Retired Aug. 1, 1968. Died Dec. 4, 2004.
Raymond Taylor Jenkins was born in Kinston, N.C., in 1908. He graduated from Kinston High School 1925. He attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as a pre-medical student from 1928 to 1931. He graduated from Duke University Medical School, Durham, N.C., with his doctorate of medicine degree in 1935.
He interned in surgery at Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C. During 1936 to 1938 he was a member of the clinic staff and house staff of the North Carolina Sanitorium for Tuberculosis. During this period he actively pursued his clinical specialty in the study and treatment of tuberculosis.
He was commissioned in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army March 10, 1939. His commission was a direct appointment. His first assignment was as a ward officer in the Station Hospital at Fort Bragg, N.C. During this period of service, he attended the Medical Field Service School at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
In September 1940, he was transferred to the Aviation Medicine Division of the Army Corps and completed his primary course of study at the School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas. Upon completion of this course, he was returned to Pope Army Air Field, N.C. He was an assistant base surgeon and flight surgeon until March 1941, at which time he became the base surgeon and senior flight surgeon at Pope. During this period he was the flight surgeon in charge of the Aviation Cadet Examining Board. This board, during this period, processed the second heaviest load of any cadet examining board in the United States. He was assigned as flight surgeon to the 16th Observation Squadron and the 2d Balloon Squadron. He is the only flight surgeon on duty today with both motorized and free balloon flight experience.
In September 1941, he was transferred to Waco Army Air Field, Waco, Texas. As the base surgeon, he was responsible for the building, equipping, staffing and training of personnel that manned this 50-bed hospital. As a result of his indoctrination training program for new medical officers, he was given an additional assignment by the Training Command surgeon of organizing and operating an indoctrination program for other newly inducted physicians.
As a result of his success with the previous assignment, in September 1942, he was assigned as the base surgeon and hospital commander for the new 500-bed Army Air Forces Regional Hospital at Alliance Army Air Base, Neb. During the period of this assignment, he completed courses at the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics and at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
In April 1944, he received an assignment to the Far East Air Forces. By request of the Surgeon, FEAF, he was assigned as the deputy surgeon, 5th Air Force Headquarters. During this period he actively participated in the special preparation of the medical operations and plans for the invasion of Leyte, Philippine Islands.
In January 1945, he was assigned as deputy surgeon, 13th Air Force, and additional duty as surgeon, Far East Air Materiel Command, FEAF. During this period, he was personally charged with the operation and supervision of the aeromedical evacuation, intra-theater.
He returned to the Zone of the Interior in September 1945 and was assigned as the base surgeon, hospital commander and medical director of the Air Force Separation Center, Richmond Army Air Force Base, Richmond, Va. Major problems encountered here were separation physical examinations of several thousand Air Force personnel. The medical board evaluations of questionable physical defects was a problem of no small magnitude. The separation center's work was accomplished so efficiently that the major air command received a formal recognition of appreciation and commendation for its accomplishments. These communications were forwarded to the file of each director in the center.
In February 1946, he was transferred to Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C. He was assigned as the command surgeon of the IX Troop Carrier Command. Major problems met and successfully accomplished were the inactivation of several hospitals and disposition of medical materiel. This was accomplished during the period of critical shortages of all types of medical personnel. Reorganization in October 1947 changed his assignment to that of surgeon of the 3d Air Force at Donaldson Air Force Base. This assignment was further changed in March 1948 to staff surgeon, 9th Air Force, at the same base. Changes, of course, occurred in geographic bases under these commands.
In July 1948, a permanent change of station sent him to be base surgeon and commanding officer of the 4th Medical Group and base hospital at Langley Air Force Base, Va. During September 1949, he was given the additional duty at the base of staff surgeon, Headquarters 9th Air Force. During this period he was actively engaged with many of the medical reserve activities and organizations in the Air Force.
In early 1950, he was assigned again to the Far East Air Forces as staff surgeon, Far East Air Materiel Command, hospital commander, and commander of the 13th Medical Group, Tachikawa, Japan.
This hospital was a 50-bed operating organization at the time he assumed command. With the advent of the Korean War in late June 1950, and within approximately one month the hospital expanded to care for 500 patients - this without any increase in personnel or support personnel. Subsequent assistance during this period within a few months helped materially, but failed to furnish personnel in quantity and quality required. Irrespective of this, professional care and service was rendered to all patients with efficiency, dispatch, and devotion to duty by the assigned hospital personnel. For this action, this unit was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation, and Colonel Jenkins was awarded the Legion of Merit as its commander. Subsequently in 1950, the responsibility for the supervision, activation and operation of the aeromedical evacuation system was assigned as additional duty during this tour. In July 1952, as a result of his work as the staff surgeon and of supervising aeromedical evacuation, Colonel Jenkins was awarded an oak leaf cluster to his Legion of Merit.
In July 1953, he was returned to the Zone of the Interior as a student at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. This course was successfully completed in July 1953.
In July 1953, he was assigned as staff surgeon, Headquarters 18th Air Force, Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C. During the next two years, he was intimately involved with the activities of the 1st Aeromedical Group at the base. This organization had as its mission the origination and testing of doctrine and operations pertaining to the aeromedical evacuation system, techniques, and field medical care service for the Air Force tactical medical service. Tests were run under field conditions in the tropics, in the Zone of the Interior and the temperate areas, and in the Arctic at Thule, and in Alaska. During this period there was developed the first emergency medical disaster team in the Air Force; its code name, "Rita - Now." This organization had the materiel and personnel capability on a one-hour-call basis to fly anywhere in the United States where triage and emergency treatment could be given to several hundred casualties. During this period also, there was developed and tested the technique and capability of airlifting a 50-bed hospital. This test was actually completed whereby patients were discharged, the hospital dismantled, packed, moved by helicopter and C-119 airlift 1,000 miles, immediately unpacked, set up and patients admitted. This was accomplished in less than 18 hours.
In September 1957, he was reassigned to Headquarters 12th Air Force, Waco, Texas, as the staff surgeon. This particular Air Force was composed of fighter aircraft, all of the century series. During this period, many problems in aviation medicine were encountered and solved. A special standing operating procedure for casualty strike force medical support was established and accepted by the major air command. Additionally, during this period, the first standard document for disaster control operation in the Air Force tactical medical service was originated and accepted by the major air command.
In April 1958, he was transferred to assignment as the deputy director, Directorate of Plans and Hospitalization, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. In July 1959, he was changed to his present position of director, Directorate of Plans and Hospitalization, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
Throughout his entire career with the Air Force, he has continued an active and participating interest in his specialty of aviation medicine. This is attested by the fact that, as of this date, he has logged more than 3,750 hours of flying time in the pursuit of his duty as a flight surgeon. He has the aeronautical rating of chief flight surgeon, and was certified in aviation medicine by the American Board of Aviation Medicine, June 1955.