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Preface

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Preface

General Westmoreland's request that I prepare a monograph setting forth activities of the Medical Department in support of the U.S. Army in Vietnam, for the years 1965-1970, was most welcome since I had but recently returned from a second tour in Vietnam during which time I had held the positions of Surgeon, U.S. Army, Vietnam (USARV) and Surgeon, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (USMACV).

The purpose of this monograph is to provide a meaningful overview of significant medical problems encountered and decisions made, of achievements and mistakes, and of lessons learned in Vietnam. The hope is that this study will provide a source of information for future planning, pending the writing of the definitive history of the Army Medical Department in Vietnam.

Emphasis is placed on perspective rather than detail. In addition to describing the events that occurred, I have sought to explain why decisions were made and specific actions taken. Purely technical medical considerations are not within the scope of this monograph. An evaluation of the health of the command and the care provided to battle casualties is made within an operational context. The absence of more detail on the magnificent support provided by medical elements of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to U.S. Army medical operations is the result of the need for brevity rather than lack of appreciation.

In planning the outline of this monograph, I gave consideration to the duties, experiences, and actions which make up the total of Medical Department support of the Army. I decided to concentrate on the major subdivisions of the medical service rather than deal with all aspects superficially.

This study tells the story of the Army Medical Department in Vietnam. Hopefully, this experience will provide a basis for those who must evaluate our current doctrine and organization for those who will be responsible for planning the medical support of future operations.

It is with no little pride that one can say that the facts give concrete evidence of the magnificent job done by the men and women who comprise the Army Medical Department in Vietnam.

In conclusion, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the many contributors who made this monograph possible. This study was, as can well be imagined, no one-man job. I am grateful to the members of the various directorates and offices of the Office of The Surgeon General who provided me with material, and especially appreciative of the efforts of the


members of the Historical Unit, U.S. Army Medical Department, for their technical assistance in the preparation and editing of the manuscript.

Washington, D.C.                                                                         SURGEON NEEL, M.D.
15 August 1972                                                                            Major General, U.S. Army
                                                                                                     Deputy Surgeon General