With all this coronavirus stuff going on, the US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, has been on TV an awful lot. He wears what looks like a US Navy uniform, so I thought I’d read about his service. Turns out he’s not in the Navy at all, nor has he ever served in the military. And that’s normal.
The Surgeon General is part of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, which is one of eight uniformed services of the United States: U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Coast Guard, USPHS Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. According to Wikipedia:
Along with the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of two uniformed services that consist only of commissioned officers and has no enlisted or warrant officer ranks, although warrant officers have been authorized for use within the service. Officers of the commissioned corps are classified as noncombatants, unless directed to serve as part of the military by the President or detailed to a service branch of the military. Members of the commissioned corps wear the same uniforms as the United States Navy, or the United States Coast Guard (when assigned to the Coast Guard), with special PHS Commissioned Corps insignia, and hold naval ranks equivalent to officers of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. Commissioned corps officers typically receive their commissions through the commissioned corps’s direct commissioning program.
. . . .
The Surgeon General reports directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Health; the Assistant Secretary of Health may be appointed to the rank of admiral if he or she is also a serving uniformed officer of the commissioned corps.
Well, there you go. Interesting.