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Operations in 1966

Table of Contents

OPERATIONS IN 1966

Little had changed from the beginning of 1966 to the date the last remnants of USFORDOMREP departed the island on 19 September 1966. The medical activities that had been in such a state of flux in the early weeks of the operation soon reached a constant level, and the medical service provided thereafter to United States troops and Dominican civilians was both efficient and effective. It remained so until the end.

Once the decision to pull out had been made, the medical units in DOMREP began a gradual four-phase withdrawal. Company C of the 307th Medical Battalion, 82d Airborne Division, was the first to leave on 10 August. The main body of the 42d Field Hospital left 6 days later. The two medicine evacuation helicopters on the island remained until 16 September, providing evacuation capability to the command during the withdrawal operation. At least one aircraft was available at the Air Force Base at San Isidro for emergency evacuation to Puerto Rico at all times. Finally, on 19 September, the last ships, carrying the 274th Medical Detachment (OA), departed for the United States.

Throughout 1966, emphasis was placed on preventive medicine activities. The bulk of this activity fell to the 42d Field Hospital. Water testing, insect and rodent control, restaurant inspection, and field sanitation team training were among its chief responsibilities, with other miscellaneous tasks, such as veneral disease control and garbage disposal, also receiving attention.

The most notable of these activities in terms of achievement was the civilian.restaurant inspection program, which was expanded in both scope and frequency. All restaurants frequented by U.S. military personnel were inspected each month and then ratings were published in unit daily bulletins. The number of restaurants inspected had doubled since 1 January 1966, and a noticeable improvement in sanitary conditions was soon apparent.


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Until March 1966, dental care was restricted to emergency cases because of a lack of adequate equipment. Upon the arrival of two portable, high-speed compression dental units, routine dental care was provided to the command at the 42d Field Hospital.

In addition to providing assistance to U.S. civilian and InterAmerican Peace Force military personnel, the Army Medical Service also took part in civic action during the year. Several civic action dispensaries were operated by the 7th Special Forces (TF) throughout the country, and medical assistance was provided in all emergency conditions as requested by the J-5 (civil affairs). Specially significant was the Army Medical Service's response to a typhoid epidemic in San Cristobal during which 500 children at a summer camp were inoculated after sufficient vaccine was provided by the Surgeon's Office.