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AMEDD Regimental History

Graphic: AMEDD Coat of Arms

The Army Medical Department (AMEDD) was formed on 27 July 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized a Hospital Department for a 20,000-man Army. There was, however, no formal regimental organization until World War I. Then, in the late 1950's, the brigade replaced the regiment as a tactical unit. In the reorganizations which followed, some Army units lost their identity, their lineage, and their history. This loss did not go unnoticed, and the U. S. Army Regimental System was created to reverse this trend.

The regiment has always been the source of tradition and history in our Armed Forces, as well as in those of England and Australia, and the source of many of our military customs. Since it is no longer a tactical unit and no longer subject to frequent reorganizations, the regiment will have a permanent and stable place of honor as the Army's "Keeper of the Colors."

The AMEDD Regiment can trace its roots to 1818, the year the crest was adopted (see also the AMEDD Regimental Distinctive Unit Insignia and the AMEDD Flag). The exact date cannot be confirmed, but the 20 stars in the crest suggest that it was in 1818, as there were 20 states in the Union in 1818. An additional fact supports the 1818 date - Congress passed an Act, in April of 1818, which reorganized the staff departments of the Army.  The purpose of the Army Regimental System is to foster unity. The bonding agent of unity is cohesiveness. Soldiers with close ties, with strong feelings of esprit de corps, characterize a cohesive unit - one that gets the job done. Medical soldiers will identify with their regiment. They will soon realize that the thread of the regiment will be woven throughout the fabric of their respective organizations - in operational matters, in training matters, and in personnel matters.

The Army Medical Department Regiment was activated on 28 July 1986, during a ceremonial review on MacArthur Field, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Lieutenant General Quinn H. Becker, The Surgeon General, U. S. Army, and AMEDD Regimental Commander, was the reviewing officer. Major General Julius J. Chosy, Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization and National Guard Affairs, and Brigadier General Robert L. Wick, Jr., Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, were members of the reviewing party. Their presence was significant in that members of the Reserve Components comprised 70 percent of the AMEDD force.

The AMEDD Regimental Distinctive Unit Insignia

The AMEDD Regimental Distinctive Unit Insignia was designed by the Institute of Heraldry and is one of the oldest crests in the Army today. The 20 stars on the crest correspond to the number of states in the Union between December 10, 1817, and December 3, 1818. The origin of the crest dates from the Act of April 14, 1818, by which the Medical Department of the Army was first organized.

The alternating red and white stripes on the left side of the shield, as you face it, are the 13 stripes of the American Flag. The green staff is the staff of Aesculapius (the son of the Sun God, Apollo, the first healer, according to Greek mythology); and green was a color associated with the Medical Corps during the last half of the nineteenth century.

The phrase "To Conserve Fighting Strength" gives testimony to our mission as combat multipliers and guardians of our Nation's strength and peace.

The Distinctive Unit Insignia for the AMEDD Regiment is known as a "Shield" when located on the Flag or the Coat of Arms.

Flag of the Army Medical Department Regiment

Graphic: AMEDD Flag

The Flag of the Army Medical Department Regiment is the standard design and dimensions of an Army Regimental Flag. The distinguishing features of the AMEDD Regimental Flag are its color, maroon with a white fringe; the shield positioned on the chest of the American Eagle, and the crest, located above and centered on the American Eagle.


Crest for the AMEDD Regiment

Graphic: AMEDD Crest

The crest, that portion of the Coat of Arms found above the Eagle, is composed of:

The cross and wreath of laurel as adapted from devices authorized for hospital stewards and other enlisted men when the Hospital Corps was established in 1887. (A similar cross-and-laurel wreath is found on the Combat Medic Badge.)

The seven silver stars representing the seven corps of the Army Medical Department Regiment - including the Enlisted Corps.

In the olden days, the crest was held onto the helmet by a twisted band of cloth called a wreath. The colors on the wreath of the AMEDD Regiment are maroon and white, signifying the first two named colors on the shield. The crest, as originally used, was placed upon the top of the helmet of the chief or leader to enable his followers to distinguish him during battle.