Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Links updated 8/3/2015 Text & warnings updated 1/29/2016

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Herculean Efforts Led By The U.S. Public Health Service Led The Way And Kept Far More Bad Things Out Than We Seem Able To Do Today..

Books Safety & Privacy Policies (Attention EU Visitors , possible "cookie" encounter ahead) 

The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Officer Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States which include the five armed services consisting of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, the little known unarmed NOAA Corps (Charting, Hurricane hunting, oceanographic research corps of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration). ) and the USPHS.  At one time this corps of uniformed commissioned and warrant officers had the lead role in defending our borders against pests and pestilence. They tackled it with the necessary paramilitary rigor that the task actually requires. Their image the last time we were successful at controlling the borders against pests and pestilence was rather stern , the task sometimes required the exercise of authority in ways that might appear almost cruel to today's sensibilities. But they were effective. The USPHS just as it does today shared responsibility for such border control with elements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). However today the mission is shared with no less than ten other agencies in addition to the USPHS and the USDA and frankly the lead for mission accomplishment is not at all clear. It is quite easy to contrast the difference between the USPHS at the hey day of its role as border protector, though that was never its only mission, and its roles today primarily as a medical service provider. The difference in the culture of this uniformed service is also readily apparent by viewing two videos. The first video that we would like you to view is in black and white and was made in 1936: then we have a link to an updated video:

 If you have the patience to sit through most of the above video you will have a better appreciation of the institutional culture of the USPHS back in the day when they led the fight to stop pests and pestilence at our border, provide services to the U.S. Merchant Marine and the U.S. Coast Guard. The USPHS lost its mission to the U.S. Merchant Marine during a budget cut of the Reagan administration which put an end to the "Marine Hospitals" that you viewed in the video. Additional budget cuts and the practice of "Radio free pratique" led to the cutting of most of the ship sanitation warrant officers. "Radio Free Pratique" cut some of the work of granting "Partique" or permission to hold communication with the shore eliminating much of the daily work of the ship sanitation officers formerly done from the old quarantine stations. With better medical intelligence and radio communications it was felt that if a ship could certify that it had not visited certain ports with known epidemics in the course of its voyage and that all of its crew were in apparent good health, ships could proceed immediately to berth and begin cargo operations. Ship Sanitary Officers could visit later. Once the budget got tight the visits were all but eliminated except for when radio free pratique was not granted. The net result was that without the regular routine visits by the USPHS sanitary officers routine but irksome precautions like the deployment of rat guards were not observed. Those substandard ship operators who lied in their radio free pratique applications about fumigation certificates and other sanitary and health matters increasingly are not physically examined, and the turn around time for ships in port has dropped from about three days or longer back in 1936 to 24 hours or less today. The shortened turn around time means it would take a larger work force to carry out the needed physical inspections and there is a much smaller window of opportunity to discover problems. These issues have been around since the Reagan administration, worsening each year. But then enter the Obama administration and a host of changes are thrust upon the USPHS, none of which are focused on the still worsening border control issues. For a rundown on the new tasking by the Obama care law courtesy the Ohio Free Press click here:

 The missions and the military culture of the USPHS has changed. You can get the feel for the new USPHS by watching this video:'s%20Health%20Responders . If you have watched at least a few minutes of each of the videos presented, the problem and obvious solution is clear. This type of border control has become everyone's job and thus no one's job. The one agency that once brought military discipline and organization to the leadership of the effort has been given new priorities. Until this type of border control is once again seen as the relentless battle that the earlier USPHS saw it as, we are going to continue to swim in a sea of exotic intruders. Tomorrow we'll attempt to count the costs.  

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