PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth celebrated the 143rd birthday of the United States Navy Medical Corps with a cake-cutting ceremony March 7.

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Rear Adm. Elaine Wagner, NMCP commander, Capt. James Hancock, NMCP deputy commander and HMCM (EXW/FMF/SW) Aaron VanDall, deputy command master chief, expressed their gratitude and admiration for the skilled service of the Medical Corps. In attendance were members of the Dental Corps, Nurse Corps, and Medical Service Corps who read birthday messages from their Chiefs of the individual corps.

"The strength and diversity of our Corps is represented in so many ways- from a Navy pediatrician taking care of the child of a Sailor deployed in harm's way, a trauma surgeon stabilizing a fallen service member in Kandahar, a psychiatrist treating a Marine suffering the invisible wounds of war, a researcher making great strides in malaria vaccine development, an ophthalmologist providing eyesight-saving care to the citizens of several nations during a Pacific Partnership cruise of the MERCY, to a faculty member training the next generation of our Corps at the Uniformed Services University," said Rear Adm. Raquel Bono, Chief of the Navy Medical Corps in her birthday remarks, read by Cmdr. Jared Antevil at the ceremony.

Established March 3, 1871, the Medical Corps is composed of 4,300 active and reserve members, with 23 specialties and nearly 200 subspecialties. Following the remarks, the most junior and senior members of the Medical Corps at NMCP, Capt. Jose DeLaPena and Lt. Alice Blizman, cut the cake.

"I felt very honored and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a ceremony honoring an organization so rich in history and so bigger than any one person," said Blizman of the honor of cutting the cake. "I'm extremely excited to get to the fleet this summer and fulfill my lifelong dream of helping people and serving alongside the Sailors and Marines providing care."

The Medical Corps has come a long way since its humble beginnings. It's cared for service members through the Spanish-American War, two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, all while adding to a legacy of superb care. The personnel that make up today's corps build on a history of advancing medical research, education and training.

"Our Medical Corps personnel are globally engaged. They provide the highest quality of care to those they serve whether it's on, above, or below the sea, at home or overseas in faraway lands," said Vice Admiral Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, in his birthday remarks. "They meet the mission - from kinetic warfare to humanitarian assistance, to research and development - anytime, anywhere."

News Source : PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth celebrated the 143rd birthday of the United States Navy Medical Corps with a cake-cutting ceremony March 7.

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