How are Animals Used in America’s Military Medical Corps?

January 23, 2020

A military working dog and its military police handler inspect vehicles. Image from publication.

Since the dawn of time, human beings and animals have co-existed. Animals are worshipped, eaten, used for clothes, and are man’s best friend. Not only have they been on the frontlines of our daily lives, but also of war. From wars in Ancient Rome to the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and to the war in Iraq, there is no war animals have not been a part of. The publication Military Veterinary Services from the Borden Institute’s Textbooks of Military Medicine series available at the GPO bookstore consists of a collection of essays that sheds light on the close relationship between the U.S. military and animals. It is worth reading to expand your traditional understanding of which animals are being used by the military and how they are being used. You will be surprised by what you learn, and by how much you come to appreciate these animals. Below are a few gems highlighted in this work.

When George Washington so famously demanded, “A regiment of horse with a farrier” be built, he realized that by taking care of animals, we are ultimately taking care of ourselves; in doing so, he set the blueprint for the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. The Veterinary Corps, founded in 1916, is one of six corps that fall under the U.S. Army Medical Department. In 1980, it began providing veterinary services to all military branches. The purpose of the Veterinary Corps is to protect the warfighter by conducting food safety inspections, providing animal defense functions, providing veterinary public health services to animals (medical and surgical), and performing biomedical research (related to diseases). This book details how exactly the Veterinary Corps accomplishes this mission statement.

Food safety

In the past, lack of regulation led to filthy and dangerous conditions in American food factories. Food conditions abroad were even worse. This created problems for soldiers stationed domestically and abroad. This issue of food safety was systematically tackled by the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. The Corps began inspecting military facilities domestically and abroad, continuously monitoring the quality of food sources available to soldiers, in hopes of preventing disease and harm to soldiers.

 Animals and defense

We know the role animals play in our everyday lives, but what role do they play in the military? The Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard all use military working animals. The military’s use of animals depends on the mission. Dogs are used for security, law enforcement, combat tracking, and explosives and narcotics detection, while horses were primarily used for cavalry in the past, but are now used more for ceremonial purposes. But did you know the military also uses dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions, special operations horses, mules, carrier pigeons, and peacocks? Peacocks serve as security alarms at select government facilities; pigeons were not only used in ancient times, but also as early as WWI and WWII as information carriers; and sea lions and dolphins are used for swimmer defense and object recovery. In the civilian world, animals are often used as mascots to give spirit to a cause or a sports team or political party. The military is no different. The Army uses a mule, the Navy uses a goat, the Marines use a bulldog, the Air force uses a falcon, and the Coast Guard has several animal mascots, of which the most famous is a Rottweiler named “Sinbad”.

 Animals and medicine

A veterinary technician, bandages the paw of a scout dog c.1945. Image from publication.

Animals are also used for medical purposes. In light of studies confirming the effectiveness of animal companionship in reducing blood pressure, helping relieve anxiety, and in combatting depression and stress, pets are often given to soldiers, especially ones returning from war.

That said, with all that animals do for us, they too get depressed, get diseases, and sometimes are even casualties of war. The Veterinary Corps realized that by taking care of animals we are ultimately taking care of ourselves. Dr. Calvin Schwabe, the father of veterinary epidemiology, coined the term, “One medicine,” which says the well-being of animals depends on the well-being of humans, and vice versa. Zoonotics, sicknesses passed on from animals, amounts to 60 percent of known human pathogens. This is one example of animal-human linkage. In the Civil war, nurses helped control the spread of rabies. This threat emerged again a century later in the Vietnam War. The Veterinary Corps works diligently researching and finding solutions to such problems, learning from the past, and setting a path for the future.

The emphasis the Veterinary Corps places on understanding this animal-human linkage is echoed in its structure, and is displayed by the relationship between its physicians and veterinarians. Although the two professions don’t interact much in the civilian sector, that is not the case in the military. In fact, despite serving two separate populations, physicians and veterinarians often receive identical training (See Military Veterinary Services, chapter 13, introduction, section titled “Implementation of the One Health concept” for further detail).

In conclusion, this authoritative resource covers many areas about animals in the armed forces. However, the majority of the publication focuses on the medical veterinary services. The essays featured in this volume cover a range of topics from detailing the activities of MEDEVAC (movement of animal and human casualties from the battle field), to the history of military working dogs to the history of privately owned animal care facilities in the U.S. Army, and everything in between.

Additionally, Preventive health: preventive veterinary care and Veterinary connections produced by the Army Public Health Center can be found through search in the Catalog of Government Publications.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS RESOURCE?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the authorBlogger contributor Mohammed Butt is a Technical Services Librarian in GPO’s Library Services & Content Management unit.


Discover Occupational Health Strategies for America’s Military Personnel

January 10, 2020

What does occupational health mean for the members of our armed forces? What challenges do service members face that we don’t usually think of or aren’t even aware of, and how does the military protect their health when they are at home and when they are deployed?

WWII flight surgeon and 2 hospital corpsmen, excerpt from publication.

The comprehensive textbook, Occupational Health and the Service Member, dives into these issues. Each branch of the military has extensive programs in place to monitor and assess workplaces and health hazards. This fascinating textbook traces the evolution of those programs over time, showing that some issues remain constant and others are new to each century.

The book helps you understand the structure of military medicine and who is responsible for what, in all the branches of the services. It also provides references to laws, directives, and policies that apply to these concerns. Finally, the book includes information to help the medical professionals treating service members consider and identify exposure cases, as well as provide useful treatment for maintaining good health, wherever the soldier is deployed or serving. It also archives information on exposures that may be of concern among deployed service members, documenting the data repositories development for registries, as well as studies conducted with this data.

Some of the health issues potentially facing service members and their healthcare providers include:

  • Long-term noise exposure and its associated impact on hearing
  • Asbestos or lead exposure
  • Radiation and chemical hazards
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • High altitude exposure and decompression sickness
  • Carbon monoxide exposure from weapons firing and other sources
  • Beryllium disease

US Navy Mk V Mod 1 diving helmet used c.1905-1980.

As is evident with many other product titles within the popular, Textbooks of Military Medicine series, this volume presents historical relevance of warfare and work environment exposures that are part of military personnel duties and an overview of assessments for possible medical treatments from past decades and wars to 21st Century public health challenges within military service occupations.

If you are interested in more about this topic, check out the Borden Institute, which develops and publishes military medical scholarship.

Don’t miss the Images from the History of Medicine in the National Library of Medicine’s digital collections if you want to see over 70,000 fascinating photos and drawings from the 15th century to the present. This collection includes lots of images of military personnel and places.

And one last thought to consider: could you pass the new Army Combat Fitness Test?

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the authorBlogger contributor Lara Flint is an Outreach Librarian in GPO’s Library Services & Content Management unit.


Armed Forces Day – May 19

May 17, 2018

Armed Forces Day is a day to pay tribute to the men and women who serve the United States Armed Forces.  Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated on the third Saturday in May, is part of Armed Forces Week.

It was with the idea for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country that President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish this single holiday. The one-day celebration then stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

Many events across the United States take place on Armed Forces Day to honor Americans in uniform who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include people who serve the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May because of their unique training schedules.

The U.S. Government Bookstore offers hundreds of publications describing the honorable work of our nation’s military. To better understand the challenges facing our senior officers and civilians engaged in managing national security, here are a few examples to give everyday Americans a better appreciation.

Managing Military Readiness. Understanding the limits of the Nation’s ability to generate and deploy ready military forces is a basic element of national security. It is also the element most likely to be taken for granted or assumed away, despite ample historical evidence of the human and operational costs imposed by such an error. As budgets shrink and threats grow more diverse, national security leaders need a specific accounting of the readiness limits of the force and the consequences of those limits, as well as the insight to make timely and effective mitigation decisions.

The Armed Forces Officer. In the second decade of the 21st century, our nation is confronted with a volatile and complex security environment, and addressing the challenges of our time place new demands on military leaders at all levels. Those in the Profession of Arms will continue to adapt training and education programs to provide our officers with the intellectual and practical tools necessary to succeed in this unpredictable and unstable world. This new edition of The Armed Forces Officer articulates the ethical and moral underpinnings at the core of the military profession. The special trust and confidence America places on our warriors to protect is built upon this foundation.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.


A ‘primer’ on U.S. military force structure

October 20, 2016

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the world’s largest organization. So, examining the defense budget has got to be pretty daunting. The enormity and complexity of the U.S. military makes it difficult to crunch the numbers needed to organize, train, and equip a ready military.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution confers Congress with broad powers over the armed forces. As a part of that authority, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is mandated to provide objective, impartial analysis of government-wide spending, including that of the DoD. To that end, the CBO’s The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer is now available through GPO.

052-070-07701-8Each year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This report looks at how the DoD allocates nearly $400 billion of that spending bill on day-to-day “operation and support” of military units—pretty much anything that “produces, sustains, and supports combat units.” In other words, the “force structure.”

This primer breaks down “the budgetary effects of altering the force structure.” Because of spending controls and budget cuts, policymakers tasked with trimming the force structure can get a better understanding the trade-offs associated with each choice.

military-force-002CBO factors in the costs and structure of Army brigade combat teams, Navy battle force ships, Marine air-ground task forces, Air Force fixed-wing aircraft squadrons, and defense-wide organizations that provide centralized assistance for each service. It even looks at how major combat units have been utilized in past conflicts.

Every fiscal year, lawmakers decide the appropriate size of the military—for example, what major combat units or weapon systems to add or eliminate. A well-designed defense budget directly affects military readiness. CBO’s The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer is a timely reference for making those important decisions.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS MILITARY RESOURCE?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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