Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Military pharmacy teams continue dedicated legacy of service

Image of Black and white image of soldiers on the battlefield. Click to open a larger version of the image. Pharmacist’s Mates have continued to distinguish themselves on the battlefield by risking their lives to render aid to their comrades. (Courtesy photo.)

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | Information for Patients: TRICARE Pharmacy Program

During American Pharmacists Month, the Military Health System is recognizing the critical component of care pharmacy teams deliver. The flexibility exhibited by pharmacy personnel during COVID-19, to include establishing curbside and drive through pharmacies, further a legacy of agile and dedicated service.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have dispensed medications and managed critical supplies for the military throughout U.S. history. Pharmacists officially became a part of the nation’s military during the Revolutionary War. Formerly known as apothecaries or druggists, these dedicated service members served within the Medical Department of the Army with varying ranks and titles. In 1943, Congress passed a bill officially creating a Pharmacy Corps within the Army’s Medical Department.

These pharmacists, pharmacy mates and pharmacy technicians have conducted themselves with dedication and honor throughout American history, and at least seven have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor for valor. The first was pharmacist and physician Joseph Kirby Corson, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Bristoe Station, Virginia on October 14, 1863. He dedicated his military career to caring for soldiers – at one time risking his life to care for over 40 fellow service members sick with cholera during the Civil War.

During World War I, Pharmacists Mate First Class John Balch earned not only the Medal of Honor, but also the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star Medal, the French Croix de Guerre, the Italian Crux de Guerre and the Portuguese Cruz de Guerra for his heroic actions in France. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at Vierzy in July of 1918, as he voluntarily left his medical aid station to render care to the wounded as they lay on the battlefield, and his actions in October at Somme-Py, where establishing an advanced aid station while under heavy shellfire.

Though he did not receive the Medal of Honor, in 1942 Pharmacists Mate Wheeler Bryson Lipes went beyond the requirements of his role by performing the first ever emergency appendectomy aboard a submerged submarine. He had never performed surgery before, but saved the life of his fellow sailor. He received a Navy Commendation Medal and his heroic story went on to be told in several movies.

Five Navy Pharmacist’s Mates also received the Medal of Honor during World War II. Pharmacists Mate First Class Francis Pierce Jr. was one of them, as he led a patrol to destroy a nest of Japanese snipers and was wounded while aiding a fallen Marine. Refusing aid for himself, Pierce returned to treat the casualty. His citation reads, “Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Petty Officer Pierce inspired the entire battalion.”

On February 19, 1945, Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class George Whalen’s division landed on Iwo Jima. By March 2nd, Whalen had been wounded twice, but still refused evacuation and stayed on the battlefield to aid wounded Marines – to include casualties from an adjacent platoon. When he was shot a third time, he was no longer able to walk, but he crawled 50 yards to administer aid to a wounded Marine. Only after he saw to his patient did Whalen finally agree to be evacuated to a battalion aid station.

Whalen’s citation reads: “Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter.”

These decorated pharmacy personnel displayed selfless service that modern pharmacy teams seek to emulate as they adapt to the unique challenges of their own era.

“Throughout my career I have seen pharmacy technicians go above and beyond their role, exhibiting flexibility to support the mission,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Oluwasina Awolusi, Air Force Enlisted Pharmacy Career Field manager. “I am deeply inspired by the heroic actions of pharmacy technicians throughout history, and seek to honor their memory.”

You also may be interested in...

Future of Nursing: Telehealth, More Innovation and Maybe Some Robots

Article
5/13/2022
Second Lt. Nina Hoskins, 81st Surgical Operations Squadron operating room nurse, briefs Col. Debra Lovette, 81st Training Wing commander, and other base leadership on robotics surgery capabilities inside the robotics surgery clinic at the Keesler Medical Center June 16, 2017. (Photo: Kemberly Groue, U.S. Air Force)

The future of nursing is here due in part to changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Nursing in the Military Health System | Coronavirus

Iraq Bomb Attack Led Soldier to Pursue Medical Career

Photo
5/12/2022
Iraq Bomb Attack Led Soldier to Pursue Medical Career

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mathew Maxwell (Left) and U.S. Capt. Brian Ahern, medical personnel assigned to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recovery team, check the pulse of a local villager during excavation operations in the Houaphan province, Laos, Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael O'Neal)

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

How One Military Nurse Persevered Through the COVID-19 Response

Article
5/5/2022
Air Force Capt. Courtney Ebeling, a medical-surgical nurse at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Family Health Clinic, Texas, was deployed to support the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan in 2021. They administered vaccinations to U.S. citizens, service members, and foreign military members as well as supported the preparation to withdraw from the country. (Photo: Courtesy of Air Force Capt. Courtney Ebeling)

Nurses across the Military Health System have played a vital role in providing routine patient care and meeting the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Nurses Week Toolkit: United In Service, Rooted in Strength | Coronavirus | Nursing in the Military Health System

‘I Love the Intensity’ – One Nurse Recalls Three COVID-19 Deployments

Article
5/5/2022
In 2020, Air Force 1st Lt. Tiffany Parra, an ICU nurse at the 633rd Medical Group, on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was deployed to a North Dakota hospital to support a FEMA COVID-19 mission. In the photo, she trains on equipment used for critical patients in a North Dakota ICU. (Photo: Courtesy of Air Force 1st Lt. Tiffany Parra)

Nurses are unique, they follow a calling to care for others. Military nurses do that as well as serve their nation. For Nurses Week, the MHS highlights some of their own.

Recommended Content:

Nurses Week Toolkit: United In Service, Rooted in Strength | Nursing in the Military Health System | Coronavirus

Pandemic Spotlights the Vital Role of Military Lab Workers

Article
5/2/2022
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Solomon, 18th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of microbiology, unloads blood samples from a centrifuge at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 31, 2019. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matthew B. Fredericks, U.S. Air Force)

MHS clinical labs produce results.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

Helping Your Child to Cope with Grief and Losses Related to COVID-19

Article
4/28/2022
Shirley Lanham Elementary School students perform Taiko drumming during a Month of the Military Child celebration aboard the Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, April 6, 2022. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Ange-Olivier Clement, Naval Air Facility Atsugi)

Many military children have lost loved ones to COVID-19. How parents can help with the grief.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

How to Help Military Children Reconnect After Two Years of the Pandemic

Article
4/25/2022
Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, Space Launch Delta 30 public affairs specialist, and her son pose for a photo at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, March 25, 2022. During the month of April, we celebrate Month of the Military Child to highlight the sacrifices military children make on the home front while their parents serve the United States. (Photo: Airman Kadielle Shaw, Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs)

How parents can help children stressed by more than two years of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Graphic 2

Infographic
4/21/2022
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Graphic 2

If your military hospital or clinic offers these antiviral treatments as part of the COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, use these graphics to promote your services to your beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Treatment

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

Infographic
4/21/2022
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

If your military hospital or clinic offers these antiviral treatments as part of the COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, use these graphics to promote your services to your beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Treatment

TRICARE Formulary Search Tool

Video
4/20/2022
TRICARE Formulary Search Tool

Managing your prescriptions can be tricky, but the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool can help! Learn how much you’ll pay, where you can get your prescriptions filled, and so much more. Click here after watching the video to check it out yourself: http://www.esrx.com/tform

Recommended Content:

Information for Patients: TRICARE Pharmacy Program | TRICARE Formulary | Pharmacy Beneficiary Knowledge Gap Campaign Toolkit | TRICARE Formulary Search Tool

“Buddy! Buddy! Are You Okay?” A Look Into The Marine Corps' Livesaver Course

Article Around MHS
4/19/2022
Combat Lifesaver Course practical

The Combat Lifesaver Course is a three-day course that teaches Marines lifesaving medical techniques to eliminate preventable loss of life on the battlefield.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

COVID-19 Booster Effectiveness Remained High During Omicron Surge

Article
4/18/2022
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Mary Ashcraft, assigned to the combat ship USS Tulsa, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster to Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class Anthony Johnson Jan. 10, 2022, at Apra Harbor, Guam. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Devin M. Langer, Command Destroyer Squadron 7)

Two new studies of active-duty service members show COVID-19 booster vaccines are effective, but uptake rates in the military community lagged behind the civilian population.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Got Your 6 | April 16, 2022

Video
4/15/2022
Got Your 6 | April 16, 2022

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, on days that end in ‘6.’ It includes the latest information about DOD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

8 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to Change during the New Pandemic Phase

Article
4/15/2022
A parent comforts his child while she receives a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs)

Parents should prepare their kids for the new normal of the ongoing pandemic, recognizing that the status of the disease can change quickly as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | Children's Health

Military Medical Officials Back FY 23 Budget Before Senate Appropriations Committee

Article
4/6/2022
Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing take precautionary measures by cleaning and disinfecting their hands during field day on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 20, 2020, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to perform mission-essential tasks. (Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaime Reyes)

Military Medical officials, including Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, Defense Health Agency director, back FY 23 Budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee, March 29, 2022.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 43

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.