As America's entry into World War I seemed increasingly likely, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress readied for the coming conflict, with the National Defense Act of 1916. Signed by President Wilson on June 3, the act bolstered U.S. military preparedness in a number of ways, including the creation of a Veterinary Corps within the U.S. Army.
When Congress declared war on the German Empire in April 1917, the Army employed 57 veterinarians working mostly in the area of equine surgery and medicine. Today, the Army Veterinary Corps comprises approximately 880 men and women supporting Department of Defense missions at home and abroad in the areas of food safety and security, animal health care, veterinary public health, and research and development.
On June 3, the Veterinary Corps will celebrate its centennial with a ceremony at the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where a monument depicting aspects of the corps' history and mission will be unveiled (see "A century of history in bronze"). The centennial is a benchmark highlighting the diverse services the corps has provided to the nation over the past 100 years, explained Maj. Troy Creason, a veterinarian and assistant to the chief of the Army Veterinary Corps.
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