men of that Corps shall be eligible for transfer to the Hospital Corps and men of that Corps to other rating in the Navy and Marine Corps. *** The Secretary of the Navy is hereby empowered to limit and fix the numbers in the various ratings. *** and emoluents of enlisted men of the Hospital Corps shall be the same as are now, or may hereafter, be allowed for respective corresponding ratings. *** Hospital and ambulance service, with such commands and at such places as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy, shall be performed by members of said corps, and the corps shall be a constituent part of the Medical Department of the Navy:
During World War I, 10 of the 13 chief parmacists were promoted to lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the Navy. During the war there were 94 temporary commissioned and warrant officer, and 16,000 enlisted men in the Hospital Corps.
During World War I, the reputation of the Hospital Corps for performance of duty, especially in the field with the Marine Corps, was greatly enhanced. Many of the members were cited for valor and performance of duty under fire, by both the United States and France. Fifteen corpsmen were killed in action, 2 died of wounds, and 146 were wounded or gassed. There were 460 major awards and citations, including 2 Medals of Honor, 55 Navy Crosses, 31 Distinguished Service Medals, 2 U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medals, and 27 letters of commendation.
In July 1922, all members of the corps holding temporary commissions of warrants were reverted to their respective permanent ranks or ratings.
From the period of World War I to World War II, the Hospital Corps became one of the outstanding corps of the military services. More schools were provided, qualifications for advancement in ratings were raised, and a high degree of technical skill and knowledge was demonstrated by all members of the corps.
The Honorable James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy during World War II, and later the first 2-3 Secretary of Defense, paid honor to the Hospital Corps of the United States Navy for its singular attainments during that conflict.
Because his words ring so true today and tell so well the role of the corpsman not only in that conflict and the conflicts that have followed, but also in times of peace, his Commendation is repeated from the 1953 edition of the Handbook of the Hospital Corps. Insofar as can be determined, this is the first time in military history that a single corps has been commended by the Secretary of the Navy.
Out of every 100 men of the United States Navy and Marine Corps who were wounded in World War II, 97 recovered.
That is a record not equaled anywhere, anytime.
Every individual who was thus saved from death, owes an everlasting debt to the Navys Hospital Corps. The Navy is indebted to the corps. The entire nation is its debtor for thousands of citizens are living normal, constructive, happy and productive lives who, but for the skill and toil of the Hospital Corps, might be dead or disheartened by crippling invalidism.
So, to the 200,000 men and women of the Hospital Corps, I say on behalf of the United States Navy:
Well Done. Well done, indeed!
Without your service, the Navys Medical Corps could not have achieved the life-saving record and the mind-saving record its physicians and surgeons and psychiatrists achieved. That others might live, your fellow corpsmen have given their lives; 889 of them were killed or mortally wounded. Others died as heroically from diseases they were trying to combat. In all, the Corps casualty list contains 1,724 names, an honor roll of special distinction because none among them bore arms.
The hospital corpsmen saved lives on all the beaches that the Marines stormed. Corpsmen were at the forefront of every invasion, in all the actions at sea, on all carrier decks. You were on your own in submarines and the smaller ships of the fleet, performing emergency surgery at times when you had to take the fearsome responsibility of trying to save a life by heroic means or see the patient die. Your presence at every post of danger gave