Commissioned June 3, 1916, the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps recently celebrated its 101st birthday.

The Corps trace back to George Washington’s direction that a “regiment of horse with a farrier” be raised in 1916. Since its official commissioning in 1916, the Corps has expanded, now a full-service Food Safety, Public Health and Research and Veterinary Health Force serving the Department of Defense at large.

Corps’ veterinarians perform routine check-ups, sick calls, laboratory tests, dental treatments, vaccine administration and surgeries as needed — but their care is not limited to four-legged members of the military or military families.

Capt. Chris Magee of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., recently detailed the Corps’ broad workload in an article for MyGuidon.

“What may be less known is our responsibility in food safety and defense,” says Magee.

Magee described the Corps’ role in ensuring food safety at the Exchange, Commissary, and dining facilities. Additionally, they are part of the Army’s public health initiative, “One Health.”

“Over the years, veterinarians have played an increasing role in public health and safety,” says Magee. “After realizing the importance of collaboration among various medical and environmental sciences, a new initiative of ‘One Health’ was born.”

As part of the initiative, the Corps at Fort Leonard Wood actively works with the Preventative Medicine department to prevent rabies, as well as other zoonotic diseases.

“This initiative recognizes the vital connection between human health, animal health and the health of our environment, and promotes the further study and advancement of the well-being of those three intertwined aspects.”

Magee also commented on the Corps’ history, looking forward.
“As the Veterinary Corps celebrates its 101st birthday, I consider the storied history, and can only imagine what lies ahead. Serving to heal, honored to serve.”