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Ship's Apothecary: 1900

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Newark, the apothecary." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Newark, the apothecary." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Agree with Irish

I completely agree with Irish's comments. The knowledge level of Shorpy readers can be astounding. I served on board nuclear submarines in the Navy and so pictures such as this one really get my interest. Navy submarines usually carry a single Hospital Corpsman to provide medical care for the crew. It will be someone senior with a lot of experience and training. Medical evacuation off of a submarine is not always possible so the Corpsman must be ready to perform procedures that a Medical Doctor would usually perform.

Comments from other users

I have to say that I am so impressed by the vast amount of knowledge shared by all of the people who leave comments on the photos posted here. As opposed to other websites like Reddit, it is clear that there is a diverse, well-read, well-educated and more mature demographic at this site than any other. I am always amazed by the facts and trivia that readers share here, as evidenced by the comments below. This is the perfect place to visit for intellectual stimulation and should be required reading for anyone with an interest in history.

Navy Hospital Corpsman Rating

I joined the Navy in '66 to avoid being drafted into the Army and sent to Viet Nam. Before I knew it I'd been selected to join the Hospital Corps (NOT my choice!) I found out quickly that I'd be shipped overseas with a Marine detachment to patch up Jarheads on the frontlines. No the Marine Corps doesn't have any medical personnel and though they are loathe to admit it they are part of the Department of the Navy. I'm sure the only Navy rating they have any respect for would be Hospital Corpsman! Fortunately I passed out during a training film on hemorrhaging (arterial) and got sent to the fleet. Never happier to pass out in my sweet charmed life!


Anybody know why a first class petty officer is wearing a double-breasted blouse? Thought that was only for chiefs.

Flying Bottles

The shelves full of neatly labeled bottles have no restraints. In any kind of a sea they would be flying off the shelves. The other strange item is a balance. No way that would work well even when tied up at a mooring.

[They're all sitting in stationary holders. - tterrace]

Caduceus vs Rod of Asclepius

There is, or was, a controversy over the use of the Caduceus (two-snakes and staff) symbol on the Petty Officer's patch. It appears that the symbol should have been a one-snaker known as the Rod of Asclepius. Both symbols are seen in medical symbols today. Among other users of the Rod of Asclepius: the AMA, the US EMS (Star of Life emblem), and Veterinarians.

Wikipedia ("Rod of Asclepius") traces the error to a 1902 decision by a US Army Medical Corps officer. If this photo pre-dates that decision, then it appears the Navy was ahead of the Army in this trend-setting choice.

In today's military the Navy's medical-related enlisted rating badges still use the Caduceus. The Army collar device is also the Caduceus. In a bit of Pentagon non-standardization, however, the US Air Force medical types display the Rod of Asclepius. (I don't believe the Marines have a medical corps - they borrow from the Navy.)

And drink them both together

Two parts Lime, one part Coconut.

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