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LANDSTUHL, Germany — The Army’s Medical Service Corps members sometimes feel like an invisible part of the military health care team.

But these hospital administrators, logistics experts and a variety other medical professionals are key to the operation of every military medical operation.

“We’re responsible for an overwhelming amount of details and responsibilities. We’re the unseen people that make a lot of things work,” said Col. C. David Vesely, chief of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s optometry clinic.

Last month, the 52 Medical Service Corps members at Landstuhl — just a few of the 1,700 troops who work at the hospital — got a moment in the spotlight. The Corps turned 87 years old. They even got a cake.

The mission of the Corps has gotten more important since Operation Enduring Freedom turned up the operations tempo a notch. The Corps has expanded its role in tracking patients, and managing casualty evacuation from the war zone and their movement back to the United States, among other things, said Maj. Tarra Taylor, chief of Landstuhl’s Patient Administration Division. It’s also working on a paperless medical records system that will improve patient tracking, she said.

Originally part of the Apothecary Corps in the Revolutionary War, the precursor of the Corps had its first heyday during the Civil War, when it began a system to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield.

After that war, the corps was disbanded. In World War I, it was formed again as the Sanitary and Ambulance Corps. That was on June 17, 1917 — 87 years ago.

After World War II, Congress enacted legislation officially naming it the Medical Service Corps.


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