Surgeon General of the United States Army

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Surgeon General of the
United States Army
Flag of the Surgeon General of the United States Army with fringe.svg
Flag of the Surgeon General of the Army
Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, Army Surgeon General.jpg
LTG Nadja West

since December 11, 2015
Department of the Army
Reports to Secretary of the Army
Chief of Staff of the Army
Seat The Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length Four years
Constituting instrument 10 U.S.C. § 3036
Formation March 13, 1813
First holder Benjamin Church, Jr.
Deputy Deputy Surgeon General of the Army
Website Official Website

The Surgeon General of the United States Army is the senior-most officer of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD). By policy, the Surgeon General (TSG) serves as Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) as well as head of the AMEDD. The surgeon general's office and staff are known as the Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG) and are located in Falls Church, Virginia.

Since 1959, TSG has been appointed in the grade of lieutenant general. By law, TSG may be appointed from any of the six officer branches of the AMEDD. However, prior to the 43rd Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, (a Nurse Corps officer), all appointed and confirmed surgeons general have been Medical Corps officers (military physicians). The incumbent Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, is a military physician.


As a commanding general, TSG provides advice and assistance to the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA) and to the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) on all health care matters pertaining to the U.S. Army and its military health care system. He or she is responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army. These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards. TSG is assisted by a Deputy Surgeon General.


Congress established the Medical Service of the Continental Army on July 27, 1775 and placed a "Chief physician & director general" of the Continental Army as its head at that time. The first five surgeons general of the U.S. Army served under this title. An Act of May 28, 1789 established a "Physician general" of the U.S. Army (only Doctors Richard Allison and James Craik served according to this nomenclature). An Act of March 3, 1813 cited the "Physician & surgeon general" of the U.S. Army. This nomenclature remained in place until the Medical Department was established by the Reorganization Act of April 14, 1818. (Physicians assigned to the U.S. Army were not accorded military rank until 1847.)

Surgeons General of the U.S. Army and their precursors

No. Name Dates of Tenure Military Rank
1 Benjamin Church, Jr July 27, 1775–October 16, 1775 None
2 John Morgan October 16, 1775–January 1777 None
3 William Shippen, Jr. April 11, 1777–January 17, 1781 None
4 John Cochran January 17, 1781–1783 None
VACANT 1783–1792 --
5 Richard Allison 1792–1796 None
VACANT 1796–August 1, 1798 --
6 James Craik August 1, 1798–June 15, 1800 None
VACANT June 15, 1800–June 11, 1813 --
7 James Tilton June 11, 1813–June 15, 1815 None
VACANT June 15, 1815–April 18, 1818 --
8 Joseph Lovell April 18, 1818–October 17, 1836 None
9 Thomas Lawson October 17, 1836–May 15, 1861 Brigadier General (Brevet)
10 Clement Finley May 15, 1861–April 28, 1862 Brigadier General
11 William Alexander Hammond April 28, 1862–August 18, 1864 Brigadier General
12 Joseph K. Barnes August 18, 1864–June 30, 1882 Brigadier General
VACANT June 30, 1882–July 3, 1882 --
13 Charles H. Crane July 3, 1882–October 10, 1883 Brigadier General
14 Robert Murray October 10, 1883–August 6, 1886 Brigadier General
VACANT August 6, 1886–November 18, 1886 --
15 John Moore November 18, 1886–16 August 1890 Brigadier General
16 Jedediah Hyde Baxter August 16, 1890–4 December 1890 Brigadier General
VACANT 4 December 1890–23 December 1890 --
17 Charles Sutherland 23 December 1890–May 30, 1893 Brigadier General
18 George Miller Sternberg May 30, 1893– June 8, 1902 Brigadier General
19 William H. Forwood June 8, 1902– September 7, 1902 Brigadier General
20 Robert M. O'Reilly September 7, 1902–January 14, 1909 Brigadier General
21 George H. Torney January 14, 1909–December 27, 1913 Brigadier General
22 William Crawford Gorgas January 1914–1918 Major General
23 Merritte Weber Ireland October 4, 1918–May 31, 1931 Major General
24 Robert U. Patterson 1931–1935 Major General
25 Charles R. Reynolds 1935–1939 Major General
26 James C. Magee June 1, 1939–May 31, 1943 Major General
27 Norman T. Kirk 1943–1947 Major General
28 Raymond W. Bliss 1947–1951 Major General
29 George E. Armstrong 1951–1955 Major General
30 Silas B. Hays 1955–June 1959 Major General
31 Leonard D. Heaton June 1959–1969 Lieutenant General
32 Hal B. Jennings 1969–October 1973 Lieutenant General
33 Richard R. Taylor October 1973–1977 Lieutenant General
34 Charles C. Pixley 1977–1981 Lieutenant General
35 Bernard T. Mittemeyer 1981–1985 Lieutenant General
36 Quinn H. Becker 1985–1988 Lieutenant General
37 Frank F. Ledford, Jr 1988–1992 Lieutenant General
38 Alcide M. Lanoue 1992–October 1996 Lieutenant General
39 Ronald R. Blanck October 1996– September 22, 2000 Lieutenant General
40 James B. Peake September 22, 2000 – July 8, 2004 Lieutenant General
VACANT July 8, 2004 – September 30, 2004 --
41 Kevin C. Kiley September 30, 2004–March 12, 2007 Lieutenant General (retired as Major General)
VACANT March 12, 2007–December 11, 2007 --
42 Eric B. Schoomaker December 11, 2007–December 5, 2011 Lieutenant General
43 Patricia D. Horoho December 5, 2011–December 3, 2015 Lieutenant General
VACANT December 3, 2015–December 11, 2015
44 Nadja West December 11, 2015–present Lieutenant General

Agencies, centers, offices, and programs within the OTSG

See also

Library and Museum of the OTSG, Washington, D.C.; Hand-colored photo, 1887.

References and notes

  • Heitman, Francis B. (1903), Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903; Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 2 vol. (Vol. 1, pp 41–42 details the Medical Department.)

External links

  • OTSG Portal
  • Surgeon General Consultant Program
  • The Surgeons General of the U.S. Army and Their Predecessors at the Office of Medical History, OTSG Website
  • Works by or about Surgeon General of the United States Army at Internet Archive
  • Works by Surgeon General of the United States Army at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

Coordinates: 38°50′36″N 77°07′01″W / 38.843456°N 77.116861°W / 38.843456; -77.116861

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