U.S. Army Veterinary Corps – “Regiment of Horse with a Farrier”

U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Mission: Build a highly skilled, adaptive and empowered Veterinary Team to support full-spectrum operations for the Department of Defense.

WWI Veterinary Corps recruiting poster

The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was formally established by an Act of Congress on June 3, 1916. However, recognition of the need for veterinary expertise had been evolving since 1776 when General Washington directed that a “regiment of horse with a farrier” be raised.

In the 1890′s veterinarians were being sought to inspect meat, poultry and dairy products destined for the frontier posts. Strong academic background in microbiology, epidemiology, pathology and public health has always made veterinarians ideally suited for a role in ensuring wholesomeness of food.

Veterinary Corps participation in all of our nation’s conflicts since World War I has been an essential element in the maintenance of the health and well being of both animals and Soldiers. The highly technical education obtained by veterinarians has continued to prepare them for their changing mission requirements for over the past ninety years.

U.S. Army veterinarians ensure the strength of our veterinary public health capabilities through veterinary medical and surgical care, food safety and defense, and biomedical research and development.

1919 Veterinary Corps recruiting poster

The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps continues to significantly impact current operations. Veterinary unit commanders and their personnel are critical in effecting remarkably low food borne illness rates. Army veterinarians ensure the health of military working dogs and assist with host-nation related animal emergencies. Veterinary staff advisers also play key roles regarding issues involving chemical and biological defense.

At home, military veterinary supervision of operational ration assembly plants, supply and distribution points, ports of debarkation, and other types of subsistence operations are critical to ensuring safe, wholesome food for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and their family members.

The large segment of the Veterinary Corps involved in Medical Research and Development missions contribute immeasurably to the overall military effort. Vaccine, antitoxin, and antidote development, directed toward the protection of military personnel, has been and will continue to be, heavily reliant on military veterinary expertise.

Today, the Army Veterinary Corps, composed of 780 veterinarians and warrant officers in both active and the Army Reserves, concludes ninety years of historic achievements about which it can be tremendously proud. Accomplishing its broad functions of food safety and security, animal care, veterinary public health, and research and development, will continue to be essential as long as the need for military forces remain.

For more information on the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, visit their website.