., assisted with a large portion of the presentations and discussions on interpersonal relationships. As recognized experts in the area of human relations, they had the wisdom of wide experience to emphasize the importance of the subject and provide interesting and effective motivation. Discussions of military policies and procedures and current professional trends were combined to give a well-rounded, informative, and stimulating 2-week session. The same plan was continued with later institutes except the course was shortened to 1 week.

Starting in 1958, the Army Medical Specialist Corps Institute which had been conducted semiannually at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research since May 1955 was programed for one session a year, partly owing to budgetary limitations. It was also believed, however, that an annual, rather than a semiannual, session was consistent with requirements since, by this date, 268 officers had attended. In May 1960, the institute was renamed the Army Medical Specialist Corps Supervisor`s Course. Future programing included a course for dietitians to be conducted annually at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and two 2-week courses in advanced anatomy for physical and occupational therapists to be conducted annually at the Medical Field Service School. The latter courses would overlap for a period of 2 days which would be devoted to discussion of current military and corps policies and activities.

A 1-week course, "Management of Mass Casualties," conducted in alternate months at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research


and at the Medical Field Service School was opened to Army Medical Specialist Corps officers in November 1956. Five spaces became available to these officers in fiscal year 1957 in a 2-week semiannual workshop, "Nursing in the Medical Management of Mass Casualties" which was held at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. These courses were of great value to Army Medical Specialist Corps officers because as they became aware of the problems concerned with mass casualties they were able to more realistically interpret and define their role and function in this program.

During this period, certain officers who were concerned with procurement activities attended the Army Information School at Fort Slocum, N.Y., and the Women`s Army Corps Officer Recruiting Course at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind.

In February 1960, a report was published by The Adjutant General on the Civilian Educational Level of Army Commissioned Officers as of 25 November 1959.17 This report indicated that approximately 95 percent of Army Medical Specialist Corps officers on active duty were college graduates and approximately 15 percent had master`s degrees (table 18).

TABLE 18-Civilian educational level of Army Medical Specialist Corps officers as of 25 November 1959

Throughout the Army, many of the corps were concerned with raising their general educational level. The few Army Medical Specialist Corps officers not possessing college degrees, who were integrated into the Regular Army on the basis of professional and military experience, were urged to complete credits for a degree. Beginning in 1957, this could be accomplished by participation in off duty programs with the Army bearing a portion of the tuition expense or, if officers could complete all requirements for an undergraduate degree in one semester, they were urged to apply for the final semester program.18 Immediately fol-

17Civilian Educational Level, Army Department Commissioned Officers, as of 25 November 1959, prepared by Manpower Control Section, Office of Assistant Executive for Requirements, Officers Assignment Division, Adjutant General`s Office.
18Army Regulations No. 621-5, 20 Feb. 1957. This program was later enlarged to include the final semester of graduate study.


lowing the initiation of the program in 1957, these officers began to take advantage of this opportunity. While completing the program, they received full pay and allowances but were responsible for all tuition and miscellaneous costs incurred. The annual quota for these medical specialists was one officer for each semester.

The number of spaces which was approved annually for graduate level study in civilian colleges and universities varied from three to five depending on the budget. A change in procedure was made in April 1954, whereby the requests for all Women`s Medical Specialist Corps spaces for graduate study and budget estimates were to be submitted by the chief of the corps. Previously, the physical and occupational therapists` spaces for graduate study had been allocated to the Chief Physical Medicine Consultant and the dietitian spaces to the Chief, Women`s Medical Specialist Corps. During the period, 1953-61, 11 dietitians, 16 physical therapists, and 5 occupational therapists had received 1 year of graduate study, and 1 dietitian was enrolled in a doctoral degree program. One hundred sixty-five officers participated in civilian short courses conducted by universities, institutions, or professional organizations. These courses were specifically directed toward enhancing the professional background of the specialist. Military courses were attended by more than 450 Army Medical Specialist Corps officers. This number includes the 315 who attended the institute and the 80 who attended the management of mass casualties course. (See Appendix L, p. 615.)

Training in Emergency Medical Care

In 1955, Army Medical Specialist Corps officers took the 12-hour course in "Essentials of Emergency Medical Care" required of all medical service officers. This course was inadequate for the dietitians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists both as to content and degree of proficiency attained. It was the opinion of Army Medical Specialist Corps officers in the Surgeon General`s Office that the professional background of physical and occupational therapists provided excellent potential for serving in the role of nursing assistants in disaster situations and that the attainment of proficiency in some of these procedures would require only a minimum of training. It was believed that the dietitians should be prepared to render emergency medical care in the period immediately following a disaster, but their primary mission would be the feeding of the wounded and attending personnel.

The matter of training in certain nursing procedures was considered at length in a panel discussion at the Chief Nurses` Conference held at the Surgeon General`s Office in the spring of 1957. A checklist of suggestions for general and specific training needs for dietitians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists along with the areas in the hospital where the skills might best be learned was given to the nurses attending the conference and later sent to all Army Medical Specialist Corps chiefs of hospital sections. As a result, programs of special training


were initiated at several hospitals. The most intensive one was conducted at Valley Forge General Hospital, Phoenixville, Pa., where 120 hours of training in nursing procedures was provided.

In 1958, it was believed that the medical problems which would confront the military commander in the event of a nuclear attack would be basically similar to those encountered in conventional warfare except that they would be magnified and would occur in a very brief timespan. In order to meet the possibility of such an eventuality, a comprehensive Army-wide training program was developed.19 All Army medical personnel were to be trained to perform tasks and to accept responsibility beyond that required in treating the usual flow of conventional wartime casualties.

Minimum standards of proficiency for all medical service personnel were established. In addition to being capable of self-care and rendering first aid to others, all Army Medical Specialist Corps officers were to be trained to assist in operating casualty sorting stations, to perform bedside and circulating nurse duties, to assist in management of burn casualties, to render preoperative and postoperative care, to collect blood, and to use thoracotomy, intratracheal, and nasogastric tubes. They were also to be proficient in the application of splints and the preparation of sterile supplies. In addition, physical and occupational therapists were to be trained to administer blood and other intravenous therapy and to assist in major surgery.

This program was not fully implemented because of the time required to train personnel to the desired level. The pressures of day-to-day patient care compounded, in many instances, by personnel shortages made it almost impossible for many commanders to carry out this directive in its entirety. The goal it established, however, has been judged valid by time.


The magnitude of World War II, the Korean War, and the Atomic Era forcefully demonstrated the urgent need for maintaining an efficient reservoir of strength upon which the Nation might draw in time of disaster. An increase in the number of participants in Reserve unit activities continued to be a main objective of the Army Medical Specialist Corps program.

It continued to be impossible to ascertain the exact number of Reserve officers in active status because of decentralization in the organizational structure of the U.S. Army Reserve, and rosters maintained in the Army headquarters often did not accurately reflect changes in status. It was estimated that there were approximately 300 Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officers in active status not on active duty in fiscal year 1953, about a third of whom were members of units. Fiscal

19Department of the Army Training Circular No. 8-1, 2 Dec. 1959. Revised in May 1962 as Department of the Army Pamphlet 8-16.


year 1957 Reserve reports showed that only 14 percent of the 755 unit spaces authorized for this corps were filled. By 1961, the number of reservists not on active duty approximated 90 dietitians, 170 physical therapists, and 35 occupational therapists.

From the point of view of Army Medical Specialist Corps Reserve officers, improvements in some areas of the Reserve program were experienced. The scope of opportunities for and the value of participation in Reserve activities had increased. Training opportunities for both unit and nonunit members were enlarged. By 1961, a high proportion of hospital units were performing actual patient-care missions during their annual active-duty training period. Several postgraduate courses, varying in length from 3 to 15 days and conducted at designated Army medical installations and service schools, were made available to women officers. Points could also be earned through attendance at conferences in which sessions were held that had particular military or professional significance.

In 1954, instructional material for each of the corps in the medical service was completed and was made available to organized units from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. This proved to be useful to some Army Medical Specialist Corps officers in arranging programs in their units. The relatively small number of Reserve officers in active status and their wide dispersion made it difficult to offer programs that were consistently pertinent to the interests and needs of these officers.


In May 1954, a light taupe uniform with a modified open collar made of summer weight fabric was authorized for optional summer wear,20 and became available from civilian vendors in 1955.21 Its becoming design and availability alleviated some of the marked discontent with the taupe wool and taupe cotton uniforms. The design of this class A uniform (fig. 115) was so popular that it was subsequently used in the dress blue and Army green uniforms.

As early as 1952, steps were underway to test fabrics and styles for a summer uniform to replace the taupe cotton dress. The Chief, Army Medical Specialists Corps, continued to take a strong stand as did the Chief, Army Nurse Corps, and the Director, Women`s Army Corps, in pointing out the necessity of a change in uniforms since this was a morale problem of no small proportion.22 The development of the new two-piece summer uniform to replace the taupe cotton dress had been so protracted that the orlon-cotton material first approved became un-

20Special Regulations No. 600-37-2, Changes No. 6, 13 May 1954.
21Available from the post exchanges in 1959.
22The problems of suitable clothing for women in the Army are as old as the service of women themselves. The interested reader will find a wealth of information in the section on "Clothing for Women in the Army," in Risch, Erna, and Kieffer, Chester L.: The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services. Volume I. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1953, pp. 110-117.


FIGURE 115-New uniform styles authorized for women in the service. (Left) Light taupe uniform, class A, summer wear. (Right) Green and white striped uniform, class B, summer wear.

available. At the March 1956 meeting of the Army Uniform Board, a class B green and white hairline striped dacron-cotton two-piece uniform was approved (fig. 115). It received Department of the Army approval in the spring of 1957 and was authorized for wear for the summer of 1959.

When the proposed dress blue uniform was considered at the March


1956 meeting, the board recommended that consideration be given by the Women`s Army Corps, Army Nurse Corps, and Army Medical Specialist Corps to a single color dark blue uniform rather than the dark blue coat and light blue skirt modeled at the meeting. It was further recommended that purchase and wear of the dress blue uniform should be optional since most nurses and medical specialists would not have sufficient need for this uniform to justify its purchase. During the winter of 1956, the board recommendations were approved by the Department of the Army and it was authorized for optional wear beginning in 1959.

Also modeled at the March meeting was a proposed Army green uniform to replace the wool taupe. There had been general agreement that the use of the same color which had recently been authorized for wear by the men would help to identify the women as members of the Army.

Although there had been accord on the color of the uniform, there was disagreement on the weight of the cloth. The Army Uniform Board recommended a 12-ounce serge. Subsequently, the Director, Women`s Army Corps, and the Chiefs, Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps, recommended that an optional fabric be authorized for officers in 12-to-14-ounce wool gabardine. The Office of the Secretary of the Army recommended a 16-ounce serge, the same material as that used for the men`s uniforms. This, however, was believed to be much too heavy for wear by women. By the end of fiscal year 1957, the Army green uniform was approved by the Department of the Army, and on 1 July 1960, it became available from the quartermaster. Before this, it was first authorized for wear by officers in the Metropolitan Washington area and later for women assigned to personnel procurement. Twelve-ounce serge and eleven-ounce wool gabardine fabrics were initially authorized; later an additional fabric was included--a blend of 40-percent wool and from 55- to 60-percent polyester fiber in gabardine.

A new hat was developed for wear with the Army blue uniform. Worn straight on the head with the insignia centered, it had a debonair air because of its half-brim style. The chiefs of the Army`s three women`s components, faced with the problem of a suitable hat for wear with the Army green uniform, requested this style be wear-tested in Army green. After many design vicissitudes, a hat was finally approved. The garrison hat was worn until that time. From observations made during the development of the hat, it became obvious to the members of the board that to find a style which met all military criteria, fitted all ethnic types, and was becoming to the majority of women in the Army was a minor miracle and well worth the effort put into the project.

White sweaters were authorized in 1957 for wear with the white hospital uniform. It was specified that these sweaters must be of wool rather than synthetic fibers because of the static electricity generated by the latter in certain hospital areas.

There was such general and marked dissatisfaction with the shirtwaist, overcoat, and raincoat that representatives of the Research and Development Division, Quartermaster General`s Office, were asked to meet


with the Director, Women`s Army Corps, and the Chiefs Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps, in April 1957. At that meeting the Research and Development Division was requested to work on the development of the following items:

1. Shirtwaist with modifications of present waist to include a better fitting collar with collar tab integrated into the collar, new fabric, and French cuffs.

2. Scarf with modifications of present scarf to include changes in fabric, shape, and color.

3. Glove in gray tones.

4. Overcoat in new design, color, and fabric.

5. Raincoat in new design, color, and fabric.

During her assignment as Deputy Chief, Army Nurse Corps, Lt. Col. (later Col.) Margaret Harper, later Chief, Army Nurse Corps, was given the responsibility for coordinating the development of new field clothing for women. In the spring of 1957, Maj. Estelle M. Travers, ANC, was assigned to the project in order that a thorough study might be made and some practical field clothing developed.

The demands of modern warfare had resulted in the development of new protective fabrics and new field clothing for men. Women`s field clothing, however, had not changed since World War II and a need was felt to improve both its appearance and usefulness. Colonel Harper with the support of Colonel Lee vigorously pursued this project.

Field garments for women were tested in Europe, Korea, Texas, and Massachusetts. The test clothing, developed on a garment layering principle, included a basic summer and winter outfit. Both included skirts to be worn when good taste and the situation indicated. The proposed design was well received by the nurses and medical specialists who had been embarrassed at times by their appearance in old fatigues. Items of men`s protective field clothing were to be used as appropriate with the addition of one or two smaller sizes.

By late 1958, it became evident that Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers must have field clothing at all times if they were to be equipped for any eventuality. On 10 June 1959, a limited number of field items became required purchase for every officer in these two corps then on duty. Later, these items were designated mandatory organizational clothing for all officers23 and were issued to all newly appointed officers.

When it was decided in the interest of controlled cleanliness and economy that the white hospital uniform should be worn by all women directly concerned with the care of patients in Army medical installations, it became necessary to have this uniform authorized as an item of organizational clothing in a full complement of sizes.24 This would per-

23(1) Table of Allowances No. 21 (Peace), Changes No. 2, 14 Nov. 1956. (2) Table of Allowances No. 21 (Peace), 14 Dec. 1960.
24A basic difference in organizational clothing and uniform is sizing. Organizational clothing is issued in average sizes--small, medium, large, regular, long, or short. Uniform sizing is comparable to that used for civilian garments.


mit its issue to enlisted women who worked with patients, to professional and nonprofessional civilian employees, as well as to the nurse and medical specialist officers for whom it was originally designed. The idea met with approval, but owing to the cost of implementation, the proposal was not adopted until May 1962.25

This change solved a problem of long duration. The Air Force had always issued the white hospital uniform as organizational clothing and this had caused continued dissatisfaction among women officers of the Army Medical Service. They had been forced to purchase and maintain these uniforms at personal expense while their Air Force peers had them issued and laundered at no expense.


A detailed study of housing for women officers, made by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, culminated in June 1955 with recommendations to the Secretary of Defense for apartment-type housing.26 The committee further recommended that this housing concept be used in the remodeling of existing structures as well as in new construction.

During fiscal year 1956, the Chiefs, Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps, with concurrence by the Director, Women`s Army Corps, recommended that provision be made for one-bedroom-type apartments for field grade officers and efficiency-type apartments for company grade officers.

In January 1957, a compromise plan was approved by the Secretary of the Army and a pilot project authorized at Fort Knox, Ky. The plan provided for two types of apartments. Quarters for company grade officers were designed to house two officers who would share living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Quarters for field grade officers provided separate living room, bedroom, and bathroom but kitchens would be shared.

Garden-type apartment units for women officers were completed at Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Belvoir, Va., Fort Riley, Kans., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fitzsimons General Hospital during the period 1957-61. In addition, construction was begun on quarters at Fort Lee, Va., Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and Fort Monmouth, N.J. The quarters were a great improvement over the former dormitory-type quarters. An undesirable situation, however, developed. The officers first assigned to the quarters had an opportunity to choose their apartment or kitchen mates and were well satisfied, but as time passed, personnel transfers required quarters assignment according to availability rather than choice. This led to increasing dissatisfaction and unhappiness on the part of the Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps occupants. A cost limitation of $8,500 per unit imposed by Congress covered the cost of construction exclusive of land and design and was deemed by higher authority as prohibiting change to individual quarters.

25Army Regulations No. 670-34, 11 May 1962.
26The 1951 study was primarily directed toward housing for enlisted women. (See ch. XI, p. 389.)


FIGURE 116-Dedication of Eleanor L. Mitchell Terrace, Irwin Army Hospital, Fort Riley, Kans. Col. Ruth A. Robinson, Chief, Army Medical Specialist Corps, gives the dedication address. Seated at left is Mrs. C. F. Arnold, Detroit, Mich., sister of Colonel Mitchell.

Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Specialist Corps officers, alert to the facilities and rents of the new garden-type and high-rise apartments being constructed in every major city of the United States, were extremely dissatisfied with the facilities the new quarters provided in relation to the amount of quarters allowance authorized for officers. Housing, therefore, continued to be a prime cause of dissatisfaction with the Army and a major deterrent to retention and, in many instances, procurement of Army Medical Specialist Corps personnel.

The new quarters for women officers at Irwin Army Hospital, Fort Riley, were dedicated as the Eleanor L. Mitchell Terrace (fig. 116)


FIGURE 117-With Maj. Gen. Martin E. Griffin, Commanding General, Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colo., Lt. Col. Eleanor L. Mitchell celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Army Medical Specialist Corps during her last tour of duty before retirement in May 1958. She died in February 1960 from injuries received in an automobile accident. Left to right: Maj. Velma L. Richardson, dietitian; Colonel Mitchell; General Griffin; Capt. Jeanne B. Morris, physical therapist; and 1st Lt. Martha Shivvers, occupational therapist. (U.S. Army photograph.)

on 20 September 1960 in honored memory of Colonel Mitchell, second chief of the dietitian section. In her more than 30 years of service (fig. 117), she had been much esteemed by members of the Army Medical Service and this seemed a most appropriate recognition.


Liaison maintained between the Army Medical Specialist Corps and the professional organizations centered around mutual interests, problems, and responsibilities. The keynote to its success was cooperative effort to achieve common goals. The professional organizations have been extremely supportive of the interests of the corps and of the welfare of its members. They have collaborated in many undertakings such as the development of new educational programs, the assessment of professional standards, and the ever-present problem of procurement.

The Army Medical Specialist Corps fostered the participation of its members in the work of the organizations as one of the respon-


sibilities inherent in their status as Army officers and professional persons. The fact that some officers have served as elected and appointed officials of these organizations is, it is believed, a measure of their professional stature and an indication of the regard in which their work is held by their civilian peers.

American Physical Therapy Association

Col. Harriet S. Lee served as president of the American Physical Therapy Association from 1952 to 1954 and as a member of the Board of Directors from 1954 to 1958. Lt. Col. Agnes P. Snyder served as speaker of the House of Delegates of the association from 1956 to 1958 and as its president for a 3-year term starting in June 1958. Lt. Col. Beatrice Whitcomb was an associate editor of The Physical Therapy Review from 1952 to 1956, and in June 1960, she was selected for a 2-year term in the same capacity. Lt. Col. Barbara R. Friz served as chairman of the Editorial Board and associate editor of the same publication beginning in 1956.

American Occupational Therapy Association

Evidence of the cooperative relationship between the Army and American Occupational Therapy Association is particularly apparent in Army records concerned with mobilization and educational activities and in association records concerned with its function. Two Army occupational therapists have served as president of the association: Col. Ruth A. Robinson, AMSC, 1955-58, and Capt. Wilma L. West, AMSC, USAR, president-elect in 1960. Colonel Robinson also served a term as first vice-president and Captain West a term as treasurer. Lt. Col. Myra L. McDaniel served a 3-year term as second vice-president beginning in 1959 and was an associate editor of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy for 5 years. The Award of Merit, the highest honor awarded by the American Occupational Therapy Association, was bestowed on Captain West in 1951, Mrs. Winifred C. Kahmann27 in 1952, and Colonel Robinson in 1959 (fig. 118).


During fiscal year 1955, the Army Medical Service Memorial Board, Surgeon General`s Office, suggested that the Army Medical Specialist Corps commemorate its chiefs by having portraits made. Other corps in the Army Medical Service had done so for many years through solicitation of funds from its members. Since a willing and generous response from Army Medical Specialist Corps members resulted in the receipt of sufficient funds to cover the expense of portraits of the

27(1) Chief, Occupational Therapy Branch, Physical Reconditioning Division, Surgeon General`s Office, 1943-45. (2) See ch. V, p. 104.


FIGURE 118-Miss Helen S. Willard, President, American Occupational Therapy Association, presents the association`s Award of Merit to Col. Ruth A. Robinson.

two former chiefs and the current chief, it was decided to have the three portraits painted. The artist selected was the well-known Itaru Nakoo in Japan who made the paintings from photographs which were sent to him.

On 14 April 1956, the portraits of Col. Emma E. Vogel and Col. Nell Wickliffe Merrill were presented at a tea held at Delano Hall, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, commemorating the ninth anniversary of the Army Medical Specialist Corps. Colonel Vogel and Colonel Merrill were present. The portraits were viewed with enthusiastic approval by the many corps officers and guests who had come from all parts of the country in honor of the occasion.28

Following her winning of the first All-Army Women`s Golf Championship in August 1955, Capt. (later Maj.) Amelia Amizich, AMSC, proposed that a permanent golf championship trophy, named in honor of Colonel Vogel, be established. Based on this suggestion, it was

28Following completion of their tours as chiefs of the corps, the portraits of Colonel Lee and Colonel Robinson were hung in the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research beside those of Colonel Vogel and Colonel Merrill.


FIGURE 119-Col. Emma E. Vogel, USA (Ret.), presents the Vogel Golf Trophy to M. Sgt. Eleanor Jones.

recommended and approved by The Adjutant General that three awards for women in All-Army games be established. The golf trophy was named for Colonel Vogel, the tennis award for Col. Florence A. Blanchfield, ANC, USA (Ret.), and the bowling award for Col. Mary A. Hallaren, WAC. Colonel Vogel and Colonel Blanchfield personally presented the awards honoring them at the second All-Army Women`s Championship Tournament held at Fort Bragg, N.C., in August 1956 (fig. 119). Capt. (later Maj.) Rachel H. Adams, AMSC, who had won the All-Army Tennis Tournament in 1955, was recipient of the tennis award in 1956 and 1957.


At the annual meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons in 1955, the James S. McLester Award was presented to Maj. Helen B. Gearin, USA (Ret.),29 for outstanding contributions made in the

29(1) Formerly Lt. Col. Helen C. Burns. (2) The award, $500 in cash and a metal scroll, is given in honor of James Somerville McLester, M.D., LL.D., a noted nutritionist. It is presented annually by the Association of Military Surgeons through the courtesy of J. B. Roerig Co., Chicago, Ill.


FIGURE 120-Maj. Helen B. Gearin, USA (Ret.), the first Army dietition to receive the James S. McLester Award, November 1955. Left to right: Maj. Marjorie May, ANC; Maj. Katharine E. Manchester, AMSC; Maj. Mary Lipscomb, AMSC; Capt. Mary Behlen, AMSC; Capt. Nannie R. Evans, AMSC; Major Gearin; Col. Harriet S. Lee, AMSC; Maj. Ruth A. Robinson, AMSC; and Maj. Brunetta A. Kuehlthau, AMSC. (U.S. Army photograph.)

field of nutrition and dietetics (fig. 120). In 1957, Capt. (later Maj.) Elinor Pearson, AMSC, received the award for her outstanding contributions to research and metabolic studies conducted with severely burned patients in the Surgical Research Unit, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Tex.