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

Bibliographical Note

Contents

Bibliographical Note

Primary Sources

The most important collections of source material for this volume were the central files of the Surgeon General's Office and the files of the Historical Unit, Army Medical Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The central files of the Surgeon General's Office for the war period have been retired and are now in the custody of The Adjutant General. They contain official correspondence, memoranda, and reports originating in the Surgeon General's Office, as well as numerous documents received by this Office from other sources, both military and civilian. These files, like those of most Army agencies, are arranged by subject under a numerical or decimal system. For example, documents on the construction of hospitals are filed under 632; of cars for hospital trains, under 531.4; and of hospital ships, under 560. To include here all of the numerical classifications of documents used in the preparation of this volume, or even those used most often, is both undesirable and unnecessary because the list would be too long and would duplicate information readily available in footnotes throughout the volume.

The files of the Historical Unit are extensive, having been built up by the Historical Division, Office of The Surgeon General (predecessor of the Historical Unit) during the war years. Of particular importance in the Historical Unit files are the annual reports submitted during the war by The Surgeon General, divisions of the Surgeon General's Office handling hospitalization and evacuation matters, surgeons of large commands, and commanding officers of hospitalization and evacuation units and installations that ranged from 3,000-bed hospitals to separate ambulance companies. Although these annual reports obviously must be used with caution, because surgeons and commanders in some instances undoubtedly attempted to present the most favorable view possible of their activities, they contain a wealth of information not otherwise available. In addition, many of them contain excellent discussions of Medical Department shortcomings, because they afforded surgeons and commanders an opportunity to complain about matters over which they were disturbed but had no control. The absence of complete sets of annual reports of the Air and Ground Surgeons for the war years is regrettable. The Historical Unit also has custody of wartime working files of several divisions of the Surgeon General's Office. The most important among them for this volume were those of the Mobilization and Overseas Operations Division, the Medical Regulating Unit, and the Resources Analysis Division. To supplement these papers, the Unit periodically borrowed wartime documents from current office files of the Medical Facilities Planning Branch (formerly Hospital Construction Branch), Medical Statistics Division, Resources Analysis Division, Supply Division, and Medical Research and Development Board of the Surgeon General's Office. The Historical


478

Unit also has a large decimal file; most of the papers in it, however, are carbon copies of those in The Surgeon General's central files. Supplementing these files and sometimes serving as a clue to the location of other important documents are the diaries of divisions of the Surgeon General's Office covering the period from the fall of 1943 to the end of the war. In addition, the Historical Unit has a copy of the testimony and report of the Committee to Study the Medical Department (1942) and a compilation of recommendations of the Committee and actions on them by the Surgeon General's Office. Portions of these documents were extremely useful for information on relations between the Surgeon General's Office and the SOS Hospitalization and Evacuation Branch and on developments in hospitalization and evacuation up to the end of 1942. Also of interest for this volume, the Historical Unit has microfilm of The Adjutant General's unit cards (large cards giving in abbreviated form the chronology and history of individual military units) of Medical Department organizations, including hospitalization and evacuation units. (The original cards are filed in the Organization and Directory Section, Operations Branch, Administrative Services Division, Adjutant General's Office.) Other documents and materials belonging at present to the Historical Unit were used in this study, but it is unnecessary to mention them specifically.

When this volume was written, the Historical Unit had in its custody, on indefinite loan, three blocks of files of considerable significance. The Wilson files-so called because they were built up and used by Col. William L. Wilson, M. C.-were on loan from the Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office. Covering a period from May 1941, when Colonel Wilson was in G-4, until June 1943, shortly after he left ASF headquarters, these files are actually unofficial records of the ASF Hospitalization and Evacuation Branch. They contain a full set of staybacks, a diary, a decimal file, a subject file, and a file of operational plans submitted by medical installations in the United States. The Ground Medical Section files, containing papers from the Ground Surgeon's Office, were on loan from Headquarters, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Va. Important but not as extensive as would be desired, these files contain several sets of staybacks and many annual reports of Army Ground Forces medical units. On loan from the Air Forces, but recently returned to the Historical Division, Office of The Surgeon General, Department of the Air Forces, were files of the Air Surgeon's Historical Division. In addition to annual reports and wartime histories of many AAF medical installations and commands, these files contain several folders of the Air Surgeon's correspondence, including interoffice memos, on hospitalization and evacuation.

Next in importance to the files of the Surgeon General's Office and the Historical Unit for this study were certain files of ASF headquarters and the War Department General Staff, which are in the custody of the Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office. The most useful ASF files were those of the Control and Planning Divisions, and the folders dealing with Medical Department activities that were kept and used during the war by Generals Somervell, Styer, and Lutes. Of the General Staff files, those of G-4 were naturally most rewarding, but those of G-1, G-3, and OPD were also consulted with success


479

in many instances. Conclusive information, particularly about controversies or disputes that reached high levels of authority for decision or solution, could be found often only in the files of the Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, the Assistant Secretary of War for Air, and the Secretary of War. Other files in the custody of The Adjutant General which it was frequently necessary to use were those of the technical services that assisted the Medical Department in its hospitalization and evacuation operations; among them were the Quartermaster Corps, the Corps of Engineers, and the Transportation Corps. While the wartime files of AAF and AGF headquarters were available and useful, it was particularly disturbing to be unable to find among them anything resembling central files of the offices of the Air and Ground Surgeons. Finally, and certainly not of least importance, were the files maintained by The Adjutant General during the war. Because his Office was the War Department's office of record, all official communications to and from the General Staff found their way into the AG files.

Printed primary sources were also used in the preparation of this volume, but because of the wide circulation they enjoyed it is unnecessary to indicate the depositories in which they are located. Obviously Army regulations, War Department circulars, field manuals, technical manuals, tables of organization and equipment, and the like, are basic sources for any military history. Of interest because they helped the writer fit the history of hospitalization and evacuation into a larger picture are the biennial reports of the Chief of Staff of the Army and the annual reports of the Secretary of War. Although no systematic search was made of Congressional committee reports, a few were used when they appeared to have a direct bearing on the subject under consideration.

As noted at greater length in the preface, the writer also derived much information from interviews and correspondence with persons active in Medical Department affairs during the war.

Secondary Sources

While there are no published monographs or special studies on Army hospitalization and evacuation during World War II, there are a number of unpublished preliminary histories and historical monographs on Medical Department activities that have been helpful to the writer of this volume. Among them are a group of studies prepared by the Historical Division, Office of The Surgeon General, immediately after the end of the war. They are the following: [Samuel M. Goodman], A Summary of the Training of Army Service Forces Medical Department Personnel, 1 July 1939-31 December 1944; Harold P. James, Transportation of the Sick and Wounded; John B. Johnson, Jr., and Graves H. Wilson, A History of Wartime Research and Development of Medical Field Equipment; Richard L. Laughlin, [History of] Reconditioning [in the U. S. Army in World War II]; Edward J. Morgan and Donald O. Wagner, The Organization of the Medical Department in the Zone of the Interior; and Richard E. Yates, The Procurement and Distribution of Medical Supplies in the Zone of Interior during World War II. Two unpublished histories prepared by Florence A. Blanchfield and Mary W. Standlee, Organized Nursing in the Army in Three Wars (1950) and The Army Nurse Corps in World War II (1950), supplied background informa-


480

tion for the discussion of the "shortage" of nurses in zone of interior hospitals. Hubert A. Coleman, Organization and Administration, AAF Medical Services in the Zone of Interior (1948), was particularly helpful in the preparation of sections on AAF hospitalization and evacuation. Parts of this work are essentially copies of histories or reports submitted by AAF medical installations to the Air Surgeon's Office and like all such documents must be used with care. The chapters actually prepared by Coleman and his assistants are scholarly and reliable. The Historical Unit has copies of all of the works named above. Two of my colleagues, Blanche B. Armfield and John H. McMinn, deserve special mention because they not only made available drafts of chapters of volumes which they are preparing on Medical Department organization and personnel, respectively, but they also gave the author full benefit of their knowledge both through frequent discussions and through criticisms of his manuscript.

A variety of other unpublished histories were consulted, often with unexpectedly good results. Wartime histories of the Planning and Control Divisions of ASF headquarters supplied information that undoubtedly existed in documents which could not be located in ASF files. Histories of Medical Department activities of the Air Transport Command, its Ferrying Division, I Troop Carrier Command, and the Fourth Air Force were used to supplement information found in the files of AAF headquarters. Wartime histories of Medical Department activities in overseas commands, on file in the Historical Unit, supplied information that occasionally threw light upon some aspects of zone of interior hospitalization and evacuation.

Another group of documents which the author used, but with caution, needs to be mentioned. While some purport to be histories, all of them are in fact final reports of the offices concerned. On file in the Historical Unit, they are as follows: Margaret D. Craighill, History of Women's Medical Unit [Office of The Surgeon General]; History of Medical Liaison Office to the OCT and Medical Regulating Service, Office of The Surgeon General; History, Office of the Surgeon, Second Corps Area and Second Service Command, from 9 September 1940 to 2 September 1945; Historical Record, Laundry Section, Hospital Division, [Office of The Surgeon General]; History of the Organization and Equipment Allowance Branch, [Office of The Surgeon General]; Rene M. Juchli, Record of Events in the Treatment of Prisoners of War, World War II; and Achilles L. Tynes, Data for Preparation of Historical Record of Construction Branch of the Surgeon General's Office during the Expansion Period of the Army and World War II.

Published histories, or those well along in the publication process, used in the preparation of this volume need only to be listed. Among them are several volumes (including three in manuscript form) of the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II: Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division (Washington, 1951); Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild, Defense of the Americas, Vol. I (MS.); Kent R. Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer and Bell I. Wiley, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops (Washington, 1947); Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (MS.); Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42 (Washington, 1953); John D. Millett, The Organization and Role of the Army Service Forces (Washing-


481

ton, 1954); Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley and William R. Keast, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops (Washington, 1948); Jesse A. Remington and Lenore Fine, The Corps of Engineers: Construction in the United States (MS.); Erna Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply and Services, Vol. I (Washington, 1953); Mattie E. Treadwell, The Women's Army Corps (Washington, 1954); Chester Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, Organization, and Operations (Washington, 1951); and Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations (Washington, 1950). Use was also made of Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate (eds.), The Army Air Forces in World War II (Chicago, 1948 and ff). Other published histories consulted were: Percy M. Ashburn, A History of the Medical Department of the United States Army (Boston, 1929); Roland W. Charles, Troopships of World War II (Washington, 1947); Engineer, Office of the Chief, General Headquarters Army Forces, Pacific, Engineers in Theater Operations in ENGINEERS OF THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC, 1941-45, Vol. I. (1947); Logistical History of NATOUSA -MTOUSA (Naples, Italy, 1945); The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Vol. I (Washington, 1923), Vol. V (Washington, 1923), Vol. VIII (Washington, 1925), and Vol. XIII (Washington, 1927); William C. Menninger, Psychiatry in a Troubled World (New York, 1948); and Howard A. Rusk, "Convalescence and Rehabilitation," in Morris Fishbein (ed.), Doctors at War (New York, 1945). Various useful historical articles were found also in The Air Surgeon's Bulletin, the Army Medical Bulletin, the Journal of Aviation Medicine, and The Military Surgeon.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS