History of the air national guard medical services

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The National Security Act of 1947 designated the United States Air Force (USAF) as a separate military department. The Air National Guard (ANG) evolved as a reserve component of the Air Force. As flying Units were formed, functional areas were slowly added to support them. In 1947 there were 86 Flight Surgeons authorized and 59 assigned. The Office of the Air Surgeon, United States Air Force, provided traveling physical examination teams to assist the ANG as the buildup surge commenced.

Physicians, dentists, veterinarians and medical service corps personnel were compositely designed Medical Officers. By 1954, there were 160 medical officers assigned. Twenty-Seven Medical Units were designated as Tactical Hospitals and equipped with a thirty-six-bed air transportable infirmary.

Significant growth was experienced in 1986 when the Medical Units within the Air National Guard were robusted from twenty-two to seventy-three personnel. This was due to outstanding leadership, then and today that possess a drive, a vision and a passionate belief that the Air National Guard Medical Services should be involved in war-time taskings for both the Aeromedical and the Ground Medical Units.


To Preserve the History of the Air National Guard Medical Services


To Become the Ultimate Authority and Clearing House for Information, and Memorabilia of the Air National Guard Medical Services and the Leaders that paved the way.

2003-2004 GOALS

  1. Complete the Renovations with the CRTC/CE

  2. Publicize the Museum

  3. Participate as an Active Component of the James D. Weaver Society

  4. Work closely with the Air National Guard Historical Division of the National Guard Bureau and the Air National Guard Museum to Ensure Accuracy of Exhibits

  5. Obtain Twenty-Five Artifacts from Air National Guard Medical Groups and Individuals for Exhibit

  6. Allow the First Visitors through the Museum in August 2004

  7. Obtain the Centerpiece Plaque and Required Infrastructure for the Museum

  8. Publish a definitive journal article on the evolution of the ANGMS and its significant leaders.





Located in the Survivable Collective Protective System (SCPS-M)

ANG Medical Readiness Training Site

Combat Readiness Training Center

Alpena, Michigan


Despite the significant contributions made by the men and women who pioneered in aviation medicine within the Air National Guard, there is currently no institution designated to honor the Air National Guard Medical Services (ANGMS) Heritage. The Medical Readiness Training Site in Alpena, Michigan was asked by MG Dennis Higdon in January 2000 to dedicate the inactivated SCPS-M into the Air National Guard Museum. The focus was to be contributions made from the inception in 1947 through the present with an emphasis on the Cold War Era. The institution was to honor Colonel (Dr) James D. Weaver, the Father of the ANGMS.


Air Force Instruction 84-103 and Air National Guard Supplement 84-103, 12 October 2000, 3.2.6 states that Field Museums are discouraged in the ANG because of the difficulties of establishing, funding, and personnel manning required. This includes the need for one full-time curator. The SCPS-M building is a Cold War Asset that must be maintained and cannot be destroyed or altered. It has not, however, been officially designated as a historical landmark. Therefore, while the unofficial term is “museum” the official title and status of the project is the “SCPS-M Repository”. If the Repository fails to exist for any reason all items will be transferred to the National Guard Museum in Washington, DC.


Colonel (Retired) James D. Weaver, a respected physician and former Congressman from Pennsylvania, served as the first Air Surgeon for the National Guard from 1969-1983. Dr. Weaver’s accomplishments of his fourteen-year tenure are still visible in the force structure of the Air National Guard Medical Services (ANGMS). He ensured that the ANGMS was written into Wartime Operation Plans with the Active Duty Component under the emerging “Total Force” Initiatives and literally doubled the size of the ANGMS along with revitalizing the Air Evacuation (AE) mission, which was being phased out at the time he took office. Dr. Weaver also worked diligently to reorganize the Office of the Air Surgeon, elevating it to the status of a major command surgeon’s office. Dr. Weaver also developed the Early Commissioning Program for physicians, the State Air Surgeon Program and the ANG Assistants Program, which allowed the first medical personnel to earn the rank of General Officer. An award is given in his honor each year at the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Meeting to an outstanding Senior Health Technician. Colonel Weaver was a member of the Active Duty Army, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. Before joining the military, Dr. Weaver contemplated becoming a minister of the Gospel and earned a scholarship to Syracuse University in music. This diverse background makes a colorful person. Since the beginning of the Museum concept, Dr. Weaver has been a staunch supporter and contributor.


Major General Dan Mills

Colonel James D. Weaver

Colonel Phillip Steeves

Lt Col Rosemary Charboneau

Lt Col Hildegarde Grysh

Photographs and Documents Signed by Dr. Weaver during his tenure as the Air Surgeon

Photographs and memorabilia from MG Robert Mills, Tennessee ANG

Photographs and Documents of Lt Col Charboneau, the first nurse in the Michigan Air National Guard and second nurse in the Air National Guard of the United States

Photographs, Documents and a Class A Dress Uniform of Hildegarde Grysh, second nurse in the Michigan Air National Guard

Historical items from the Five ANG Medical Units deactivated in 1995

A large number of equipment items and supplies used during the Cold War Era for chemical defense and training.


Major John R. Kirk,

Director Air National Guard Medical Readiness Training Site in Alpena, Michigan

5448 A Street*Alpena, MI 49707

(989) 354-6305 DSN 741-3305

E-Mail John.Kirk@MICRTC.ANG.AF.Mil

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