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Foreword

Contents

Foreword

Health of military personnel is one of the first important matters to be considered in the buildup, development, and active operations of military forces.

Any history of the Medical Department of the United States Army in World War II must present the more important personal health considerations which influenced the sum-total and day-to-day life and experience of officers and men in the Army. Each contributed in its own way to the overall effectiveness of our troops.

While such matters as personal hygiene, immunization, food and nutrition, prevention of injury, and preventive psychiatry-to mention a few-were of broad interest and concern to many within the Army, their detailed program of development and management on a scale of size, scope, and ramifications never before attempted-or fully envisioned-was primarily the responsibility of the Medical Department. In carrying out these responsibilities it should always be remembered that while dealing with the cold realities of war, the Medical Department by expectation and necessity also dealt with the complexities revolving about the physical, mental, and moral constitution of man.

The objectives of military preventive medicine, namely the prevention or control of disease and injury among the members of the military forces, the maintenance and conservation of health, and the physical and mental fitness of the troops, provided the guiding keynote to the personal health program throughout the war.

Principles of personal health maintenance were established and practiced in the Army long before the onset of hostilities of World War II. These were continued on an expanded scale and others were developed as the situation required and as time and circumstances permitted. Valuable assistance and cooperation was extended to the Medical Department by many allied health agencies. In some instances, as might be expected, divergencies of opinion prevailed as to the proper courses of action. As in any comparable situation, there were some errors of omission or commission, despite every effort to avoid them. Many problems were unfolded and revealed for the first time, and, in not all cases were completely satisfactory solutions forthcoming. Many and varied forces and exigencies of war, both at home and overseas, aided as well as militated against the perfect answer to and implementation of the Army's personal health program. Further study and research, coordinated application of practical methods, and full indoctrination of all concerned within the Army are essential for the continued success of this program in the future.

This volume admirably discusses in proper perspective the major problems encountered and the measures taken by the Medical Department to safeguard the personal health of all Army personnel during the period of World War II. The results form a splendid record of which the nation can be proud, and a pattern which should be carefully studied by those who plan the health program of future military forces.

GEORGE E. ARMSTRONG
Major General, United States Army
The Surgeon General

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