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December 14, 1963

Military and Civilian Preventive Medicine

JAMA. 1963;186(11):979-980. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710110031005

THE MILITARY SERVICES have traditionally exhibited leadership in the field of preventive medicine, which is the hallmark of a good military medical program as it is of public health everywhere.

I have often thought there has been neither the proper understanding nor public recognition of the enormous accomplishments in preventive medicine of the military medical services in World War II, especially in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The general health and fitness of large groups of men were maintained in areas of our earth where serious diseases are constantly endemic and enormous losses due to these causes were to be expected. Indeed the losses from disease have often changed the course of military operations, resulting in disaster. Many thousands of men and women are alive today because of the extraordinary success of the efforts in preventive medicine. Only historical perspective can provide the understanding that military success in this area

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