As with all the Special Branches within the Army Medical Department, the collar insignia for the Medical Service Corps is silver-colored caduceus featuring the initials of the Corps superimposed over it in black enamel. The use of the caduceus in the Army dates to 1851 when it was worn by Hospital Stewards in the Medical Department; the current design has remained unchanged since 1902.

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The Medical Services Corps was authorized by an Act of Congress on May 18, 1917 and established in the Army on June 30 of the same year. Designed to provide support for the Army’s physicians and Medical Department, the new organization sought to commission officers whose skills in sanitation, bacteriology, and other preventive medicinal practices would reduce the demand on physicians for treatment. Though highly effective, the Sanitary Corps was, like many Army departments, demobilized at the end of the war.

But it quickly became clear that even the reduced Army needed some type of bureau or department to oversee specialists to augment the care provided by physicians and nurses. In June, 1920, Congress established the Medical Administrative Corps, which exploded in size in response to the massive increase in the size of the Army during World War II—a Corps of under 100 officers had reached more than 22,000 by 1945.

Also created during World War II was the Pharmacy Corps, established as a basic branch in the Regular Army in July 1943. After the end of the war, the Army merged the three existing Corps—Sanitary, Administrative, and Pharmacy—into the current Medical Service Corps. The newly designated Corps had four sections: Medical Allied Sciences, Pharmacy, Sanitary Engineering, and Optometry.

Today, the Corps consists of Health Services (administration), Laboratory Sciences (testing, research, and development), Preventive Medical Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Social Work, Clinical Psychology, Pharmacy, Optometry, and Podiatry. The only enlisted Warrant Officer position in the Corps is 670A, Health Services Maintenance Technician; it draws on the 68A MOS, Biomedical Equipment Specialist.

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