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Headquarters, Third Portable Surgical Hospital, A.P.O. 70, 11 July 1945

Table of Contents

A. P. O. 70

11 July 1945

SUBJECT: Historical Report, Luzon Campaign.

THRU: Channels

TO: Commanding General
              Sixth Army
              APO 442

Preparatory to participation in the Luzon Campaign, the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital, consisting of 3 officers and 36 enlisted men, was alerted for movement in December 1944. On 29 December, we cleared our camp on Noemfoor Island in the Netherlands East Indies and went aboard the USS APA LEON. This was the most comfortable ship we had encountered in our travels in the Southwest Pacific and I think everyone enjoyed the time we spent on it. It was the first time we had not been crowded. Each enlisted man and officer had a canvas bunk in a well ventilated compartment. The food was excellent and there was a great variety, including meats, eggs and vegetables. Preparation and sanitation were excellent and there were no cases of diarrhea. Each night until we entered the combat zone, movies were shown on deck for all personnel. On 2 January 1945, our convoy, carrying the entire 158th Regimental Combat Team and attached units, maneuvered off Japen Island and made a practice beach landing on its shores, simulating the landing, for which we were prepared. After this, we re-embarked and on 4 January started on our journey to the Philippines. The entire trip was as uneventful as our previous trips had been. The only sign of combat we encountered were several burning and beached ships which we could see from deck as we steamed past the shores of Mindoro. The morning of 9 January found us pacing the deck in tense expectation. Shortly before noon the ship's Public Address system gave us the news we had been waiting for, 6th Army assault troops had established a beach head on the shores of Lingayen Gulf with light opposition and casualties were negligible. We all breathed easier again and enjoyed our dinner. Two days later, on 13 January, our convoy entered Lingayen Gulf. At 1000 hours we climbed down the rope ladders into an LCVP and, after circling for a time started for the beach. At approximately 1100 hours we landed on the beach of Alacan, on the extreme left flank of the already well established beach head. We followed the 1st Battalion of the 158th Infantry, marching about 300 yards off the beach, and sat down in a grassy plot to await directions while Major Garlick went in search of the Chief of Staff for orders.


Our operations during the 6 months of the Luzon campaign are sharply divided both in time and place into two distinct phases, which will be treated separately in the report to follow. The first consists of the time from our Lingayen Gulf landing on in January to 31 March 1945 and is concerned with the campaign in north central and central Luzon. The second begins with our landing at Legaspi on 1 April, is concerned with the campaign in southern Luzon, and ends with the end of the campaign on 30 June 1945.

1. Major Garlick returned with instructions to establish our hospital in the vicinity of the CP of the 158 Infantry Regiment. We picked up our packs and marched up the road towards Damortis as far as Rabon. Here we found the CP in the process of setting up on the side of a hill to the right of the road. After a hasty reconnaissance we chose a rice paddy on the opposite side of the road and we set up a black-out tent for surgery, a ward tent and a large fly for a kitchen. Then we dug foxholes for our own personnel and the expected casualties. Early in the afternoon the men of H company of the 158th Infantry reached the crest of a ridge about 700 yards to the east of us and began to dig in a perimeter. We could see them plainly silhouetted against the sky on the ridge. So could the Japs apparently, for very soon we saw bursts of artillery shells among them and watched them being forced back from the crest, leaving some of their arms and equipment behind. All afternoon we watched the burst of Jap artillery cover the sides of the low hills in front of us, at times creeping slowly down to within a couple of hundred yards of us and again receding to the crest from which the infantry had been forced. It was quite a litter haul from that crest to our hospital and consequently it was almost dusk when the first casualties arrived. There were enough of them to keep us busy in the black-out tent most of the night, but fortunately, they were not too serious.

On 14 January we moved forward to the village of Bani, within sight of Damortis, which the infantry had taken the previous day. We set up in a cane field adjoining the beach. A small creek was on our north, the railroad and coastal highway bounded the area on the east and the 506th Medical Collecting Company on the south. Across the road from us, in rice paddies terraced on the hillside, was the headquarters of the 1st Battalion of the 158th Infantry. We received no patients the first night but it was, none the less, a night we shall never forget. Shortly after dark Jap artillery began shelling the area, apparently shooting for either the bridges across the stream or the M-7s of the Cannon Company of the 158th Infantry, which were dug in just south of the 1st Battalion Headquarters. Shells fell all around us and the noise was terrifying. One man in the 506th Collecting Company's area was killed in his foxhole by a direct hit. Shell fragments showered the


area and several of our barracks bags and other pieces of equipment were riddled. At about two hour  intervals this performance was repeated for fifteen or twenty minutes at a time all that night and the next two or three nights. A destroyer lay about 500 yards off shore directly opposite the hospital and fired star shells over our heads beyond the ridges to the east where the infantry was holding perimeters on the Demortis-Rosario highway. This continued for over two reeks. About a week after our arrival here the 55th Field Artillery Battalion moved all twelve of its 155 mm howitzers directly across the road from us, about a hundred yards distant. Every time they fired our patients practically fell off their cots. It was almost impossible to get any sleep at all. We had a bulldozer dig a trench down the middle of the area and kept the patients there at night for protection against the shelling. As soon as they were able to travel they were moved five miles to the rear to the 637th Clearing Company. One night we had a minor cloudburst which flooded this trench to the level of the tops of the cots and filled all our foxholes.

During our stay at Bani, we treated a series of the most severe casualties we have ever seen. The reason for this was that the less severe casualties were screened out by the 506th Collection Company and sent directly to the 637th Clearing Company without stopping at our hospital. The wounds we saw were mostly extensive shell fragment wounds, perforating wounds of head, chest and abdomen, and compound fractures. On the afternoon of 24 January we received eight perforation abdominal rounds within two hours. They kept us busy all night. Because of the severity of the wounds the post-operative care of the patients kept us extremely busy and because of the comparatively high mortality, we had a most discouraging time of it. At the end of this period we all felt as though we never wanted to see another patient.

Several attempts at infiltration by the Japs into the area of the 55th Field Artillery Battalion were almost successful but each time the machine guns on their perimeter kept them from reaching the guns. On one occasion two Japs, heavily loaded with dynamite, walked down the road, driving a. small herd of carabao. Quite an explosion resulted when the bullets struck them. The 158th Infantry had, during this time, been having a very tough time of it on the Damortis-Rosario road. The Japs were dug in well prepared positions on the ridges on bath sides of the road and very bit of the advance was bitterly contested. The Japs, too, had plenty of artillery and direct observation to guide its fire.  Our combat team suffered over 600 casualties during the period. Of these, we took care of all the serious cases.

On 12 February we received orders from the 135th Medical Group to whom we had been attached, to join the 112th Regimental Combat Team which was engaged in the area east of Manila. This came as a surprise


to us since the 158 RCT had just been relieved by the 33rd Division and was going to Tarlac for a rest period. We had expected to accompany them. However, our orders were to be in operation in support of the 112 RCT by noon of 15 February so struck camp on 12 February and on the 13th started on our way in trucks borrowed from the 55th Field. Artillery Battalion. By nightfall we reached San Fernando and reported to the 135th Medical Group according to instructions.  They attached us to the 135th Medical Battalion and the commanding officer said he would guide us to the 112 RCT CP on the following morning. We spent the night on the ground under a starry sky in an open hole behind the jail in San Fernando. Early next morning we started on our way and by 1000 hours arrived at the 112th RCT CP and report to Brigadier General Cunningham. The 112th RCT, consisting of the 112th Cavalry Regiment and the 148th Field Artillery Battalion, was spread. out over an area of some 60 miles, holding a series of road blocks on the roads from the hills north east of Manila. Almost all their casualties were occurring in the vicinity of San Jose and Santa Maria, Bulacan, where the Japs were bringing up artillery every night and firing it point blank at the cavalry troops; they were also having night infantry attacks in this area. Consequently we moved to the outskirts of Santa Maria and set up there in a. rice paddy with  a troop of cavalry on one side of us, the 410 Medical Collecting Company on another, and the Service Battery on the 148th Field Artillery Battalion across the road. Early the first night we received 15 seriously wounded casualties and we received some almost every night thereafter as the Japs started shelling regularly shortly before sundown. During the days we were kept busy treating Filipino guerrillas and civilians wounded by bombing and shelling and some by Jap atrocities. We made it a rule to treat nothing but emergencies in civilians, but there were so many we could not refuse. Some had wounds from a week to a month old, many complicated by extensive infection. There were 17 Filipino doctors in the vicinity but, during the time we remained there, they never were able to establish any sort of an efficient clinic for the treatment of civilian casualties, despite the fact that we furnished them with most of the necessary equipment. We also had quite an experience with Filipinos begging in this area. They stand around by the score, children and adults alike, all as well fed as we were and beg for the little slop we threw away after each meal. This one experience was enough, and ever after we kept all civilians entirely away from our camp, and treated only the most urgent emergencies.  One morning here we were awakened by the sound of a machine gun firing from the perimeter of 148th Field Artillery Service Battery and bullets whining thru our cap. Looking up, we could see two bedraggled Japs running across the open field between us and the 148th with about half a dozen Filipino Guerrillas in pursuit. The Japs finally took cover in a hole near the 410 Collecting Company and were killed by some of their men. One was armed with a rifle, not in working condition,


and the other with a lone grenade. They had evidently been trying to sneak thru our lines to rejoin their own forces.

On 4 March we received orders relieving us from attachment to the 135th Medical Battalion and attaching us to the 158th RCT. On the following morning we left Santa Maria in trucks borrowed from the 148th Field Artillery Battalion, and drove to Balayan, Batangas Province. Passing thru Manila on the way we were amazed at the destruction. The south side of the city was still smoking and there was only one very poor bridge across the Passig. The road was complete and devious because so many streets were blocked by rubble and debris, despite the fact that the Army Engineers were doing a herculean task of clearing. Another thing which delayed our progress was the almost solid line of caratellas, carabao carts, and refugees on foot going in both directions on both sides of the city. We were reminded of the general in “A Bell for Adano” and became inclined to endorse his procedure. After this experience the peace and beauty of the view of Lake Taal from Tagaytay Ridge seemed like a part of a different world. We stopped for a while to enjoy it before passing on to the war again. On the road from Tagaytay to Balayan we passed three burned cut U3 Army trucks which had been ambushed by a party of Japs the previous night.

After reporting to Brigadier General MacNider on arrival at Balayan and making a short reconnaissance of the area, we set up camp in an open field behind the walled in city. This was on high ground overlooking the town and bay. Along one entire side of the camp ran a 1000 foot airstrip for the L-4 planes of the 147th Field Artillery observers. We chose this location principally because of the fact that this strip could he used for evacuating patients by L-5. It proved a poor choice, however, because a brisk breeze blew continuously from the bay, carrying all the dust from the airstrip directly over our camp. It was the worst camp site we have ever had. We were the only medical installation in the entire area at this time and so functioned as a collecting company (four ambulances and nine enlisted men of the 409th Collecting Company were attached to us), clearing company and evacuation hospital. During our three day stay at Balayan we received a fair number of casualties, about equally divided between the American troops who were attacking Lemery and Taal and the Filipino Guerrilla forces attacking some gun positions on the other side of us. At night we could see large fires lighting the horizon in the direction of Lemery as the Japs set fire to the town before evacuating. it. Late one afternoon a group of guerrillas were ambushed by forty Japs as they were returning from an attack on a coastal gun position. The Japs wounded eleven of them and then followed them to within two kilometers of our position, making us somewhat uneasy for the night.


Evacuation of all litter patients from this area was done by L-5 planes and they were taken either to the 5th Portable Surgical Hospital at Nasugbu or to the 21st Evacuation Hospital in the Laguna (de) Bay area.  The ambulatory and sitting patients were evacuated by ambulances to the 605th Clearing Company at Tagaytay Ridge.

On 8 March at 1000 hours we left Balayan and advanced to Lemery which was now completely in American hands, though still under enemy shell fire. We set up in an excellent area - a coconut grove with a beautiful lawn for a floor - on the left hand side of the road just at the edge of town. We were about 500 yards from RCT headquarters located in the municipal building and immediately adjacent to a guerrilla headquarters. The shelling, which continued for several nights was not too concentrated and no shells landed in our area. On 9 March we received a radiogram from headquarters of the 11th Airborne Division advising us to expect an attack in force by the Japanese that night or the following night. The attack was expected from the north west, which was our end of the town. We set out all our men in the best perimeter we could and waited but nothing happened.  We were very busy in this area, both with battle casualties and with medical patients, chiefly fevers. Here, too, we saw the results of more Jap atrocities than we had seen before. There were a number of bayonet wounds and sabre slashes in old men and women and children of all ages.  Evacuation continued by the same routes used from Balayan.  For the first few days we used the airstrip at Balayan and then the one at Alitagtag some ten or twelve miles forward of us.

On 16 March we moved  forward four miles to Majon where we set up in a field directly across the road from the junction of the road to the foot of Lake Taal with the main road.  Our main problem here was one of evacuation. Casualties among American troops were light but there were very many medical patients, fevers and gastroenteritis and quite a number of civilian casualties from Jap atrocities.  Most of the latter were bayonet wounds of the chest, abdomen, and buttocks almost always multiple.  We remarked several times that they Japs for all their practice, were not very good with the bayonet; but, of course, we saw only the non-fatal cases and they may not have been trying to kill them.  A few were the results of sabre slashes.  One of these, in a boy of twelve, cut across both eyes and the bridge of the nose, laying open the floor of the cranial vault.  Several had very deep slashes across the back of the neck and criss-crossed lower of the back.  They occurred in people of all ages and both sexes.  Five hundred thirty seven patients passed thru our hospital in nine days, the largest number we had ever handled in a like period.  L-5 evacuation functioned with


from (?) The Alitagtag (?) strip; we evacuated as many as 26 patients in one day from this strip.  The rest went overland by ambulance and two and one half ton truck.  The largest number evacuated in one day was seventy one.  About the 22nd of March, medical units of the 11th Airborne Division began to arrive in this area as the division replaced the 158th Combat Team.  We turned over our patients to them and closed our hospital on 24 March to reequip and prepare for another mission.  On 29 March we broke camp, loaded our equipment and moved to San Luis where we bivouacked with the 506th Collecting Company over night.  On 29 March 23 boarded the USS LSM 203 on the beach at Lemery at 1800 hours.

From the time of our landing on Luzon until this time we had operated on three hundred twenty two casualties, besides caring for and evacuating hundreds of medical patients. At the beginning of this period we had three officers and thirty five enlisted men. At the close of the period we had two officers and thirty one enlisted men present for duty. Captain Stephen E. Muller and two enlisted men had left for the states on rotation on 24 March.  One enlisted man had left for the states on temporary duty at the same time and another enlisted man had left two weeks earlier on rotation. We had received no replacements.

The sanitation during the period was as good as could be expected during combat and satisfactory. We had no cases of communicable disease or diarrhea among our own men. The dental health of the command was excellent, all personnel having been checked and put in good shape in November 1944 at the 71st Evacuation Hospital on Noemfoor Island. Supply was very good, especially the service rendered by the L-5 planes in delivery of whole blood. Rations were very satisfactory.

2.    On 1 April 1945 at 1100 hours,  the Third Portable Surgical Hospital disembarked from the USS LSM 203 onto the beach at Legaspi Port in support of the 158th Regimental Combat Team assaulting the port. The unit had been completely mobile loaded on its own vehicles (one 1/4 ton 4X4 truck, and two 3/4 ton weapons carriers and a 250 gallon water trailer) and three 2 1/2 ton trucks belonging to the 3769th Quartermaster Truck Company.  The landing was made uneventfully except for the fact that the sand of the beach was very deep and loose so that almost all the vehicles bogged down immediately after leaving the landing craft and had to be pulled by bulldozers and tractors for a hundred feet or more up the beach before proceeding under their own power. This caused a little more than the usual amount of crowding on the beach during the early phases of the landing. Another factor hindering the clearing of the beach was the almost complete destruction of Legaspi Port by the pre-invasion bombardment. This made clearing the highway difficult because for every foot of the way, rubble and the crumbled walls of build-


ings had to be cleared from the Street. However, the job of clearing the beach and roads went on very well in the hands of the 592d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment and within forty five minutes of our landing on the beach we were able to reach the Legaspi Port Railroad Station in which the command post of the RCT had been temporarily set up. We report there for orders and instructions. On instruction from the Chief of Staff, Major Garlick and Captain William C. Bolt, at that time Commanding Officer of the 506 Collecting Company, set out to make a joint reconnaissance and choose a place for setting up the respective stations. After a brief reconnaissance of the area already taken by the 158th Infantry,  it was decided to establish both installations on the grounds of St Agnes Academy, on the north side of Route #1 about half way between Legaspi Fort and Legaspi. The rest of the trucks were brought up and by 1530 hours we had our hospital in operation, ready to receive patients. The ease and speed with which this part of our mission was accomplished again emphasized the importance of having all the equipment of units such as this completely mobile loaded for D-Day. This was a lesson we had learned by costly experience at Aitape, New Guinea, where we landed with one 3/4 ton weapons carrier and carried the heavy packs and pack frames of the old Buna days ashore with us. Aside from being unnecessarily and unreasonably arduous, that procedure handicapped us severely in equipment and capabilities. Since that time on, four successive beach landings, we have been able to mobile load more or less completely by loading our equipment onto trucks belonging to other units. There are a number of types of units, such as Quartermaster Truck Companies and Engineer Battalions present on every landing mission which have to take empty or very lightly loaded trucks with them. It is amazing how difficult it is at times to get permission to mobile load these vehicles with necessary hospital equipment. We have found that a minimum of two 2 1/2 ton trucks is necessary for this purpose and that three should be regarded as the correct number. With three trucks all equipment can be mobile loaded and it is unnecessary to leave a rear echelon, we do not have enough personnel to divide into two echelons and in our experience, leaving equipment in a rear echelon is practically tantamount to throwing it away. The only substitute for the lack of organic transportation to make us self-transportable is the use of unloaded vehicles of other organizations to mobile load our equipment. If I am reminded that this is a far cry from the original purposes and operations of the portable hospital, I submit that we have come a long way from Buna and that where infantrymen ride to the front lines in trucks, it is ridiculous to ask medical men to follow them on foot carrying eighty pound packs.

By 1530 hours on D-Day on 1 April our hospital was in operation. We received six patients during the afternoon, all of them medical patients since there were no battle casualties until that night or early the next morning. This was the first time in our combat history that


we had an opportunity to make use of a building in setting up our hospital. The main building of St Agnes Academy had been left with only the charred walls standing after the bombing and strafing attack the day before our landing. Three of the nuns had been burned to a crisp and the charred bodies could be seen in the main hall of the building. However, a two story residential building of the Academy, just to the west of the main building was very slightly damaged and could be adapted to our needs. There were two large rooms and a small verandah on the ground floor, We used the verandah as a receiving and shock treatment pavilion, the smaller of the rooms as a surgery and the larger as award, for the most seriously wounded casualties. The second story of the building consisted of three rooms, one of which we used as a laboratory. The other two were used to store the civilian possessions, furniture and so forth, which had been scattered throughout the house. The remainder of the hospital was set up in tents on the Academy grounds. Three ward tents for the patients were pitched in front of the ruins of the main building. Three squad tents for the enlisted personnel, one squad tent for supply, a large wall fly for the kitchen and two small wall tents for the officers were pitched to the right of the ward tents, in front of the building we were using as surgery and ward. There were two heavy long wood tables in the house and these served very well as operating tables. The 506th Medical Collecting company (less detachment) was set up on the Academy grounds adjoining us on the east. As soon as the hospital was established everyone turned to digging a foxhole for use that night. The night proved to be an unpleasant one. Before dark the Japs began shelling the troops in Legaspi, only a few hundred yards from where we were, with artillery, rockets and heavy antiaircraft guns. This was our first introduction to Japanese rockets and it was somewhat demoralizing. There is a weird, almost unearthly “whoop” when they are launched, followed by a variable period of silence before the contact explosion which is like the heaviest of artillery. Most of the men never did get used to the whoop and the suspense of the silence following it as they had become used to the sound of conventional artillery. We had not encountered the use of heavy antiaircraft guns as artillery previously either. This also, because of the rapid rate of fire, was disturbing and we could see quite plainly the effect of both these “new” weapons on the state of mind of the patients returned from the front.

We remained in this initial location from 1 April to 28 April, an unprecedented length of time for us to retain one position in combat. The reason for this was not that the advance of the infantry moved slowly but rather that it moved fast and in many directions, radiating from Legaspi as a center. Since the roads in all directions were good, our initial location remained easily accessible to all the troops. The 71st Evacuation Hospital, the only other hospital installation with the combat team., did not set up to receive patients until 4 April. Until then,


therefore, we had to act as a combination clearing and holding station for all patients, medical and surgical. There was no evacuation either by air or sea. By the evening of 3 April we had on our hands eighty medical patients and fifty-two battle casualties, in a hospital with a normal capacity of twenty-five and a maximum of fifty beds. We had had this same experience on so many previous occasions that we had almost come to accept it as normal. The 71st Evac Hosp had loaned us cots and blankets to care for some of the overflow. Most of the medical patients we handled during these first few days were suffering from diarrhea (acquired on the boat trip?) and mild fevers, though there were a significant number of cases of venereal disease and several of acute infectious hepatitis. All these patients were transferred to the 71st Evac Hosp on 4, 5, and 6 April. On 4 April one officer and five enlisted men of the 804 Air Evacuation Section were attached to us for rations and quarters and a day later one officer and seven enlisted men of the 160th Air Liaison Group were attached for rations. Shortly thereafter the evacuation problem was solved completely by air evacuation from the captured Legaspi strip. The officer, Lieutenant Johnson, and men of the 160th Air Liaison Group not only gave us excellent evacuation for serious cases by L-5 planes, but also did us an invaluable service in bringing emergency supplies, including whole blood, by return trip.

From 1 April to 28 April we operated on one hundred fifteen major battle casualties. Of these there were five deaths and two severely wounded patients did not live to be operated upon, dying during transfusion for treatment of shock. The wounds in this campaign were about of average seriousness according to our previous experience. Seventy of them were due to shell and grenade fragments and forty-five to gunshot wounds; there were no bayonet wounds in this group. There were thirteen abdominal wounds with visceral injury; eight of these lived to be evacuated in good general condition after from eight to twenty days hospitalization, There were twenty six major compound fractures, all of whom were evacuated in good condition. Only two patients required major (mid-thigh) amputations and two minor (finger) amputations. One of the patients who died had a mid-thigh amputation, compound fracture of the opposite femur and lacerations of the ileum and transverse colon; he lived for six days post operatively. There were six wounds of the chest, two of them sucking wounds; only one of these die and that one had an associated severe abdominal wound. The largest number operated on in any one day was thirty two on 4 April, We had only two officers at this time but we continued to work as two operative teams, with Capt Bolt, at that time of the 506th Collecting company, helping us part time and enlisted technicians acting as assistants and at times as anesthetist.

On the morning of 28 April we evacuated all remaining patients to the 71st Evacuation Hospital, struck camp and at 1000 hours departed for Camalig, Albay where we arrived at 1200 hours. We set up temporarily in


the walled-in church yard beside the church and convent in which the headquarters of the 158th Infantry Regiment was established. All day and during the night there was desultory machine gun and mortar fire in the hills a few hundred yards south of the road where the infantry was wiping out the last strong packet of Jap resistance in this area.  We received only one battle casualty during our brief stay at Camalig, an infantryman who had been bayoneted in chest, and abdomen while on patrol. He was dead on arrival at the hospital. However, we saw numbers of sick and bedraggled Jap prisoners as they trooped by on their way to headquarters and from there in trucks to Legaspi.

On 29 April at 1200 hours we were again on the road, this time to Baao, Camarines Sur, where we arrived at 1500 hours. We set up in a high coconut grove on the south side of Route #1 just on the eastern outskirts of Baao. Again the 506th Collecting company set up immediately adjacent to us, in the same coconut grove. The headquarters of the 158th Infantry Regiment was about half a mile forward of us in Baao and the headquarters of the 158th RCT was several miles to our rear in Iriga, During our eight day stay in this location we received only eleven casualties, but handled a number of medical patients before evacuating them to the 71st Evac Hosp. Of the eleven casualties two were Filipino Civilians, two Formosan and one Japanese who had a compound fracture of the femur. On 2 May Captain William C. Bolt was relieved from duty with the 506th Medical Collecting Company and assigned to the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital bringing our officer total to three. On 4 May we had several interesting experiences. In the morning some of our men returning from Legaspi with a load of rations, captured a Korean who walked onto the road at Camalig with his hands in the air and gave himself up to them. They turned him over to G-2 at RCT headquarters. That same afternoon a small band of Filipino guerrillas ran into our camp, driving before them a half naked Japanese soldier with his hands tied behind him and bleeding from the nose, face and back where he had been beaten and lashed. They said they had found him in a coconut grove about two hundred yards from our position and captured him. They added that there was another Jap still at large in the same grove. Several of our men armed themselves and went to investigate. As they approached the grove they heard an explosion and on reaching it found that the second Jap had blown his head off with his last grenade.

On 6 May we left Baao at 0945 hours and arrived at Anayan, Camarines Sur at 1130 hours. Here we set up camp in a coconut grove just to the west of Anayan airstrip. This grove had previously been used by the Japanese as an airplane dispersal area and there were a number of wood floored, banked revetments in the area, as well as a bamboo corduroy road leading to it from the south end of the airstrip, near highway #1. The entire area, however, was pretty well grown over with weeds and underbrush an required a good deal of clearing before we were finally well established.


Filipino laborers did most of the clearing for us and we used the wood from the revetments for flooring for some of our tents. The 158 Infantry Regiment was patrolling Mount Isarog for evidence of the Jap force which was supposed to be there. Our position had been chosen to support them since there was a good road running from highway #1 at the south end of Anayan airstrip toward the mountain and around its base to Tobaco. This road would serve well for transporting casualties to us and the airstrip would serve for evacuation from us. However, there proved to be very few Japs on Mount Isarog and the total number of casualties we cared for in this area was only fifteen. We again handled a large number of medical patients from the infantry, evacuating most of them to the 71st Evac Hosp. Of the fifteen casualties, three were Filipino Civilians, two Japanese prisoners of war. The serious cases consisted of a Formosan with arrow wounds of the back and left kidney requiring nephrectomy, a Japanese with a compound fracture of the right femur, and a Korean with an abdominal wound and several jejunal perforations. All recovered uneventfully. On 10 May, Major William L. Garlick, commanding officer of the unit since its formation, was relieved of assignment and transferred to Rotation Detachment, Base X for return to the states on the rotation program. This left Captain Paul A. Fernbach in command and again left us with only two officers. On 3 June 1st Lieutenant Gilbert Blum joined as a replacement from the 112th General Hospital.

Toward the end of May we received instructions to select a site and build a camp for the rainy season, since the 158th RCT was to garrison the area between Legaspi and Naga. Oas, Albay was elected for our camp since it is approximately half way between Pili, Camarines Sur where the 71st Evacuation Hospital was now set up and Legaspi, where the 33rd Portable Surgical Hospital was operating a small station hospital. We ware to operate a 25 bed station hospital. We secured the use of twenty Filipino laborers and set about building a garrison-type camp with famed and floored tents, graveled drives and walks, screened in surgery, etc., in the church yard and a part of the adjacent village square of Oas. By 6 June this camp was ready to be occupied and we moved into it, leaving Anayon at 1l30 hours and arriving at Oas at 1400 hours. The remainder of the period until 30 June was spent in improving the camp and area and in the beginning of a training and rehabilitation program, which we began on 11 June as a proposed 16 week program. On 18 June we were relieved from attachment to XIV Corps and attached to XI Corps for further attachment to the 158th RCT. On 30 June the end of the Luzon campaign for troops in this area was announced.

Our sanitation was routine and good during the period. Thus to the fact that we moved comparatively little, sanitation facilities were better than is usually the case in combat. There were no special problems. We had no contagious disease and no diarrhea in the command during the period.


Rations were better both qualitatively and quantitatively than we had ever before in combat and toward the end of the period, better than we had ever had overseas.

A dental survey of the commanders was made by Major Carl of the 71st Evac Hosp and all  necessary dental work was done by his staff from 2l June to 27 June.

At the beginning of the period covered by this report the personnel present for duty consisted of two officers and thirty one enlisted men; one enlisted man was on temporary duty in the United States. The T/O strength is four officers and thirty three enlisted men. On 17 April we lost two men on rotation, one of them our mess sergeant. On 2 May Capt William C. Bolt was assigned by transfer from the 506th Collecting Company of which he had been CO. On 10 May our commanding officer, Major William L. Garlick, and one enlisted men departed for the United states on rotation. On 11 May we lost our first sergeant due to an illness which has caused his evacuation to the states. On 3 June, 1st Lt Gilbert Blum joined as replacement from the 112th General Hospital; on 22 June Lt Blum suffered a dislocated hip and fracture of the acetabulum in. a truck accident and has since been evacuated. On 12 June one enlisted man left on rotation the states. On 29 June we received one enlisted replacement. At the close of the period our strength is two officers and twenty six enlisted men present for duty; one enlisted man on temporary duty in the United States.

Supply was excellent during the period. In the early period of combat the L-5 planes, returning from evacuating patients, gave us prompt and excellent delivery.

Paul A. Fernbach
Captain, M.C.

SOURCE:  National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, The Adjutant General's Office, World War II  Unit Histories: 3d Portable Surgical Hospital, Box 21733.