The Army Flight Surgeon Badge: 8 Cool Facts

Every Soldier in the Army has an important position. If the job is available, it is important in keeping the Army running smoothly. As some jobs have been done away with, there is one job within the Army we are quite sure will be around as long as there is an United States Army. That position is the Army Flight Surgeon.

You may see surgeon behind the name and create a picture in your mind of a Doctor performing a kidney transplant or open-heart surgery while in flight. The Army Flight Surgeon’s job doesn’t necessarily consist of something like that, but if need be, they could.

Army Flight Surgeons are the ones who guarantee that when anything or anyone is flown in a military aircraft, it, and they will be safe and sound. You may think it is the pilot offering that guarantee, but it is the Army Flight Surgeon who is making sure the pilot can offer that guarantee. The Army Flight Surgeon makes sure the pilot and all other flight staff are healthy and sound so they can fly safe.

In today’s post we are going to look at the Army Flight Surgeon Badge: 8 cool facts. While there are many who can qualify as Army medics, very few have what it takes to earn the Army Flight Surgeon Badge. Scroll down and discover these 8 cool facts:

1: When it was created.

The Army Flight Surgeon Badge was originally the Aviation Medical Officer Badge and was created during World War II for members of the Army Air Force. The badge as we know it now was approved on December 28th, 1956.

2: The only eligible people.

While there are many forms of medical personnel in the Army, the only people eligible to wear the Army Flight Surgeon Badge are licensed physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

3: Levels. There are 3 levels of the Army Flight Surgeon Badge. They consist of:

  • Basic: This is awarded when the service member completes all the requirements needed and training required per AR 600-105.

  • Senior: This is awarded when a basic Flight Surgeon has 2-5 years as an Army Flight Surgeon, and has logged 300-400 hours of flying time. There are other requirements that decide the amount each Soldier must have.

  • Master: The individual must have at least 10 years flying duty and 850 hours of logged flying time to attain this title.

4: Annual flight hours:

To wear this prestigious badge, a Soldier must meet a certain amount of annual flight hours. These flight hours do include a certain amount of night hours. They include:

Active Army

  • 10 hours of night flight

  • 48 hours of total flight

Army Reserves or Army National Guard

  • 4 hours of night flight

  • 24 hours of total flight

5: Training location:

Training to obtain the Army Flight Surgeon Badge takes place at the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine. This school is located at Fort Rucker, Alabama and is a satellite school of the Army Medical Department Center located at Fort Sam Houston. The current dean of this school is Colonel Mark McPherson (as of June 2015). The level of education covers anything a Flight Surgeon may encounter.

6: Flight Surgeons can make orders on higher ranks:

An individual who holds an Army Flight Surgeon Badge has the power to do something that many other Soldiers would never consider doing. He/she has the power to make an order on someone of higher rank. What I mean by this is: if a Major General is set to fly, and the Flight Surgeon who is a Colonel has studied the Major General’s medical makeup and has found a discrepancy, the Colonel can order the Major General not to fly. This power was given to Flight Surgeons to guarantee that all service members who are pilots or members of a flight team are safe and sound as far as their health. This protects not only the Soldier, but others that may be in that aircraft or on the flight-path.

7: They train pilots and other flight staff on medical procedures:

The person who holds the title of Army Flight Surgeon and wears the badge has a responsibility of training flight staff on medical procedures. It is the Army Flight Surgeon’s duty to make sure those on the aircraft can adjust and work together in case of any medical emergency.

8: Some of the duties and responsibilities of an Army Flight Surgeon:

The individual who has been awarded the Army Flight Surgeon Badge also inherits a plethora of responsibilities. They may include:

  • Providing health care services for 300+ flight status personnel and 300+ support personnel along with their dependents.

  • Managing health care for multiple battalions when medical personnel are in short supply.

  • Possibly in charge of other Flight Surgeons and other medical personnel.

  • Research and development in military medicine.

  • Providing education and training on medically related subjects.

  • Medical consultation.

  • Hospital command.

  • Much more.

Final Thoughts

Whoever wears the badge of the Army Flight Surgeon carries a lot of responsibility. This position is very important, and it takes a special person to be able to fill the Army Flight Surgeon’s shoes.

We would love to hear your comments or opinions. If you are, or have been an Army Flight Surgeon, we would especially like to hear your thoughts and experiences. If you have goals of becoming an Army Flight Surgeon, go for it. The Army always needs people willing to fill these positions.

Thank you and have a great day.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “The Army Flight Surgeon Badge: 8 Cool Facts”

  1. Dr. Robert Blok

    Actually as a US Army Flight Surgeon, when you ‘ground’ an aircrew member with a ‘down slip,’ you are technically only recommending the grounding to the unit commander. The unit commander can either accept or reject your recommendation. The final responsibility is the unit commander’s decision to make.

  2. I am currently the M day flight surgeon for the 1-171 AVN BDE in Marietta, Ga
    It’s very humbling. The aviation community is very small and developing trust of the aviators is first and foremost. Being a flight surgeon is something that requires that individual to be apart of team, treating every member of the aircrew like you would want someone to treat members of your family when they see there healthcare provider, be willing to crew and get there shit checked by an E-5 who’s sitting in the back right because you left out an small but very important detail when getting your base tasks done, teaching and dedicating your all to your flight medics, and most of all being available to your pilots,crew, and commander 24/7 because wearing those wings is about owning responsibility and being a provider is not just one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year.
    Once you do that the cool shit is just the beginning.

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