Fort Detrick Celebrates Medical Service Corps 100th Birthday

Col. Derek C. Cooper cuts a commemorative cake

Col. Derek C. Cooper (center), chief of staff of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, cuts a commemorative cake for the Medical Service Corps 100th birthday along with Col. Alex Lopez Duke (left) and 1st Lt. Jennifer Simmons (right) at Fort Detrick's Nallin Pond on June 30. (Crystal Maynard, USAMRMC Public Affairs)

Members of the Fort Detrick Medical Service Corps gathered for a full day of activities in celebration of the MSC's 100 years of service at Fort Detrick on June 30.

The day began with leader professional development which included a history of the MSC provided by the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center's Maj. Jerry D. Vanvactor.

"We were officially established in 1917 at the beginning of World War I, and today's celebration is designed to commemorate the activities that have led us to the contemporary Army that we are today."

The United States Army Medical Service Corps is an important national resource with a long and distinguished history. Many thousands of officers have proudly served in its ranks, selflessly prosecuting the Nation's defense missions in peace and war throughout the world. With varied academic backgrounds and disciplines, these officers have been widely recognized and highly regarded leaders in their respective fields. They represent the growth in medical science and military medical operations and administration over two centuries.

Despite the official birthday of 1917, the Medical Service Corps has been responsible for supplying medical support to Soldiers and coordinating the logistics of medical treatment during battle since the Revolutionary War when Andrew Craigie was appointed apothecary general to the Continental Army.

Today around 67 percent of MSC members work in medical administration, while the rest serve in clinical or research roles, including psychologists, sociologists and laboratory officers, and the Corps.

Following the lecture, honored guest Brig. Gen. Michael J. Talley, command surgeon of the U.S. Army Forces Command, provided a State of the Corps message to those in attendance. Talley touched on a range of topics including the current state and future of the Medical Service Corps as well as the future of the Army Medical Department in a multidomain battlefield.

The afternoon's activities at Nallin Pond kicked off with outgoing Fort Detrick Silver Caduceus President Col. Derek C. Cooper addressing the crowd.

"This is my final act as president of the Fort Detrick Silver Caduceus Society. I want to thank you all for everything as I hand over the reins to Col. David Sloniker," said Cooper. "The Medical Service Corps is important. The work that we do is vital to ensuring the readiness of the Army. Thank you for being a part of it."

Cooper, along with Col. Alex Lopez Duke and 1st Lt. Jennifer Simmons, cut a commemorative cake with a saber. According to tradition, the most senior officer is invited to cut the cake, signifying honor and respect accorded to experience and seniority. The junior-most officer is also included to signify the MSCs commitment to nurturing and developing junior MSCs who will one day fill the senior ranks.

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Last Modified Date: 11-Jul-2017