So many things seemed to have happened during this time. There were a ton of changes that sprouted for the better.
The role of women became more important than ever to the Hospital Corps
World War II marked the beginning of women who were enlisted into the Hospital Corps. These women joined an organization called WAVES which was short for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services. This agency was located at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
The first class actually consisted of 230 proud enlisted women who served stateside. This allowed the Navy Medical Department to continue their wartime duties.
Navy members received huge recognition during World War II
During the time of World War II, 15 Navy enlisted men were awarded the Medal of Honor and 7 of which were actually Hospital Corpsmen.
The actual number of general awards throughout the branch was approximately 820!
Even a Pharmacist Mate named John Bradley plus 6 other marines raised a flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. A photograph of this image became really famous and even immortalized at the US Marine Corps War Memorial.
The Secretary of the Navy gave praise to the Hospital Corps for the first time in history at the end of World War II
Secretary of the Navy and later first Secretary of Defense James Forrestal recognized and commended the Hospital Corps for its outstanding accomplishments in the war. This is the first in military history. James Forrestal gave this speech:
Out of every 100 men of the United States Navy and Marine Corps who were wounded in World War II, 97 recovered. That was a record not equaled anywhere, anytime. Every individual who was thus saved from death, owes an everlasting debt to the Navy’s Hospital Corps. The Navy is indebted to the corps. The entire nation is its debtor for thousands of citizens are living normal, constructive, happy and productive lives who, but for the skill and toil of the Hospital Corps, might be dead or disheartened by crippling invalidism. So, to the 200,00 men and women of the Hospital Corps, I say on behalf of the United States Navy: “Well Done. Well done, indeed!”
Hospital Corps ratings changed yet again a few years after World War II
In 1984, new titles were created for members of the Hospital Corps
- Hospital Recruit
- Hospital Apprentice
- Hospital Corpsman Third Class
- Hospital Corpsman Second Class
- Hospital Corpsman First Class
- Chief Hospital Corpsman
Even the insignia of the Hospital Corps was changed from a Red Cross to the Caduceus. The caduceus is basically the staff of Hermes. It can be described as a pole with featured wings and 2 snakes spiraling upwards around the pole meeting each other face to face