Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1977
Support services include a variety of activities serving the physical and spiritual needs of the people who comprise the U.S. Army. Food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are of course the primary physical needs, and religion fills the main spiritual needs.
The primary duty of an Army chaplain is to provide for the religious and moral needs of the military community. To help meet that duty, a chaplain will normally provide such religious services as marriages, baptisms, funerals, prayer breakfasts, retreats, and worship services. He will also offer religious instruction for individuals, couples contemplating marriage, and groups displaying an interest in spiritual matters. At the same time, an Army chaplain will normally meet his duty of pastoral care in much the same fashion as his civilian counterpart-by developing relationships with those who require his religious guidance and by offering spiritual support to those who have been bruised on their way through this life.
The Chief of Chaplains adopted a new professional development plan that includes important changes in the training program for chaplains. In particular, it calls for a reduction in length of the basic and advanced courses, elimination of the senior officer refresher course, and a general pattern of exporting training to the field. The basic chaplain course will consist of three phases: the first, a precommissioning phase to prepare candidates for active duty; the second, a six-week resident course in basic military subjects at the Army Chaplain Center and School; and the last, a one-year training program that will concentrate on subjects essential to the chaplain's first assignment. The advanced officer course will be offered twice annually and will provide opportunities for self-assessment, instruction in military and professional subjects in preparation for greater responsibility, and a period of self-directed learning in which chaplains may select courses based on their own needs and the requirements of their next assignments.
The .new plan also ends training for specialized assignments for all chaplains. Instead, only those who receive such assignments will be trained. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) will be provided through medical center CPE programs as well as community and parish CPE centers. Continuing education and training, apart from the more structured programs, will still be available through monthly training confer-
ences, correspondence courses, degree completion programs, and short-term CPE training.
During fiscal year 1977 the Government Printing Office published two volumes of what will be a five-volume history of the Army Chaplaincy. The works now in print are Volume II, Struggling for Recognition, 1791-1865, and Volume V, Confidence in Battle, Inspiration in Peace, 1945-1975.
Housing and Homeowners Assistance
The bachelor housing program for fiscal year 1977 was allotted $123.7 million for 9,317 spaces. Most of the money-$111.7 million-will go for 5,208 new spaces and 1,492 modernized spaces in the United States. Soldiers in Korea will benefit from the construction or rehabilitation of 2,559 spaces costing $11.3 million, and the forces in Germany will get 58 new spaces at a cost of $0.7 million. The program for fiscal year 1978 will be much smaller, involving only $25.3 million. All of the work planned for the next year will be in the United States and Germany.
With the exception of MCA (Military Construction, Army) projects for fiscal years 1977 and 1978, construction costs for troop housing in Germany were covered by an offset agreement. Modernization of barracks and dining facilities under the terms of the 1974-75 offset agreement continued. The Army was allocated 503 million deutsche marks for rehabilitation of troop housing at eighty-four kasernes and some border and remote sites. At the end of fiscal year 1977, work at eighteen kasernes and fourteen remote sites was completed, and construction was under way at thirty other kasernes.
As executive agent for all the military services, the Army paid nearly $800,000 under the Homeowners Assistance Program to 200 applicants during the twelve months prior to 1 July 1977. The payments were a result of base closures or realignment actions. Additionally, mortgage assumptions on forty-five properties acquired under the program amounted to $892,000.
Food service facilities supporting the Army food service program worldwide, as of 30 September 1977, were as follows:
|Garrison bread bakeries||0||1||1|
|Central pastry kitchens||3||0||3|
A total of 1,079 Army dining facilities served 244,602,065 meals valued at $240,422,445 during fiscal year 1977; garrison bakeries produced 1,087,100 pounds of bread; and central pastry kitchens made 2,498,000 pastry servings.
The U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Command constructed prototypes of improved field feeding equipment. Along with the new standard field-kitchen trailer, these prototypes were sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will be evaluated next year in an experimental battalion. Previously the Natick Research and Development Command had proposed a new tent-type (XM-75) mode for feeding, which the Department of the Army disapproved. As a result, the trailer field-kitchen will remain standard for the foreseeable future.
As part of the Dining Facility Modernization Program, 445 dining facilities were selected for modernization, an increase of 4 from the previous year. An additional 208 were programmed for modernization through fiscal year 1979, with the remainder scheduled for 1980 and beyond. During fiscal year 1977, construction contracts estimated at $7.5 million were awarded for the modernization of seventeen facilities.
The appropriation for fiscal year 1977 also allowed the construction of ten new dining facilities at six installations. Expected cost was $7.7 million. As of 30 September 1977, contracts had been awarded for the construction of eight of these facilities.
At Fort Lee, Virginia, in June 1977, the Director of Food Management began to use a pilot kitchen to evaluate operational guides and production procedures and to learn how the equipment can be used in preparing various menu items. A study of two dining facilities supported by the pilot kitchen was made from mid-July to mid-September, and the results will be available next year.
During fiscal year 1977 the U.S. Army Troop Support Agency maintained four Food Management Assistance Teams to assist commands, installations, and food service personnel worldwide. The teams visited 946 dining facilities of active forces at seventy installations and 283 dining facilities of the reserve components at twenty-three installations.
The Philip A. Connelly Award for excellence in Army food service was expanded to include a category for field food-service. The 1977 competition therefore covered three categories: large facilities feeding more than 200 soldiers, small facilities feeding 200 or less, and units in the field. The winning unit in the large category was the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Ranch House Dining Facility. In the small category, the 552d Military Police Company, 728th Military Police Battalion, Pusan, Korea, was first. Considered best in the field-kitchen category was the 1st Battalion, 37th Armor, 1st Armored Division, Katterbach, Germany.
Commissaries and Subsistence Supplies
The final phase in centralizing the management of Army commissaries, begun during fiscal year 1976, was completed when the European Field Office became responsible for the Resale Stock Fund previously controlled by U.S. Army, Europe. Under centralization, each field office
manages the Army commissaries within its geographical region and is accountable for their resale subsistence stocks. The field offices also provide direction for procurement, stock control, administration, merchandising operations, financial management, and store security.
To reduce the subsidization of commissary stores, as Congress had ordered, the Army created more part-time jobs. Previously, the employee mix had been ninety-two percent full-time and eight percent part-time. On 30 September 1977, a goal of eighty percent full-time and twenty percent part-time was met. The long-range goal, a seventy-thirty ratio, is considered optimum.
The Office of the Chief of Engineers and the United States Army Troop Support Agency in conjunction with a civilian architectural-engineering firm, completed standard designs and equipment lists for eight types of commissary stores. Each design shows the functional arrangement of equipment. The standard plans were then distributed to engineer divisions and districts for use in developing particular designs for new commissaries.
In the Middle East the Army has commissaries at Dhahran and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and at Teheran in Iran. A new store in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, will open in fiscal year 1978. The commissaries are under the command and control of the Troop Support Agency's European Field Office, and U.S. Army, Europe (USAREUR), airlifts most of the stocks. Fresh fruits and vegetables for Saudi Arabia, however, come directly from the United States, while the commissary in Teheran gets its produce from Europe and the local economy.
In 1976, as a part of streamlining logistical support within the European theater, USAREUR proposed that responsibility for supplying Middle East commissaries be shifted to the United States. Apart from removing a burden unrelated to USAREUR's wartime mission, the change, to take place next fiscal year, will help centralize commissary support and alleviate the strain on depot facilities in Europe. Additional benefits include fresher products at the commissaries and a cost saving of $900,000.
The status of a number of Army commissaries changed during fiscal year 1977. The store at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was closed, and the facilities at Fort Buckner and Makiminato, Okinawa, and Kaiserslautern, Germany, were transferred to the Air Force. The Air Force Wiesbaden store, in turn, was transferred to the Army. The facility at Fort Gillem, Georgia, was designated a main store, and the outlets at Fort McPherson, Georgia, and Dahlonega, Georgia, became branches of the Fort Gillem commissary.
During 1974 and 1975 representatives of the cash register industry told the Army that the electromechanical register would be phased out and replaced by electronic cash registers. To prepare for the change, Army
personnel visited manufacturing plants to observe demonstrations of the new equipment, and afterward the Army installed electronic registers at Fort Richardson, Alaska, and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, for testing. During fiscal year 1977 the use of electronic registers was extended to twenty-three additional commissaries, and thirty-eight more will receive new equipment during fiscal year 1978. Buying and installing new registers during the upcoming year will cost about $1.6 million. When those are in place, Army commissaries will have 608 new registers, more than half of the estimated 1,208 registers needed. The replacement program is scheduled for completion in fiscal year 1980.
The Department of Defense program for Worldwide Integrated Management of Subsistence received a substantial boost last year when the Defense Logistics Agency issued a revised plan for the Navy on Honshu and the Air Force on Okinawa to replace the Army early next year as the area's centralized wholesale subsistence managers. Meanwhile, the Army agreed to transfer subsistence war reserve stocks in the United States to the Defense Logistics Agency, effective 1 January 1978.
At the request of the Office of Management and Budget, an interagency committee developed a plan for a government-wide quality assurance program for food procured by federal agencies. The committee made the Department of Agriculture responsible for inspection and quality control. In the meantime, Congress directed the Army to reduce its involvement in food procurement by relieving 120 enlisted persons and 20 Veterinary Corps officers, and transferring their work to the Department of Agriculture during fiscal year 1978. As a result, that department will control procurement activities earlier than envisioned by the interagency committee.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning
In January 1977, the Army converted seven laundries in Germany to government-owned, contractor-operated facilities. The first contract, for nine months, was awarded to an American company, and a successor contract will cover a one-year period. The experience of these units under private management should be useful in making decisions to convert other laundry and dry cleaning facilities. In August 1977, however, Congress declared a one-year moratorium on such changeovers in the United States. As a result, contract negotiations for many conversions were suspended.
Transferring some support activities to the private sector has inevitably slowed the modernization of laundry and dry cleaning equipment. That problem, as well as funding limitations, also restricted the Quick Return on Investment Program in the United States, but procurement of machinery and equipment for use overseas under that program was not affected.
Laundry management representatives from the military services helped officers of the International Fabricare Institute revise their yearly military-governmental laundry manager's course. The revised course offers greater appeal and utility to the military personnel involved in laundry and dry cleaning management.
Clothing and Personal Equipment
The most significant changes in women's uniforms since World War II recently took place. Fatigues and their accessories were made a part of the women's initial issue, replacing the training duty uniform and two white blouses, and combat boots took the place of gym shoes, overshoes, and one pair of black oxfords. For military policewomen, a green pantsuit became standard issue, and all enlisted women now receive a black beret in place of the garrison cap.
In men's clothing the long-awaited durable press fatigues and tan uniforms entered the supply system, replacing similar all-cotton items. Although durable press fatigues had been adopted by the Army in 1970, they were not issued until December 1976, following approval by the Department of Defense. Durable press tan uniforms did not enter the inventory until 1977, when the stocks of cotton khaki uniforms were depleted.
A study on Army dress uniforms for 1980 was completed in December 1976 by the Army Natick Research and Development Command following a 1974 directive from the Department of the Army. Troop surveys, suggestions from civilian designers and manufacturers, and a historical review of uniforms formed the basis of the inquiry. Guidance also came from an advisory group composed of the Director of Human Resources Development and Director of the Women's Army Corps in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff' for Personnel, the Director of Development and Engineering of the Materiel Development and Readiness Command, the deputy chief of staff' for personnel of the Training and Doctrine Command, and the Sergeant Major of the Army. Major suggestions were to have one year-round uniform in the service, dress, and mess categories; to make men and women look like soldiers of one Army, without sacrificing the feminity of the women; and to use whenever possible versatile components, such as shirts, slacks, and skirts. The report was reviewed by major commands and Army staff agencies, and Army approval for specific proposals is now pending.
The work of the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry during fiscal year 1977 included the design of 477 heraldic emblems, the creation of 3,788 drawings and paintings, and the completion of 260 sculptured models and casts. Additionally, 252,000 items were inspected under the quality
control system for heraldic items, and 3,871 support actions related to research, development, and engineering were completed. The institute supported the needs of the Army as well as those of other government agencies, including the Department of Defense, other military services, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Intelligence Board, the Supreme Court, the Department of the Interior, and the Veterans Administration.
To improve quality, reduce cost, and broaden procurement sources of heraldic items, the Institute continued to search for alternate materials and to devise better manufacturing methods. This year the Institute introduced a manufacturing change that resulted in cheaper guidons of improved appearance with the design readily identifiable from both sides.
Morale, Recreation, and Welfare
Competing demands for scarce dollars forced a halt to operations of the Army Aviation Precision Demonstration Team. Organized in 1972 and nicknamed the Silver Eagles, the team exhibited the capabilities of military helicopters and the skills of the aviators who fly them. Over the last half decade it participated in such events as airport dedications, aviation demonstrations, and expositions and fairs, putting on more than two hundred shows before an audience of millions.
During the last fiscal year the Army competed in twelve interservice sporting events, winning six, finishing second in five, and third in only one. Soldiers also took part in sixteen national competitions, either as members of armed forces teams or as part of all-Army squads. The best showing was in basketball, when an armed forces team, mainly Army personnel, won the 1977 National AAU Championship. In Conseil International du Sport Militaire competition, soldiers participated on American teams in four events, winning two and placing second in one.
Army bands also suffered from budget cuts, and at the end of fiscal year 1977 had to absorb a cutback of 190 manpower spaces. An early suggestion to eliminate three bands as a means of meeting the reduction was rejected. Instead, the Army decided to reduce each division band by 2 spaces and each separate band by 4 spaces. All of these units would then contain 41 spaces each. Additionally, headquarters bands at the Training and Doctrine Command and the Forces Command would be reduced by 7 spaces each (from 72 to 65 ), and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps would be reduced by 17 spaces (from 87 to 70) . The remainder of the reduction would be achieved by eliminating 14 spaces at the U.S. Army Element, School of Music, and withdrawing the 5 Army spaces in the North American Air Defense Command band in Colorado.
In Army club management, a study to determine the best structure for the management of clubs and package beverage stores was conducted,
and the results should be available in fiscal year 1978. The Army club fund, which lends interest-free money for construction and renovation of facilities, had twenty-two loans outstanding at the end of fiscal year 1977 with a face value of $15.6 million. Additional loans totaling $4.5 million had been approved, pending determination of the contract cost and prices.
The number of formally trained military Army club managers increased from 635 in September 1976 to 829 in October 1977. The Club Management Course was moved from Fort Lee, Virginia, to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. There were 242 graduates from the course during fiscal year 1977; 90 club managers graduated from the Executive Club Management Course during the year, and 19 individuals from Army clubs went through a triservice culinary course to upgrade the performance of club cooks, chefs, and food service managers.
Army clubs had sales of $219.6 million and a total revenue of $260.3 million during fiscal year 1977. Net income totaled $10.4 million, 4.7 percent of sales. There were 263 clubs in operation at the close of the fiscal year, of which 204, or 77.6 percent, were profitable.
The Army Community Service currently provides a variety of aid to military personnel and their families, including financial and personal counseling, help in relocating, and referral to other agencies. The program, however, has not been fully understood by its potentially greatest beneficiaries. More standardization and better publicity were needed. An Army study, completed and published during the past year, helped to meet those needs by identifying essential services. Available resources will be channeled to those activities first. Prominent among the services that will receive priority are financial management assistance, relocation assistance, information and referral assistance to persons with handicapped dependents, child care services; assistance in child maltreatment prevention, and help to off-post enlisted families.
One feature of the Army Community Service program that came in for particular attention during fiscal year 1977 was child care. Centers for child care have existed on military posts for years, organized on an ad hoc basis and supported from a variety of nonappropriated and private funds. Those operations worked well enough in the past; but as the demand for child care increased and costs escalated the system had to be overhauled. The immediate financial strain was eased by an Army decision to provide free utilities. More important, in fiscal year 1979 the centers will become appropriated fund activities, supplemented by user fees, and will receive allocations for personnel spaces, which should permit expansion of the program. Until then, installation commanders may use other appropriated funds for maintenance, repair, supplies, and equipment.
During the last fiscal year the Army took a number of steps to
strengthen the Retirement Services Program. They included installation of a toll-free telephone line in the Retired Activities Division of the Department of the Army, which retirees have used heavily to inquire about the full range of retirement benefits and entitlements. Additionally the content of the Retired Army Bulletin was made more interesting to its readers. The military services also established a joint retired affairs working group that will, among other things, help keep track of legislation important to retirees, who now number 440,000 men and women.
Based in part on the success of an eighteen-month Air Force experiment, the Army decided to use a "Mini-TV" system to make American television programs available to soldiers stationed at remote locations overseas who do not have access to American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) TV. Programs will be recorded on videotape cassettes at the AFRTS facility in Los Angeles and shipped weekly to isolated sites. At each location soldiers will use videotape playback units and television sets to watch the programs.
Sites fully operational in fiscal year 1977 included Kwajalein Atoll and others in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, and Helmstedt, Germany. Presently 144 locations in four overseas countries qualify for Mini-TV service. Necessary videotape equipment will begin to reach most of these sites in fiscal year 1978, and all installations should be fully served by fiscal year 1979.
During November and December 1976, the major commands conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the General Education Development (GED) program, the Army's voluntary education effort since 1956. This review led to the development of the Army Continuing Education System, an integrated management system that incorporates time-tested GED programs and other educational programs and services-some new and some reoriented to reflect current Army missions and the needs of today's soldier. An Army-wide system, decentralized to installation and community level and operated according to policies established at Headquarters, Department of the Army, now offers relatively uniform educational opportunities. The Continuing Education System will provide opportunities for individual growth and help the Army attract and retain highly qualified and well-motivated soldiers. The program covers the following areas:
Academic Education: basic education; high school completion; college preparatory; associate degree; bachelor's degree; graduate studies; professional; academic correspondence courses.
Skill Development: languages; occupational training; MOS-oriented training; advanced individual training; diagnostic testing; Army correspondence courses.
Skill Documentation: Army apprenticeship credit; technical
certification; credit for experience; proficiency testing.
Services: counseling; academic testing.
An associate degree is offered through what is called the Servicemen's Opportunity College in cooperation with forty-five civilian colleges and universities. The program includes counseling, consistent course offerings, a clear statement of course requirements, and-most important-assurance that credit from other institutions and from nontraditional sources will be accepted. Participating schools agree to accept the credit recommendations of the American Council on Education, limit residence to not more than one fourth of the degree requirements, and grant up to one half of the credits for such nontraditional experience as military training. Originally designed for soldiers in the combat arms, the associate degree program was later made available to all members of the Army. It was offered in the fall of 1977 at major installations in the United States and will expand to overseas areas during 1978.
At the end of fiscal year 1977, the military services had nine months' experience with the new Veterans' Educational Assistance Act. As described in the annual report for 1976, the act took the place of the old GI bill for soldiers entering active duty after 31 December 1976 and requires a contribution by individual soldiers. In the first nine months of calendar year 1977, 15,108 service members enrolled. Refunds of contributions were made to 239 soldiers who claimed hardship and withdrew from the program or were discharged.
Participation in academic and vocational and technical programs remained strong throughout fiscal year 1977.
|High School||College (Undergraduate)|
|Course enrollments||214,670||Course enrollments||199,622|
|Course completions||152,499||Course completions||154,525|
|Vocational Technical||Undergraduate degrees||1,279|
|Course enrollments||44,824||College (Graduate)|
|Course completions||29,677||Course enrollments||32,541|
Health and Medical Affairs
The trend toward outpatient service continued in fiscal year 1977 with a 7.3 percent decrease in bed occupancy for all categories of patients. The strength of the Army, by contrast, increased .6 percent. The primary cause of the lower rate of bed occupancy was a reduction in the average length of stay for all patients from 7.4 to 7.2 days. The average length of stay of active duty Army personnel remained at 9.2 days, while the number of admissions per 1,000 decreased from 178 to 165.
Army expenditures for medical services totaled $1.3 billion in fiscal year 1977, an increase of $78 million over fiscal year 1976. That increase was due to salary increases authorized by Congress, the continued rise in the cost of health services to Army beneficiaries in both Army and civilian facilities, costs associated with the construction of new medical facilities, and the higher cost of research and development. A distribution by appropriation is as follows (fiscal year 1977, in millions of dollars)
|Military personnel, Army||506.4|
|Operations and maintenance, Army||623.4|
|Research and development, Army||65.1|
|Military construction, Army||75.2|
|Other procurement, Army||40.1|
|Reserve personnel, Army||10.7|
During fiscal year 1977 the Army Medical Department converted three hospitals in the United States to health clinics and eliminated their inpatient service as a result of medical officer reductions. The hospitals affected were: Kirk Army Hospital, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Hawley Army Hospital, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana; and the U.S. Army Hospital, Fort McPherson, Georgia. Because of force reductions in Japan, the U.S. Army Hospital, Honshu, was also converted to a health clinic.
For many years the Army Medical Department has furnished materiel and training to foreign nations under foreign military sales and military assistance programs. During the past year requests for such help increased, and medical teams assisted Colombia, Jordan, and Nicaragua. Planning is presently under way for medical participation in an advisory team scheduled to go to Portugal during fiscal year 1978.
During fiscal year 1977, the Medical Department provided assistance in the wake of two airplane crashes. After a crash in Bolivia in October 1976, the Army sent a medical team from the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to treat badly burned patients.
Fearing an epidemic, the Army integrated its annual influenza immunization program with the national program for swine flu immunization. Vaccination began on 1 October 1976. On 16 December, however, the national program and its military component were suspended pending an investigation of an apparent relationship between influenza immunization and a paralysis known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Conducted by the Center for Disease Control of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the investigation showed that the risk of paralysis in vaccinated persons was greater than in the unvaccinated. But because the risk of an influenza epidemic exceeded that of the syndrome, the Army resumed immunization of recruits on 16 February 1977. The program ended late in March, when the danger of an epidemic had passed.
In the course of the program the Army administered vaccine to approximately one million people, including over 800,000 active duty, reserve, and National Guard personnel, the largest total ever achieved.
The Medical Department was active in several other programs relating to health and the environment, including an investigation of troop presence in atmospheric weapons testing to determine if participants should be medically examined; participation in the Nationwide Evaluation of X-Ray Trends, intended to lower radiation exposure; and supervision of radiation control in the cleanup of Eniwetok Atoll. Additionally, the Army started a surveillance program in the western United States to assess the plague threat associated with large rodent populations. At Fort Ord, California, where a significant threat already existed, the Army prepared an environmental impact statement and used small scale chemical control measures to reduce the risk to the military community.
A new Department of Defense regulation on the Civilian Health and Medical Program, Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), became effective in the United States on 1 June 1977. The regulation will strengthen CHAMPUS and help beneficiaries understand coverage, eligibility, cost-sharing, and procedures for submitting claims. It also contains an appeal procedure for disputed claims. The regulation prohibits payment for unnecessary medical services and for treatment of service-connected conditions for which the Veterans Administration provides care. Congress again directed in the Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1977 that no CHAMPUS funds could be used to pay for nonemergency civilian inpatient care if the service was available in a uniformed services hospital within forty miles of the patient's residence.
At the beginning of fiscal year 1977 the actual and authorized strengths of the Army Nurse Corps were 3,510 and 3,608, respectively. The authorized strength remained unchanged at year-end, but the actual strength on 30 September 1977 was 3,559, excluding 2,328 civilian registered nurses. Seventy-nine percent of the officers were in company grades, with the remainder in field grades. The number of Regular Army nurses rose to 1,023. As of 30 September 1977, twenty-five percent of the Nurse Corps was male, a ratio unchanged from the previous year.
Direct recruiting of Army Nurse Corps officers for active and reserve components will continue to be a matter of priority during 1978. The increase in authorized active duty strength to 3,660 in fiscal year 1978 will permit greater use of professional nurses as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, two new titles adopted in August 1977. The importance of active duty recruiting was heightened by the end of the subsidized educational programs that were once major sources of new nurses, the Army Student Nurse Program and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing. The ROTC program offered on some college campuses a relatively new opportunity to recruit nurses.
In early 1976 the authorized strength of nurses in troop program units of the Army Reserve was increased from approximately 1,900 to over 5,100. By September 1977, authorized strength rose again to 5,519. Over 2,000 officers were procured to fill these vacancies. To help fill the other positions, the Army adopted a more liberal interpretation of appointment criteria, permitting the selection of qualified registered nurses who graduate from various types of nursing programs (baccalaureate, diploma school, associate in arts) and meet experience requirements.
To help the services recruit and retain health care professionals, Congress enacted legislation that will provide supplemental pay to Dental Corps officers for another year. The legislation also moved Dental Corps officers toward parity in income with civilian counterparts.
The number of women in the Army's dental care system continued to increase. More women this year were employed as dental auxiliaries, and the number of commissioned women in the Dental Corps rose to thirty-four, as of 31 July 1977. That number will no doubt increase as more and more women graduate from dental school.
Because the destructive capability of modern weaponry must be met by improvements in oral surgery, the U.S. Army Institute of Dental Research made plans to study the effects of ultrahigh velocity weapons in the head and neck region. The institute is also training a number of dental specialists.
Recent surveys using Department of Defense guidelines have indicated that ten Army installations should continue to provide dependent dental care on a space-available basis, and that six other installations should be given authority to do so. If all recommendations are approved, forty Department of the Army installations within the continental United States will provide dependent dental care on a space-available basis.
Members of the Information Systems Office of the Office of The Surgeon General recently completed a study of the Medical Department's automation. Data from The Surgeon General, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, U.S. Army Health Services Command, U.S. Army Tri-Service Medical Information Systems Agency, and U.S. Army Medical Command, Europe, revealed that three problems impede the efficient use of resources: crossed lines of authority, duplicate assignment of missions and functions, and limited automation support at medical centers and Medical Department activities. Four possible solutions were developed and submitted to The Surgeon General, and a decision should be made early in fiscal year 1978.
Throughout the fiscal year, specialists from the Memorial Affairs Division of The Adjutant General's Office visited survivors of deceased
Army and State Department personnel whose remains were recovered and identified. The visits were to explain recovery and identification procedures fully and to answer questions raised by the next of kin.
This year, the remains of five soldiers from the European Theater of World War II were discovered and identified. Additionally, the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, identified sixteen remains recovered from Southeast Asia. They included men from, the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Disposition was in accordance with instructions provided by the next of kin.
Representatives of the Memorial Affairs Division also visited major overseas commands, ports of entry for Army mortuaries, and some installations in the United States to improve operations in the mortuary program. The division gave technical assistance to U.S. Army, Japan, and the Air Force to help smooth the transfer of mortuaries in Japan and Okinawa from the Army to the Air Force. The transfer was effective on 1 April 1977. Eighth U.S. Army, in turn, established a mortuary in Korea in support of all services.
In casualty reporting, The Adjutant General Center handled 1,102 active duty cases, 5,327 retiree cases, and. 1,161 seriously ill and very seriously ill cases in overseas commands. The center also processed 699,756 records of emergency data.
As part of its support for Bicentennial events in the Washington area, the Army made available forty acres of South Post, Fort Myer, for a parking lot. Now back under Army control, the land will be used to expand the capacity of Arlington National Cemetery. In the meantime, the cemetery's southeast boundary wall and landscaping of a forty-acre tract were finished, and ninety-five percent of the first phase of repairing cemetery roads was completed. A modification to the eligibility criteria for interment in Arlington National Cemetery was approved by the Secretary of Defense and became effective 15 April 1977. Interment, which had been limited primarily to active duty and retired members of the armed forces and Medal of Honor recipients, was expanded to include veterans with a thirty percent or greater disability who were discharged from the armed forces prior to 1 October 1949, and veterans who were awarded either the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, or Purple Heart.
During the last fiscal year the status of personnel reported as prisoners of war or missing in Southeast Asia changed as follows
|30 Sep 76||30 Sep 77|
|Prisoners of War||12||10|
|Missing in Action||161||141|
The House of Representatives Select Committee on Prisoners of War and Missing in Action rendered its final report on 15 December 1976,
concluding that no Americans involved in the Indochina conflict were being held as prisoners. The committee's conclusion was supported by the findings of a five-member presidential commission that visited Southeast Asia in March 1977 to help account for missing Americans. In its investigation, the commission found no evidence of remaining prisoners.
As a result of these findings, the Department of Defense lifted the moratorium it had imposed on unsolicited service reviews of the status of missing persons. On 24 August 1977, the services resumed their consideration of individual cases, which may lead to a presumptive finding of death.
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Last updated 27 August 2004