Since the Air Force Nurse Corps emerged from the Army Nurse Corps in July 1949, Air Force nursing service personnel have excelled in providing dedicated care to their customers. At first these customers were our own Air Force members, families, and retirees. Today we often provide nursing care to other federal employees, Americans in the private sector, and patients in countries around the world. Nevertheless, over the last fifty-five years the mission of the Air Force Medical Service has basically remained the same, “to provide medical support necessary to maintain the highest degree of combat readiness and effectiveness of the USAF,” or in today’s words, “to maintain a fit, fighting force.” Air Force nurses have contributed to this mission in both wartime and peacetime, providing leadership, caring, and quality care. Air Force nurses think of their customer-focused mission as a combination of “Global Nursing” and “Precision Care.” As we enter the new millennium, this chronology reminds us of our past and recognizes the tremendous milestones and accomplishments of those who came before us—role models who provided the mentorship and guidance that helped shape today’s Air Force nurses. We are also inspired by our vision for the future—the Total Nursing Force, a seamless interaction of Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and civilian nurses to provide the best in nursing care. In the future our Total Nursing Force will face many challenges and great opportunities. I am certain we will add exciting new chapters to our story and continue our legacy of devoted service to our nation.
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