General Malcolm C. Grow (November 19, 1887-October 20,
1960) was the first Surgeon General of the United States
Air Force from July 1, 1949 to November 30, 1949.
received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College
in 1909. In August 1915, Dr. Grow met Dr. Edward Egbert,
Chief Surgeon of the American Red Cross Hospital in Kiev,
in Washington, D.C. Dr. Egbert convinced Grow to travel
with him to St. Petersburg, Russia, to assist in the Russian
war effort. Dr. Grow was commissioned Lt. Colonel in the
Imperial Russian Medical Corps and served as regimental
surgeon in the First Division of the First Siberian Army
Corps in Galicia. Surgeon Grow twice distinguished himself
and received the Order of Saint Stanislus, 3rd class with
swords, and was awarded the Order of St. George, 4th class
for gallantry in action. Dr. Grow left Russia after the
February Revolution of 1917, and entered the U.S. Army
Medical Service later the same year.
chief flight surgeon of the Army Air Corps from 1934 to
1939, he (in conjunction with Major General Harry G. Armstrong)
founded the Aero Medical Laboratory at Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio.
July 1943, General Grow received the Legion of Merit for
developing body armor to protect combat crews. A study
of wounds incurred by members of combat crews showed that
nearly 70 percent were caused by missiles of relatively
low velocity. He led the way in developing a light body
armor and steel helmet that saved many lives and materially
improved combat crew morale.
May 1944, General Grow was awarded the Distinguished Service
Medal for developing a device to protect gunners from
windblast; electrically heated clothing, gloves, boots,
handwarmers and casualty bags for wounded; wind and fire
resistant face and neck protectors; and a special combat
ration for use on long bombing missions. Frostbite cases
decreased and flight efficiency increased. After a study
of psychiatric failures in combat, he helped institute
rest homes, a new special pass system, and special training
for medical officers in tactical units. As a result, every
casualty of this type was returned to duty.
efforts, especially in research, won for him the John
Jeffries Award in 1947, the Gorgas Award in 1950 and many
others, including many from other nations. Just prior
to his retirement, he received an oak leaf cluster to
his Distinguished Service Medal for his efforts in promoting
the study of aeromedicine, airborne medical equipment,
and organizational planning.
was appointed acting air surgeon for the Army Air Forces
in 1945 and Air Surgeon in 1946. He served as the first
Surgeon General of the United States Air Force from July
1, 1949 to November 30, 1949.
retired from the Air Force on December 1, 1949, and died
October 20, 1960.
The Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base
is named in his honor.