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Chapter VII

Contents

CHAPTER VII

Enlisted Technicians1

Medical activities at all echelons required the services of skilled technicians. To keep pace with expansion, the flow of trainees was accelerated from a bare trickle in 1939 to nearly 6,000 graduates a month at its peak in 1943. By the end of the war, more than 120,000 men and women had been trained for specialized positions in Army medical units.2

PREWAR EXPANSION

The blueprint for accelerating the training of enlisted technicians was provided by The Surgeon General's Protective Mobilization Plan of 1939.3 During the first 30 days of mobilization, schools for enlisted technicians were to be established at the Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., and at four general hospitals: William Beaumont, El Paso, Tex., Fitzsimons, Denver, Colo., Letterman, San Francisco, Calif., and Army and Navy, Hot Springs, Ark. Each was to be prepared to initiate large-scale training in six enlisted specialties on 10 days' notice. In addition to the laboratory, X-ray, dental, and pharmacy technicians courses that were part of the peacetime program, training was to be expanded to include courses for medical and surgical technicians who had previously been trained on-the-job. All courses were to be of 3 months' duration, and new classes were to enroll monthly. The combined enrollment of all schools was to exceed 1,000 during the first month, and in subsequent months, enrollment was to expand to meet the requirements of troop units.

When The Surgeon General's Protective Mobilization Plan was published in December 1939, installations charged with responsibility for training technicians were directed to prepare their own mobilization plans. Training programs were not included in the plan, and each school was required to prepare a tentative course of instruction. Program guidance was provided by Mobilization Training Program

    1Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume IV: A Report on the Schooling of Enlisted Personnel, 1 July 1939-30 June 1944. [Official record.] (2) Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume VI: A Report of the Training of ASF-Type Medical Department Units, 1 July 1941-30 June 1945. [Official record.] (3) Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume VII: The History of the Training of Medical Department Female Personnel, 1 July 1939-31 December 1944. [Official record.] (4) Stapleton, James B., and Chapele, Francis O.: Enlisted Technicians. [Official record.]
    2(1) Johnson, John B.: The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Training Program, 1 July 1944-1 July 1945. A Supplement to Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume IV. A Report on the Schooling of Enlisted Personnel, 1 July 1939-30 June 1944. [Official record.] (2) Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume IX. Medical Department Training Activities, 1 July 1945-2 September 1945. A Supplement to Historical Monographs and Supplements Covering the Period 1 July 1939-30 June 1945, table 3. [Official record.]
    3The Surgeon General's Protective Mobilization Plan, 1939.


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TABLE 11.-Capacity of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1 July 1941

Installation

Monthly quotas of enlisted students

Peakload1

Laboratory

Dental

Medical

Pharmacy

Surgical

Veterinary

X-ray

Sanitary

Total

Medical Field Service School

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

100

100

100

Army Medical Center

25

25

55

25

55

30

35

----

250

625

Army and Navy General Hospital

10

5

50

10

15

----

10

----

100

250

William Beaumont General Hospital

15

25

100

20

100

25

15

----

300

750

Station Hospital, Fort Sam Houston

15

25

125

20

100

----

15

----

300

750

Fitzsimons General Hospital

15

25

125

20

100

----

15

----

300

750

Letterman General Hospital

6

10

50

8

40

----

6

----

120

300

    Total

86

115

505

103

410

55

96

100

1,470

 

    1Total capacity during a single, 3-month period. Not necessarily the sum of three individual classes because of limits created by housing and facilities.

    Source: Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941.

No. 8-1, dated 9 September 1940, when the War Department published outlines specifying the scope of instruction and text references for each course.

Plans for the establishment of enlisted technicians schools were put into effect late in 1940, when it became apparent that existing schools could not fill the requirements of a partially mobilized Army. During the fall and winter of 1940, contracts were let for construction of the five schools specified in The Surgeon General's Protective Mobilization Plan, and an additional school at the Station Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Tex. As provided by the plan, a course for sanitary technicians was scheduled at the Medical Field Service School. Construction of the six new Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools began in the fall of 1941, and by 1 April, all were in operation.4 The capacity of these schools in mid 1941 is summarized in table 11.

WARTIME EXPANSION

The schools established in 1941 were built during the first of three phases of school expansion. The second began immediately after American entry into the war, when it became evident that "the June 1941 level of training facilities *  *  * would be grossly inadequate."5 Construction began on schools at the following general hospitals: Billings, Indianapolis, Ind.; O'Reilly, Springfield, Mo.; Lawson, Atlanta, Ga.; and Fitzsimons, and by 1 July 1942, they had enrolled their first class of trainees. The four new Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were identical in size and capacity, each capable of training a peakload of 1,000 students. At Fitzsimons General Hospital, the new school was combined with one already in operation, bringing capacity to 1,847. By October 1942, the monthly

    4Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941.
    5Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1942.


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TABLE 12.-Capacity of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1 July 1942

Installation

Entering quotas first of each month

Peakload of students1

Laboratory

Dental

Medical

Pharmacy

Surgical

Veterinary

X-ray

Total

Army Medical Center

30

25

55

30

55

25

40

260

670

Army and Navy General Hospital

15

12

40

20

20

----

12

119

297

Fitzsimons General Hospital

67

75

295

22

257

----

67

783

1,847

Letterman General Hospital

6

7

65

7

50

----

5

140

300

William Beaumont General Hospital

20

20

125

20

125

25

15

350

800

Brooke General Hospital

20

20

145

20

125

----

25

355

770

Billings General Hospital

50

50

125

----

125

----

50

400

1,000

O'Reilly General Hospital

50

50

125

----

125

----

50

400

1,000

Lawson General Hospital

50

50

125

----

125

----

50

400

1,000

    Total

308

309

1,100

119

1,007

50

314

3,207

 

    1Total capacity during a single, 3-month period. Because of limits created by housing and facilities, it is not necessarily the sum of three individual classes.

    Source: Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1942.

output of technical schools had more than doubled. Training capacities resulting from the second expansion are summarized in table 12.

Despite their increased capacity, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were unable to meet the demand that developed late in 1942.6 In October 1942, Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Forces, demanded control of the technical training of all personnel assigned to the Air Forces except medical specialists, and requested that the Medical Department train at least 2,000 specialists a month for the AAF (Army Air Forces).7 Shortly thereafter, the Medical Department was notified that it would be required to train more than 34,000 technicians during 1943.8

Training facilities for the third phase of expansion were provided by scheduling instruction in two 8-hour shifts at five general hospitals: Billings, Fitzsimons, Lawson, O'Reilly, and William Beaumont. Students were housed in training areas vacated by theater-of-operations hospitals that had been shipped overseas. These expedients swelled the capacity of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools by nearly 2,500 trainees a month (tables 13 and 14).

In the months between December 1942 and September 1943, technical training reached its wartime peak; Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were filled to capacity, and courses at other installations expanded proportionally.9 In December 1942, the Roentgenology Section of the Army Medical Center became

    6Memorandum, Brig. Gen. C. R. Huebner, Director of Training, Services of Supply, for The Surgeon General, 2 Nov. 1942, subject: Technical Training of Enlisted Personnel, Arms and Services With the Army Air Forces.
    7Memorandum, Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Forces, for the Chief of Staff, 3 Oct. 1942, subject: Assumption of Responsibility for Training ASWAAF Personnel by the AAF.
    8(1) See footnote 6. (2) Memorandum, The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, for the Commanding General, Services of Supply, 4 Nov. 1942, subject: Training of Medical Department Technicians for Duty With the Army Air Forces.
    9Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1944.


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TABLE 13.-Capacity of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1 July 1943

Installation

Monthly entering quotas

Total

Veterinary (SSN 250)

X-ray (SSN 264)

Medical (SSN 409)

Dental (SSN 855)

Laboratory (SSN 858)

Pharmacy (SSN 859)

Surgical (SSN 861)

Sanitary (SSN 196)

Meat and dairy inspector (SSN 120)

Equipment maintenance technician (No SSN assigned)

Orthopedic (SSN 366)

Enlisted technicians schools:

                       

Army and Navy General Hospital

----

10

62

10

10

----

27

----

----

----

----

119

Army Medical Center

25

----

60

25

25

----

60

----

----

----

----

195

William Beaumont General Hospital

25

15

245

40

20

----

375

----

----

----

----

720

Billings General Hospital

----

65

160

100

100

----

310

----

----

----

735

Brooke General Hospital

----

15

162

20

20

----

143

----

----

----

----

360

Fitzsimons General Hospital

----

137

351

185

81

20

436

----

----

----

----

1,210

Lawson General Hospital

----

60

232

106

100

----

382

----

----

----

----

880

Letterman General Hospital

----

7

68

12

7

----

63

----

----

----

----

157

O'Reilly General Hospital

----

100

122

100

100

----

377

----

----

----

----

799

Army School of Roentgenology (enlisted)

----

85

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

85

St. Louis Medical Depot

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

1100

----

1100

Medical Replacement Training Centers (Camps Barkeley, Grant, Pickett, and Robinson)

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

320

100

----

----

420

Named general hospitals

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

----

114

114

    Total

50

494

1,462

598

463

20

2,173

320

100

100

14

5,794

    1Monthly average.

    Source: Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, 1943.


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TABLE 14.-Annual capacity, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1942 and 1943

Course

Annual capacity, 30 June 19421

Annual capacity, 30 June 1943

Veterinary technician (SSN 250)

600

600

X-ray technician (SSN 264)

1,368

5,928

Medical technician (SSN 409)

7,200

17,544

Dental technician (SSN 855)

1,308

7,176

Medical laboratory technician (SSN 858)

1,296

5,556

Pharmacy technician (SSN 859)

1,428

240

Surgical technician (SSN 861)

6,084

26,076

Sanitary technician (SSN 196)

1,200

3,840

Meat and dairy inspector (SSN 120)

-----

1,200

Equipment maintenance technician (No SSN assigned)

156

1,200

Orthopedic mechanic (SSN 366)

48

168

    Total

20,688

69,528

    1Does not include the capacity of schools opened on 1 July 1942.

    Source: Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of the Surgeon General, fiscal year 1943.

the Army School of Roentgenology and was transferred to the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn., where it harnessed the classrooms and laboratories of the university for training officers and enlisted students. In addition, the training of X-ray technicians at enlisted technicians schools continued unabated. Early in 1943, the number of general hospitals conducting the 3-month course for orthopedic mechanics was increased from three to 12, and the capacity of the program was expanded from 13 to 41 trainees per cycle.10 Finally, in June 1943, training activities at the St. Louis Medical Supply Depot, St. Louis, Mo., were organized into the Medical Supply Services School, and the capacity of the school for training enlisted technicians was expanded from 50 to 300.11

Enrollment at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools passed its wartime peak in the summer of 1943, when schools were capable of enrolling almost 6,000 new students each month. By rnid-1943, the rate of unit activations was declining, and demand for enlisted technicians temporarily abated. On 19 July 1943, the Director of Training, ASF (Army Service Forces), instructed the Medical Department to sharply curtail enrollments until the end of the year. Quotas were reduced by 50 percent for the Army Air Forces, 25 percent for the AGF (Army Ground Forces), and approximately 33 percent for all other components and commands. The total number of trainees enrolled from components other than the Army Air and the Army Ground Forces between 1 August and 31 December 1943 was not to exceed 9,343.12

By the time this directive was issued, the Air Forces had withdrawn its trainees

    10Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1943.
    11History of the St. Louis Medical Depot, 7 Dec. 1942 through 7 Dec. 1943.
    12Memorandum, Commanding General, Army Service Forces, for The Surgeon General, 19 July 1943, subject Specialists Schools. Inclosures thereto.


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from the program. In November 1942, quotas demanded by the Army Air Forces threatened to consume all but a small fraction of the capacity of enlisted technicians schools. The Medical Department harnessed every available resource to meet these demands, and by May 1943, it began to appear that AAF medical activities had reached their capacity to absorb technicians. On 24 May 1943, the Medical Department notified the Air Surgeon that the Surgeon General's Office was being flooded by letters from disgruntled technicians in the Army Air Forces, and informed him that:13

This office is interested in the assignment of graduates of our Enlisted Technicians Schools because of the highly adverse effect on the morale of Air Force trainees in the schools of letters from recent graduates telling them not to take their work too seriously, that once they are assigned to an Air Force station they will be broken to a private and never engage in the specialty for which they were trained anyway.

On 22 June 1943, the Air Forces notified Army Service Forces that it no longer required quotas at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools; any further training would be assumed by the Army Air Forces.14 Commanders of AAF medical activities were informed that quotas at ASF schools were no longer available, and they furnished specifications for on-the-job training programs. The capacity of these programs was limited, however, and the results often disappointing.

Fortunately for AAF medical units, the Air Surgeon's decision to withdraw from the MDETS (Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School) program did not produce a serious shortage of technicians in the Air Forces. Indeed, the Air Forces remained so heavily overstocked with technicians that, in September 1944, the Air Surgeon agreed to release approximately 1,100 enlisted technicians to Army Service Forces in exchange for an equal number of limited-service personnel with AGCT (Army General Classification Test) scores of 100 or better.15 In October 1944, AAF medical activities were notified that it was again possible to send trainees to schools under the control of Army Service Forces.16

In the autumn of 1943, schools were able to abandon the double-shift plan and return to normal scheduling. Training continued at a reduced pace until April 1944, when an increasing need for loss replacements and a spate of new unit activations under the preactivation program renewed the demand for trained technicians.17 For a short period, enrollment at the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians

    13Memorandum, Col. F. B. Wakeman, MC, Director, Training Division, for the Commanding General, Army Air Forces (attention: The Air Surgeon), 24 May 1943, subject: Misassignment of Graduates of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools.
    142d Memorandum Indorsement, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Harper, Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Training Division, to Commanding General, Army Service Forces, Military Training Division, 22 June 1943, to Memorandum, Col. F. B. Wakeman, MC, Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, for Director of Military Training, Army Service Forces, 4 June 1943, subject: Technical Training for Enlisted Personnel, Arms and Services With the Army Air Forces.
    15(1) Memorandum, Col. Floyd L. Wergeland, MC, Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, for Director, Military Personnel, Army Service Forces, 6 Sept. 1944, subject: Medical Department Specialists for Numbered ASF Medical Units. (2) Letter, The Adjutant General to the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, 10 Sept. 1944, subject: Transfer of Medical Department Specialists to the Army Service Forces.
    16Letter, Col. O. K. Niess, MC, Director of Administration, Office of the Air Surgeon, to Commanding General, Personnel Distribution Command, Atlantic City, N.J., 14 Oct. 1944, subject: Training of Enlisted Personnel in Army Service Forces Medical Department Schools.
    17Army Service Forces Circular No. 104, 15 Apr. 1944.


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Schools was restored almost to its former levels. After June 1944, however, enrollment continually declined.

After the invasion of Europe, the demand for general servicemen in the combat arms became so intense that few were available for technical training. In their place, the Medical Department accepted an increasing number of women, and by April 1945, more women than men were graduating from enlisted technicians schools.18

As the war neared an end, enrollments dwindled, and it became necessary to close many schools altogether. In October 1944, the course for X-ray technicians at the Army School of Roentgenology was discontinued. The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Letterman General Hospital closed on 8 December 1944, followed by those at Billings and O'Reilly General Hospitals in March 1945. The schools at Army and Navy General Hospital and the Army Medical Center were discontinued a few weeks later. The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Lawson General Hospital officially closed on 15 July 1945. By the end of the war, only the schools at Fitzsimons, William Beaumont, Brooke, and Wakeman (located at Columbus, Ind.) General Hospitals remained in operation. The numbers of enlisted technicians who graduated from Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools for the period June 1939-September 1945 are as follows:19

Medical specialty

Number1

Medical

35,736

Surgical

43,587

Advanced medical and surgical

2,775

Dental

10,463

Laboratory

8,859

X-ray

8,537

Pharmacy

2,518

Veterinary

1,624

    Total

114,099

    1Totals include both men and women.

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ENLISTED TECHNICIANS SCHOOLS

The organization and administration of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools followed patterns established for Special Service Schools during the interwar years.20 Variations in size resulted in a varying number of officers being assigned to administrative duties, and position titles were adjusted to reflect the degree of specialization. Variations in size and title, however, serve only to mask the basic similarity of administrative organization.

    18See footnote 2(l), p. 213.
    19(1) See footnotes 1(1) and 2(2), p. 213. (2) Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, for fiscal year 1945.
    20(1) Army Regulations No. 350-105, 1 Oct. 1938. (2) Army Regulations No. 350-110, 6 Oct. 1936. (3) Army Regulations No. 350-1000, 28 July 1933. (4) Army Regulations No. 350-1030, 28 June 1933.


220

CHART 5.-Typical organization of a Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, 1944

Source: Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Billings General Hospital, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., for fiscal year 1944.

Each school was under the direction of a commandant, who in every instance was the commanding officer of the installation to which the school was attached. The title is misleading for, with the exception of establishing post policies affecting the school, the post or hospital commander rarely took an active part in school administration. Responsibility for the operation of the school was vested in the assistant commandant and, under his jurisdiction, in the executive officer, the director of training, the battalion commander, and other administrative officers. The most important division of responsibility within the staff was between the director of training and the battalion commander or director of military training. The director of training was responsible for academic phases of instruction. He supervised the preparation of subject material, texts, training aids, and schedules. Under his guidance, the directors of academic divisions prepared programs and supervised training in their respective subjects. Typically, an academic division was created for each technical program, so that the training division was divided into X-ray, dental, laboratory, medical, surgical, and pharmacy sections. A second major administrative division, under the battalion commander or the director of military training, controlled students outside the classroom. Through student companies, this division was responsible for inspections, guidance, physical training, and discipline.


221

Officers responsible for other administrative functions, such as the mess officer, the housing officer, and the supply officer, were controlled by either the executive officer or the adjutant (chart 5).

The physical facilities housing Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were similar to their administrative organization. Schools in buildings of prewar vintage, such as the Professional Service Schools at the Army Medical Center and the Army School of Roentgenology, varied widely, but those housed in new construction were much alike. Schools constructed in 1942 at Billings, O'Reilly, Fitzsimons, and Lawson General Hospitals were practically identical. Each was constructed according to a single master plan, consisting of from 11 to 16, 63-man barracks (63-M), five 63-man barracks modified as classroom buildings, one 1,000 man mess, one large recreation building (RB-1), six small recreation buildings (RB-4), one officers' quarters and mess (QM-40), a storehouse (SH-7), and an infirmary (I-2). Buildings were usually heated by individual hot-air, forced-circulation furnaces, although a few had steam heat or stoves. Academic buildings were divided into classrooms according to plans approved by The Surgeon General, and schools were permitted to make modifications to meet local requirements.

In most respects, school facilities proved adequate. The only complaint occurring repeatedly in annual reports centered on problems of heating and ventilation. Schools in the South were almost unbearably hot during the summer, and those in the North faced dual problems of winter cold and summer heat. The Medical De-

TABLE 15.-Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools operated during World War II

Installation

Date opened

Date closed

Army Medical Center

1 Apr. 1941

31 Mar. 1945

Army and Navy General Hospital

1 Apr. 1941

11 Aug. 1944

William Beaumont General Hospital

1 Apr. 1941

31 Dec. 1945

Fort Sam Houston (Brooke)

1 Apr. 1941

Still in operation on 31 Dec. 1945

Fitzsimons General Hospital

1 Apr. 1941

Still in operation on 31 Dec. 1945

Letterman General Hospital

1 Apr. 1941

8 Dec. 1944

Army School of Roentgenology, Memphis, Tenn

4 Jan. 1943

15 Oct. 1944

Medical Supply Service School, St. Louis Medical Depot1

16 Feb. 1942

5 Jan. 1946

Billings General Hospital

6 July 1942

17 Mar. 1945

Lawson General Hospital

1 July 1942

15 July 1945

O'Reilly General Hospital

6 July 1942

17 Mar. 1945

Fitzsimons General Hospital

1 July 1942

Still in operation on 31 Dec. 1945

Station Hospital, Fort Huachuca

18 Nov. 1943

23 Sept. 1944

School of Reconditioning Instructors, Camp Grant and Fort Lewis

5 June 1944

29 Sept. 1945

Wakeman General Hospital

11 Aug. 1944

Still in operation on 31 Dec. 1945

Optical Course School, St. Louis Medical Depot.

13 Sept. 1943

23 Sept. 1944

    1Designated as a school on 3 June 1943.


222

partment Enlisted Technicians School at Lawson General Hospital, for example, reported that:21

An unsuccessful attempt was made prior to construction of the school to have some type of central heating or individual gas heating. Each building was equipped with individual hot air coal furnaces, and the buildings have not been satisfactorily or efficiently heated during the winter months. It is felt that this has interfered with the proper training of the students in classrooms and laboratories. All classroom buildings are poorly ventilated and should be equipped with ventilating fans such as have been recently obtained for the dental and laboratory buildings.

Schools frequently complained of poorly lighted classrooms and of the inconvenience of conducting classes in converted, temporary barracks.

Between 1940 and the end of the war, formal training of Medical Department enlisted technicians was conducted at 16 schools or installations (table 15).

PROGRAM GUIDES

All but one of the enlisted technicians schools activated in 1941 were under the direct control of The Surgeon General. Although not designated as Special Service Schools, they bore the same administrative relationship to The Surgeon General by virtue of being established at named general hospitals exempt from corps area control.22 The schools opened on 1 July 1942, at Billings, O'Reilly, and Lawson General Hospitals, were similarly under the control of The Surgeon General. The sole exception was the school activated at the Station Hospital, Fort Sam Houston. Not being located at an exempted station, the school fell under the jurisdiction of the VIII Corps Area, and all communications between The Surgeon General and the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Fort Sam Houston were channeled through the VIII Corps.

The reorganization of Army Service Forces in August 1942 altered the administrative relationship between The Surgeon General and the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. Service Commands replaced the older Corps Areas, and were placed under the control of Army Service Forces. When named general hospitals lost their exempted status and were placed under Service Command control, the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools also fell under their jurisdiction. The only exceptions were schools at the Army Medical Center and the St. Louis Medical Depot-installations which retained their exempted status.23

The reorganization of August 1942 did not materially affect the influence of The Surgeon General over training programs and doctrine. These functions, as well as assignment and relief of instructors, were assumed by the Commanding General, ASF, and in turn delegated to the chiefs of the technical services. Although removed from direct command, The Surgeon General remained in control of doctrine and programs at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools throughout World War II.

    21Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Ga., fiscal year 1943.
    22Army Regulations No. 170-10, 10 Oct. 1939.
    23Army Regulations No. 170-10, 10 Aug. 1942.


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The channels through which control was exercised were altered several times during the war. Before mobilization, draft outlines for technical courses were developed by the Professional Service Schools at the Army Medical Center and submitted to the Office of The Surgeon General for review. After being approved, they were forwarded to The Adjutant General for War Department review. Responsibility for drafting course outlines shifted, however, when the Medical Department began to gear its training program for mobilization. In August 1940, the Office of The Surgeon General completed the draft of a general program guide which was approved and published by the War Department on 9 September 1940 as Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1. A section of this publication established the training qualifications for Medical Department technicians, and outlined the major subjects to be included in technical courses. In November 1940, the Office of The Surgeon General issued a circular letter which outlined courses in greater detail. Together, these programs governed training at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools until August 1943.24

Since neither publication provided guidance beyond listing subjects required in each course and allotting time to major blocks of material, schools were responsible for developing their own schedules of instruction. As a result, courses devoted to a specific subject varied significantly from school to school. In 1942, for example, the number of hours scheduled for hematology in the Laboratory Technicians Course varied from as few as 16 to as many as 80. The time devoted to anatomy in the X-ray Technicians Course varied from 15 hours to 60, while in the Pharmacy Technicians Course, 68 hours were scheduled in prescriptions at one school, and 180 hours at another.

In April 1943, the Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, began a study of course content at the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools that revealed wide variations in emphasis within courses. That summer, the Training Division developed a program guide designed to insure standardization.25 The guide was approved by the next highest echelon, and published on 29 August 1943, as an ASF (Army Service Forces) memorandum.26 This program guide controlled training for male enlisted technicians through the remainder of the war. The program guide for female technicians was developed at the Army and Navy General Hospital.27 While these guides reduced the amount of variation between courses, neither eliminated it entirely.

In developing courses, schools reduced lectures and emphasized "learning by doing." Following an introductory lecture, almost every school devoted the bulk of classroom time to on-the-job training. The school at the Army and Navy General Hospital reported in mid-1943 that "some months ago we requested all instructors to limit their straight lectures to twenty-five minutes, devoting the remainder of

    24(1) Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1, 9 Sept. 1940. (2) Circular Letter No. 79, Office of The Surgeon General, 7 Nov. 1940, subject: Training of Medical Department Personnel.
    25Memorandum, Col. R. W. Bliss, MC, for Director of Military Training, Army Service Forces, 4 Aug. 1943, subject: Training Program for Medical Department Technicians.
    26Army Service Forces Memorandum No. S350-44-43, 29 Aug. 1943.
    27Memorandum, Maj. John W. Graves, MC, Assistant to Chief, School Branch, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, for the Commandant, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., 4 Nov. 1943, subject: Training Programs for Medical Department Technicians (WAC).


224

the hour to oral quiz and review."28 Similarly, the school at William Beaumont General Hospital reported that demonstrations were included in almost all lectures. The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Lawson General Hospital reported that "students are taught laboratory procedures by lectures, demonstration, and by actually performing over and over again the various procedures. Performance of the procedures, under close supervision, is the most important part of their training."29 After a month of formal course work, student laboratory technicians spent a major portion of their time in training laboratories, where, under close supervision, they practiced procedures they would later perform independently. In courses for medical and surgical technicians, the latter part of training was devoted to practice in model hospital wards. In every course, emphasis was practical, rather than theoretical. The guiding principle was to teach a technician to perform a duty, without necessarily understanding why it was done in a given way. The short period of time allowed for training permitted no other approach.

Until August 1943, courses for medical, surgical, dental, X-ray, and laboratory technicians were divided into two major phases. The first phase was conducted in the school and included both formal and applied training. The second phase consisted of on-the-job training at the hospitals to which the schools were attached. At Fort Sam Houston, for example, student laboratory, dental, and X-ray technicians spent 2 months in the school, and a third month at the VIII Corps Area Laboratory, the Central Dental Laboratory, or the Station Hospital X-ray Clinic. Medical and surgical technicians spent the last part of their training working in hospital wards.30

Under the training program published by Army Service Forces in August 1943, the length of the laboratory and X-ray courses was increased from 3 to 4 months and of the medical and surgical courses from 2 to 3 months. Most schools used the added month to increase the proportion of time devoted to practical training; time spent in on-the-job training at hospitals remained unchanged. The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Fitzsimons General Hospital, for example, increased the period of formal training for surgical and medical technicians by 6 days, and the period spent in model wards by 10 days.31 At Billings General Hospital, extra hours in the same courses were used, in part, to add a week of field training, so that students could practice operating aid stations and evacuating patients under adverse conditions.32

The amount of field training varied both between schools and between courses. The Equipment Maintenance and Repair Course was marked by a total absence of field training, while more than one-third of the instruction scheduled for the

    28Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., fiscal year 1943.
    29See footnote 21, p. 222.
    30Annual Report, Enlisted Technicians Service School, Medical Department Station Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., fiscal year 1942.
    31Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colo., fiscal year 1944.
    32Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Billings General Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind., fiscal year 1944.


225

Sanitary Technicians Course was conducted out-of-doors under field conditions. Most technical courses, however, fell between these extremes. A survey conducted early in 1945 indicated that two Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools conducted very little field training, primarily because facilities were not available. Five schools reported that student medical and surgical technicians participated in field exercises stressing the operation of battalion aid stations, emergency medical treatment, and the loading and unloading of ambulances.33 More field training was included in the medical, surgical, and X-ray courses than in any of the others. Some courses, such as pharmacy, did not lend themselves to out-of-doors training, while others, such as the course for laboratory technicians, developed skills that were easily transposed to the field.

In addition to course-oriented field training, students at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were required by War Department and Medical Department directives to participate in "Concurrent Basic Military Training." The bulk of this training was designed to keep trainees in a state of physical fitness and to refresh their knowledge of subjects such as dismounted drill. A few subjects, such as sanitation, were also applicable in the field. In August 1943, the amount of time devoted to concurrent basic military training was standardized at 72 hours for 3-month courses, and 108 hours for 4-month courses. Each student was required to attend from 4 to 8 hours of field sanitation, emergency medical treatment, and individual security.

TECHNICAL TRAINING

Medical and Surgical Technicians

At most schools, the training of medical and surgical technicians was organized as a single program. Typically, trainees attended classes together during the first month or two of the course and were separated only during the final, on-the-job phase of instruction. At that point, medical technicians were assigned to medical wards, and surgical technicians to surgical wards or the surgical service. Initially, course length was set at 2 months, but this length proved inadequate to provide trainees with time to practice applying the knowledge they acquired in formal classes. In August 1943, when the Medical Department reorganized technical training, course length was extended to 3 months. The additional time was used to expand the scope of the course and to increase the amount of practical training provided in the classroom. Throughout the war, trainees were provided with a month of on-the-job training in hospital wards. At first, this phase of the program was conducted at the general hospital adjacent to the school, but in mid-1944, the program was expanded to include "satellite" hospitals in the same geographic area.34

    33Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume XI: Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools Special Reports. Questionnaire Returns on History of Schools 1 July 1939-30 June 1944. [Official record.]
    34(1) Letter, Lt. Col. Charles H. Moseley, MC, Deputy Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to Director of Military Training, Army Service Forces, 24 June 1944, subject: Applicatory Training for Medical and Surgical Technicians. (2) Memorandum, Col. Floyd L. Wergeland, MC, Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, for Commandant, All Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 18 July 1944, subject: Assignment of Medical and Surgical Technicians, and inclosures thereto.


226

FIGURE 31.-Utilizing a mannikin which separates the organs of the body, a Medical Corps officer instructs medical technicians in anatomy at the Enlisted Technicians School, Brooke General Hospital, San Antonio, Tex., in 1942.

After August 1943, the program for medical and surgical technicians consisted of 12 weeks of intensive training designed to prepare soldiers for service at all types of medical units and installations. Lectures and demonstrations were most common during the first month of classes, when trainees were introduced to the fundamentals of their specialties. During this period, instruction focused on subjects such as anatomy and physiology, hygiene and disease prevention, ward procedure, ward management, and emergency medical treatment (fig. 31). Classes were designed to prepare the student for practical training during the last 2 months of the program. Subjects were introduced through lectures and demonstrations, but emphasis was placed on student participation and practical exercises in which classes were broken down into small groups so that each student would be able to practice procedures under an instructor's supervision.

During the second month, training centered on first aid and emergency care of all injuries and diseases common to wartime medicine. The topics studied included inflammation and infections, wounds and burns, gas casualties, and injuries to various regions of the body. The last half of the month was devoted exclusively


227

FIGURE 32.-Surgical technicians in training at the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif., view a demonstration of operating room techniques.

to surgical and ward techniques (fig. 32). The final month of the program was spent working in hospital wards, learning the duties of a ward attendant under the supervision of a nurse.35

Advanced Medical and Surgical Technicians

In August 1942, the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School began to provide 3 months of advanced training for selected individuals who had completed the surgical and medical technicians courses.36 The purpose of the course was twofold: to prepare male technicians to replace nurses in forward areas, and to train graduates of the basic courses who had been selected to remain at the

    35See footnote 26, p. 223.
    36See footnote 9, p. 215.


228

FIGURE 33.-Dental technicians study full dentures under close supervision of two Dental Corps officers. Such applicatory classes were part of the training of dental technicians in the Enlisted Technicians Schools of the Medical Department.

schools as instructors. A few lectures were included in the program, but the bulk of the training was conducted in hospitals, where trainees could understudy nurses on duty in the wards.37 While the program was in operation, courses were established at all Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools except those at Wakeman and the Army and Navy General Hospitals. Training was temporarily halted in May 1944, but resumed in July to provide additional instructors for Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. Despite the program's apparent success,

    37Final Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, O'Reilly General Hospital, Springfield, Mo., 1 July 1944 to 15 March 1945.


229

    FIGURE 34.-Class in dental hygiene and prophylaxis.

these highly trained technicians were never awarded an occupational specialty and could not be recognized in tables of organization. In March 1945, the Medical Department was directed to discontinue the course because it was not designed to fill table-of-organization vacancies and could not be justified by the troop basis.38

Dental Technicians

The 12-week course for dental technicians was designed to prepare students to serve either in a dental laboratory as a prosthetic technician or in a dental clinic as a chair assistant. At most schools, the first 8 weeks of the course were devoted to the fundamentals and mechanics of dental laboratory procedures. Trainees in both subspecialties attended classes in dental and oral anatomy, prosthetic materials and metallurgy, tooth carving, full and partial dentures, and various aspects of tooth repair. During the final month of the program, trainees were split into two groups for on-the-job training. Those slated to become laboratory technicians worked in laboratories and attended extra classes in dental prosthetics (fig. 33). Those scheduled to become chair assistants received special training in roentgenology, dental records, dental hygiene, and chair assistance (fig. 34).39

    38Annual Report, School Branch, Part B. In Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1945.
    39Medical Department, United States Army. Dental Service in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1955.


230

FIGURE 35.-Practical training in the laboratory.

Laboratory Technicians

In April 1941, a 3-month version of the prewar course for laboratory technicians was established at each of the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. The purpose of the course was to train enlisted men to perform routine laboratory tests at any type of medical unit. Their studies included bacteriology, parasitology, serology, hematology, and some entomology.40 Emphasis was always on the practical exercise, and in August 1943, the course was lengthened to 16 weeks, to provide more time for practical training (fig. 35).

X-ray Technicians

In common with other technical courses, the program for X-ray technicians was divided into two phases. For the first 2 months, trainees attended lectures and participated in practical exercises designed to translate theory into technical ability. During this phase, their studies included anatomy, physics, fluoroscopy, radio-

    40Final Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Ga., 22 June 1945.


231

    FIGURE 36.-Instruction in darkroom technique.

graphic materials, and darkroom techniques (fig. 36). By far, the largest single block of their time was spent in practicing the use of X-ray equipment. Students were trained to operate both the equipment common to fixed hospitals and the special equipment, darkrooms, and generators used in field units.41 During the final month of training, students were assigned to the local general hospital for on-the-job training. At the Army School of Roentgenology, which was not attached to a general hospital, students worked in the X-ray clinics of two nearby civilian hospitals. Toward the end of the war, they were also sent to Kennedy General Hospital, on the outskirts of Memphis, Tenn., and to the X-ray department of the U.S. Army General Dispensary in Memphis. When course length was extended from 3 to 4 months in 1943, the additional time was used to bolster the school phase of training.

Pharmacy Technicians

The Pharmacy Technicians Course was established in 1939 to improve the quality of enlisted men assigned to pharmacies in Army hospitals. The program of the new course included lectures and practical exercises in organic chemistry, pharmaceutics, arithmetic, applied bacteriology, materia medica, toxicology, dispensing, drug identification, pharmacy administration, and Medical Department

    41See footnote 37, p. 228.


232

supply procedures. The course began on 15 September and the first class of 19 men was graduated on 31 May 1940.42

In April 1941, when training began at the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, a 3-month course for pharmacy technicians was established at each school. Class capacities were never large, and by 1943, the relatively large number of pharmacists received by the Army through Selective Service had relieved the shortage of technicians. In March 1943, courses were discontinued at the Army Medical Center, and at Army and Navy, Letterman, and Brooke General Hospitals. Training continued on a reduced scale at the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools at William Beaumont and Fitzsimons General Hospitals until May 1945, when the wartime program was discontinued. In contrast with most technical courses, the course for pharmacy technicians was conducted exclusively at the schools. Only one school reported sending technicians to work at a hospital, and in that instance, on-the-job training was limited to a single week.43

Sanitary Technicians

The monthlong training program for sanitary technicians required by The Surgeon General's Protective Mobilization Plan was established at the Medical Field Service School on 9 September 1940,44 and two classes graduated that fall. A third class was enrolled in April 1941, and classes continued to be held each month until November 1941, when the course was discontinued.45 Responsibility for training sanitary technicians was then transferred to Medical Replacement Training Centers.46

Medical Equipment Maintenance Technicians

The Medical Maintenance Technicians Course was established at the St. Louis Medical Depot in January 1942, and the first class began the following month. The directive establishing the program clearly outlined its scope and purpose. The course was to be of 3 months' duration, and cover packing, unpacking, assembly, installation, and care of X-ray equipment, sterilizers, and other expensive and highly technical items of Medical Department supply and equipment. In the selection of students, careful consideration was to be given to their adaptability, intelligence, and mechanical ability. The minimum educational qualification was a high school diploma. It was suggested that an officer be appointed who could con-

    42(1) Circular Letter No. 39, Office of The Surgeon General, 14 Aug. 1939. (2) Letter, Col. George R. Callender, MC, Director, Army Medical School, Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., to The Adjutant General (through channels), 5 June 1940, subject: Report of Enlisted Technicians Course in Pharmacy.
    43Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., fiscal year 1943.
    44Letter, Brig. Gen. Robert Brooke, Commandant, Medical Field Service School, to The Adjutant General, through The Surgeon General, 9 Aug. 1940, subject: Programs.
    454th Indorsement, Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to the Commanding General, Fort Bragg, N.C., 22 Sept. 1942.
    46Letter, The Surgeon General to Commanding Generals, All Medical Replacement Training Centers, 19 May 1942, subject: Sanitary Technicians.


233

tact the major suppliers of X-ray equipment and sterilizers and arrange for instruction from representatives of those concerns.

Almost without exception, the first instructors were provided by medical equipment manufacturers. In most instances, instructors even furnished the tool kits and instructional aids. By the end of the first year of operation, the course had stabilized into a 12-week program covering X-ray equipment, sterilizers, anesthesia apparatus, resuscitators, electronic equipment, and basic military training. The course consisted of practical exercises and on-the-job training, interspersed with a minimum of informal conferences and lectures. Classes were kept as small as possible, and many practical exercises were conducted in the maintenance and repair sections of the depot. Other exercises were conducted with nonserviceable equipment turned over to the school by the depot.

Veterinary Technicians

In common with other prewar courses, the length of the Veterinary Technicians Course was reduced to 12 weeks in August 1940. In April 1941, courses for veterinary technicians were established at the Enlisted Technicians Schools at the Army Medical Center (fig. 37) and at William Beaumont General Hospital. Training was confined to these two institutions throughout the war.

FIGURE 37.-A Veterinary corps officer instructs a class of veterinary technicians at the Army Veterinary School,
Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.


234

FIGURE 38.-Technician practicing use of portable optical equipment.

The program in veterinary technology was designed to train enlisted men to perform a variety of duties. After courses were standardized in 1943, one-third of the program was devoted to meat and dairy hygiene. The second third was devoted to animal management. The remaining time was spent on subjects such as forage and grain inspection and administration.47

Optical Technicians

The program for optical technicians was established on 13 September 1943. The course was designed to train students who had a civilian background in optical work to prepare and dispense optical equipment in the field. During their 6 weeks at the St. Louis Medical Depot, trainees learned to operate mobile and portable optical units, to fit lenses into both normal frames and gas masks, and to make emergency repairs and alterations (fig. 38).48

    47Program of Instruction for Veterinary Technicians at the School for Medical Department Technicians, 18 Mar. 1943. In Annual Report of Technical Activities, Medical Department Professional Service Schools, Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., fiscal year 1943, Section V: School of Medical Department Technicians.
    48Annual Report, Army Service Forces Medical Supply Service School, St. Louis Medical Depot, St. Louis, Mo., fiscal year 1944.


235

Orthopedic Mechanics

In contrast with other enlisted technicians, orthopedic mechanics were trained as apprentices. By understudying and assisting experienced craftsmen in orthopedic workshops, trainees learned to measure, fabricate, and fit belts, supports, braces, splints, and shoes for orthopedic patients.49 The first course began in September 1940, when two enlisted men were enrolled at Walter Reed General Hospital for 12 months of on-the-job training. Their training was cut short after 9 months, however, and they were graduated in June 1940. During the next 2 years, course length was shortened to 3 months; the program was expanded to include two more general hospitals, but enrollment remained small. Between June 1941 and June 1943, only five mechanics graduated. Early in 1943, the demand for orthopedic mechanics grew steadily, and the number of hospitals conducting courses was increased from three to 13 by 1944. The capacity of the program was increased from 13 trainees per cycle in 1943 to 45 by 1944, where it remained until the end of the war.

Other Courses

The overwhelming majority of technicians trained during the war were graduates of the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, the Medical Supply Service School, and the apprenticeship for orthopedic mechanics. In addition to these programs, the Medical Department established courses to train small numbers of enlisted personnel in other specialties.

Typical of these courses was the 2-week Dental Equipment Course established at the Ritter Dental Manufacturing Co., Inc., Rochester, N.Y., in February 1942. The course was designed to train enlisted men to pack, unpack, install, and service dental equipment used by Medical Department units and installations. The first series of courses was conducted between 2 February and 25 April 1942, and the second series was held between 6 July and 12 September the same year. A total of 264 enlisted men were graduated.

Throughout the war, a course in blood plasma technique was conducted at the Army Medical Center for selected graduates of the Laboratory Technicians Course at the Center's enlisted technicians school. Since the purpose of the program was to train men to serve in plasma banks, instruction focused on the operation of blood donor centers and plasma laboratories. Course length was set at 4 weeks, and enrollment was irregular. Fewer than 50 technicians graduated during the war.50

Beginning in June 1944, courses were established at the Army Medical Center, and at DeWitt, Brooke, and Mason General Hospitals to train small groups of enlisted technicians to operate and maintain electroencephalographs. The course was offered until November 1945 when it was discontinued. Course length varied between 8 and 14 weeks.

    49See footnote 10, p. 217.
    50Medical Department, United States Army. Blood Program in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964.


236

In mid-1944, the Medical Department began to train men to serve as instructors in physical reconditioning programs. The School for Physical Reconditioning Instructors was established at the ASF Training Center, Camp Grant, Ill., on 3 May 1944, with a capacity for training 300 enlisted students every 6 weeks, and the first class enrolled at the beginning of June. The course was designed to familiarize students with the emotional and mental problems of convalescent soldiers, to provide a knowledge of games and recreational activities useful in rebuilding physical vigor, and to develop the trainee's leadership abilities. The program included subjects such as passive and active exercises, posture relaxation, gymnasium activities, games, relays, tournaments, swimming, and similar activities, as well as basic military subjects. When Camp Grant closed, the school was transferred to the training center at Fort Lewis, Wash., where it was discontinued on 29 September 1945.51 Between June 1944 and September 1945, 1,314 instructors had graduated from the program.

ENLISTED WOMEN

Despite being the last of the technical services to accept members of the Women's Army Corps, the Medical Department became their single largest employer. By the end of the war, some 20,000 Wacs (enlisted members of the Women's Army Corps), or more than one-fifth of the entire Corps, were employed by medical installations. As long as well-trained civilians and enlisted men were available, The Surgeon General was reluctant to accept enlisted women. In the autumn of 1943, the Medical Department began accepting about 200 women a month for training as enlisted technicians. Early in 1944, when the Medical Department suffered the loss of some 5,000 technicians to the Infantry, The Surgeon General asked for an extensive program to recruit Wacs for the Medical Department. Within months, more than 4,000 women had been recruited. From mid-1944 until the end of the war, Wacs played an increasingly important role in Army medical service.52

Since one of the purposes of the program was to recruit skilled women from the civilian sector, many Wacs recruited for the Medical Department required no further technical training. In addition to recruiting technically skilled women, recruiters were authorized to accept high school graduates with an AGCT score of 100 or better for training as technicians. The program proved so popular that training facilities had to be continuously expanded.

The first Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School for members of the Women's Army Corps was established at the Army and Navy General Hospital on 9 September 1943, in facilities that had been used for 3 years by the school for male technicians.53 Housing was remodeled to meet the standards of the Women's Army Corps, and, as far as possible, male instructors were replaced by qualified

    51Loughlin, Richard L.: The Medical History of the United States Army in World War II. Reconditioning. [Official record.]
    52Treadwell, Mattie E.: The Women's Army Corps. United States Army in World War II. Special Studies. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954.
    53Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School (WAC), Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., fiscal year 1944.


237

    FIGURE 39.-Laboratory procedures. (Top) Enlisted WAC technician receives supervised on-the-job training in laboratory procedures. (Bottom) Dental Corps officer teaches WAC dental technician to make dental plates.


238

TABLE 16.-Women's Army Corps technicians trained in Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1 July 1943-30 June 1944

Installation

X-ray

(SSN 264)

Medical

(SSN 409)

Dental

(SSN 855)

Laboratory

(SSN 858)

Surgical

(SSN 861)

Total

Army and Navy General Hospital.

68

352

70

67

395

952

Station Hospital, Fort Huachuca, Ariz. (Negro only).

6

38

6

5

39

94

    Total

74

390

76

72

434

1,046

    Source: Annual report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, fiscal year 1944.

members of the Women's Army Corps. In January 1944, Negro enlisted women began attending classes at a school established for them at Fort Huachuca. Both schools provided courses for medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and medical laboratory technicians (fig. 39) as shown in table 16. With one exception, courses for WAC (Women's Army Corps) technicians were a month shorter than those for men because they omitted the final 4 weeks of on-the-job training.54 The programs for male and female dental technicians were identical.

As recruiting intensified in the summer of 1944, the facilities of the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at the Army and Navy General Hospital became increasingly inadequate. Since the school could not be expanded at the hospital, it was shifted to Wakeman General Hospital, where it was eventually expanded to a capacity of 790. The first classes enrolled on 11 August 1944.

During the final year of the war, separate training programs for Wacs were eliminated at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. In October 1944, the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Fort Huachuca was discontinued, and the Army began training Negro women at the school at Wakeman General Hospital. The following month, coeducational training began at the schools at Fitzsimons and William Beaumont General Hospitals. In December, a month of on-the-job training was established for WAC medical and surgical technicians, making these programs identical with those for male technicians. Coeducational training was established at Brooke General Hospital in January 1945, and at Lawson General Hospital in March.

By January 1945, the influx of WAC trainees had created a shortage of WAC housing at all enlisted technicians schools. Eventually, the Medical Department was able to gain ASF authorization for a special 16-week combined medical and surgical technicians course at Northington and Foster General Hospitals, located at Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Jackson, Miss., respectively. The new program provided half a day of formal instruction, and half a day of on-the-job training. By July 1945, 105 technicians had been trained under the new program.

    54See footnote 9, p. 215.


239

Women's Army Corps Hospital Orderlies

The only Medical Department training program that met with failure was the course for hospital orderlies. Women who enlisted for general service in the Women's Army Corps were not required to meet the same standards as those recruited for training as Medical Department Technicians, and by 1944, a large backlog of low-grade workers had accumulated in WAC training centers. At the request of the Women's Army Corps, an experimental program designed to train such women to replace male hospital orderlies was established in August 1944 at Nichols and Mayo General Hospitals, located at Louisville, Ky., and Galesburg, Ill., respectively. During the next few months, 140 women were enrolled in the 8-week program. In October, however, an inspection revealed that such women were incapable of performing heavy physical work and required so much supervision that they added to the nurses' workloads. In November, the course was discontinued.

Women's Army Corps Table-of-Organization Units for General Hospitals

Beginning in September 1944, operations in Europe placed increasing strain on Medical Department resources. Repeated transfers of enlisted men to the combat arms and mounting patient loads led the Surgeon General's Office to ask for 8,500 enlisted personnel-men or women-who could be trained as technicians. In addition, The Surgeon General asked for 5,000 civilian nurses' aides and recommended that all the enlisted technicians be women.55

At this juncture, the Director of the Women's Army Corps, Col. Oveta C. Hobby, sensed an opportunity to revive schemes for the establishment of WAC table-of-organization units. Already disturbed by complaints that WAC technicians were being required to perform duties beneath their station, and reluctant to recruit more women unless their status could be guaranteed, Colonel Hobby took her case directly to Gen. George C. Marshall during the closing days of 1944. As a result of this conference, and a second, concerning competition with civilian nursing aides on 5 January 1945, General Marshall directed the Medical Department to cease recruiting civilian nurses' aides and to prepare tables of organization for Women's Army Corps hospital companies.

The tables of organization drafted by representatives of the Surgeon General's Office and the Women's Army Corps called for 100 enlisted women and one WAC officer per hospital company. Nineteen women were to be trained as medical clerks, and the balance as medical and surgical technicians. Since all were to be technicians or skilled clerks, the lowest rating was technician, fifth grade. Companies were to be allotted to named general hospitals in proportion to the number of beds, and hospitals desiring such companies could requisition them.

    55(1) Medical Department, United States Army. Personnel in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963. (2) See footnote 52, p. 236.


240

The training of WAC hospital companies was conducted without major difficulties. The Third WAC Training Center at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., was turned over to recruits, and the basic training program was condensed so that medical training could be conducted at the same post. Since the directive establishing the program required trainees to report to their hospital assignment not more than 12 weeks after reporting for basic training, the training period for medical technicians was shortened to 6 weeks. The usual 4 weeks of on-the-job training was postponed until trainees reported to their duty station.

Instructors for the course were provided by the Fourth Service Command upon recommendation by The Surgeon General. The nucleus of the training staff came from the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Lawson General Hospital, and the program was conducted under the command of Lt. Col. James M. Dunn, MC, former assistant commandant of the school at Lawson General Hospital. The staff of the medical and surgical section ultimately included 28 medical officers, three Medical Administrative Corps officers, 23 Army nurses, 32 enlisted men from Lawson General Hospital, and about 160 enlisted women. Most of the enlisted women were graduates of the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School who had achieved grades of excellent or superior. Since many of the staff had never been involved in teaching, Colonel Dunn required the entire staff to attend an intensive instructor guidance course. The staff for the medical clerks' course was created by sending a WAC officer and several enlisted women to Camp Barkeley, Tex., for conferences with instructors in the medical clerks' course at the basic training center. Women graduating from this course at Fort Oglethorpe were placed on 4 weeks' probation at their duty station, instead of receiving 4 weeks' on-the-job training. By the end of the war, a total of 120 WAC hospital companies had been trained and attached to hospitals in the Zone of Interior (table 17).56

EDUCATIONAL TECHNIQUES AND PROBLEMS

Instructors for Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were secured from a variety of sources, and each school was responsible for developing its own teaching staff. When the first Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools were established in 1941, the commanding officers of the hospitals to which the schools were attached became the commandants of the new schools. The assistant commandant, and, in some instances, other key officials, were selected by The Surgeon General from among Regular Army and Reserve Corps officers. In most instances, a large proportion of the school's initial staff was formed by transferring personnel from the hospital to which the school was attached. Instructors for schools established after 1941 were usually selected from among newly commissioned officers. Occasionally, new schools were able to secure instructors from schools already in operation, but such sources were the exception.57 Instructors

    56See footnotes 19(2), p. 219; and 55(1), p. 239.
    57Annual Report, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, O'Reilly General Hospital, Springfield, Mo., fiscal year 1943.


241

TABLE 17.-Enlisted women trained in Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, 1 July 1944 to 30 June 1945

Installation or source

X-ray technician (SSN 264)

Medical technician (SSN 409)

Dental technician (SSN 855)

Laboratory technician (SSN 858)

Surgical technician (SSN 861)

Hospital orderlies

Occupational therapy assistants

Special combined medical and surgical technicians course

Physical therapy technicians

Total

Fitzsimons General Hospital

83

108

20

92

77

-----

-----

-----

-----

380

William Beaumont General Hospital

42

503

50

46

387

-----

-----

-----

-----

1,028

Brook Hospital Center

-----

209

-----

-----

80

-----

-----

-----

-----

289

Wakeman Hospital Center

189

866

257

330

636

-----

-----

-----

-----

2,278

Army and Navy General Hospital

-----

84

17

39

76

-----

-----

-----

-----

216

Fort Huachuca

2

18

3

2

14

-----

-----

-----

-----

39

Mayo General Hospital

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

74

-----

-----

-----

74

Nichols General Hospital

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

66

-----

-----

-----

66

Halloran General Hospital

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

181

-----

-----

181

Northington General Hospital

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

55

-----

55

Foster General Hospital

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

50

-----

50

Physical therapy technicians

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

-----

245

245

   

Total

316

1,788

347

509

1,270

140

181

105

245

4,901

    Source: Annual Report of the Training Division, Operations Service, Office of the Surgeon General, fiscal year 1945.


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were sometimes ordered to another school for a brief period of indoctrination and training before assuming duties at a new installation.

Although enlisted instructors were secured from a variety of sources, the initial cadre was usually selected from the adjacent hospital or another school. At all schools, replacements for instructors were selected from among groups of unassigned graduates. This method of replacing instructors proved highly satisfactory, for it allowed careful evaluation of the student before assignment and assured his complete familiarity with the school and the course. Inexperienced staff members were usually oriented by the school section to which they were assigned, and the amount of orientation and training they received varied from school to school. New instructors were usually required to become familiar with Army field manuals on instruction as well as to observe experienced teachers in the classroom. As a general rule, inexperienced teachers were also required to study instructors guides and lesson plans on file at the schools, to prepare practice lesson plans of their own, and to deliver brief lectures before faculty committees.

During the last 2 years of the war, the demand for experienced personnel in the theaters made heavy inroads into school staffs, and instructor replacement became an acute problem. On occasion, schools reported having to replace more than 50 percent of their instructors in a single month. To combat the loss of experienced teachers, several schools established formal training programs for new instructors. The Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School at Billings General Hospital, for example, conducted a weeklong course of lectures and demonstrations on training techniques, and the school at Lawson General Hospital conducted a course that varied in length from 13 to 39 hours.58

SELECTION, QUALITY, AND DISPOSITION OF TRAINEES

Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools received trainees from three major sources: Medical Replacement Training Centers, fixed hospitals and numbered units under the control of Army Service Forces, and hospitals and units under the control of the Air and Ground Forces. With two exceptions, trainees were required to have completed high school or an equivalent technical program. Those who had completed 4 weeks of basic military training and achieved an AGCT score of more than 100 were qualified, even though they did not meet the educational requirements for training as sanitary technicians or veterinary technicians.59 In theory, students were selected according to their adaptability, intelligence, and previous educational attainments. In practice, many students were poorly or carelessly selected.

During the year preceding the establishment of enlisted technicians schools students enrolled in technical courses at the Army Medical Center experienced few

    58See footnote 33, p. 225.
    59(1) Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to The Surgeon General, 7 Jan. 1942, subject: Selection of Soldiers for Specialists Schools. (2) Letter, The Surgeon General to The Adjutant General [War Department], 16 Jan. 1942, subject: Selection of Soldiers for Specialists Schools.


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difficulties. Of the 188 students enrolled in the technical program, only 11 failed to graduate. Schools established in 1941, however, frequently complained about the presence of large numbers of unqualified trainees in their classes. In July 1941, only 3 months after an enlisted technicians school was established at the Army and Navy General Hospital, the commandant complained to the Director of Training, Office of The Surgeon General, that:60

One of the worst troubles of the selectee school is the poor mental equipment of many of the men sent in for instruction *   *   *. The schools would undoubtedly be much more efficient if the officers making the selection of candidates could be induced to send only well educated men of proper type and character. Some few men we receive are obviously drunks, derelicts, or undependable, and many others of insufficient mental education to be capable of absorbing advanced training.

The assistant commandant of the school was equally disturbed and expressed concern over the time lost in attempting to bring poorly qualified men up to a minimum grade. Of the students enrolled in the school at the Army and Navy General Hospital through July 1941, 27 percent had less than an eighth grade education, and officials reported that the situation did not improve during the next 10 months.61 Reports from the Army Medical Center were equally critical; approximately one-third of the trainees assigned there were not educationally qualified, and many complained that they had never been asked if they desired to become technicians. In his annual report, the commandant observed that: "A certain proportion of these men assigned to the laboratory are incapable of getting beyond scrubbing the floors."62

Beginning in May 1942, both schools reported an improvement in the quality of students being sent for training. During the next 12 months, schools were generally satisfied with the quality of trainees. The only students identified as being consistently below standard were those sent by the Army Air Forces between December 1942 and June 1943. The Army Medical Center complained that:63

As a whole these men have been the poorest sent here, relatively ill-prepared, and in many instances did not desire to take this type of instruction. The trainees in some instances were mechanics with little or no interest in the medical specialties. They were therefore unsatisfactory students and required considerable additional special instruction which interfered to some extent with the instruction of the better qualified personnel.

During a conference in January 1943 on the problems of training AAF personnel, the Director of Training, ASF, informed representatives of the Medical Department that enlisted technicians schools were required to continue training men sent by the Army Air Forces, even if they were regarded as untrainable. In

    60Letter, Col. Ralph H. Goldthwaite, MC, Commanding Officer, Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., to Maj. Frank B. Wakeman, MC, Plans and Training Section, Office of The Surgeon General, 8 July 1941.
    61(1) Letter, Lt. Col. Charles K. Holmes, MC, Assistant Commandant and Director of Training, Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., to Commanding Officer, Army and Navy General Hospital, 7 July 1941, subject: Qualifications of July Class. (2) Annual Report, Army and Navy General Hospital, Medical Technicians School, fiscal year 1942.
    62Annual Report of Technical Activities, Medical Department Professional Service Schools, Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., fiscal year 1942. Section V: Annual Report of Technical Activities of the School for Medical Department Technicians.
    63See footnotes 47, p. 234; and 61(2).


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setting quotas, the Medical Department was allowed to include a 10-percent attrition factor so that the least qualified 10th of the trainees received from the Air Forces could be eliminated. The remaining 90 percent had to be either graduated or permitted to finish the course without graduating. Schools were directed to retain AAF trainees despite scholastic failure and to require periods of supervised study. Those who could not qualify as technicians were required to gain maximum benefit from attending. Academic standards were protected by allowing schools to refuse to certify those who could not qualify for graduation.64

The Medical Department had little choice but to accept the mass assignment of low-caliber AAF trainees. As The Surgeon General's Deputy Director of Training lamented to one center official:65

This office is not unappreciative of the tremendous problem and burden placed upon *   *   * training facilities in attempting to qualify personnel who were not basically fitted for the absorption of technical instruction. However, the rate of procurement of Air Force personnel and the high ratio of technicians required necessitates a rather small ratio of selection. For my own amusement I determined the number of Air Force personnel being assigned monthly to medical service with the Air Force. The problem involved is astounding when it is considered that approximately one out of every four men assigned to medical service with the Air Force must be a technician of some kind. (You are probably familiar with Air Force T/O's). *   *   * The Air Corps does not have adequate numbers from which to select technical personnel. This is why the Director of Training, S.O.S., makes the unqualified statement that [the] job will be done despite handicaps and imposition on schools, the presumption being that a man who had completed eight weeks of training in a special service school is a better man than when he entered the school even though he was not successful in graduating.

When the Army Air Forces withdrew from the program in June 1943, its decision was accepted without comment.

Variations in quality continued after June 1943, but without any apparent pattern. After its conversion into a training center for enlisted women, the school at the Army and Navy General Hospital reported that women being sent for training were generally highly qualified.66 The school at Lawson General Hospital found itself neither pleased nor vexed by the trainees it received, and reported that quality tended to vary between classes. The Army Medical Center experienced increasing difficulty with students sent from Medical Replacement Training Centers, enrolling one class in which five members had jail or guardhouse records.67 Despite minor variations, however, students enrolled during the last 2 years of the war appear to have been better qualified than those who attended between 1941 and 1943. By mid-1944, trainee quality had improved to the point that the rate of attrition for all candidates between July 1941 and 30 June 1944 had been reduced to 8.5 percent.

    64Memorandum, Maj. Gen. John C. Magee, The Surgeon General, for the Commandant, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., 14 Jan. 1943, subject: Training of Enlisted Technicians, Army Air Forces.
    65Letter, Lt. Col. D. J. Sheehan, MC, Deputy Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to Col. Robert E. Peyton, MC, Director of Training, Services of Supply, Headquarters, Medical Replacement Training Center, Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Ark., 17 Feb. 1943.
    66See footnote 53, p. 236.
    67See footnote 33, p. 225.


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Other studies conducted by the Medical Department indicate that scholastic deficiencies were the immediate cause for relieving approximately 70 percent of the trainees who failed to graduate from enlisted technicians schools. Predictably, there was a strong correlation between the length of formal civilian education and success in technical training. Trainees with education beyond high school were almost certain to graduate, while those with less than a grammar school education seemed destined to fail. Each year of formal education beyond grammar school significantly increased the trainee's chances of success. Not all scholastic failures, however, were attributable to civilian educational achievement; disinterest also contributed to academic failure. Lack of interest was most frequently noticed in trainees who had been transferred from other arms or services. The Army Air Forces, in particular, seemed to have a penchant for assigning men who had no interest in becoming medical technicians. On occasion, authorities also noticed a resistance to training. Such resistance was noted during 1941 among draftees who were under the impression that they would be retained in the service if they excelled. The same tendency was reported late in 1944 for substantially the same reasons. Disciplinary dismissals, transfers, and recall for overseas movements accounted for those students who failed to complete the courses for nonacademic reasons.

Trainees were sent to Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools from a variety of units and installations under the control of the Army Air, Army Ground, and Army Service Forces, but a few remained permanently under the control of the Medical Department. Trainees sent to enlisted technicians schools by units and installations were returned to their parent organization whether they failed or completed the course.68

Unassigned trainees sent to schools from replacement training centers were assigned to medical units and installations upon completion of their training. Until April 1944, The Surgeon General had the authority to make recommendations on the allocation of unassigned graduate technicians from all commands except the Army Air Forces. Schools were required to submit reports on the availability of unassigned technicians through the Office of The Surgeon General, which forwarded them to The Adjutant General with recommendations for allocation. The Surgeon General could recommend assignment to any medical activity in the Army, including those controlled by the Army Air Forces. Only unassigned personnel sent to school by the Army Air Forces were exempt. Technicians were assigned according to The Surgeon General's recommendations, unless they were required as loss replacements.69 Unassigned trainees from AAF training centers who successfully completed their technical training were returned to the Air Surgeon for allocation to AAF medical organization.

    68(1) Circular Letter No. 49, Office of The Surgeon General, 3 July 1940, subject: Selection of Enlisted Men, Medical Department, for Attendance at Special Service Schools. (2) Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to Commanding Generals, All Armies, Corps Areas, and Medical Replacement Training Centers, Chiefs of Armored Force and Army Air Force, 15 Jan. 1942, subject: Trainees Selected to Attend Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools.
    69(1) Letter, The Adjutant General, U.S. Army, to Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces and Services of Supply, 27 May 1942, subject: Enlisted Men From Replacement Training Centers to Attend Special Service Schools, and Their Assignment Upon Completion of Such Courses. (2) Letter, The Adjutant General, U.S. Army, to Arms and Services (except Air Corps), 31 Dec. 1941, subject: Trainees Selected to Attend Special Service Schools.


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When the system of preactivation training was established on 15 April 1944, The Surgeon General was relieved of his responsibility for making direct recommendations on the allocation of unassigned trainees.70 Under the preactivation program, technicians who had been sent to school from replacement training centers were returned to those centers for 3 weeks of basic team training. After completing team training, they were designated as fillers or replacements and assigned to appropriate units.

    70(1) War Department Memorandum No. W615-70-42, 17 Dec. 1942. (2) Army Service Forces Circular No. 104, 15 Apr. 1944.

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