U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content

HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY

AMEDD BIOGRAPHIES

AMEDD CORPS HISTORY

BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS

HISTORICAL ART WORK & IMAGES

MEDICAL MEMOIRS

AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS External Link, Opens in New Window

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORIES

THE SURGEONS GENERAL

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE SURGEON GENERAL

AMEDD UNIT PATCHES AND LINEAGE

THE AMEDD HISTORIAN NEWSLETTER

Chapter VIII

Contents

CHAPTER VIII

Medical Department Field Units1

In the summer of 1939, the Medical Department had only five active field organizations. Of these, four were at peace strength, and one was "skeletonized."2 During the first year of the limited emergency, the field strength of the Medical Department was modestly expanded, and by 30 June 1940, four medical battalions, a medical regiment, and the medical detachments of four Regular Army combat divisions were in training.3 All, including those activated early in 1940, were designed to provide organic support for combat divisions.

The first nonorganic medical units were activated following the onset of limited mobilization. By July 1941, The Surgeon General reported that 76 nondivisional medical field units had been activated, including numbered general and station hospitals, evacuation and surgical hospitals, medical supply depots and laboratories, a numbered general dispensary, a veterinary evacuation hospital, and a veterinary general hospital.4 Many of these units, described as "professional" units by The Surgeon General, were types that would later be trained by the Army Service Forces.

COMMAND AND STAFF RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRAINING MEDICAL DEPARTMENT UNITS

From the beginning of limited mobilization until the reorganization of March 1942, responsibility for training nondivisional medical units was vested in the offices of the field army surgeons through the field armies and General Headquarters. In November 1940, for example, the 2d Medical Laboratory, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., which was the only active nondivisional unit then in operation, was placed under the control of the Third U.S. Army. A month later, before any other nondivisional units were activated, the War Department directed that 60 nondivisional units whose activation was being planned be attached to the First, Second, and Third U.S. Armies. This group included 20 station hospitals, 17 general hospitals, 12 evacuation hospitals, six surgical hospitals, a medical laboratory, a general dispensary, a veterinary evacuation hospital, and two medical supply depots. From the standpoint of training responsibility, such attachments were considered equivalent to assignments. Corps Areas usually controlled the technical training

    1Unless otherwise indicated, this chapter is based on Goodman, Samuel M.: History of Medical Department Training U.S. Army World War II. Volume VI: A Report on the Training of ASF-Type Medical Department Units, 1 July 1941-30 June 1945. [Official record.]
    2Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940.
    3Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941.
    4See footnote 3.


248

of units when they were in garrison, but when the unit moved to the field, training became an army responsibility.5 Responsibility for training divisional medical units was vested in the division commander.

The Surgeon General participated in the training of medical units in his capacity as staff adviser to War Department General Staff, G-3, Operations and Training, on matters related to medical service.6 The Office of The Surgeon General, for example, developed the tables of organization, the training programs, the instructors' guides, and the field and technical manuals used not only by nondivisional medical units but also by divisional units.7 Commanding officers of nondivisional units, such as general hospitals and evacuation hospitals, called upon The Surgeon General for guidance, and he assumed responsibility for explaining to them their relationship to the armies and for listing the training programs and instructional materials available for training.8 Representatives of The Surgeon General also conducted technical inspections of both divisional and nondivisional units.9

The Reorganization of 1942

The War Department reorganization of March 1942 altered both the system of command responsibility for medical units and The Surgeon General's relationship to their training. War Department Circular No. 59, dated 2 March 1942, which authorized the division of the Army into three separate commands, also provided general guidelines for the unit training responsibilities of each command. Under the new system, AGF (Army Ground Forces) and AAF (Army Air Forces)

    5(1) Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to Commanding Generals of All Armies, Army Corps, Divisions, Corps Areas, and Departments; Commanding General, General Headquarters, Air Force; Chief of Staff, General Headquarters; Chiefs of Arms and Services; Chief of the Armored Force; Commanding Officers of Exempted Stations, 14 Jan. 1941, subject: Organization, Training, and Administration of Medical Units. (2) Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to Chiefs of Arms and Services; Commanding Generals of All Armies, Army Corps, Divisions, Corps Areas, and Departments; Commanding Officers of Exempted Stations; and the Chief of Staff, General Headquarters, 3 Oct. 1940, subject: Organization, Training, and Administration of the Army. (3) Medical Department, United States Army. Organization and Administration in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963.
    6Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to All Army Commanders; All Corps Area and Department Commanders; All Chiefs of Arms and Services; Chief of the National Guard Bureau; Assistant Chiefs of Staff, War Department General Staff; Commanding General, General Headquarters, Air Force; Commandants, General and Special Service Schools; and Commanding Officers of Exempted Stations, 14 Mar. 1938, subject; The Protective Mobilization Plan. (The Initial Military Program.)
    7(1) Letter, The Adjutant General, War Department, to The Surgeon General, 10 Feb. 1939, subject: Tables of Organization, and inclosure thereto. (2) Letter, The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, to The Adjutant General, U.S. Army, 14 Aug. 1940, subject: Medical Department Mobilization Training Program 8-1. (3) Letter, Capt. T. J. Hartford, MC, Assistant to Chief, Training Subdivision, Plans and Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to Capt. J. F. Morehead, MC, Headquarters, 28th Surgical Hospital, Fort George G. Meade, Md., 3 Mar, 1941. (4) See footnote 4, p. 247.
    8(1) Letter, Capt. T. J. Hartford, MC, Assistant to Chief, Training Subdivision, Plans and Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to Capt. Jordan A. Kelling, MC, Surgeon, 148th General Hospital, Camp Shelby, Miss., 21 Feb. 1941. (2) Letter, Capt. T. J. Hartford, MC, Assistant to Chief, Training Subdivision, Plans and Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to Capt. Paul O. Wells, MC, Commanding Officer, 56th General Hospital, Fort Jackson, S.C., 4 May. 1941.
    9Letter, Lt. Col. G. C. Dunham, MC, Observer, to The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, 27 Aug. 1940, subject: Report of Observations Made During the Third U.S. Army Maneuvers, August 1940.


249

were responsible for training their own combat units, and ASF (Army Service Forces) was responsible for training the units necessary for its functioning. Responsibility for training nondivisional service units, however, was not clearly delineated.10 Each of the three major commands was charged with training units assigned to it, but the ultimate use of a service unit could not always be clearly forecast, and many service units were common to all commands. In April 1942, and again in May, Army Ground Forces requested clarification.11

On 30 May 1942, the War Department issued a more specific statement on training responsibility, announcing that: "In general, the using command will train a unit."12 Through this policy, the Commanding General, AAF, became responsible for training all Air Force units, including arms and services with the Army Air Forces. The Commanding General, ASF, was responsible for training units organized to operate installations and activities controlled by him and those units organized in the United States solely for Services of Supply installations and activities in overseas garrisons, bases, and theaters. The Commanding General, AGF, was responsible for training all units not falling into one of the other categories. By mutual agreement, the commanding generals of AGF, AAF, and ASF could transfer responsibility for training certain units to each other. Such transfers were encouraged when one command controlled the bulk of the training facilities available for a particular type of unit, or when a training program would create a duplication of existing facilities. The War Department also directed that: "Facilities such as exist at general and station hospitals and certain specialized replacement training centers and schools are required for the proper training of certain units and are under control of the Commanding General, Services of Supply [ASF]. The Commanding General, Services of Supply [ASF], by arrangement with [the] Commanding General, Army Ground Forces or Army Air Forces, should take over the responsibility for unit training which requires the use of these facilities."13 While this statement provided limited guidance, it still left doubt about the responsibility for units, such as veterinary evacuation hospitals, field hospitals, and small surgical teams, that might be used in either combat or communications zones, and, hence, might be considered either AGF or ASF units. The responsibility for training AAF units however, was clearly defined.

In an effort to further define the responsibilities of the Army Service Forces and the Army Ground Forces, the War Department asked each command, in June 1942,

    10(1) Millett, John D.: United States Army in World War II. The Army Service Forces. The Organization and Role of the Army Service Forces. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954. (2) Palmer, Robert R., Wiley, Bell I., and Keast, William R.: United States Army in World War II. The Army Ground Forces. The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948.
    11(1) Memorandum, Brig. Gen. Mark W. Clark, Chief of Staff, Army Ground Forces, for Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, G-3, 9 Apr. 1942, subject: Agency or Agencies to Activate Units. (2) Memorandum, Commanding General, Army Ground Forces, for the Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, G-3, 9 May 1942, subject: Responsibility for Training.
    12Memorandum, Brig. Gen. I. H. Edwards, Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, G-3, Operations and Training for the Commanding General, Army Ground Forces; Commanding General, Army Air Forces; and Commanding General, Services of Supply, 30 May 1942, subject: Responsibility for Training.
    13See footnote 12.


250

to provide a list of the units that it thought it should train. The lists submitted by the two commands suggest that each desired to control the training of all units except those which were clearly organic to the mission of the other.14 The first list delineating responsibilities for training specific units was issued by the War Department on 20 June 1942, but the compromise was not satisfactory to either headquarters.15 During the next several months, these lists were repeatedly altered in an attempt to arrive at a more satisfactory solution. In October 1942, the War Department expanded the responsibilities of the Army Ground Forces by authorizing that command to prepare the tables of organization, equipment, and basic allowances for units that served ground elements.

By January 1943, the division of responsibility had reached a state of relative stability, and the Army Ground Forces was responsible for training and writing the tables of organization, equipment, and basic allowances for the following units: Medical battalions, including those for such specialized divisions as the motorized, armored, and mountain divisions; medical squadrons for cavalry divisions; medical regiments; medical companies to serve the airborne divisions; ambulance battalions; animal-drawn companies; veterinary companies; evacuation hospitals, including the motorized type; and medical supply depots. The Army Service Forces was responsible for training units including general, station, and convalescent hospitals (human and veterinary); veterinary evacuation hospitals; field hospitals; hospital centers; headquarters of Medical Department concentration centers; general dispensaries; general laboratories and laboratories of the army or communications zone; surgical hospitals; sanitary companies; medical gas treatment battalions; hospital trains; three types of units concerned with evacuation by sea-

hospital ship platoons, hospital ship companies, and ambulance ship companies; auxiliary surgical groups; detachments for museum and medical arts services; and the medical sections for the headquarters of a communications zone.

This division of responsibilities was by no means final. Many units were altered in name, size, or organization, and some types were abolished or superseded by units developed to meet special needs. Except for minor readjustments, however, the allocation of responsibilities between the two commands for developing, activating, and training Medical Department units continued to rest upon the basis of the zone of the overseas theater within which they were to be employed. The Army Air Forces trained only a few medical units designated to meet the special needs of air troops-chiefly a medical supply, an evacuation, and a dispensary unit.16

    14(1) Memorandum, Col. Walter L. Weible, GSC, Deputy Director of Training, Services of Supply, for The Surgeon General, 8 June 1942, subject: Responsibility for Training. (2) Memorandum, Col. John A. Rogers, MC, Executive Officer, Office of The Surgeon General, to Director of Training, Services of Supply, 10 June 1942, subject: Responsibility for Training. (3) Memorandum, Col. F. L. Parks, GSC, Deputy Chief of Staff, AG, for Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, G-3, 11 June 1942, subject: Responsibility for the Activation of Units, and inclosures thereto.
    15(1) Memorandum, Brig. Gen. I.H. Edwards, Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, G-3, Operations and Training, for the Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, Services of Supply, 20 June 1942, subject: Responsibility for the Activation of Service Units. (2) See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.
    16See footnote 5 (3), p. 248.


251

The Surgeon General's Responsibility for Training Under the Army Service Forces

The reorganization of 1942 did little to alter The Surgeon General's relationship to medical units trained by Army Service Forces. As The Surgeon General, and the special adviser to the Commanding General, ASF, on matters related to medical service, he continued to prepare the tables of organization, mobilization training programs, medical field and technical manuals, and training aids used by all ASF medical units.17 Representatives of the Surgeon General's Office were also entitled to conduct technical inspections of all medical units under the jurisdiction of the Army Service Forces.18 In sum, The Surgeon General's powers within the Army Service Forces were identical to those he had exercised throughout the Army before the War Department was reorganized.

The Surgeon General's relationship to medical units assigned to the Army Ground Forces or the Army Air Forces for activation and training, however, was more remote. Since the commanding generals of ASF, AGF, and AAF stood on a par in their relationship to the War Department, The Surgeon General, the Air Surgeon, and the Ground Surgeon were equals when they functioned as the chief surgeons for their respective commands. In their capacity as command surgeons, the Air Surgeon and the Ground Surgeon were responsible for inspecting AAF and AGF medical units, just as The Surgeon General was responsible for inspecting ASF units. In October 1942, authority to prepare tables of organization, equipment, and basic allowances was also dispersed among the command surgeons. With these exceptions, however, The Surgeon General remained the ultimate authority on medical training doctrine, just as he continued to be responsible for doctrine on matters relating to the health of the entire Army. In his capacity as the chief of a technical service, The Surgeon General continued to prepare technical manuals, field manuals, and mobilization training programs, or in the phrase commonly used, to promulgate doctrine, for all medical units of the Army.19

THE ARMY SERVICE FORCES UNIT ACTIVATION AND TRAINING SYSTEMS

The Cadre System

Between September 1939 and April 1944, Medical Department theater-of-operations units were activated and trained by a method generally referred to as the cadre system. Under this system, a new medical unit was built upon a nucleus of

    17(1) Letter, Brig. Gen. C. R. Huebner, Director of Training, Services of Supply, to Chief of Chemical Warfare Service; Chief of Engineers; Chief of Ordnance; Chief Signal Officer; Quartermaster General; Surgeon General; Chief of Administrative Services; Commandant, Command and General Staff School; Superintendent, United States Military Academy, 23 May 1942, subject: Training Publications and Visual Aids, Services of Supply. (2) Army Service Forces Manual M 301, 15 Aug. 1944.
    18Army Service Forces Manual M 4, April 1945.
    19See footnote 5 (3), p. 248.


252

presumably trained personnel supplied by another unit. Depending on the unit being trained, the source of the nucleus, or cadre, might be a Zone of Interior medical installation, such as a fixed general or station hospital, or another theater-of-operations unit or divisional medical unit undergoing training in the Zone of Interior.20

The War Department letter activating a new unit routinely specified the size of the cadre, the installation or unit that would supply the cadre, and the date at which the cadre would report for duty. The same letter also included a schedule for the arrival of the commanding officer and other officer and enlisted personnel, and specified the sources of personnel other than cadre. The Surgeon General routinely supplied, other than cadre, officers and nurses, for all units except those of the Army Air Forces. The Adjutant General supplied a given number of technicians without requisition. Other fillers were requisitioned from The Adjutant General by the activating command as needed. Unit personnel were usually scheduled to arrive in three increments. The commanding officer was to arrive alone on the day of activation, followed in a few days by the other officers and cadre, and finally, by the unit's enlisted complement.

In theory, the cadre system was designed to provide the commanding officer of a new unit with a nucleus of trained officers and enlisted men capable of administering the unit and training other personnel. It was also assumed that all personnel would report to the unit within approximately a week after its activation. The commanding officer and his cadre were scheduled to arrive at their new post just far enough in advance of other personnel to put administrative and housekeeping affairs in order.

In practice, the cadre system frequently deviated from the theoretical model. In some instances, the designated commanding officer of a unit arrived days, or even several weeks, after other personnel had reported for duty. At times, the highest ranking soldiers who arrived were privates. More often, however, a lieutenant arriving with the cadre became the temporary commanding officer and was responsible for securing quarters, establishing the unit administratively, and initiating a training program. Activation under a temporary commanding officer did not necessarily work to the disadvantage of a unit, since such officers frequently managed to have training well underway by the time the designated commanding officer arrived. In some instances, however, the training program had to be postponed.

By the same token, unit fillers were supposed to arrive in a group shortly after the commander and his staff. In practice, however, few units received an appreciable portion of their fillers immediately after activation. Usually, fillers arrived at irregular intervals over a period varying from a few weeks to many months, and those who were sent varied in their background and training. One group might contain fillers trained by a replacement training center, and the next to arrive could consist entirely of recruits sent directly from reception centers. Still other groups might be of veterans of a combat theater or men trained by one of the combat arms

    20(1) Annual Report, Headquarters, 37th General Hospital, 1943. (2) Annual Report, Headquarters, Fifth Auxiliary Surgical Group, 1943.


253

or technical services. Each group had to be trained according to its background and experience, and as a result, a large unit, such as a general hospital, might have to provide several groups of men with different levels of basic military and technical training at any given time. Because of these problems, it was not unusual for unit commanders to require 6 months or a year to complete the basic training of all the men in their organization.21

Training under the cadre system was further complicated by the uncertain quality of fillers and cadre assigned to the unit. For the cadre system to function efficiently, parent organizations had to release at least some of their best men to newly activated units. In practice, however, many units used the cadre system to slough their less efficient personnel.22 Since such men were frequently given ratings before they were released from the parent organization, the unit commander who received them was faced not only with the problem of administering and training a unit with substandard cadre but also with arranging for the transfer of overrated, noncommissioned officers so that he could replace them with qualified men in the same grades.23

Many units also complained of being assigned a high proportion of limited-service personnel.24 Theater-of-operations units were supposed to receive only men qualified for service overseas, but some units reported that as many as four-fifths of their fillers were limited-service personnel whose presence made it difficult or impossible to conduct marches, calisthenics, or field exercises requiring strenuous physical activity.25 The mental inadequacy of many limited-service personnel also made it difficult for commanders to achieve training objectives.26

Unit commanders who were dissatisfied with their cadre or fillers usually attempted to improve their organizations by arranging transfers. This process of transferring and replacing undesirable personnel perpetuated many of the evils of the cadre system, and added to the inconvenience caused by the irregular arrival of fillers. Some organizations required many months to attain or approximate their table-of-organization strength and to become sufficiently stabilized to make meaningful unit training a possibility.27

The procedure for training medical technicians and common specialists under the cadre system only added to the problems of unit commanders. When a new unit was activated, The Adjutant General automatically provided it with a limited number of technicians who were graduates of the Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., the Medical Supply Services School, the Army School of Roentgenology, Memphis, Tenn., and the Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. A limited number of common specialists, such as cooks, bakers,

    21Memorandum, Lt. Col. Tyron E. Huber, MC, for The Historian, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, 4 June 1945, subject: Unit Training, Army Service Forces, World War II, and inclosure thereto.
    22(1) Annual Report, Headquarters, 216th General Hospital, Camp Forrest, Tenn., 1943. (2) Annual Report, Fourth Auxiliary Surgical Group, Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Ga., 1943.
    23(1) Annual Report, Fifth Auxiliary Surgical Group, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., 1943. (2) Annual Report, Fifth Station Hospital, Camp Stewart, Ga., 1941.
    24(1) Annual Report, Headquarters, 11th General Hospital, Camp Livingston, La., 1942. (2) Annual Report, Headquarters, 216th General Hospital, Camp Forrest, Tenn., 1942.
    25See footnotes 22 (1) and 24 (1).
    26Annual Report, 41st Station Hospital, Camp Barkeley, Tex., 1942.
    27See footnote 22 (2).


254

truckdrivers, and clerks, could be obtained from Medical Replacement Training Centers by requisition through The Adjutant General. Specialists and technicians needed in excess of those supplied by The Adjutant General, however, had to be trained by the unit commander. In training common specialists, the unit commander had a choice of options. If there were common specialists schools at the post at which the unit was located, he could enroll selected members of his organization.28 If there were no such schools, he had to train his own cooks, truckdrivers, and clerks. Often, it was possible to simplify the task by searching for related civilian skills among personnel sent as fillers. When such men were not available, the commander had to provide special training programs within the unit.

The training of technicians posed a more serious problem. Commanders had their choice of two alternatives: One, they could send selected members of their unit to the post or station hospital for parallel training; or two, they could send them to Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools. Without close supervision from higher authorities, the training which hospital units received depended primarily upon the attitudes of local surgeons and unit commanders. In some instances, well-planned, on-the-job training programs were established in named hospitals and were coordinated with unit field training. In others, the commanders of named hospitals assigned men from numbered units to vacant jobs regardless of their training value. In such assignments, technical training suffered because many men did only menial work, and controversies developed between hospital commanders responsible for postmedical care and unit commanders responsible for technical and field training of their men.29 The preferred alternative, therefore, was to send men to Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools.

Field units, however, were not always successful in obtaining authorization to send their men to Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School. The Surgeon General had to allot quotas for these schools indirectly through the Service Commands, Defense Commands, and the headquarters of Army Ground and Army Air Forces, which, in turn, subdivided quotas among subordinate units. Within Army Service Forces, quotas were subdivided a second time among posts under ASF jurisdiction. These suballotments were then utilized by the post for training both technicians from the station hospital and students from units being activated at the post. Because of this conflict of interest, it was reported that: "It was unusual for any unit to be able to send away from the unit over one-third of the *   *    * technicians that should have received training in Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools."30

Unit commanders frequently added to the problem by using the schools to train specialists for unrated positions in their tables of organization. Numbered general hospitals, for example, were authorized 84 medical technicians: 35 who were rated graduates of enlisted technicians schools, and 49 who were unrated graduates of schools at medical replacement training centers. Often, a unit commander would

    28Annual Report, Headquarters, 10th Hospital Center, Camp Rucker, Ala., 1942.
    29(1) See footnote 21, p. 253. (2) Smith, Clarence McKittrick: The Medical Department: Hospitalization and Evacuation, Zone of Interior. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956.
    30See footnote 21, p. 253.


255

attempt to fill all of these vacancies with rated graduates of Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools, thereby creating a spurious shortage of technicians which made it difficult for other commanders to fill rated vacancies in their units.31

Whether technicians were qualified for ratings through Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools or on-the-job training at post hospitals, their training increased the administrative problems of the unit commander. Many of his future technicians had to be excused from unit training for all or part of the training day while acquiring skills at the post hospital, while others were enrolled at distant schools for periods of 3 or 4 months. Moreover, since schools and post hospitals were capable of enrolling only a relatively small number of trainees from any given unit at one time, instability frequently continued over a protracted period.32 Such instability was further increased when the unit, in its turn, was called on to provide cadre for another newly activated unit.

Despite its inherent drawbacks, most units trained during World War II were activated under the cadre system. In mid-1942, Army Service Forces began to move toward centralizing the activation and training of nondivisional service units. On 31 July 1942, representatives of the Surgeon General's Office and other technical services met at a conference called by the Unit Training Branch of the Training Division, ASF, to discuss the advisability of establishing a unit training center for ASF units. The Surgeon General's Office was reluctant to accept this recommendation, however, since there were already 12 large Medical Department unit training centers in Army Ground Forces housing adjacent to large fixed hospitals, and similar facilities were under construction at 22 fixed general hospitals and 34 station hospitals. The Surgeon General believed it would be preferable to continue training medical units at a large number of sites adjacent to an active fixed hospital if Army Ground Forces would provide assurance that these facilities would remain available. If not, he requested that the Medical Department be allotted a proportionate share of the facilities at the proposed unit training center.33

In November 1942, a Medical Training Section was established at the newly activated Services of Supply Unit Training Center (later designated Camp Plauche), New Orleans Staging Area, New Orleans, La., "with the primary mission of controlling all training for medical units" at the center.34 During the next 12 months, the Medical Training Section at Camp Plauche was responsible for training approximately 120 units, including seven general hospitals, 15 sanitary companies, 38 station hospitals, 56 hospital platoons, three portable surgical hospitals, and one hospital ship complement. In November 1943, the Medical Training Section's primary mission was changed to providing unit technical training for malaria survey

    31Memorandum, Col. John A. Rogers, MC, Executive Officer, Office of The Surgeon General, for the Director of Training, Services of Supply, 28 Aug. 1942, subject: Dissipation of Trained Enlisted Personnel.
    32See footnote 21, p. 253.
    33Memorandum, Col. John A. Rogers, MC, Executive Officer, Office of The Surgeon General, to Training Division, Services of Supply (attention: Unit Training Branch), 1 Aug. 1942, subject: Unit Training Center.
    34(1) Letter, Lt. Col. B. L. Steger, MC, Director of Medical Training, Headquarters, Services of Supply Unit Training Center, New Orleans, La., to Maj. John W. Middleton, MC, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, 9 Dec. 1942. (2) Memorandum, Lt. Col. Donald J. Wolfram, MC, Chief, Readiness and Requirements Branch, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, to The Historian, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, 3 July 1945, subject: History of Unit Training Center, Camp Plauche, La., and attachment thereto.


256

and malaria control units which had been activated and received their basic training at other centers. Between August 1943 and November 1945, 141 malaria control units and 76 malaria survey units, comprising almost all the malaria units activated in the Zone of Interior, were sent to Camp Plauche for technical training.35

After overcoming a series of initial problems, the medical section at Camp Plauche was able to provide a number of services that facilitated the activation and training of medical field units. When the officer designated as director of medical training for the medical section at Camp Plauche, Lt. Col. (later Col.) Byron L. Steger, MC, arrived at the center in November 1942, he encountered conditions prevalent, on a lesser scale, at posts and camps throughout the United States. At first, authorities at the camp refused to believe that there was such a position as Director of Medical Training, and assigned him duties as a medical instructor. After several conferences, Colonel Steger persuaded the local commander to assign him the position he had been sent to fill. Two officers sent to assist him arrived shortly afterward, but the administrative personnel for his section did not arrive for another 6 weeks.

Shortly after the medical section was activated, it was discovered that a number of medical units had already been activated, including 28 general and station hospitals, and 15 sanitary companies. No control was exercised over any of these units, and they had no place to turn for advice when problems arose. Each hospital sought to train as many men from their organization at the local station hospital as possible; as a result, the general hospital with the senior colonel was getting reasonably good training for his unit, and the remaining units had to fend for themselves.36 The newly established medical section, however, was gradually able to bring these problems under control by arranging for an equitable allocation of the training facilities available at the post hospital and by securing additional quotas at Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools from the Surgeon
General's Office. Center-level courses were set up for common specialists and a 4-week refresher course for officers was inaugurated. The medical section also organized its own training aid section and provided central facilities for producing and distributing lecture and conference material.

A second ASF Unit Training Center with facilities for training Medical Department theater-of-operations units was activated at Camp Ellis, Ill., on 1 February 1943. At first, the center attempted to operate under a common headquarters, but within a short time, it was realized that the special training requirements of each of the technical services made this structure too cumbersome. After several reorganizations, the medical section was established as a separate entity early in May 1943. Between May 1943 and January 1945, when the center was deactivated, 266 medical units of all types were activated at Camp Ellis.37

    35Letter, Maj. Joseph E. Schenthal, MC, Director, Medical Training Section, Third Regiment, Army Service Forces Training Center, Camp Plauche, New Orleans, La., to the Surgeon, New Orleans Port of Embarkation, New Orleans, La., 5 Nov. 1945, subject: Summary of Activities, Medical Training Section, Army Service Forces Training Center, Camp Plauche, New Orleans, La.
    36See footnote 34 (2), p. 255.
    37(1) Annual Report, Unit Training Center, 1644th Service Unit, Camp Ellis, Ill., 1943. (2) "The Story of Camp Ellis." [Official record.]


257

The medical section at Camp Ellis played a similar role in the training of medical units. It operated a school for cooks, bakers, truckdrivers, and other common specialists, and, in addition, conducted courses for unrated medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and pharmacy technicians. A weeklong orientation course was provided for the unit commander, his adjutant, executive officer, and supply officer, to acquaint them with the problems of unit activation. The medical section also assisted the various units at Camp Ellis to secure training aids and provided them with general, station, and field hospital equipment sets for use on field problems.38

The Preactivation System

Despite the inherent advantages of unit training centers, the Army Service Forces did not achieve a complete centralization of its training facilities until the preactivation system was adopted in April 1944, well after the pace of unit activations within Army Service Forces was past its peak. During the final year of the war, facilities for training medical units were available at three Army Service Forces Training Centers: Camp Ellis, Camp Barkeley, Tex., and Fort Lewis, Wash. Camp Grant, Ill., also served briefly as a center for unit training under the preactivation system, until its facilities were transferred to Fort Lewis in the summer of 1944. Camp Plauche, which by this time was being used exclusively to provide field training for malaria control and survey teams activated at other centers, was never reorganized to include preactivation training.

Under the preactivation system, ASF Training Centers served as pools from which a unit could draw a full complement of trained enlisted personnel at the moment of activation. Responsibility for training personnel before it was assembled as a unit was vested entirely in the training center. When a new unit was scheduled for activation, the center received orders for its "preactivation" or, in effect, was informed that it was required to earmark a given number of enlisted men at the center for assignment to the unit as fillers. Such men then received basic military and technical training at the center, and those selected to become technicians were sent to an appropriate enlisted technicians school. Late in the war, the system also served as a device for channeling "spare parts" or men from overstrength or deactivated Zone of Interior units into field units scheduled for shipment overseas.

The ASF preactivation system had several intrinsic advantages over the system that it replaced. It relieved the commander of responsibility for providing his men with basic military and technical training and simultaneously eliminated the problems that developed when men were received in increments over several months and had to be provided with separate training programs. It also relieved the unit commander of responsibility for finding ways to train the technicians needed to fill his table of organization. Unit training at ASF Training Centers could thus begin at the end of the 14th week of the basic training cycle, instead of being delayed for weeks, or even months, while fillers in the unit were being brought to a common level of training. In sum, the new system provided the commander with

    38(1) See footnote 21, p. 253. (2) Annual Report, Headquarters, Medical Group, 1644th Service Unit, Army Service Forces Training Center, Camp Ellis, Ill., 1944.


258

all the components necessary for his unit and allowed him to focus his attention on molding these components into a smoothly functioning team.39

In addition to the intrinsic advantages of the preactivation system, units activated after 15 April 1944 had several other factors working in their favor. War Department policies requiring Zone of Interior installations to release general service personnel for service overseas, for example, provided ASP Training Centers with an adequate supply of noncommissioned officers and experienced enlisted men who could be assigned to newly activated units.40 Thus, units activated under the new system were more frequently provided with the training nucleus of enlisted personnel that should have been provided under the cadre system, and less frequently subjected to debilitating cadre levies. Units activated after April 1944 also had the advantage of receiving at least the first 3 weeks of their team training at ASP Training Centers, which provided guidance and assistance to the unit commander that formerly had been available only to organizations activated as ASP Unit Training Centers. As a result, units found it easier to obtain training aids and equipment, and the facilities of the post were at their disposal.

In June 1942, a Unit Training Branch was organized in the Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, to discharge the newly assigned responsibility for preparing Medical Department nondivisional units trained by the Army Service Forces for functional deployment in the theaters of operations. In addition to maintaining liaison with other elements of the Surgeon General's Office and divisions of the Army Service Forces and the War Department in matters relating to the activation and training of numbered units at class I and class IV installations of the Army Service Forces, the Unit Training Branch was also responsible for inspecting their technical training and submitting appropriate recommendations to the Director of Military Training, ASF. The Unit Training Branch reached its peak strength in December 1942, when the staff consisted of two officers and an enlisted clerk. Because of its limited staff, and the constantly growing number of medical units scattered throughout the Zone of Interior, the Unit Training Branch found it impossible to conduct frequent and periodic inspections. Control was maintained by requiring units to file bimonthly Unit Training Status Reports, developed in the summer of 1942, that provided the Surgeon General's Office with information on the strength, training programs, equipment, and status of each medical unit being trained by Army Service Forces.41 The Unit Training Branch then confined itself to inspecting units that were being prepared for shipment overseas. Whenever inspection of a numbered ASP medical unit was required, members of the Unit Training Branch also inspected all other medical units at the same post. No record was kept of the number of units inspected before mid-1943, but between June 1943 and June 1944, the Unit Training Branch conducted 751 inspections and be-

    39(1) See footnote 21, p. 253. (2) Memorandum, Lt. Col. Donald J. Wolfram, MC, Chief, Readiness and Requirements Branch, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, to the Historian, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, 3 July 1945, subject: History of Unit Training Center, Camp Plauche, La., and attachment thereto.
    40(1) Army Service Forces Circular No. 26, 24 Jan. 1944. (2) Army Service Forces Circular No. 100, 21 Mar. 1945.
    41Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, fiscal year 1943.


259

tween June 1944 and June 1945, it inspected all of the 319 units activated by Army Service Forces.

Until April 1945, inspections conducted by representatives of the Surgeon General's Office encompassed all aspects of training and preparation for overseas movement, including any discrepancy that might result in a unit's being declared unsatisfactory by the Inspector General.42 As a result, 104 of the 115 ASF medical units inspected by the Inspector General in the 9 months preceding June 1944 were declared qualified to perform their primary mission. Of the remaining 11, four reported only minor deficiencies and four had not been allowed enough time for refitting and refresher training after returning from overseas service. Only two were rejected for serious deficiencies. The following year was equally successful.43

In May 1944, the Unit Training Branch was redesignated as the Readiness and Requirements Branch, to symbolize the transition to the preactivation system. After this system was established, representatives of the Surgeon General's Office inspected all nondivisional medical units during their first 3 weeks of unit training at ASF Training Centers. In September 1944, the Surgeon General's Office also prepared a series of training tests consisting of questions and a field problem that was designed to prepare such units for inspection.44 In April 1945, the responsibilities of the subordinate agencies of the Army Service Forces were redefined, and the chiefs of the technical services were directed to confine themselves to purely technical inspections. Thereafter, representatives of The Surgeon General coordinated their inspections with those of the service commands, and representatives of the service commands inspected units in matters involving administration, supply, and military training.45

ARMY AIR FORCES SYSTEMS

The Army Air Forces trained less than half a dozen types of medical units designed to fit the special needs of air troops-primarily a medical supply, an evacuation, and a dispensary unit. Because such units were small and required only limited housing facilities, the Army Air Forces was able to bring these units together at selected locations and provide special schools for their training.

The Army Air Forces facilities for training tactical medical units were decentralized until the spring of 1942 when a new medical detachment at Warner Robins Air Depot in Georgia was called on to furnish Medical Department officers for

    42Memorandum, Capt. Harold D. Brennand, MAC, Regular Training Branch, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, to the Historian, Training Division, Surgeon General's Office, 5 July 1945, subject: Policy and Procedure Governing Inspection of ASF-Type Medical Department Units by Surgeon General's Office.
    43(1) Report, Readiness and Requirements Branch, fiscal year 1944. In Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, fiscal year 1944. (2) Report, Readiness and Requirements Branch, fiscal year 1945. In Annual Report, Training Division, Operations Service, Office of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army, fiscal year 1945.
    44Memorandum, Col. Floyd L. Wergeland, MC, Director, Training Division, Office of The Surgeon General, for the Director of Military Training, Army Service Forces, 8 Sept. 1944, subject: Test for Training Inspection, Numbered ASF Medical Units, and inclosures thereto.
    45See footnotes 18, p. 251; and 43 (2).


260

FIGURE 40.-School of Aviation Medicine building, Randolph Field, Tex.

tactical units under the Air Service Command. The station surgeon, Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Richard R. Cameron, MC, asked permission to establish a school for this type of training. In the fall, the Medical Training Section at Warner Robins Air Depot began training men for a newly created type of unit, the medical supply platoon (aviation). This unit, consisting of two Medical Administrative Corps officers and 19 enlisted men, was designed to supply medical equipment to rapidly moving combat air squadrons in forward areas where Services of Supply did not maintain depots. In such areas, AAF general depots were furnished with the medical supply platoons (aviation) necessary to supply combat units. The Medical Training Section at Warner Robins Air Depot eventually developed into the Medical Service Training School which was established late in 1943 with Colonel Cameron as commandant.46 By this time, the school had been assigned the additional mission of training medical dispensary detachments (aviation), a unit consisting of four officers and 24 enlisted men with enough equipment to set up a 36-bed field dispensary in areas where hospital facilities were not available. It also provided facilities for training command and administrative specialists.47

Air evacuation of sick and wounded troops was a major responsibility of the Air Transport Command, which was established in June 1942 as a successor to the former Air Corps Ferrying Command. Responsibility for organizing and training

    46See footnote 5 (3), p. 248.
    47History, Army Air Forces, Medical Service Training School, Robins Field, Ga., 1942, vol. I. [Official record.]


261

troop carrier units, together with personnel for replacements, was delegated to the I Troop Carrier Command, activated in June 1942 with headquarters at Stout Field, Indianapolis, Ind. In addition to carrying out the typical responsibilities of the surgeon of any large command, the Staff Surgeon, Col. Wood S. Woolford, MC, was responsible for the development and training of units for evacuating casualties by air. In 1942, the Air Surgeon and Colonel Woolford developed plans for a standard unit. In the latter half of 1942, the 349th Air Evacuation Group was established at Bowman Field, Louisville, Ky., as a training command for personnel assigned to units accompanying patients during air evacuation flights. In June 1943, the 349th Air Evacuation Group was established as the Army Air Forces School of Air Evacuation, and in October 1944, it was absorbed into the School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Tex. (fig. 40).48

ARMY GROUND FORCES SYSTEMS

Medical units attached or organic to AGF organizations were universally activated and trained under the cadre system. Nondivisional medical units under the jurisdiction of Army Ground Forces were activated and trained at a wide variety of posts and camps throughout the Zone of Interior, in approximately the same manner as those activated by Army Service Forces. Organic units were activated and trained in conjunction with their division.

When Army Ground Forces inherited responsibility for the creation and training of combat divisions from General Headquarters on 9 March 1942, it adopted unit activation procedures that were already well developed. In common with ASF units, AGF divisions were established by a letter of activation under the cadre system. The commander, assistant commander, and artillery commander were selected by the War Department from a list that Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, Commanding General of the Army Ground Forces, submitted for their consideration. General McNair was also responsible for selecting and designating the heads of the general staff of the new division and other key officers for which Army Ground Forces was responsible. The selection of special staff heads and other key service officers was coordinated with the appropriate chiefs of the technical services in Army Service Forces.

Each division was assigned a parent unit responsible for furnishing it with trained cadre. The G-3 section of Army Ground Forces then formulated plans for the division's assignment and issued a letter officially ordering activation of the unit and instructing all agencies in their respective duties. This letter provided for delivery by the service commands, without requisition, of enlisted fillers from reception centers and replacement training centers on a schedule worked out by the division and the service command. In addition, War Department General Staff, G-1, Personnel, prepared a memorandum providing instructions for the selection, schooling, and assignment of commissioned personnel for the division.

Early in 1942, these procedures were expanded to provide special training for

    48(1) See footnote 5 (3), p. 248. (2) Link, Mae Mills, and Coleman, Hubert A.: Medical Support of the Army Air Forces in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954.


262

FIGURE 41.-Medical Department officers attend courses at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kans., where extensive use was made of training aids, including demonstration. Here, instructors demonstrate staff work at an infantry division headquarters for the benefit of a class at the college.

division cadre officers. Thereafter, when a new division was activated, the commander, assistant commander, and division artillery commander were designated by the War Department not later than 78 days before activation and assigned to General Headquarters, or after March 1942, to Army Ground Forces, for a week of orientation. The division commander then spent a month in special training at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kans. (fig. 41), the assistant division commander took a special course at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Ga., and the division artillery commander was sent to the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Okla. Officers assigned to the division's general and special staffs, including the division surgeon, joined the division commander for the monthlong course at the Command and General Staff School. The remaining members of the officer cadre were sent to special cadre courses conducted at branch schools under the jurisdiction of the chief of their arm or service. All Medical Department cadre officers, except the division surgeon, attended the Special Cadre Course for Divisional Officers at the Medical Field Service School.


263

After completing their special training, the commander and his staff arrived at the division camp 37 days before activation. A week later, they were joined by the rest of the cadre, and a few days after that, by a complement of 452 officers provided by the War Department from graduates of officer candidate schools, service schools, and officer replacement pools. The unit was formally activated on D-day; during the next 15 days, the unit received its quota of fillers (approximately 13,000 in the case of the infantry division). After the last installment of fillers arrived, the division was ready to begin training.

Between March 1942 and August 1943, when the last of the divisions of World War II was activated, Army Ground Forces made several refinements in the procedures for division activation. None of these changes, however, had a significant effect on the activation of medical components of the division, and from the standpoint of the Medical Department, procedures remained unchanged after the establishment of the division cadre course.

When the War Department was reorganized in March 1942, Army Ground Forces inherited a schedule for training newly activated divisions that had only recently been put into effect by General Headquarters. Before 1942, training programs were designed to fill and train Regular Army and National Guard Divisions under peacetime conditions. The previous program had provided neither a specific date for the attainment of combat readiness nor a clear differentiation between individual and unit training. Once a unit had completed its initial 13 to 16 weeks of training under the mobilization training programs, its training was governed by a series of annual and special training directives that prescribed additional unit training and exercises designed to prepare the unit for the next series of maneuvers. Such directives were couched in the broadest terms and governed not only the training of divisions and their organic medical support but also the training of all other field units, including those later controlled by Army Service Forces.

On 16 February 1942, General Headquarters issued a training directive designed to bring divisions to a state of combat readiness 44 weeks after the date of activation.49 This period was divided into three definite phases-individual training, unit training, and combined-arms training-and a training guide was set up for each period. During the individual training period, commanders were required to use War Department mobilization training programs as their guides. Although the mobilization training programs were drawn up on a 13-week period, General Headquarters allowed an extra 4 weeks to compensate for delays in the arrival of fillers and equipment and to permit testing by higher commands. During the 13-week unit training period, specific guides were available only for infantry, field artillery, engineer, and quartermaster organizations; commanders of other service organizations were expected to rely on guidance provided by the division and to tailor their programs to combine elements of their technical specialty with divisional training requirements. The directive of 16 February provided the only guidance for the 14-week period of combined training.50 Nondivisional units of the Army Ground Forces trained on the same schedule but were provided with only

    49See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.
    50Wiley, Bell I.: The Army Ground Forces. Training in the Ground Army 1942-1945. Study No. XI. Historical Section-Army Ground Forces, 1948, p. 4. [Official record.]


264

limited guidance beyond their branch mobilization training programs. During 1942, control over the training of nondivisional units, including medical units, was vested principally in the armies; it was not unusual for such units to go for months without being subjected to the tests and inspections that were provided for the guidance of divisional units at each stage of their training.

The General Headquarters training directive of February 1942 was superseded on 19 October 1942 by an AGF directive designed to guide all existing and future units through the training cycle. The new schedule shortened the training period for divisions from 44 to 35 weeks, and time was allotted among training phases in the following pattern: Individual or basic training, 13 weeks; unit training, 11 weeks; and combined training, 11 weeks. Reduction of the basic phase from 17 to 13 weeks seemed possible because of the accelerated pace of inductions, making it possible to fill the division and begin training immediately upon activation. Shortening of the entire training cycle was considered necessary because of the likelihood in 1943 of heavy requirements for overseas operations. In addition, the directive added two new training tests to the program: a physical training test required for all units, and an infantry battalion combat-firing test.

By late 1942, when the new directive was issued, the training of divisions assumed a pattern which was basically stable throughout the remainder of the war. The 13-week individual training period, based on War Department mobilization training programs, was devoted to individual and small unit training up to the battalion level. As at replacement training centers, the first few weeks focused on basic military subjects such as military courtesy, drill, and map reading designed to transform the individual into a soldier before he began training as a specialist. After the first month, emphasis shifted to technical subjects, and soldiers were oriented to the basic elements of their unit's specialty. During the last 4 weeks of the individual training period, training focused on tactical subjects and was increasingly conducted in the field. The last few days of the basic period were devoted to preparing for the mobilization training program tests given by corps or army commanders to units on the platoon level.

At the end of the individual training period, the division began 11 weeks of progressive unit training that began with the squad and culminated in regimental exercises, with the goal of developing each unit into a team capable of taking its place in the division and carrying out its special mission in combat. While combat arms concentrated on tactical training, support elements were given practical training in their specialist roles and taught to work together in platoons and companies. Medical technicians, for example, practiced skills required in first and second echelon medical service; and medical companies moved to the field to engage in exercises requiring them to evacuate casualties across rivers, set up battalion aid stations, and move casualties from collecting stations to clearing stations. Units were also required to complete a series of tests, such as the AGF platoon combat-firing proficiency tests for infantry components and the AGF battery tests for the field artillery. Because of their highly specialized mission, however, medical units were required only to complete the AGF special battle courses and physical fitness tests.


265

Unit training was followed by 11 weeks of combined-arms training designed to weld the elements of the division into a division team. After October 1942, this phase consisted of three series of problems: One, regimental combat team exercises, culminating in field maneuvers; two, division exercises and maneuvers; and three, command post exercises. The combined training period began with regimental combat team exercises, and ended with maneuvers by one division against another. Exercises were conducted both by day and at night, in all types of terrain. All exercises were followed by a critique. During such exercises, medical units and other service elements were expected to function in a supporting role.51

The training received by medical elements of the 89th Infantry Division was typical of the experience of most divisions during World War II. Orders for the creation of the new division were issued on 1 April 1942, and approximately a month later, members of the division cadre reported to Army schools for special training. The division surgeon, Maj. (later Col.) Clifford G. Blitch, MC, arrived at Camp Carson, Colo., the home of the new division, on 1 June 1942, after completing the monthlong cadre course at the Command and General Staff School along with the commanding general and his general and special staff officers. Medical officers who had completed the special cadre course at the Medical Field Service School reported to the division on 13 June, followed between 3 and 12 July by the unit's remaining Medical Department officer fillers. The latter consisted of 37 Medical Corps, 12 Dental Corps, and five Medical Administrative Corps officers. The 72-man medical enlisted cadre arrived at Camp Carson on 8 June 1942, after completing a cadre course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. On 15 July 1942, the 89th Infantry Division was officially activated.

For several months following its activation, the division was engaged in providing basic training for fillers who had been assigned directly from reception centers. Such training, conducted under programs written by the chiefs of the arms and services, was nearly identical with that provided at replacement training centers. By January 1943, medical units of the division were in their final stage of basic training, and during the first week of February, an VIII Corps testing team administered individual training tests to all units of the division. As a result of these tests, the division received a rating of "very satisfactory" despite the fact that, during January, it suffered heavy losses from cadre levies. In mid-January, medical elements of the division sent 12 officers to the Medical Field Service School to be trained as cadre for the 66th Infantry Division, and shortly thereafter, seven more officers were transferred to the 76th Infantry Division. On 31 January, Colonel Blitch was transferred to the 99th Evacuation Hospital, and Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Sydney L. Stevens, MC, regimental surgeon of the 354th Infantry Regiment, was assigned to replace him.

From 8 February through 24 April 1943, the division and its medical elements were enrolled in the unit phase of training. Emphasis at all levels was placed upon realism and battlefield leadership, with the objective of developing each team into a unit capable of taking its place in the division. All such training was conducted

    51See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.


266

under simulated tactical conditions. Training began with the smallest unit and progressed to the largest, culminating on 24 April with a demonstration given by the division for President Roosevelt in which the medical battalion played a part in evacuating casualties on a litter raft constructed from the tarp of a weapons carrier. During the individual and unit training phases, a number of enlisted men were also detached to attached special schools, including 50 men who were sent to Medical Department Enlisted Technicians Schools for training as medical and surgical technicians, and 36 men who received a month of special training at the Camp Carson station hospital. Between 12 and 17 April, medical personnel participated in physical training tests given by the VIII Corps testing team.

The division's combined arms training began on 10 May, and lasted until 19 June. Three collecting companies, each assigned to a regimental combat team, took part in exercises which were conducted in the Camp Carson and Lake George areas of Colorado. Company D, the division clearing company, moved to Lake George to establish a clearing station and to set up a base camp for the division. During these exercises, all units were able to gain experience in handling both actual and simulated casualties, including 376 men who became sick or were injured in the course of training. When not engaged in exercises, the medical battalion practiced evacuation of casualties over water obstacles, using facilities provided at Camp Carson lake. Units were also required to conduct two training sessions on an infiltration course, one by day and one at night, and to train their men to climb cargo nets in full field equipment. Combined arms training was completed on 19 June 1943 following a critique by the division commander.

On 28 June, the division moved south of the Camp Carson area to an area near Pueblo, Colo., to hold a series of maneuvers under the direction of the VIII Corps. Again, the three collecting companies were employed under combat team control, while the clearing company remained under the division. In the course of the maneuvers, medical units evacuated a total of 347 sick and injured, as well as a number of simulated casualties. These maneuvers had originally been planned to extend to the beginning of August, but on 14 July, they were cut short to make time for the division's reorganization.

On 1 August 1943, the 89th Infantry Division was reorganized and redesignated as the 89th Light Division. After the reorganization, the officer strength of medical elements was reduced from 51 Medical Corps, 12 Dental Corps, and 12 Medical Administrative Corps to 38 Medical Corps, eight Dental Corps, and nine Medical Administrative Corps, respectively, while enlisted strength was reduced from 896 to 582. The medical battalion was placed under a new table of organization, and its allotment of vehicles was reduced to eight jeeps and four trailers. During the period from 1 August to 15 November, the unit spent its time in maneuvers designed to test the capabilities of the 89th Light Division. On 15 November, the 89th Light Division completed its training at Camp Carson and moved to the Louisiana Maneuver Area for corps and army maneuvers, and eventual shipment overseas.52

The growth of training systems for nondivisional units of the Army Ground

    52Medical History and Progress of the 89th Infantry Division for the Calendar Year 1943.


267

Forces during 1943 and 1944 paralleled the development of unit training systems in Army Service Forces. In mid-1942, the Army Ground Forces began to experiment with the use of group headquarters to control the 700-odd units that were then being trained under corps and army jurisdiction. In the summer and fall of 1943, after group headquarters proved effective in controlling the training of tactical units, group organization was extended to service units. By 31 December 1943, 12 group headquarters had been organized to control the training of nondivisional medical units.53 Late in 1942, the Army Ground Forces also adopted a systemized activation procedure for nondivisional units. The system was followed closely for approximately 6 months, but after mid-1943, the dwindling manpower supply made rigid application nearly impossible.54

Throughout 1942 the basic training of AGF nondivisional units was guided by mobilization training programs prepared during the General Headquarters period by chiefs of the appropriate arms or services. Since most mobilization training programs did not extend beyond the basic training phase, units in advanced stages of training did not have detailed programs to follow, and training was conducted under weekly schedules drawn up by the unit commander in accordance with the very general guidelines provided in directives issued by higher headquarters. No effort was made to revise these programs until late 1942; then, deficiencies observed in combined training exercises and in the theater focused attention sharply on the fact that many mobilization training programs were obsolete, and that unit training programs had never been prepared for the guidance of service units. Early in 1943, the special staff sections of Army Ground Forces were instructed to revise mobilization training programs covering the individual training period and to prepare unit training programs covering the unit training period. By the autumn of 1943, all of the staff except the Ground Surgeon had submitted revised mobilization training programs. In January 1944, the medical section submitted a unit training schedule, and shortly afterward, the mobilization training program for AGF medical units was published.

Before the end of 1944, Army Ground Forces also adopted a series of MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) tests designed to test individuals in their proficiency as specialists. Most of these tests were already in use by subordinate commands, or modified versions of tests prepared by the chiefs of the services were used. Usually, MOS tests were divided into two parts: One, theoretical questions involving the duties and skills required in a particular specialty, and, two, practical exercise requiring the application of specialized techniques. Tests for personnel in quartermaster and medical units were supplemented by exercises designed to check the ability of the units to perform their primary mission. The test for members of a medical collecting company, for example, required the unit to collect and transport casualties under tactical conditions. Because such tests were already in use by many subordinate commands, the tests published by Army Ground Forces were not mandatory.55

    53See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.
    54Wiley, Bell I.: The Army Ground Forces. Problems of Nondivisional Training in the Army Ground Forces. Study No. 14. Historical Section-Army Ground Forces, 1946. [Official record.]
    55See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.


268

On 14 April 1944, approximately 2 months after Army Service Forces adopted the preactivation system, the Army Ground Forces also published an accelerated training schedule for nondivisional units. Under the new system, training schedules varied according to the source of the unit's fillers and, because of the diverse duties assigned AGF nondivisional units, according to the unit's mission, branch, or service. In medical units, only the period of individual or basic training varied: Units that received the bulk of their fillers directly from reception centers were required to complete a 14-week program of individual training; those whose fillers were sent from units of replacement training centers of another branch were required to provide 5 weeks of individual training; and units whose fillers were provided by a medical unit or Medical Replacement Training Center were required only to complete a 1-week refresher course. Following this phase, all medical units were required to complete 9 weeks of unit training and 3 weeks of combined training. Thus, depending on the unit's source of fillers, the training period for medical units ranged from 13 to 26 weeks. By comparison, the training time required for other technical service units ranged from 13 to 42 weeks.56

The final year of the war produced a marked decline in AGF training activity. Efforts focused on converting unneeded organizations and excess Zone of Interior personnel into units required for support in the theater of operations. The accelerated system made it possible to tailor the training of each unit according to its needs. The most serious problem created by the program involved the training of technical personnel. Most nondivisional. technical service units, including medical units, contained a large number of men whose duties required qualification as technicians or specialists. Getting these men to school without disrupting the training program and impairing the integrity of the unit had been a serious problem even under the former system. Under the accelerated program, the problem became increasingly acute. Schooling was accomplished in many instances at the cost of having a majority of the unit's personnel absent after the completion of basic training. Despite this problem, however, the system remained in effect through the end of the war.57

PROGRAM GUIDES AND TRAINING LITERATURE

The Medical Department's prototype for World War II mobilization training programs was created in 1935 when The Surgeon General directed the staff at the Medical Field Service School to prepare a 16-week training program for the mobilization of medical regiments. This program, issued by the War Department on 1 August 1935, served as a model for mobilization training programs throughout the war. Under this program, instruction was roughly divided into three phases: The first phase included both military and technical subjects, with emphasis on military subjects such as drill and military courtesy; the second, emphasized technical subjects, such as first aid, nursing, ward management, litter drill, and the organization and functions of the Medical Department; and the third, was devoted primarily to

    56See footnote 54, p. 267.
    57See footnote 10 (2), p. 249.


269

field activities and a review of basic military training. The program also contained special annexes outlining the training of common specialists, such as cooks, clerks, cobblers, horseshoers, wheelwrights, and motor mechanics, and, in addition, prescribed the training for medical, surgical, and veterinary technicians.58 Programs utilized during World War II differed widely from the 1935 prototype in details but did not radically alter its form.

The program of 1935 was superseded, on 9 September 1940, by a 13-week program bearing the designation Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1, entitled "Medical Department Mobilization Training Program for Medical Department Units at Unit Training Centers and Medical Department Replacements at Enlisted Replacement Centers." In contrast to its predecessor, which was designed to train specialized units within the medical regiment, the new mobilization training program was a general program written to guide the training of specialists within the unit, regardless of the unit's ultimate mission. As in the previous program, the new schedule was divided into three phases, which, for the first time, were broken up into three distinct chronological periods. At the end of the first 2 weeks of training, or the basic period, the soldier was expected to be able to care for his uniform and equipment, to march and pitch shelter tents, and to understand the fundamentals of technical subjects prescribed by the program.

The technical period, which lasted from the third through the 10th week of the cycle, focused on providing the individual with technical skills that would enable him to fill a specialized position in his unit. During this period, members of the unit received the same amount of training and attended a number of common classes in basic military subjects. Those who were selected to become common specialists and technicians, however, spent the bulk of their time in specialized training, while the remaining members of the unit continued their basic military and basic technical training. At the end of this period, trainees were also expected to be familiar with basic tactics and logistics.

In the final month of the cycle, units turned their attention to tactical training. At the end of the 13th week of the cycle, medical units were expected to be able to march and execute tactical movements, to establish and operate stations, to collect and treat casualties in the field, to operate battalion or regimental stations, and to participate in field exercises with the combat arms under tactical conditions. Having trained his men as individuals, the unit commander was responsible at this stage for training them as a team through the employment of appropriate field exercises. Commanders were expected to adjust the program to the needs of their unit during all phases of training, and during the tactical phase, tailoring was particularly important. Indeed, commanders were notified that:59

* * * The character of operations which will be required, the character and armament of the enemy, the probable theater of operations, including the geographical, topographical, sanitary, and climatic conditions therein and the results that may be expected should always be considered. The programs may, therefore, require modification to adapt them to the type of medical unit to

    58Letter, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff, 1 Aug. 1935, subject: Sixteen-week Training Schedule-Effective Upon Mobilization (Medical Regiment).
    59Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1, 9 Sept. 1940.


270

be trained, to meet the status of the individual or unit, to shorten or lengthen the time of training in order to conform to the time available, to make the best use of existing facilities and of training expedients, and to conform to the climatic or other conditions of the training situation. Progressive and balanced training in subjects essential to accomplish the training mission, however, must be preserved at all times.

In addition to these general guidelines, special programs were provided for units organic to divisional medical service, including the collecting, clearing, and ambulance components of the medical regiment and medical battalion.

In January 1941, the Medical Department published a mimeographed "Instructors' Guide" that had been prepared by the staff at the Medical Field Service School to supplement Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1. By themselves, mobilization training programs were little more than outlines that presented course titles, time allocations, and text references in tabular form. The schedule for 13 weeks of unit training under the program of September 1940, for example, consisted of six pages and charts and explanatory notes. In contrast, the four-volume "Instructors' Guide" specified the location, references, and instructional aids for each hour of training, and provided the instructor with a detailed outline of the subject. Commanders were not required to use the guide, but they were assured that "if the outlines for the subjects scheduled for the various hours are followed, a satisfactory standard of proficiency will be attained."60 Commanders were also urged to consult field manuals that would provide them with a detailed knowledge of the mission of their unit and the special training it required. As each new mobilization training program was issued during the course of World War II, it was followed by a comparable "Instructors' Guide," and as the war progressed, the guides became increasingly more detailed and complete.

With minor changes, the mobilization training program for medical units issued in September 1940 remained in effect until September 1943. On 18 February 1942, the original document was superseded by a revised version that eliminated schedules for programs at replacement training centers.61 Except for small refinements in the allocation of training time, and a modernization of references, however, the new unit training schedule remained identical with its predecessor.

Neither program provided guidance for units that had completed the 13-week basic training cycle, and there were no published guidelines for the advanced training of units that had completed Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1 until mid-1942. Before the War Department reorganization of 1942, the Office of The Surgeon General instructed unit commanders to look to the headquarters of the combat organizations to which they were attached for guidance after completing the basic training cycle. On 29 July 1942, however, after the reorganization placed many types of nondivisional medical units under the jurisdiction of Army Service Forces, the Medical Department prepared a mobilization training program for the advanced training of numbered hospital units containing personnel that had completed their basic training either under Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1 or at a Medical Replacement Training Center. Reflecting the technical orientation of

    60Instructors' Guide for Medical Department Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1. Volume I. Basic Military Training, January 1941.
    61Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1, 18 Feb. 1942.


271

ASF units, the program provided 1 week of review and orientation for all personnel and 12 weeks of advanced training for officers, common specialists, and technicians. During this period, specialists and technicians were expected to participate in on-the-job programs in a hospital on the post to which the unit was attached, while officers attended classes in administration and sanitation. In October 1942, the program was amended to provide training for nurses, and the following March, a program for sanitary technicians was added.62

The basic and advanced training programs remained the only unit training guides available until mid-1943, when the Medical Department prepared three special advanced programs for specific types of units. The first, Mobilization Training Program No. 8-21, a guide for training malaria survey and malaria control units, was published on 4 May 1943. Based on the assumption that all personnel would have at least 8 weeks of basic training in another unit, a Medical Replacement Training Center, or a Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School before assignment to a malaria unit, the new program outlined two 4-week programs, one for survey units, and one for malaria control units. Both programs contained similar introductions to malariology and entomology, but major emphasis in the program for survey units was placed on parasitology and the use of malaria survey equipment, while the program for control units stressed mosquito control methods and appliances.

The program for malaria units was followed on 21 May 1943 by a specialized guide, Mobilization Training Program No. 8-15, providing 13 weeks of advanced training for army and communications zone medical supply depots. Under this program, men selected to work in the headquarters, transportation, optical repair, or depot sections of medical supply depots were assigned to comparable sections of Zone of Interior depots for on-the-job training. During the final stage of training, all members of these units participated in an 85-hour field problem.

The third guide written for a specific unit was a mobilization training program for portable surgical hospitals, Mobilization Training Program No. 8-22, issued on 20 August 1943, approximately 2 months after the first of these units was activated. Assuming that personnel assigned to the unit had already received basic training, the program for portable surgical hospitals prescribed 4 weeks of intensive training designed to prepare the unit for jungle warfare. Included in the unit's program were military subjects such as scouting and patrolling; hasty entrenchment and camouflage defense against chemical, mechanized, and airborne attack; and heavy tent pitching, map reading, and litter carrying over difficult terrain. The medical portion of the program also focused on jungle warfare and included such topics as tropical disease, malaria, and field sanitation.

On 1 September 1943, the basic-unit training program, Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1 of February 1942, was superseded by a new guide designated Mobilization Training Program No. 8-101, "Mobilization Training Program for Medical Department Units of the Army Service Forces." In line with the increasing length of basic training cycles throughout the Army, the revised program extended

    62Mobilization Training Program No. 8-10, 29 July 1942, with changes 1 and 2, dated 21 Oct. 1942 and 13 Mar. 1943, respectively.


272

the period of basic training to 16 weeks. Renewed emphasis on military subjects was reflected by the use of the additional time to expand the basic military phase of the program from 2 to 6 weeks. By comparison, the technical training phase remained unchanged at 7 weeks, and the tactical training phase was reduced from 3 weeks to 2.

On 10 January 1944, this program was supplemented by a guide for units that had been assigned such numbers of limited service personnel that they were unable to sustain the normal pace of training.63 This supplementary mobilization training program for substandard units could be utilized only after a unit had been in training for 6 weeks and had demonstrated that it was staffed by substandard personnel. With the approval of Army Service Forces, such units were placed on a decelerated schedule during their seventh week of training, and allowed an additional 19 weeks to complete the cycle. By this technique, substandard units were able to spend a total of 25 weeks in basic training.

The mobilization training program for substandard units was the last issued for unit training under the cadre system. After the cadre system was replaced by the preactivation system on 15 April 1944, all unit training programs had to be rewritten. Under the new system, which shifted the entire responsibility for basic training to the replacement training centers, all male recruits, regardless of their branch, assigned to Army Service Forces were provided with 6 weeks of basic military training under a common program written by Army Service Forces.64 In their seventh week of training, those soldiers who were assigned to medical components of the Army Service Forces began an 8-week technical training phase, or its equivalent at an enlisted technicians school, under Medical Department Mobilization Training Program No. 8-1, "Mobilization Training Program for Medical Department Enlisted Personnel of the Arm Service Forces," published on 1 June 1944. At the end of the 14th week of the cycle, men who had been selected for assignment as replacements were scheduled for 3 weeks of basic team training. Those who were earmarked for assignment as fillers were separated from the basic training program and transferred to newly activated units.

During the final year of the war, three mobilization training programs governed the training of all Medical Department units. The first, a new program published by the War Department on 1 July 1944, provided medical units established under the preactivation system at ASF Training Centers with 6 weeks of basic training before they entered the advanced training cycle. On 10 May 1945, the War Department issued a revised version of the same program that left training schedules virtually unchanged, but for the first time during the war provided a lengthy discussion of the scope, content, and purpose of the program.65

Under this program, members of hospital units, general dispensaries, hospital trains, laboratories, and medical groups devoted their first week of training to classes in military and medical subjects and squad and platoon exercises. The second and third weeks were spent in field exercises designed to train the unit to perform

    63Mobilization Training Program No. 8-101A, 10 Jan. 1944.
    64Mobilization Training Program No. 21-3, 1 May 1944.
    65(1) Mobilization Training Program No. 8-2, 1 July 1944. (2) Mobilization Training Program No. 8-2, 10 May 1945.


273

its mission under tactical conditions with a minimum of confusion and delay. In addition, units were also required to participate in 8 hours of night training each week. The last 3 weeks of the program were used to provide unit personnel with additional parallel or on-the-job training at fixed installations and hospitals and to prepare the unit for overseas movement. Malaria control units, malaria survey units, and sanitary companies, the latter consisting entirely of Negroes, were provided with separate schedules that substituted practical exercises in their technical specialty for parallel training at fixed installations. After completing the 6-week basic training program, units were expected to be prepared to move to the field or the theater of operations on short notice or, if time permitted, to complete an advanced unit training cycle.

The second program, a mobilization training program issued in 1943 to guide the advanced training of medical supply units, was the only program of that period to remain in effect under the preactivation system. The third and final program was published on 1 July 1944 as a revised version of Mobilization Training Program No. 8-10, the guide originally issued in 1942 to govern the advanced training of numbered hospitals and nondivisional units of the Army Service Forces. During the first 10 weeks of the program, specialists and technicians spent half of each day in on-the-job training at local hospitals and installations; the remaining time was divided between classes in military and technical subjects. After the technical phase was completed, the cycle concluded with 3 weeks of field exercises. Officers, including for the first time dietitians and physical therapists, were provided with 4 weeks of classes in military, technical, and administrative subjects. The final section of the program contained the schedules prepared by the Ground Surgeon in January 1944 for AGF divisional and nondivisional units during their advanced or unit phase of training.

PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT

During the early years of World War II, medical units were plagued by a chronic shortage of personnel and equipment. In part, these problems were the result of a nationwide shortage of the specialized men and materiel required by the Armed Forces and, in part, from confusion and controversy over the role to be played by numbered medical units in the Zone of Interior. Details of this controversy have been discussed at length in another volume in this series, but certain aspects need to be considered here.66 To a great extent, this controversy developed because The Surgeon General contended that numbered medical units should be used primarily as schools for tactical training that would furnish cadres and fillers to affiliated hospitals and other medical units, while the War Department, and later the Hospitalization and Evacuation Branch, ASF, believed that such units should be used to operate hospitals in the Zone of Interior. At times, shortages and changes in military requirements forced each party to modify its position, but the basic controversy dominated training policies until early 1943.

When mobilization began in the fall of 1940, The Surgeon General planned to

    66See footnote 29 (2), p. 254.


274

issue only field training equipment to numbered hospital units and to assign only the two to five officers required for tactical and administrative training. In principle, these policies were opposed by the General Staff, which published a statement on 3 January 1941 stating that hospitals should be immediately available to operate in either the United States or a theater of operations in an emergency.67 Despite this policy, however, shortages of officers, men, and equipment forced the General Staff to adopt The Surgeon General's position. Units activated during 1941 were initially provided with a cadre of Regular Army enlisted men, between two and five officers each, and only enough selectees-from either reception centers or Medical Replacement Training Centers-to provide them with approximately half of their table-of-organization enlisted strength. The General Staff's position on issue of equipment also differed from The Surgeon General's. In December 1940,68 the staff announced that all Army units could obtain complete issues of equipment, except for controlled items (those in short supply and issued only with War Department permission), by submitting requisitions to corps area headquarters. Two weeks later, it issued a special directive making this policy specifically applicable to Medical Department units.69 When units were first activated in 1941, however, shortages of supplies and equipment again made it impossible for the Medical Department to comply with War Department policies.

Events during the first half of 1941 tended to reduce the areas of disagreement between The Surgeon General and the War Department on personnel policies. In May 1941, difficulties encountered by the Medical Department in drawing complements from named hospitals in the United States for newly established hospitals in overseas areas and units required by task forces being formed to protect the French West Indies, and the inherent threat of such levies to medical service in the Zone of Interior, persuaded The Surgeon General to ask the War Department to authorize full complements of officers, nurses, and enlisted men for the 17 hospitals activated earlier in the year. By this step, he hoped to simplify the problems of converting training units into functional organizations. At the same time, however, he requested authority to withhold all supplies and equipment from such units except training equipment, individual equipment, vehicles, and controlled items, until they were assigned missions involving medical care. In July, the War Department approved increases to bring 11 of these units to full table-of-organization enlisted strength, and their officer and nurse allotments to 50 and 75 percent, respectively. It also authorized withholding full issues of hospital equipment to these units, and, at least for these units, approved a practice already adopted by the Medical Department. A month later, however, the War Department refused to approve a request for authority to apply this policy to all units, and when the

    67Letter, The Adjutant General to Chief of Staff and Commanding Generals, Armies and Corps Areas, 3 Jan. 1941, subject: Purpose and Training of Certain Medical Corps Units To Be Activated With Selective Service Men.
    68Letter, The Adjutant General to Chief of Staff, General Headquarters; Commanding Generals, Armies, Corps Areas, and Departments; Chief of the Armored Force; Commanding General, General Headquarters, Air Force; Chiefs of Arms and Services; Chief of the National Guard Bureau; and Commanding Officers of Exempted Stations, 30 Dec. 1940, subject: Current Supply Policies and Procedure.
    69Letter, The Adjutant General to Commanding Generals of all Armies, Army Corps, Divisions, Corps Areas, and Departments; Commanding General, General Headquarters, Air Force; Chief of Staff, General Headquarters; Chiefs of Arms and Services; Chief of the Armored Force; Commanding Officers of Exempted Stations, 14 Jan. 1941, subject: Organization, Training, and Administration of Medical Units.


275

number of medical units activated and earmarked for task forces was increased from 11 to 31 in August 1941, different supply procedures had to be applied to the two groups of units.

The controversy reached a critical point in the fall of 1941 when the War Department pressed The Surgeon General to provide hospitals with full assemblages and asked for his recommendations. In response, he pointed out that five hospital assemblages had been issued, and 20 others were ready. Pointing to slow deliveries by manufacturers, however, he again asked for authority to hold assemblages in depots until units were assigned missions requiring the actual care of patients. To support this recommendation, he argued that units in training did not require a full issue of equipment, that storage in the field was inadequate, that careless handling by unit members would result in breakage and deterioration, and that units were not trained to repack assemblages for overseas shipment. In response, the War Department refused to abandon its position, but recognized the possibility of storing scarce supplies, and, on 6 December 1941, directed The Surgeon General to earmark and hold all available equipment until it could complete a survey of warehousing facilities. Thus, by the time the United States entered the war, The Surgeon General and the War Department had arrived at a common policy of providing units with less than a full quota of officers and nurses, and at times, a reduced complement of enlisted personnel. They disagreed, however, on the question of providing units with full issues of supplies and equipment, and the dispute continued unabated during the first half of the war.

By 7 December 1941, the Medical Department had activated 22 general, 24 station, 17 evacuation, and eight surgical hospitals as training units. Of this group, three station hospitals had been sent overseas, and 12 general, nine station, four evacuation, and three surgical hospitals were included in task force pools and authorized almost 100 percent of their table-of-organization enlisted strength, and from 50 to 75 percent of their commissioned strength. The balance had half or less of their enlisted strength and from three to five officers each. In addition, the Medical Department had organized an unactivated reserve of affiliated units that included 41 general, 11 evacuation, and four surgical hospitals. Such units consisted primarily of a professional complement of doctors and nurses and, under prewar plans, were to be called to active duty immediately after the outbreak of war, supplied with equipment and enlisted personnel, and pressed into service without further training. Supplies for these units consisted of five assemblages that had already been issued, 20 being held in reserve, and 41 that were in various stages of packing.

Early in January 1942, The Surgeon General outlined his plans for full-scale mobilization.70 Affiliated units were to be called to active duty and provided with half their enlisted strength from training units, and the balance from reception centers, Zone of Interior installations, and other medical units. Training units that transferred such personnel, in turn, were to retain a cadre to train additional fillers. Some training units, especially station hospitals, were to be brought to authorized

    70Memorandum, Lt. Col. John A. Rogers, MC, Executive Officer, Office of The Surgeon General, to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 13 Jan. 1942, subject: Activation of Numbered Professional Medical Units, and inclosures thereto.


276

enlisted and commissioned strength, and sent overseas as needed. Every unit was to draw individual clothing, equipment, and vehicles at its home station. Hospital assemblages would be provided only to those being sent overseas, preferably at the port of embarkation.

Shortly after this system was proposed, The Surgeon General realized that it would have to be modified. The practice of activating training units at half strength, adopted in 1941, resulted in units being hurriedly assembled at ports of embarkation. Members of units going overseas frequently had little time to become aquainted with each other's capabilities before embarkation, and installations from which fillers were drawn were often drained of personnel. In February 1942, therefore, The Surgeon General recommended that all units be activated at full table-of-organization enlisted strength.71 In May 1942, after receiving both ASF and AGF support, the policy received War Department approval.72

The Surgeon General, Maj. Gen. James C. Magee, received only partial support, however, for his stand on the issuance of assemblages. After lengthy discussion, he accepted a compromise whereby unit assemblages were declared controlled items and placed under War Department control, and the Medical Department was authorized to make fractional issues of training equipment.73 Although The Surgeon General agreed to this compromise, he did not give up hope of being able to hold assemblages in medical depots until numbered hospitals were assigned operational missions. Once unit assemblages had been declared controlled items, he sought this control indirectly. On 6 February 1942,74 he succeeded in persuading the War Department to include a paragraph in movement orders for units ordered overseas, directing The Surgeon General to ship appropriate assemblages to ports of embarkation or staging areas. Neither of these measures, however, settled the controversy over equipment.

Under the compromise reached in January and February 1942, units were to receive only field training equipment, individual equipment, and vehicles for use in field training. Technical training and experience with professional supplies and equipment were to be gained at Zone of Interior hospitals. As long as one or two units were activated at a particular post for training, this method seemed satisfactory, but delay in the construction of housing often caused units to be grouped wherever housing was available. Too often, this system produced overcrowding and inefficient training.

In March 1942, the entire system was challenged by the Hospitalization and Evacuation Branch of Army Service Forces, which took the stand that hospital units could best be prepared for overseas service by receiving complete assemblages

    71Memorandum, Brig. Gen. Larry B. McAfee, Acting The Surgeon General, for the Assistant Chief of Staff; G-3, 28 Feb. 1942, subject: Organization and Dispatch of Medical Department Theater of Operations Units.
    72Letter, The Adjutant General to the Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces; Army Air Forces; Services of Supply; Armored Force; Armies; Army Corps; Corps Areas; Air Forces; Departments; Divisions; Base Commands; and Defense Commands; Exempted Station and Force Commanders, 6 May 1942, subject: Allotments of Grades and Ratings and Authorized Strengths to Tactical Units (less Air Corps and Services with Air Corps).
    73Letter, The Adjutant General to The Surgeon General, 21 Jan. 1942, subject: Equipment for Medical Department Units.
    74Disposition Form, Maj. Gen. Brehon Somervell, Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff, to The Adjutant General, 6 Feb. 1942, subject: Proposed Modification of Movement Orders, and inclosure thereto.


277

and being required to function as hospitals in the Zone of Interior. This stand strengthened when Army Ground Forces submitted a similar recommendation in May, believing that units should be trained in the storage, maintenance, and repair of hospital equipment, and that they should be capable of managing their own messes and administration. In the paper duel that followed, The Surgeon General reached the point by September 1942 of agreeing to issue housekeeping equipment, but he continued to insist that all other equipment be withheld until units were assigned operational missions.

At this point, controversy over the issuance of assemblages was absorbed by a larger and inconclusive dispute over the use of numbered hospitals to provide medical service in the United States that lasted until mid-1943. By late 1942, many units were becoming restless from long periods in training without an opportunity to function, and reports of doctors sitting idle in army camps were beginning to reach the public. Moreover, reports from the theater indicated the desirability of training units to pack their own equipment and to reduce its size and weight by eliminating unnecessary items. On 16 September, and again on 12 October, Army Service Forces directed the Medical Department to prepare a plan for employing numbered medical units in the Zone of Interior,75 and on 17 September 1942, it requested The Surgeon General's comments on a draft of a policy requiring the issuance of complete assemblages to all hospital units.76 In response, The Surgeon General repeated his earlier recommendations, and supported by almost every argument that had been used since 1940, to oppose the issuance of assemblages. As a result, Army Service Forces published a compromise policy in January 1943 by which assemblages would contain only Medical Department supplies and equipment, while items needed by hospitals but supplied by other services, such as the Quartermaster Corps, could be furnished to units upon requisition.77 Although The Surgeon General was not satisfied with this compromise, the policy remained in effect until the end of the war. Debate continued until mid-1943, when rapid reductions in the troop strength in the Zone of Interior brought it to an inconclusive end.

In contrast to the hospital units trained by Army Service Forces, evacuation units trained by Army Ground Forces were charged with providing medical service during their training in the United States. To fill this dual role, they required both personnel and equipment and usually suffered from a shortage of both. In the absence of an adequate number of Medical Corps officers, Army Ground Forces was unable to assign full complements to units in training. The ratio of Medical Corps officers to table-of-organization authorizations varied from time to time and unit to unit, but often it was less than 50 percent. Shortages of medical officers continued through 1943 and 1944, and at times, units were brought to full table-of-organization strength only after being scheduled for shipment overseas. Whenever possible,

    75(1) Memorandum, Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Services of Supply, for The Surgeon General, 16 Sept. 1942, subject: Assignment, Training, and Utilization of Theater of Operations Medical Units. (2) 1st Indorsement, Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Services of Supply, to The Surgeon General, 12 Oct. 1942.
    76Memorandum, Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Services of Supply, for The Surgeon General, 17 Sept. 1942, subject: Medical Unit Assemblages, and inclosure thereto.
    77War Department Memorandum No. W700-4-43, 18 Jan. 1943.


278

however, The Surgeon General agreed to provide AGF units with a full complement of professional personnel during the maneuver phase of training.78

Shortages of equipment were most severe during 1942 and the first half of 1943. During that period, the Ground Surgeon repeatedly petitioned the Surgeon General's Office for more complete allowances of supplies and equipment, and it was repeatedly notified that production of medical supplies was sufficient only to meet the needs of units scheduled for shipment to the theaters of operations. In mid-1943, however, the situation began to improve, and by the end of the year, some units reported all of their equipment on hand. By early 1944, the Ground Surgeon was able to report that all medical units engaged in maneuvers in Louisiana had between 95 and 100 percent of their authorized equipment.

    78Shambora, William E.: Army Ground Forces Medical Training During World War II. [Official record.]

Return to the Table of Contents