The design of the “new” Army Medical Department Regimental Distinctive Insignia (RDI) in fact draws upon images that were first employed over 110 years ago when the Surgeon General William Hammond approved the Medical Corps’ coat of arms. Hammond helped develop the original coat of arms and focused on imagery that would symbolize medicine, the Union (this was in 1863, during the Civil War), and the creation of the Army’s Medical Department (AMEDD) in 1818. To this end, the shield featured a rooster, a symbol of Asclepius and ancient medicinal practices; a flag with twenty stars on the viewer’s left, representing the number of states in the United States in 1818; the Rod or Staff of Asclepius also recalled medicine, and an inscription of “Experience and Progress” in Latin was the Department motto.

In 1986, with the introduction of the Regimental Affiliation Program, Combat Service Support (Sustainment) Soldiers became affiliated with new Regiments containing AMEDD units. To represent all, the AMEDD’s Regimental Distinctive Insignia borrowed from the old Medical Department Coat of Arms, but removed the rooster and changed the inscription to “To Conserve Fighting Strength."

But the Surgeon General asked for a received permission in 2014 to change the AMEDD Regimental Distinctive Insignia so that it would reflect the old coat of arms, and the end result is one that, except for relatively minor flourishes, almost perfectly recalls one of the Army’s oldest coat of arms, down to the original motto of 'EXPERIENTIA ET PROGESSUS."

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