Story Number: NNS140730-05Release Date: 7/30/2014 10:29:00 AM
By Chantel Furbert, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
ST. LOUIS (NNS) -- The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) awarded Navy Medicine's Hospital Corps the Armed Forces Award at its national convention in St. Louis, July 21.
Force Master Chief Sherman Boss, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's force master chief and director of the U.S Navy Hospital Corps, accepted the award on behalf of the Hospital Corps.
As the leader of all corpsmen, the VFW addressed him as the "Top Doc" of the single most decorated enlisted corps in the United States Navy.
"I was pleased, honored, and humbled to accept the award on behalf of the 27,000 hospital corpsmen who serve today and the countless who have worn the cloth of our nation over the past 116 years," said Boss.
The award recognizes national security achievements by military personnel, active or retired, or organizations that demonstrate the highest traditions of service to the armed forces and the nation.
"There is no argument of their valor from the many in this room who owe their lives to a hospital corpsman who accomplished his or her mission," said Bill Thien, Vietnam veteran and presenter of the award. "I commend all corpsmen for their unwavering dedication to upholding their motto 'Semper Fortis'- for always courageous."
The Hospital Corps is the largest, most diverse rating in the Navy, consisting of 38 different occupational specialties. Throughout their history of service, Hospital Corpsmen (HM) have become the most decorated group of enlisted men and women, achieving 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 948 Silver Stars, innumerable Purple Hearts, and 22 ships commissioned in their honor.
"Today's corpsman is better trained, educated, and equipped than ever before," Boss said. "The success and freedoms we enjoy as a nation, and as Sailors, is due largely to our people and their ability."
During the awards presentation VFW officials stressed the significance of the Hospital Corps presence on overseas missions and battlefields, specifically noting their remarkable influence in Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Battle mortality and non-battle injury rates are at an unprecedented low in the history of armed conflict," Boss said, "However, corpsmen represent nearly half of all Sailors wounded and one third of all Sailors killed in Iraq and Afghanistan."
When off the battlefield, corpsmen serve in medical treatment facilities worldwide - at sea, under the sea, and in the air - and accompany the VFW in their search for POW/MIA. Recovery teams travel all over the globe in their ongoing effort to bring home the more than 80,000 American servicemen listed as missing or unaccounted-for from our nation's wars.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.