here, with the postscript that in earning its well done the Hospital Corps is assured no other unit in the Navy did better in the degree of essential duty inspiringly performed.
During World War II, a total of 15 Navy enlisted men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor; of this number, seven were hospital corpsmen. Members of the Hospital Corps received 820 major awards and citations (an honor of unique distinction since none of them bore arms). Other personal medalsthe Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Starwere awarded to hospital corpsmen by the tens and hundreds, almost too numerous to count. On February 22, 1945, on the summit of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, along with six marines, pharmacists mate John Bradley proudly participated in the raising of our flag, a scene reproduced thousands of times. The Marine Corps memorial symbolizes this event.
Women were first brought into the Hospital Corps during World War II. On 12 January 1944, the first Hospital Corps School for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Hospital, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. The first class consisted of 230 enlisted women.
Public Law 625 of the Eightieth Congress, approved 12 June 1948, made the WAVES an integral part of the Regular Navy. On 2 April 1948, the nomenclature of the Hospital Corps ratings were changed to read: Hospital Recruit; Hospital Apprentice; Hospitalman; Hospital Corpsman Third Class; Hospital Corpsman Second Class; Hospital Corpsman First Class; Chief Hospital Corpsman; Warrant officer and Commissioned Warrant officer, Hospital Corps.
In June 1956, the Warrant and Commissioned Warrant officer, Hospital Corps, were redesignated as Medical Service Warrant and Chief Medical Service Warrant.
Also in 1948, those Hospital corpsmen classified as dental technicians were changed to that rating. The rating structure outlines the dental rating as follows: Dental Recruit; Dental Apprentice; Dentalman; Dental Technician Third Class; Dental Technician Second Class; Dental Technician First Class; Chief Dental Technician.
Medical Service Warrant, Chief Medical Service Warrant and Medical Service Corps officer, so qualified and assigned, performed administrative and technical duties in dental activities.
At this same time, the rating insignia of the Hospital Corps was changed from the Red Cross so long familiar, to the caduceus. Dental technicians have the D superimposed over the caduceus.
With the advent of the Korean conflict, the Hospital Corps once again responded to the call of duty. Members of the corps, individually and collectively, added a brilliant chapter to the history of the corps. During the Inchon-Seoul operation, for example, medical units attached to the 1st Marine Division cared for 2,844 casualties during the period 15 September to 7 October 1950. Hospital corpsmen were at the forefront of all the fighting, saving lives on the beaches as the Marines stormed in. They performed on-the-spot emergency and first aid treatment, as Secretary Forrestal described it *** while shell fragments ripped clothing from their bodies and shattered plasma bottles in their hands. indeed, the percentage of casualties among Medical Department personnel in Korea, as in World War II, was greater than that of the Marines they supported.
These highly trained technicians played a vital and demanding role in the care and treatment of those evacuated to the hospital ships of the U.S. Navy serving in Korean waters. These ships handled some 20,000 battle casualties, 30,000 nonbattle casualties, and around 80,000 outpatients. To narrate the individual exploits of the many who were cited for valor, resourcefulness, and courage would require a separate volume.
It is a great tribute to the corps that of the seven Congressional Medals of Honor conferred upon Navy personnel during the Korean conflict, five were bestowed upon hospital corpsmen.
The years that have followed Korea have also proved to be eventful. For example, in 1954, approximately 190,000 Vietnam refugees were transported from North Vietnam to South Vietnam on U.S. Navy ships. The corpsmen assigned to this operation had ample opportunity to demonstrate the ability and initiative that has always characterized them. In 1957, hospital corpsmen served in Mexico during the hurricane and floods at Tampico. In 1961, in Texas and Louisiana, they aided victims of Hurricane Carla.