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Army Nurse Corps Gets Male Chief

May 23, 2000

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ The top nurse at the nation’s largest millitary basic training center was promoted Tuesday to head the Army Nurse Corps, making him the first man to hold the post.

``It was not in my wildest dreams,″ Brig. Gen. William T. Bester, a 26-year Army veteran, said Tuesday before a promotion ceremony at Fort Jackson. ``I personally don’t put the emphasis on the fact that I’m a male whose been selected.″

Bester, 49, has run Fort Jackson’s hospital since 1998, when he became its first commander who was not a doctor under new regulations that allow hospital commanders who are not physicians.

Next week, Bester will transfer to the Pentagon and take control of the Army’s 3,400 active-duty nurses. He also will be the Army’s assistant surgeon general for force projection, overseeing policy, management and health services delivery.

Women had always led the Army Nurse Corps since it became a permanent part of the Army Medical Department in 1901. Men were not even allowed to be commissioned into the corps until 1955.

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