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Colonial Robert J. Foster was an esteemed veterinarian and military officer. He was born on September 27, 1880, in Youngstown, Ohio. He moved with his family to Ithaca, New York, and graduated from Ithaca High School in 1899. He went on to attend the New York State Veterinary College at Cornell University and graduated in 1902 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation he taught veterinary science for three years. While teaching at the University of Missouri, he met Miss Alice Ewing Johnson, who was then a member of the freshman class. She was daughter of the late Colonel T.A. Johnson, president of Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. Miss Johnson received her A.B. degree in 1908 and married Robert Foster in June, 1909.

On August 30, 1905, Foster enlisted in the Army as a veterinarian for 12th U.S. Cavalry. When the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was established in 1916, he became one of the key officers in its development. He moved through the ranks and served in a variety of locales around the globe for nearly thirty years. His accomplishments include organizing veterinary training programs, assisting in the reorganization and refinement of the Veterinary Corps in its first 30 years, and establishing meat and dairy inspection plans for the Army as well as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

In 1944, Foster officially retired. Upon his retirement he and his wife settled in San Francisco and enjoyed traveling to such places as Alaska, Africa and Spain. In 1956, he received distinguished service awards from the California Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Col. Foster died in California in February 1970.

For more information on Col. Robert J. Foster, please see the "Biography" series in this collection.


1880 Born on September 27 in Youngstown, Ohio.
1899 Graduated from Ithaca High School
1902 DVM, Cornell University
1902-1903 Instructor of Veterinary Science, Clemson College.
1902-1903 Assistant State Veterinarian, South Carolina
May 1903 Not accepted into the Army, probably due to tuberculosis.
1903-1904 Instructor, Veterinary Department, University of Missouri
1904 Worked "as a cowboy" on the M-Bar Ranch in Embar, WY, while recovering from tuberculosis
1904 Worked briefly as a BAI inspector in Denver Colorado
1904-1905 Instructor of Veterinary Science, Kansas State Agricultural College
1905 Enlisted in the Army, appointed as Veterinarian, 12th U.S. Cavalry, on August 30
1906 Joined the American Veterinary Medical Association
1909 Married Alice Ewing Johnston in June.
1905-1916 Served with the 12th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Oglethrope, GA; Fort William McKinley, Philippines; Fort Robinson, NE; Fort Meade, SD; and along the Mexican border.
1916 Transferred to 9th U.S. Cavalry in January, stationed at Camp Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands.
1916 U.S. Army Veterinary Corps established.
1918 Organized and commanded Veterinary Training School, Medical Officers Training Camp, Fort Riley, KS.
1918-1920 Officer in charge of organization, training and instruction for Veterinary Corps, Surgeon General's Office, Washington, DC.
1920-1922 Chief Veterinarian of the Army of Occupation, Coblenz, Germany.
1922-1926 Station Veterinarian and officer in charge of veterinary instruction, Cavalry School, Fort Riley, KS
1926-1929 Department Veterinarian, Panama Canal Department, Cordzal, Canal Zone.
1929-1931 Corps Area Veterinarian, 7th Corps Area, Omaha, NE
1931 Achieved rank of Colonel
1931-1934 Station and Division Veterinarian, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, TX.
1934-1938 Chief of Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office
1936-1937 President of the American Veterinary Medical Association
1938-1944 Corps Area Veterinarian, 9th Corps Area, Presidio of San Francisco, CA.
1944 Retired from the Army
1970 Died in February in California