Army Medical School

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The Army Medical Museum and Library building, which housed the Army Medical School between 1893 and 1910. "Old Red" was located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Founded by U.S. Army Brigadier General George Miller Sternberg, MD in 1893, the Army Medical School (AMS) was by some reckonings the world's first school of public health and preventive medicine. (The other institution vying for this distinction is the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (1916).) The AMS ultimately became the Army Medical Center (1923), then the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1953).


Sternberg created the AMS by issuing "General Order 51" on June 24, 1893. The School was housed, along with the Army Medical Library in the building of the Army Medical Museum and Library (affectionately known as the "Old Pickle Factory" or "Old Red") at 7th Street and South B Street (now Independence Avenue), SW, Washington, D.C. (This site is on the National Mall where the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum now stands.)

In 1910, the AMS relocated to 721 13th Street, NW and in 1916 to 604 Louisiana Avenue.

In 1923, the "Army Medical Center" (AMC) was created when (1) the AMS became the "Medical Department Professional Service School" (MDPSS) and (2) the MDPSS moved into "Building #40" on the grounds of the Walter Reed General Hospital (WRGH) in northern Washington, D.C.

The historic edifice known as Building #40 was constructed at 14th and Dahlia Streets beginning in 1922 and reached completion in 1932. This facility consists of four "Pavilions":

  • The North or "Vedder Pavilion" (named for Col. Edward Bright Vedder (1878-1952) who established polished rice extract as the proper treatment for beri-beri);
  • The South or "Craig Pavilion" (named for Col. Charles Franklin Craig (1872-1950) who in the Philippines proved (1907; with Percy M. Ashburn) dengue to be a filterable agent (virus) and later showed the mosquito Aedes aegypti responsible for dengue transmission);
  • The East or "Sternberg Pavilion" (named for Gen. Sternberg (1838-1915), the U.S. Army Surgeon General and co-discoverer of the pneumococcus, known as the "Father of American Bacteriology");
  • The West or "Siler Pavilion" (named for Col. Joseph Franklin Siler (1875-1960), who in 1925 first injected dengue virus in serum into humans producing disease and "closing the loop" on dengue transmissibility).

In 1947, the MDPSS became the "Army Medical Department Research and Graduate School" (AMDRGS), which in turn became the "Army Medical Service Graduate School" (AMSGS) in 1950.

In September 1951, "General Order Number 8" combined the WRGH & AMC into the present-day Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). Three years later, the research elements of this facility became the present-day Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

List of presidents and commandants[edit]

The South, or Craig, Pavilion of Building 40, home to the four successors to the AMS: the Medical Department Professional Service School (1923-1947), the Army Medical Department Research and Graduate School (1947-1950), the Army Medical Service Graduate School (1950-1953), and finally the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1953-1999). Building 40 is at 14th and Dahlia Streets at the old Walter Reed complex in northern Washington, D.C.
President Tenure Ref(s)
Col. Charles Henry Alden 1893 1898 [1]
Col. William Henry Forwood 1901 1902
Brig. Gen. Calvin DeWitt 1902 1903
Col. Charles Lawrence Heizmann 1903 1906
Col. Valery Havard 1906 1909
Col. Louis Anatole LaGarde 1909 1912
Col. Charles Richard 1912 1915
Brig. Gen. William Hempel Arthur 1915 1918
Col. Weston Percival Chamberlain 1918 1918
Brig. Gen. Francis Anderson Winter 1918 1919
Brig. Gen. Walter Drew McCaw 1919 1923
Col. Weston Percival Chamberlain 1923 1924
Brig. Gen. Henry Clay Fisher 1924 1929
Col. Christopher Clark Collins 1929 1930
Col. Charles Franklin Craig 1930 1931
Col. Jay Ralph Shook 1931 1931
Col. Edward Bright Vedder 1931 1932
Col. Philip Weatherly Huntington 1932 1935
Col. Joseph Franklin Siler 1935 1939
Col. George Russell Callender 1940 1946
Rufus Holt 1946 1949
Elbert De Coursey 1949 1950
William S. Stone 1950 1953

See also[edit]


Notable people associated with the AMS and AMC[edit]




  1. ^ Borden's dream: The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Government Printing Office. ISBN 9780160869518.