Skip to main content

Military Health System

Military pharmacy teams continue dedicated legacy of service

Image of Black and white image of soldiers on the battlefield. Pharmacist’s Mates have continued to distinguish themselves on the battlefield by risking their lives to render aid to their comrades. (Courtesy photo.)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Information for Patients: TRICARE Pharmacy Program

During American Pharmacists Month, the Military Health System is recognizing the critical component of care pharmacy teams deliver. The flexibility exhibited by pharmacy personnel during COVID-19, to include establishing curbside and drive through pharmacies, further a legacy of agile and dedicated service.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have dispensed medications and managed critical supplies for the military throughout U.S. history. Pharmacists officially became a part of the nation’s military during the Revolutionary War. Formerly known as apothecaries or druggists, these dedicated service members served within the Medical Department of the Army with varying ranks and titles. In 1943, Congress passed a bill officially creating a Pharmacy Corps within the Army’s Medical Department.

These pharmacists, pharmacy mates and pharmacy technicians have conducted themselves with dedication and honor throughout American history, and at least seven have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor for valor. The first was pharmacist and physician Joseph Kirby Corson, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Bristoe Station, Virginia on October 14, 1863. He dedicated his military career to caring for soldiers – at one time risking his life to care for over 40 fellow service members sick with cholera during the Civil War.

During World War I, Pharmacists Mate First Class John Balch earned not only the Medal of Honor, but also the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star Medal, the French Croix de Guerre, the Italian Crux de Guerre and the Portuguese Cruz de Guerra for his heroic actions in France. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at Vierzy in July of 1918, as he voluntarily left his medical aid station to render care to the wounded as they lay on the battlefield, and his actions in October at Somme-Py, where establishing an advanced aid station while under heavy shellfire.

Though he did not receive the Medal of Honor, in 1942 Pharmacists Mate Wheeler Bryson Lipes went beyond the requirements of his role by performing the first ever emergency appendectomy aboard a submerged submarine. He had never performed surgery before, but saved the life of his fellow sailor. He received a Navy Commendation Medal and his heroic story went on to be told in several movies.

Five Navy Pharmacist’s Mates also received the Medal of Honor during World War II. Pharmacists Mate First Class Francis Pierce Jr. was one of them, as he led a patrol to destroy a nest of Japanese snipers and was wounded while aiding a fallen Marine. Refusing aid for himself, Pierce returned to treat the casualty. His citation reads, “Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Petty Officer Pierce inspired the entire battalion.”

On February 19, 1945, Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class George Whalen’s division landed on Iwo Jima. By March 2nd, Whalen had been wounded twice, but still refused evacuation and stayed on the battlefield to aid wounded Marines – to include casualties from an adjacent platoon. When he was shot a third time, he was no longer able to walk, but he crawled 50 yards to administer aid to a wounded Marine. Only after he saw to his patient did Whalen finally agree to be evacuated to a battalion aid station.

Whalen’s citation reads: “Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter.”

These decorated pharmacy personnel displayed selfless service that modern pharmacy teams seek to emulate as they adapt to the unique challenges of their own era.

“Throughout my career I have seen pharmacy technicians go above and beyond their role, exhibiting flexibility to support the mission,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Oluwasina Awolusi, Air Force Enlisted Pharmacy Career Field manager. “I am deeply inspired by the heroic actions of pharmacy technicians throughout history, and seek to honor their memory.”

You also may be interested in...

COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, New

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, New

New Booster for Fall!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, Get Boosted

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, Get Boosted

Get Boosted!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19: Bivalent Boosters

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bivalent Boosters

COVID-19 Bivalent Booster are now available!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, Did you know?

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bivalent Booster, Did you know?

Updated COVID-19 Boosters available!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Bottom Line on Boosters: Stay up to date!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

DHA Form 207: COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Document v22

Form/Template
9/9/2022

The purpose of this form is to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the patient. (v22, Sept. 2022)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Immunization Healthcare Division | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors | Coronavirus

Mental Health Office Helps AUAB Members Maintain Readiness

Article Around MHS
8/30/2022
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Leonardo smiles for photo

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is comprised of physical, social, spiritual and mental fitness. Being physically fit to fight and maintaining a war fighter spirit are crucial to completing the mission.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Spiritual Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Depression | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Anxiety | Stress | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for 12 to 17 Year-Olds

Article
8/30/2022
Air Force Staff. Sgt. fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine is Available for Those 12 Years' Old and Above

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Boosters Against Subvariants Coming Soon

Article
8/29/2022
Marine on right gets a COVID-19 booster vaccination from a nursing student on his left.

Brooklyn Marine gets COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

How to Get Your Kids Up to Date on Vaccinations

Article
8/25/2022
Child wearing a mask getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Resources to help you get and keep your child’s immunizations up to date in time for back to school.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Back to School Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division

Bulgarian Armed Forces Demonstrate Combat Medical Advancements

Article
8/22/2022
Two medics tend to a dummy in a simulated emergency.

Bulgarian Armed Forces showed off their combat lifesaving training to a U.S. delegation Aug. 10.

Recommended Content:

Education & Training | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Consolidated Department of Defense Coronavirus Disease 2019 Force Health Protection Guidance

Policy

Consolidates and updates the Department’s guidance regarding vaccination verification, vaccination status, COVID-19 testing, surveillance and screening testing, personnel protection on-site mask requirements, (e.g., DHA military medical treatment facilities, meetings, travel), and the protection of personally identifiable information.

COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

Infographic
8/18/2022
COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanated includes two doses, 21 days apart. Remember to mark your calendar and schedule time for your second dose.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Types of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines

Infographic
8/18/2022
COVID-19 Vaccines

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work – There are three types of vaccines currently available: mRNA, subunit protein, and viral vector. Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccine. Novavax is a subunit protein vaccine. Janssen is a viral vector vaccine. All products resemble a virus for the immune system to fight.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines

Publication
8/17/2022

Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines are available. Moderna includes two doses, 28 days apart. Pfizer includes two doses, 21 days apart. Remember to mark your calendar and schedule time for your second dose

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Types of COVID-19 Vaccines | Coronavirus & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 70
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 20, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery