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Foreword

Contents

Foreword

War, which has been a bane to man since his earliest days, has always been characterized by the presence of those who attempt to devise more and more effective ways to maim and destroy the enemy, of others who strive to develop the means to protect their comrades from the implements of the foe, and of still others on both sides who devote themselves to improving techniques for the care and repair of the unfortunates who are the casualties of war. These three facets of war are interdependent, and one group cannot achieve the best results without the advice and assistance of the others. The thread which binds and correlates their activities is the science and application of the principles of wound ballistics.

Field Service Regulations, 100-5, Operations, provides that coordinated action of all arms and services is essential to success. It is to such coordinated action that accomplishments within the U.S. Army in the field of wound ballistics owe their success. The volume relates the part played by the Army Medical Service in this mutual endeavor during World War II and, in briefer fashion, during the Korean War.

In the development of personnel armor, the approach of the Army Medical Service is very similar to its approach to a disease entity. Primarily, the Army Medical Service is interested in the treatment and recovery of the casualty and in his speedy return to the fighting force. It is also interested in and vitally concerned with any methods which can reduce the severity of the wound or any devices which can bring about complete defeat of a wounding agent. When, as in Korea, the mortality rate of the wounded reaching medical treatment facilities was reduced to approximately 2.3 percent, these secondary interests loom large. Capitalizing on the experiences of World War II and the early experiences of the Korean War, the Army in 1951-52 introduced body armor with most significant results. There was a decrease in the number of wounded and the killed in action. There was a decrease in the severity of wounds, which in turn resulted in more rapid and early convalescence and, because of the lightened workload, permitted surgical units to provide better care to those requiring it. While these results were gratifying, they most definitely indicated the need for continuing research and development to provide adequate ballistic protection for the head and those regions of the body which received the largest number of lethal wounds.

The message which this volume contains for the physician who will be treating the wounds of war is clear. War wounds, in many respects, are different from those found in peacetime civilian practice. Unless the physician has some knowledge of the weapons and missiles which are creating the wounds and of the wound track characteristic of these causative agents, his clinical


decision as to the treatment necessary is perforce shortsighted, and unwarranted errors may result. Examples of errors of this type are fully discussed in this and other volumes of the World War II history of the Medical Department, but the basic data contained in this volume, if they are studied and the lessons learned, should go a long way in dispelling the ignorance which leads to such errors.

Finally, the Army Medical Service expresses its deepest gratitude to the contributors to this volume and to all individuals, both civilian and military, whose zeal and patriotism made possible, often under trying circumstances and without precedent, the collection and preparation of the original data upon which this work is based. My appreciation is extended to Maj. James C. Beyer, MC, for so admirably accomplishing the arduous and major task of compiling and editing this volume. His keen interest in this special field of military medicine and his exemplary work and experience in Korea and at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C., made him the ideal individual to undertake this project.

LEONARD D. HEATON,
Lieutenant General,
The Surgeon General.

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