Our History

Colonel Richard F. Barquist (1923-1994) 

Colonel Barquist was born May 19, 1923, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Md., from 1977 – 1983. During his tenure, he regularly served as physician in the Fort Detrick Health Clinic during off-duty hours, serving the needs of the military community. Colonel Barquist directed that all research personnel in the Institute holding medical doctor credentials serve regular duty in the Health Clinic. He was responsible for expanding the service of the U.S. Army Health Clinic by making the full diagnostic and potential treatment resources of the institute available.

Colonel Barquist was senior medical advisor and practitioner in the Institute’s Ward 200, overseeing the human use program and regularly serving the health needs of the Medical Research Volunteer Subjects. He was a champion of soldiers’ health issues through his frequent testimony before The Congress and his expertise on the threat to service members exposed to the threat of biological weapons on the modern battlefield.

As a mentor for junior officers in the Medical Corps, Colonel Barquist always stressed that the essence of medical doctor’s mission was one-on-one patient care.

Colonel Barquist’s military career began when he was drafted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and underwent Basic Training at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he was later assigned to duty with the Signal Corps. He was selected for special accelerated Army training to become an engineer, but as the war drew to a close, he was selected to attend a pre-medical course at the University of California. After completing his degree, he was discharged, but matriculated under the GI Bill at the Medical School of the University of California, San Fransico, where he earned his M.D. in 1948 and was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He then served a rotating internship at San Francisco City and County Hospital from 1948-49 where he also served as assistant resident medicine, from 1949-50. Colonel Barquist was selected as a trainee in tuberculosis diagnosis at San Francisco City and County Hospital by the National Institutes of Health.

He was called to active duty in 1951 and assigned to Tokyo General Hospital with duty at Sasebo, Japan, as a clinical doctor.

In 1955 he completed his residency in internal medicine at Brooke General Hospital, serving as assistant and then senior resident from 1953-55. In 1956 Colonel Barquist attended the graduate course in Military Medicine and Allied Sciences at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C.

Colonel Barquist was then assigned to an engineer battalion at Fort Belvoir, Va., which was selected to support the Arctic Task Force, Greenland, serving as chief surgeon and acting battalion commander from 1957-58.

After completing several military schools, including the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he was assigned as commander of the ARMISH/MAAG Army Hospital, Teheran, Iran from 1960-62. Following that assignment he was graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in 1962. He was selected to be medical advisor for the U.S. Military Supply Mission to India in 1963 where he also operated in American health clinic.

He became commander of the 55th Medical Group, Fort Bragg, N.C. in 1965, and subsequently was assigned to duty in the Republic of Vietnam in 1966. During his tour he commanded both the 58th Medical Battalion and then the 68th Medical Group.

Following graduation from the Army War College (1967), Colonel Barquist was assigned as surgeon for the U.S. Army Alaska at Fort Richardson until 1970.

He then was selected to be director of medical research for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (MRMC), Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for obtaining funding for a Korean scientist, who had found a critical link in understanding the pathogenesis of Korean Hemmorhagic Fever. The work has resulted in major advances in understanding the Hantan virus and protecting soldiers from the disease and related diseases. Numerous research successes have resulted from the original $1,800 grant championed by Colonel Barquist. He subsequently became deputy commander for MRMC in 1972.

He was retired from active duty in 1983 but was selected for special assignment by the Office of the Surgeon General, serving until his death in October 1994. 


Previous Commanders 

COL Thierno A. Diallo                              2000-2002

LTC Walter Lawrence                              2002-2003

COL Kathleen Sheehan                           2003-2005

COL  Stephen C. Phillips                         2005-2007

COLl Jeffrey Leggit                                  2007-2010

COL Gregory A. Malvin                            2010-2012

COL Mitchell E. Brew                               2012-2014

LTC Jason R. Sepanic                             2014-2016

LTC Brian C. Spangler                            2016-2018

LTC Birgit B. Lister                                  2018-Present