For the first time, three active-duty veterinary one-star flag officers gathered Dec. 16, 2006, to celebrate the year's achievements by the Uniformed Veterinary Services. The Army, Air Force, and U.S. Public Health Service have not had simultaneous flag officer veterinary positions for 18 years.
The occasion was the Uniformed Veterinary Services dinner held at the Fort Myer Officers Club in Arlington, Va., where they were joined by numerous other veterinarians in the military branches.
These three veterinarians represent a combined, critical veterinary mission that focuses on homeland security, disease prevention, food safety, biomedical research, and government animal care.
The Army's star, regained in 2004, is represented by Brig. Gen. Michael B. Cates, chief of the Army Veterinary Corps and commander of the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. The AVMA lobbied for two years to have the Army Veterinary Corps star restored, an initiative led by Dr. James E. Nave.
The veterinary officers in the Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service were promoted to flag rank this past year, recognizing their success and the importance of the veterinary profession to the uniformed services.
For the Air Force, Brig. Gen. Theresa M. Casey is the assistant surgeon general, Modernization Directorate, and Air Force Medical Service chief information officer. For the USPHS, Rear Adm. William S. Stokes is assistant surgeon general and chief veterinary officer as well as director of the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health.
Evening entertainment at the event included the national anthem sung by 2005 Military Idol first runner-up, Army Maj. Scott Willens, a veterinarian. The USPHS choral ensemble led the one-star officers in singing their respective service songs.