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October 31, 1977

Civilian Physician Contribution to the Active Military

JAMA. 1977;238(18):1952. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280190054033

The civilian physician contribution to the Armed Forces of the United States has seldom been heralded in the historic chronology of this country and even less in its military annals. Yet at no time in peace or war has the regular military establishment been staffed to meet its medical requirements without aid from its civilian counterpart (Figure). In our War for Independence, essentially all our forces, support and combat, emerged from the civil ranks. The United States, born in war and involved in three major conflicts and innumerable smaller ones, remains distrustful of a strong military, yet its ability to mobilize in time of war is equaled only by its haste to demobilize when peace is secured.

Our peacetime military has been pared in years past to a bare housekeeping strength, and the active medical corps has shared the severity of force reduction.

Physicians for the military cannot be produced