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World War I Training Camp

U.S. Army Veterinary Corps History

MAJ Ratigan sitting at a desk

The Commander of VH No. 9 was MAJ Ratigan who designed the layout of the buildings in order to accomodate over 3000 horses at once. Often the unit was overfilled with patients.


Non Commissioned OfficersThe NCOs of the Company provided the majority of the military drill and training. There was a rapid increase in the size of the Company when on August 25, 1918 the Company had one Captain, one Lieutenant eleven sergeants and five hundred privates.

The examining board consisted of MAJ Stokes, LT Lambert and LT Longley. The examination was oral. If found qualified, the application for commission was forwarded to the War Department. If the candidate failed, then there was an option to take a written exam. Those failing the written exam were eventually transferred "as the demands of the service saw fit."

Veterinary Corps cooks.To feed the entire training company and cadre took a platoon of cooks. Army humor has not changed. SGT "Toughie" St. Clair called for volunteers who were expert typists and mechanics and when the desired number of fair-faced, delicate-fingered "birds" stepped one pace to the front he informed them in simple words that..."the mess Sergeant had spuds and onions to peel."

Veterinary Corps soldier on horse jumping over a railing during a showVeterinary Corps Officers were expected to be accomplished equestrians. Horse shows, polo matches, racing and horse drills were common activities. These increased after the Armistice where there were fewer casualties and more free time.

The Veterinary Company No. 1 fielded a football team that included many ringers including: Sergeant Jock Southerland, Pittsburgh's famous guard, William McGill a Clemson Star, William F. Donahue, former halfback Alabama Polytechnical Institute, and John C. Dawson a University of Iowa star. They played for the Camp Greenleaf team, which also included Dental Co. No. 1. The team compiled an 8-0 record including beating two college teams, Auburn and Vanderbilt University. Only one team scored against them all season and they outscored football teamtheir opponents 205 to 14!