Surgeon General of the United States Army

This article is about the head of the medical department of the U.S. Army. For the head of the U.S. Public Health Service, see Surgeon General of the United States. For other uses, see Surgeon General (disambiguation).
Surgeon General of the
United States Army

Flag of the Surgeon General of the Army
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 13, 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, 1775October 16, 1775 None
2 John Morgan October 16, 1775January 1777 None
3 William Shippen, Jr. April 11, 1777January 17, 1781 None
4 John Cochran January 17, 17811783 None
VACANT 17831792 --
5 Richard Allison 17921796 None
VACANT 1796August 1, 1798 --
6 James Craik August 1, 1798June 15, 1800 None
VACANT June 15, 1800June 11, 1813 --
7 James Tilton June 11, 1813June 15, 1815 None
VACANT June 15, 1815April 18, 1818 --
8 Joseph Lovell April 18, 1818October 17, 1836 None
9 Thomas Lawson October 17, 1836May 15, 1861 Brigadier General (Brevet)
10 Clement Finley May 15, 1861April 28, 1862 Brigadier General
11 William Alexander Hammond April 28, 1862August 18, 1864 Brigadier General
12 Joseph K. Barnes August 18, 1864June 30, 1882 Brigadier General
VACANT June 30, 1882July 3, 1882 --
13 Charles H. Crane July 3, 1882October 10, 1883 Brigadier General
14 Robert Murray October 10, 1883August 6, 1886 Brigadier General
VACANT August 6, 1886November 18, 1886 --
15 John Moore November 18, 188616 August 1890 Brigadier General
16 Jedediah Hyde Baxter August 16, 18904 December 1890 Brigadier General
VACANT 4 December 189023 December 1890 --
17 Charles Sutherland 23 December 1890May 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, 1902January 14, 1909 Brigadier General
21 George H. Torney January 14, 1909December 27, 1913 Brigadier General
22 William Crawford Gorgas January 19141918 Major General
23 Merritte Weber Ireland October 4, 1918May 31, 1931 Major General
24 Robert U. Patterson 19311935 Major General
25 Charles R. Reynolds 19351939 Major General
26 James C. Magee June 1, 1939May 31, 1943 Major General
27 Norman T. Kirk 19431947 Major General
28 Raymond W. Bliss 19471951 Major General
29 George E. Armstrong 19511955 Major General
30 Silas B. Hays 1955June 1959 Major General
31 Leonard D. Heaton June 19591969 Lieutenant General
32 Hal B. Jennings 1969October 1973 Lieutenant General
33 Richard R. Taylor October 19731977 Lieutenant General
34 Charles C. Pixley 19771981 Lieutenant General
35 Bernard T. Mittemeyer 19811985 Lieutenant General
36 Quinn H. Becker 19851988 Lieutenant General
37 Frank F. Ledford, Jr 19881992 Lieutenant General
38 Alcide M. Lanoue 1992October 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, 2004March 12, 2007 Lieutenant General (retired as Major General)
VACANT March 12, 2007December 11, 2007 --
42 Eric B. Schoomaker December 11, 2007December 5, 2011 Lieutenant General
43 Patricia D. Horoho December 5, 2011December 3, 2015 Lieutenant General
VACANT December 3, 2015December 11, 2015 --
44 Nadja Y. West December 11, 2015present Lieutenant General

Agencies, centers, offices, and programs within the OTSG

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

See also

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

References and notes

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

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