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Thread: Assistant Surgeon vs. Junior Assistant Surgeon

  1. #1
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    Question Assistant Surgeon vs. Junior Assistant Surgeon

    Well, I have a different question. What's the difference between a Federal Assistant Surgeon and a Federal Junior Assistant Surgeon in regards to uniform insignia? I'm guessing the Asst Surgeon would normally hold the rank of Captain? And, the Junior Asst Surgeon would hold the rank of 1st Lieutenant? I am interested in knowing, to ensure that the uniform that I wear in my impression would be appropriate. Right now, I am portraying an Assistant Surgeon and wear the Captain shoulder straps, with the "MS" in the center.

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  2. #2
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    Default

    I have never heard of a junior assistant surgeon. Could you provide a source for that? I'd be curious to know.
    Noah Briggs

  3. #3
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    Default I found this:

    When this was written, I can't say.

    § 207. Grades, ranks, and titles of commissioned corps
    How Current is This?

    (a) Grades of commissioned officers
    The Surgeon General, during the period of his appointment as such, shall be of the same grade as the Surgeon General of the Army; the Deputy Surgeon General and the Chief Medical Officer of the United States Coast Guard, while assigned as such, shall have the grade corresponding with the grade of major general; and the Chief Dental Officer, while assigned as such, shall have the grade as is prescribed by law for the officer of the Dental Corps selected and appointed as Assistant Surgeon General of the Army. During the period of appointment to the position of Assistant Secretary for Health, a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service shall have the grade corresponding to the grade of General of the Army. Assistant Surgeons General, while assigned as such, shall have the grade corresponding with either the grade of brigadier general or the grade of major general, as may be determined by the Secretary after considering the importance of the duties to be performed: Provided, That the number of Assistant Surgeons General having a grade higher than that corresponding to the grade of brigadier general shall at no time exceed one-half of the number of positions created by subsection (b) of section 206 of this title or pursuant to subsection (c) of section 206 of this title.

    The grades of commissioned officers of the Service shall correspond with grades of officers of the Army as follows:
    (1) Officers of the director grade—colonel;
    (2) Officers of the senior grade—lieutenant colonel;
    (3) Officers of the full grade—major;
    (4) Officers of the senior assistant grade—captain;
    (5) Officers of the assistant grade—first lieutenant;
    (6) Officers of the junior assistant grade—second lieutenant;
    (7) Chief warrant officers of (W–4) grade—chief warrant officer (W–4);
    ( Chief warrant officers of (W–3) grade—chief warrant officer (W–3);
    (9) Chief warrant officers of (W–2) grade—chief warrant officer (W–2); and
    (10) Warrant officers of (W–1) grade—warrant officer (W–1).

    (b) Titles of medical officers
    The titles of medical officers of the foregoing grades shall be respectively
    (1) medical director,
    (2) senior surgeon,
    (3) surgeon,
    (4) senior assistant surgeon,
    (5) assistant surgeon, and
    (6) junior assistant surgeon. The President is authorized to prescribe titles, appropriate to the several grades, for commissioned officers of the Service other than medical officers. All titles of the officers of the Reserve Corps shall have the suffix “Reserve.”


    (c) Repealed. Pub. L. 96–76, title III, § 304(b), Sept. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 584

    (d) Maximum number in grade for each fiscal year
    Within the total number of officers of the Regular Corps authorized by the appropriation Act or Acts for each fiscal year to be on active duty, the Secretary shall by regulation prescribe the maximum number of officers authorized to be in each of the grades from the warrant officer (W–1) grade to the director grade, inclusive. Such numbers shall be determined after considering the anticipated needs of the Service during the fiscal year, the funds available, the number of officers in each grade at the beginning of the fiscal year, and the anticipated appointments, the anticipated promotions based on years of service, and the anticipated retirements during the fiscal year. The number so determined for any grade for a fiscal year may not exceed the number limitation (if any) contained in the appropriation Act or Acts for such year. Such regulations for each fiscal year shall be prescribed as promptly as possible after the appropriation Act fixing the authorized strength of the corps for that year, and shall be subject to amendment only if such authorized strength or such number limitation is thereafter changed. The maxima established by such regulations shall not require (apart from action pursuant to other provisions of this chapter) any officer to be separated from the Service or reduced in grade.

    (e) Exception to grade limitations for officers assigned to Department of Defense
    In computing the maximum number of commissioned officers of the Public Health Service authorized by law to hold a grade which corresponds to the grade of brigadier general or major general, there may be excluded from such computation not more than three officers who hold such a grade so long as such officers are assigned to duty and are serving in a policymaking position in the Department of Defense.

    (f) Exception to maximum number limitations for officers assigned to Department of Defense
    In computing the maximum number of commissioned officers of the Public Health Service authorized by law or administrative determination to serve on active duty, there may be excluded from such computation officers who are assigned to duty in the Department of Defense.

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  4. #4
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    Default Coast Guard

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDave
    When this was written, I can't say.

    § 207. Grades, ranks, and titles of commissioned corps
    How Current is This?

    (a) Grades of commissioned officers
    The Surgeon General, during the period of his appointment as such, shall be of the same grade as the Surgeon General of the Army; the Deputy Surgeon General and the Chief Medical Officer of the United States Coast Guard, while assigned as such, shall have the grade corresponding with the grade of major general;

    I can't really help with when this section may have been originally drafted, however, based on the language quoted above, I can tell you that the portion quoted above was amended (if not created) after 1915.

    The Coast Guard (as it uses that title) was formed in 1915 after the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lifesaving Service and (later) the Lighthouse Service.

    Also, this section seems to address ranks for commissioned officers of the United States Public Health Service. The Coast Guard does not use its own doctors and has PHS commissioned officers staff any Coast Guard hospitals, etc. The army, navy (& Marines) and the air force have their own medical departments/regulations.

    What is the full CFR cite for this section?
    Davis Wright
    CMH, CWPT

  5. #5

    Default

    Ditto to what Noah said. I've not run across it as an official designation in the US army at the time. The few times it's used, the junior seems to be merely an adjective, meaning least senior.

    What's the context where you've seen it?

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@voyager.net

  6. #6
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    Default

    I have got one reference that might help everyone out here.
    There was a guy named William A. Hammond who received that title during the Civil War, according to this source. To learn more about him go to:

    www.civilwarhome.com/medicinehistory.htm

    Actually the entire page there is pretty good and worth reading.

    Hope this helps.

    Micah Trent
    Micah Trent
    2nd Most Hated Reenactor in Kentucky - Western Federal Blues
    Friends of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

  7. #7
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    From the context it looks like Hammond's title of Junior Asst. surgeon was more informal and reflected the fact he had only been in the Army for a short while before resigning the commission to work as the professor at U. of Md.

    There was a surgical heirarchy - the surgeons (generally major or above) decided on the procedure for each patient and went to work; the assistant surgeons (captains and first lieutenants, and rank was awarded for accomplishments) did just that - assisted, and observed. From this context, it sounds like the "junior" is, again, an informal designation which reflects the medical hierarchy, rather than the foraml military ranking system.

    I, too, have the MS on my straps. I plan to change them out, though. Based on my research the MS was a personal embellishment and the majority of the surgeons wore the black background staff officers' straps.
    Noah Briggs

  8. #8

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    Hammond is pretty well known and his career and appointment pretty well documented, thanks to all the subsequent controversy. The only time I've seen his rank referred to as that, is in that article.

    Here's the original text nominating him as surgeon general, and he's referred to just as "assistant surgeon." From http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(ej01261))

    The President of the United States.
    To the Senate of the United States:
    I nominate Assistant Surgeon William A. Hammond, of the Medical Department, for appointment in the Army of the United States, as proposed by the Secretary of War.
    ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
    Washington, April 18, 1862.

    War Department,
    Washington, April 18, 1862.

    Sir: I have the honor to propose for your approbation the following-named person for appointment in the Army of the United States:
    • Assistant Surgeon William A. Hammond, of the Medical Department to be surgeon-general with the rank of brigadier-general, to fill an original vacancy.

    I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
    EDWIN M. STANTON,
    Secretary of War.
    I wonder if the article was using "junior" as an adjective again, meaning he had little seniority, since he'd resigned from the military prior to the war, and had only accepted a commission again when the war began. For example, this article http://history.amedd.army.mil/tsgs/Hammond.htm describes his position: "He resigned his professorship and on May 28, 1861, he reentered the army as an assistant surgeon at the foot of the list upon which he had formerly held high place."

    The Medical Department of the United States Army in the Civil War by Louis C. Duncan says he had the rank of first lieutenant when he was nominated for surgeon general.

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@voyager.net

  9. #9
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    Sorry about my off-the-cuff, undocumented replies. It's not laziness, just lack of access to research materials where I work.
    Noah Briggs

  10. #10
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    Good stuff.

    Here's a thought...maybe you can help me with this, but at times...was the term "junior" sometimes referred to individuals who were active in the field of practice, but had yet to finish their schooling of that practice?
    I am not referring this to Hammond or anything like that...I am just thinking of other ways I have heard it mentioned.
    Just trying to make more sense of the term "junior"

    Thanks,
    Micah Trent
    Micah Trent
    2nd Most Hated Reenactor in Kentucky - Western Federal Blues
    Friends of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

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