The Naval and Overseas Health Association (ASNOM)

Article published on 26 January 2024
last modification on 26 February 2024
ASNOM badge

The Naval and Overseas Health Association (ASNOM) is an association recognized as being of public utility by decree of December 19, 1933. It mainly brings together doctors and pharmacists who come from the Bordeaux Naval Health School, called more simply Naval Health and who subsequently worked in the Naval Health Service or Overseas within the Marine Troops. It is also open to doctors and pharmacists in training or from the Lyon-Bron Army Health School (formerly known as the Lyon Military Health School) and who have worked overseas. Finally, it can accommodate any officer serving or having served in the Army Health Service.

The ASNOM association is thus deeply anchored in the lived history and actions carried out by military doctors and pharmacists who served in the Navy and/or who worked overseas.

The ASNOM association sets itself the following goals:

  • To maintain the bonds of friendship and the kinship of thought created by the years of internship in the military schools of Bordeaux and Lyon and by attending the faculties of medicine and pharmacy of these cities but also by common memories and shared values born from the same assignments overseas, or at sea or in external operations.
  • To provide its members and their families, in all circumstances of their existence, with all possible professional, material and moral assistance.
  • To affirm and maintain among the younger generations of doctors or pharmacists, military or not, the memory of the health work accomplished at sea or on land by the Elders of the health services, in particular the actions carried out overseas. Sea, generally unknown, in territories that have today become independent nations.
  • To enrich the heritage of tradition and history of the Naval Health School, the former application schools of the Pharo Marine Troop Health Service in Marseille, the Naval Health Service in Toulon or the former schools annexes of Naval Medicine in Brest, Rochefort or Toulon which prepared for entry into the Naval Health School until 1962.


Created in Bordeaux in 1911, the "Friendly Association of Former Students of the Main School of the Naval and Colonial Health Service" immediately included branches in Paris, Rochefort, Dakar, Tien-Tsin, Beirut and Tananarive.

In 1932, the Association established its headquarters in Paris and then took the name "Naval and Colonial Health Association".
In 1960, with the change of name of the colonial troops and their replacement by the naval troops, the association adapted its title: "Naval health association and marine troops".
The statutes, modified on April 16, 1985, then in 2013, give it the current title: “Amicale Santé Navale et Outre-Mer” (ASNOM).

Pour mémoire, la composition du Bureau de l’Amicale élu le 16 avril 1939

The office of the Association elected in 1939 was thus made up of:

  • Petit de la Villeon Emmanuel, class of 1896, sailor, president, in the center
  • Le Gorgeu Victor, class of 1900, colo, vice-president, top left
  • Merleaux-Ponty, class of 1891, sailor, vice-president, top right
  • Jauneau Maurice, class of 1899, colo, secretary, middle left
  • Letrosne Paul, class of 1890, sailor, treasurer, middle right
  • Mollandin de Boissy Henri, class of 1917, colo, assistant secretary, bottom left
  • Muel, pharmacist, assistant treasurer, bottom right.


The association’s premises in Paris

As of September 15, 2023, ASNOM brings together 1,127 members including 957 active members and 170 associates.

Among the active members of ASNOM, 48 come from the School of Lyon.
Each member is attached to one of the 8 current sections of ASNOM whose geographical distribution is, outside of Paris-Ile de France, Atlantic and Mediterranean, thereby reproducing the marine and overseas vocation of the Naval Health School.

To this must be added 496 aspiring members, ESA students from the Fruchaud (2018), Charmot (2019), Rondy (2020) and Scrive (2021) promotions.

A directory of these numbers was published via the ASNOM Bulletin as an appendix to its number 145 in December 2022.

The evolution of membership (excluding aspiring members) over recent years is as follows :

Active members Associate members Total
2016 1016 189 1205
2017 1034 201 1235
2018 1043 206 1249
2019 1002 180 1182
2020 1083 186 1269
2021 1062 185 1247
2022 984 185 1169
2023 957 170 1127

The distribution of staff according to the date of entry of each member into their training school (promotion) is as follows :


The Naval Health Service was the first created. It became individualized from 1640 with Richelieu, but we had to wait for the Colbert Ordinance of 1681 and especially the Seignelay Ordinance of 1689 to see the real creation of a Naval Health Service. This service, well structured in the 18th century, ensures the care on land of soldiers, missionaries, traders and indigenous employees.

However, the flying surgeons and apothecaries who accompanied the first Europeans in their discovery of the world only had empirical data and their sense of observation to confront the health dangers present in tropical regions, particularly those linked to infectious agents. At the end of the 19th century, technical progress and the Pasteurian revolution allowed a more effective scientific approach to these health risks. At this same time, the colonial empires seemed stabilized and the establishment of medical structures became necessary. The Naval Health Service was no longer sufficient and, after a trial of a civilian health service, a "Health Service for Colonies and Protectorate Countries" was created in 1890.
SSTC (Colonial Troops Health Service) badge

SSTC (Colonial Troops Health Service) badge

This service is provided by a corps of military doctors and pharmacists trained at the Naval and Colonial Health School which opened its doors in Bordeaux the same year. It took the name “Colonial Troops Health Corps” in 1903. It then had the dual task of ensuring the health of the colonial troops and exercising all public health powers in the countries of the Empire. (Maghreb excepted).

The Pharo Institute of Tropical Medicine, created in 1905 in Marseille, is the common crucible for all those who came to draw there the practical training, the values and the spirit of the colonial doctor and pharmacist. For their part, the students who opted for the Navy and who represented a large contingent of the Naval Health School are doing their specialization internship at the Naval Health Service Application School in Toulon.

Thus, from 1890 to 1968, France entrusted the responsibility of public health in its colonial empire to the Health Service of the Colonial Troops, a military body with a predominantly civilian vocation, a rather remarkable fact, which will leave its mark on health systems for a long time. of these territories.

From the 1960s, within tropical countries that had become independent, doctors and pharmacists from the naval troops, but also military practitioners from the Navy, the Army or the Air Force, provided health support and training under French Technical Cooperation in the fields of medico-surgical, public health and major endemics, biology and research. This activity will gradually decrease while the Ministry of Cooperation disappears in 1995. Military doctors and pharmacists, in increasingly limited numbers, will continue until 2010 to practice at the request of certain African or Asian states, particularly within hospitals or institutes.

At the same time, military doctors and pharmacists engaged in external operations (OPEX) will contribute to humanitarian actions for the benefit of local populations. In 1993, the Military Bioforce was born, resulting from an agreement signed between the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Cooperation and the Mérieux Foundation. It is integrated into the Rapid Intervention Military Humanitarian Action Force (FAHMIR).

To find out more, see the chapter “history of the Health Service