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Headquarter, Third Portable Surgical Hospital, U.S.A.S.O.S, A.P.O 705, 20 August, 1943

Table of Contents


A.P.O. 705
20 August, 1943

SUBJECT: History of Activities of the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital for the period of March 1 to June 30, 1943 (sic).

TO: Chief Surgeon, USASOS, A.P.O. 501, (THRU: Surgeon, Base Section #2, A.P.O.   922).

1.    The 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital disembarked on March 1, 1943 in Brisbane,  Q'ld. from the Henry Dearborn, a liberty ship, returning from New Guinea. We were restricted to the Port area until trains were made up to carry all troops of the 127th Infantry and ourselves to Woman's Bay on the Tweedshead River, N.S.W. We arrived there about 4 A.M. of the 2nd of March.

2.    The 127th Infantry with its three Portable Hospitals, (3rd, 4th, and 5th) part of the 107th Medical Battalion and other allied and attached outfits were quarantined in this camp for seventeen days. There were no duties other than those of running a camp. No one was allowed to leave. It was an ideal place for rest and recreation with the ocean on one side and a good sandy beach, and the Tweeds' river on the other. During this period everyone was given the routine treatment for malaria of quinine, atabrine, and plasmochin.

3.    As a hospital, we did not function. The only duties any officer had was to alternate with the regimental and battalion surgeons at sick call. All illnesses developing were either transferred to Southport or to Brisbane.

4.    On March 19, 1943 we moved with the regiment to Camp Cable when we again failed to function as a hospital but spent our time rehabilitating ourselves and our equipment. Capt. Karns was placed on detached duty with the hospital the 107th Medical Battalion opened in the camp for Malaria patients. Capt. Long, just prior to moving to Camp Cable, had been sent to the 42nd General Hospital because of severe back pain. The remainder of us followed the Infantry training schedule as beat we could, teaching and attending classes.

5.    About April 1st orders were received detaching the Portable Hospitals from the 6th Army control and the 127th Infantry, and the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital was assigned to its parent organization the 42nd General Hospital. We left Camp Cable April 2, 1943 and proceeded to Brisbane by motor transportation reporting to the Commanding Officer of the 42nd General Hospital for duty and training.


6.      The time spent at Stuartholme was occupied with hospital training for the enlisted personnel and ward duty for the officers. Capt. Muller was placed as Commanding Officer of the convalescent section of the 42nd General Hospital and remained there until our departure. We adopted a training schedule which is included with this history. It was carried out more or less loosely for, although we required thirteen replacements among the enlisted men, we did not get them until we had orders to move and then did not get an officer to replace Capt. Long who had remained in the hospital with a severe corneal ulcer.

7.    A new T/B/A/ was issued. The entire equipment was collected, packed and stored in a Medical Supply Depot in Brisbane, with shipping list of cubic feet and weight prepared for quick movement.

8.    About the middle of May, a little over two months after leaving New Guinea the entire outfit, except one officer and four enlisted men, developed Malaria, all of P vivax and were admitted to the hospital. None of the cases were severe. Treatment followed that, as above with routine recoveries.

9.    About June 1st orders were received assigning the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital to Base Section #2 and movement orders were received sending the outfit to Iron Range, Queensland. The orders specifically stated that no equipment would be carried but equipage would be obtained from the Base Section at Townsville and from the 18th Station Hospital which we were to replace at Iron Range.

10.    The outfit consisting of 25 enlisted men and two officers left Brisbane for Cairns on June 3, 1943 by rail. The Commanding Officer, William L. Garlick, was at that time in the 42nd General Hospital with malaria and no fourth Officer had been assigned. We arrived in Cairns June 5, 1943 departed by boat, the Mongana, a Tasmania barge under a Norwegian skipper on June 7th arriving at Portland Roads, Iron Range on June 9, 1943.

11.    At the time of our arrival the 18th station hospital was preparing for its departure and left on or about June 15th with most of its equipment. A detail of one sergeant and three enlisted men was sent to Townsville with requisitions for equipment to fill our needs in running a fifty bed station hospital and returned by boat shortly after the 18th Station Hospital's departure.

12.    From June 15th to 31st we have run a 50 bed station hospital in this area where there is no other hospitalization between Port Moresby to Cairns. Our patients have been chiefly, Australians, the ration to Americans is about 3 to 1. The majority of the cases have been minor surgical diseases, although there have been the occasional acute appendix or generalized peritonitis and occasional infectious or systemic Medical cases.

13.    We have had a recurrence of malaria in five of the Enlisted Men and or one Officer. These attacks have been mild and with quick recovery.

14.    The hospital has been running an average of 25 to 27 patients in beds. The morning sick call runs from 15 to 20 patients a day.

15.    The Base Section has assigned two medical officers and a dentist to fill the needs of this area. One officer is placed on temporary duty at the Port Detachment “A”. Another is Registrar and takes sick call each morning. A third officers besides his hospital duties, is Sanitary Inspector for all Australian and American Camps of the area. The fourth medical officer, beyond his hospital duties is the meat and ration inspector for the area, a job which requires six afternoons a week.

16.    We have spent much of our time trying to improve the building and area. The building is being painted, shrubs are being planted on the hillside to try to keep the red dirt from washing against the building. Underbrush has been cleaned out, Electrical improvement have been added.

17.    We are at this time one officer and eight enlisted men under T/O strength according to the latest T/O strength according to the latest T/O of  Headquarters, USASOS, APO 501, dated 20 June, 1943.

Major, M. C.,

SOURCE:  National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 112, The Army Surgeon General, Entry 54A, 3d Portable Surgical Hospital History, Box 611.