posted September 1, 2005
During this year's AVMA Annual Convention, Brig. Gen. Michael Cates, the 23rd chief of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, thanked the AVMA for its efforts in ensuring that the chief of the veterinary corps hold, at a minimum, the rank of brigadier general.
"I want to thank AVMA president (2004-2005), Dr. Bonnie V. Beaver, for her tremendous leadership and friendship, and for her advocacy of our military veterinary mission and our outstanding military personnel serving around the globe," Brig. Gen. Cates said.
Established in 1916 to provide veterinary services to the Department of Defense, the veterinary corps has been an integral part of military medicine, comprising more than 750 Army veterinarians and warrant officers, both active-duty and Reserve. Despite being headed by a brigadier general for much of its existence, a colonel had led the corps for more than 14 years.
After more than two years of AVMA lobbying, led by former AVMA president, Dr. James E. Nave, who was determined to see the "general star" returned to the corps, Congress added the provision to the 2002 Defense Authorization Act.
For the first time ever, a veterinarian is in command of the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, which is important not only for the veterinary corps but also for the entire veterinary profession.
President Beaver attended the promotion and swearing-in ceremony Dec 14, 2004, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. It was a special evening for Dr. Beaver, since Brig. Gen. Cates, a 1980 graduate of Texas A&M University, is a former student of hers.
"I am honored to be the 23rd chief of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with the AVMA and our veterinary colleagues," Brig. Gen. Cates said.