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59th Medical Wing
59th Medical Wing.png
Active 21 August 1941 — present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Medicine
Part of Air Education and Training Command
Garrison/HQ Lackland Air Force Base
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Thomas W. Travis
San Antonio Military Medical Center

The 59th Medical Wing (59 MDW) is a wing of the United States Air Force assigned to Air Education and Training Command, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

The 59 MW is the Air Force's premier medical unit. It operates Wilford Hall Medical Center, which is now the San Antonio Military Medical Center South. The wing provides global medical readiness capability and comprehensive peacetime healthcare benefits through education, training and research.

The wing's original unit, the 59th Observation Group was formed in 1942 under First Air Force. Originally an antisubmarine patrol unit, the group later became a replacement training unit (RTU) for fighter pilots with its graduates assigned to another group for overseas assignment. The organization's official lineage begins in 1948, and by taking on the shield and ancestry of the 59th Fighter Wing in 1993, the center was able to save the history of a World War II unit and preserve its own World War II service.

Contents

Units

Clinical Departments

  • Anesthesia
  • Allergy and Immunization
  • Cardiology & Coumadin Clinic
  • Dental
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nursing
  • OB/GYN
  • Optometry
  • Orthopedics
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Radiology

Non-Clinical Departments

History

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Lineage

  • Established as 59 Observation Group on 21 Aug 1941
Activated on 1 Sep 1941
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1942
  • Activated on 1 Mar 1943
Redesignated as: 59 Reconnaissance Group on 2 Apr 1943
Redesignated as: 59 Fighter Group on 11 Aug 1943
Disestablished on 1 May 1944
  • Redesignated as 59 Tactical Fighter Wing on 31 Jul 1985 but remained inactive
  • Consolidated (1 Jul 1993) with Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, which was first designated as the 3700 Medical Squadron on 25 Aug 1948
Organized on 26 Aug 1948
Redesignated as: 3700 Station Medical Squadron on 1 Nov 1948
Redesignated as: 3700 Medical Group on 27 Jun 1950
Redesignated as: 3700 USAF Hospital on 16 Oct 1953
Redesignated as: USAF Hospital, Lackland on 1 Jul 1958
Redesignated as: Wilford Hall USAF Hospital on 2 Mar 1963
Redesignated as: Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center on 1 Jul 1969
Redesignated as: 59 Medical Wing on 1 Jul 1993

Assignments

  • USAF Aerospace Medical Center, 1 Oct 1959
Attached to Aerospace Medical Division, 1 Nov 1961-14 Apr 1962

Components

  • 9 Observation (later, 9 Reconnaissance; 488 Fighter): 1 Mar 1943-1 May 1944
  • 103 Observation: 1 Sep 1941-18 Oct 1942
  • 104 Observation (later, 104 Reconnaissance; 489 Reconnaissance; 489 Fighter): 1 Sep 1941-18 Oct 1942; 1 Mar 1943-1 May 1944
  • 119 Observation (later, 119 Reconnaissance; 490 Fighter): 1 Mar 1943-1 May 1944
  • 126 Observation (later, 126 Reconnaissance; 34 Photographic Reconnaissance): 1 Sep 1941-18 Oct 1942; 1 Mar-11 Aug 1943. * 447 Fighter: 20 Nov 1943-1 May 1944.

Stations

Aircraft

  • BC-1A, 1941–1942
  • L-59, 1941–1942
  • O-46, 1941–1942
  • O-47, 1941–1942
  • O-49, 1941–1942
  • O-52, 1941–1942
  • P-39, 1943–1944
  • P-40, 1944.

Operations

The 59th Observation Group was established at Newark, New Jersey, in 1941. It moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey, later in the year. Following the US entry into World War II the Group engaged in antisubmarine patrols along the East coast of the United States from December 1941 – October 1943. Initially during 1941–42 the Group operated a wide range of aircraft, including the BC-1A, L-59, O-46, O-47, O-49 Vigilant, and O-52 Owl During 1943 and 1944 the group trained pilots using P-39 Airacobra aircraft and later, in 1944, the P-40 Warhawk as well. The unit was redesignated the 59th Reconnaissance Group on 2 April 1943, and again as the 59th Fighter Group on 11 Aug. 1943. The 59th was deactivated on 1 May 1944.[1] On 31 July 1985, the unit was redesignated the 59th Tactical Fighter Wing, but remained inactive. Finally, it was reactivated and consolidated with the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Hospital on 1 July 1993.

During the Korean War, the 3700th Medical Squadron developed a program to train basic trainees as medical corpsmen to ease shortage of medical personnel.

From 1983, Wilford Hall offered centralized outpatient care, a clinical investigation facility, the Air Force's largest dispensary system, and the only eye bank and organ transplant centers. The hospital accomplished important research work in neonatal medicine, surgical transplants, orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, immunology, and maxillofacial surgery. Clinical investigations research kept the wing at the forefront of development of high-frequency ventilation and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation; new techniques for the care of premature infants; improved cancer treatments; bone banking and transplantation; laser photocoagulation; and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). In December 1989, it provided medical support to casualties returning from operations in Panama. From 4 January to 21 March 1991 Wilford Hall deployed over 900 personnel to RAF Little Rissington, England, to establish a 1500-bed hospital in support of expected casualties from the Gulf War.

In 1993 the Medical Center was redesignated the 59th Medical Wing, taking the lineage of the never-active 59th Tactical Fighter Wing.

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links


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