U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
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HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY

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Preface

Contents

Preface

This important volume in the administrative history of the U.S. Army Medical Department in World War II has itself had a long, and somewhat checkered, history. The work was begun a decade ago under the aegis of an Advisory Editorial Board, whose members are listed on the flyleaf of this book. Key figures, both in stimulating and in organizing the study, were Col. Charles F. Shook, MC, who chaired the Board, Maj. Gen. Silas B. Hays, and Maj. Gen. Paul I. Robinson. These three, all retired Medical Corps officers with wide and distinguished experience in varied aspects of medical supply, comprised a dynamic subcommittee dedicated wholly to the task at hand despite in each instance a full-time and exacting second career. To spearhead the project, they selected Lt. Col. (later Col.) R. L. Parker, MSC, who gave to the project the better part of 5 years before he, too, retired from active service. With the cooperation, and sometimes the collaboration, of the working subcommittee, Colonel Parker prepared the detailed outline of a book. Then, with the sure hand born of intimate knowledge, he selected literally scores of individuals who, in one way or another, had participated in the medical supply operations of World War II, and assigned them topics connected with their own expertise upon which to write or comment. Before his retirement, therefore, Colonel Parker had not only assembled a manuscript from the many contributions of former medical supply personnel, but had made great progress in reshaping and revising the vast amount of material within it to a usable level.

Colonel Parker's retirement and the unfortunate death of General Hays left The Historical Unit with an incomplete manuscript, which had to be put aside because staff replacements were not then available. When it became possible to resume activities, Mr. William D. Shaver, formerly of the Historians Branch, was selected for the assignment. Working under the direction of the undersigned, and using as guidelines valuable suggestions made by the Office of the Chief of Military History, he reorganized the study, integrated the various individual contributions, and revised and rewrote as seemed indicated. The work as it progressed was reviewed by General Robinson and Colonel Shook, the two surviving members of the working group. Colonel Shook, regrettably, did not live to see the book in print, but read and commented upon the entire manuscript. In its present form, it carries the final approval of both men.

If any one individual could be singled out as author, it would have to be Mr. Shaver, but the contributions of so many others have been so important that it would be unfair to give preeminent credit to any one of them. The entire list of contributors and reviewers appears under Acknowledgments. Very special thanks are due, however, to Colonel Shook, General Hays, and General Robinson, as well as Colonel Parker. Others who labored long and diligently to make the book a success are Mrs. Claire M. Sorrell of the General Reference and Research Branch, Mrs. Martha R. Stephens of the Editorial Branch who did the editing, Mrs. Marjorie G. Shears the index, and on the maps Miss


Elizabeth P. Mason and Miss Jean A. Saffran, of the Special Projects Branch. Thanks are also due to Dr. Stetson Conn, Chief Historian, Office of the Chief of Military History; and to Col. John Boyd Coates, Jr., MC, former Director of The Historical Unit, USAMEDS, who set the whole project in motion.

CHARLES M. WILTSE.

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