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Military Medical History

Military medicine has a long and celebrated history. We apply lessons from our past to improve the care of military personnel and their families today and in the future. New surgical techniques, powerful painkillers, antibiotic drugs, and triage and evacuation procedures have revolutionized military medicine.

In this section, you'll find featured stories and information about the history of military medicine.

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1918 Spanish Influenza

Video
10/16/2018
1918 Spanish Influenza

The 1918 Spanish Influenza killed 21-50 million people worldwide, and there's a surprising connection to military medicine.

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Military Medical History

Shok Valley medic to receive Medal of Honor

Article
9/26/2018
Former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor at an Oct. 1, 2018, White House ceremony for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while assigned to Special Operations Task Force 33 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II)

A former medic with the 3rd Special Forces Group will receive the Medal of Honor

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Military Medical History

Military doctors and the president

Video
9/4/2018
Military doctors and the president

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln's first responder was a military doctor? Military medicine has come a long way since Lincoln's assassination. Watch this video to learn more.

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Military Medical History

Paul Revere

Video
7/3/2018
Paul Revere

Before his midnight ride, Paul Revere was an amateur dentist. See how his work during the Revolutionary War inspired the use of dental identification on the battlefield and beyond.

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Military Medical History

Vietnam Vascular Registry helps veteran reunite with doctors

Article
3/13/2018
The Vietnam Vascular Registry, developed by Dr. Norman Rich at Walter Reed General Hospital, documented and analyzed blood vessel injuries in Vietnam. Each patient entered into the registry was assigned a consecutive number and given a vascular registry card, such as this one. (Courtesy photo by Dr. Norm Rich)

The Vietnam Vascular Registry, developed by Dr. Norman Rich at Walter Reed General Hospital, documented and analyzed blood vessel injuries in Vietnam

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Military Medical History | Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

New exhibit at military medical museum features gas warfare during World War I

Article
2/21/2018
Two soldiers participate in gas warfare training at Fort Myer, Virginia in 1917. Soldiers were drilled to maintain “gas discipline” and use their gas mask at the first instant the presence of chemical agents are detected. (Reeve 001061, Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine)

A new exhibit at the NMHM reveals how American military medicine responded to chemical warfare on the battlefields of France during the Great War

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Military Medical History

Hospital corpsman disregards own life to save Marines

Article
7/5/2017
Richard Dewert’s gravestone at Massachusetts National Cemetery. (Courtesy photo by Gary Boughton)

Early in 1951, DeWert received orders to the 7th Marine Regiment, a unit known suffering more casualties than just about any other Marine unit during the Korean War

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Military Medical History

D-Day through the eyes of a combat medic, 73 years later

Article
6/6/2017
Edwin “Doc” Pepping, left, and Albert “Al” Mampre, right, both served as combat medics attached to Easy Company during World War II. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Pepping)

With no chance to be nervous or afraid, and often times equipped with little supply, World War II combat medics reflect on their experiences for D-Day’s 73rd anniversary

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Military Medical History

Dr. Charles Drew, Father of Blood Banks

Article
2/9/2017
Dr. Charles Drew (bottom row, center), an African American researcher, revolutionized the way the medical community stored blood products during World War II. Often referred to as the “Father of Blood Banks,” Drew developed ways to process and store blood plasma in what we now call blood banks. (U.S. National Library of Medicine photo)

Drew, an African American researcher, revolutionized the way the medical community stored blood products during World War II

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Military Medical History

Dr. Charles Drew: The Man Who Saved a Million Soldiers' Lives

Video
2/9/2017
Dr. Charles Drew: The Man Who Saved a Million Soldiers' Lives

During African American History Month we celebrate Charles Drew, who revolutionized the blood collection and distribution process and developed large-scale blood banks, allowing medics to save untold numbers of lives during World War II. Drew’s methods are still used to save lives in the armed forces today.

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Military Medical History

Defense Health Agency Overview

Presentation
2/9/2017

Defense Health Agency Overview

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Military Medical History | Research and Innovation

Overview of Air Force Medical Service

Presentation
2/9/2017

Overview of Air Force Medical Service

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Research and Innovation | Military Medical History

Overview of Coast Guard Health Services

Presentation
2/9/2017

Overview of Coast Guard Health Services

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Military Medical History | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety

Overview of Navy Medicine

Presentation
2/9/2017

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Health Readiness | Military Medical History

History of military medical advancements in brain injury treatment

Article
12/19/2016
Army Sgt. Liliane Milo, a medic with 4th Infantry Division, checks in Soldiers for Military Acute Concussion Evaluations.

Much of our TBI awareness stems from progress in brain injury research by military medicine

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Military Medical History | Traumatic Brain Injury
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