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Chapter XI



Laboratory Service and Research

An activity of the Army Veterinary Service, paralleling its services with animals and the inspection of the Army food supply during the war, was its laboratory and research work. Basically, this was a part of the overall Medical Department laboratory system. In the Zone of Interior at the level of the Army camp or station, professional veterinary requirements for laboratory services sometimes were referred to the clinicodiagnostic laboratory of the local station hospital. Most often, however, this type of facility was neither manned nor equipped to meet the veterinary needs, so that animal specimens and food samples generally were referred directly to the service command medical laboratories or to the laboratory of the Army Veterinary School, Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. These were manned and equipped to conduct the routine and special clinicodiagnostic examinations and food analyses for the Army Veterinary Service and were staffed by Veterinary Corps officers who were specially trained in military veterinary laboratory services. Other Medical Department laboratories in operation or nearing completion at the start of the war that had component veterinary sections were those located in the oversea departments. During the war, the theaters of operations utilized medical laboratory units. Each included a veterinary section. These laboratories operated with the field armies and in the theaters' base commands, and two or more such units in a single theater were supported by a larger medical general laboratory unit. Approximately 50 veterinary officers were assigned worldwide to this veterinary, laboratory service within the Medical Department (maps 7, 8, and 9). Fifty more officers were on duty with the laboratory research and development projects of the Chemical Warfare Service, the Quartermaster Corps, the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, or were concerned with antibiological warfare studies and the civil affairs activities in liberated and occupied countries.

This situation contrasts sharply with that in World War I, when The Surgeon General in December 1917 inaugurated a laboratory service in the Veterinary Corps that was expanded to include six or seven veterinary laboratory officers (1). As of mid-1940, veterinary laboratories were in operation only at the  Army Medical Center, at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., and at the general depot at Fort Mason, Calif. (2). There were also, at this time, the Medical Department Equipment Laboratory, Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and the VRL (Veterinary Research Laboratory), Aleshire Quartermaster Remount Depot, Front Royal, Va.

By this time, the functions of the veterinary laboratory service were well defined to include clinicodiagnostic services, food analyses, production of bio-


MAP 7.-Laboratory locations in the Zone of Interior.

logicals; training and instructional services, and research and development. The first-named function or activity related to the conduct of bacteriological, serologic, and pathological examinations of animal specimens. Food analyses pertained to the chemical analysis and bacteriological examinations of foods of animal origin and forage for the purpose of determining their compliance with the provisions of contractual documents. Since 1927, reportedly, the examinations or tests of food samples to determine compliance with contractual documents and specifications constituted the principal activity of the average laboratory (3). In addition to these activities, the veterinary laboratory service produced certain therapeutic and diagnostic biologicals which were required by the Army. Some of this activity, such as the production of mallein used in testing horses for glanders, was an outgrowth of operations during World War I. Another activity of the laboratories was the use of their personnel in the Medical Department's training program, particularly at the Army Medical Center.

The wartime service was expanded to include, in addition to the expanding research and development program, 34 new medical laboratories and laboratory units: 9 service command laboratories in the Zone of Interior, 2 oversea departmental or service command laboratories outside of the United States, and 4 general and 19 army-type and communications zone medical laboratory units in the oversea theaters. The war's end found these labora-  


MAP 8.-Laboratory locations in Europe.

tory veterinary sections to be integral and essential in the day-to-day operations of the Army Veterinary Service to a degree greater than at any previous time in its history.


The principles and the practices of veterinary laboratory service and research in World War II, like its functions and activities, were the direct continuation of those developed in World War I and perfected in the peacetime period which followed. The document basic to the wartime veterinary laboratories was an Army regulation dated 3 August 1942. These were  


MAP 9.-Laboratory locations in the Pacific


described originally by the Surgeon General's Office in circular letters and were replaced, in 1921, by an Army regulation (4, 5, 6).

At the level of the Surgeon General's Office, the veterinary laboratory service in its technical operations was supervised by the Veterinary Division and the Subdivision of Sanitation, Hygiene, and Laboratories of the Preventive Medicine Division. Frequently, matters of purely technical concern were referred to the Army Veterinary School which operated as a central control veterinary laboratory. Relations between the latter and the various laboratories were maintained by direct channels of communication. Within a command, the senior veterinary laboratory officer generally acted as the technical adviser to a command veterinarian on policies and problems relating to laboratory equipment and supplies, veterinary laboratory operations, and the control of animal diseases. In this connection, for example, the Ninth Service Command Laboratory, Fort Lewis, Wash., prepared and distributed a 14-page Veterinary Laboratory Circular pertaining to the collection, preparation, and shipment of specimens and samples. In another instance, during World War II, the 18th Medical General Laboratory conducted the preliminary work on the official form letter that was distributed by the Office of the Surgeon, Headquarters, Pacific Ocean Areas, concerning the procedures which would be used in the investigation of animal diseases on island bases in the Central Area (7). There was free interchange of professional and technical information between the laboratory and the veterinary officers in the field who were submitting specimens and samples for examination.

It was early realized that it was not possible to limit veterinary laboratory officers to strictly veterinary duties; the laboratories were frequently autonomous and had to do their own administration and housekeeping. In modern medicine, there is a great overlap and interrelationship among specialized fields. Thus, the problems of assignment and utilization of a veterinary laboratory officer on nonveterinary work was reevaluated in terms that he was primarily an Army officer and a member of a highly specialized professional team or staff. For example, the veterinary officer who had specialized in veterinary pathology was an invaluable associate in the experimental studies of the toxic or lethal effects of chemical warfare agents. The team or laboratory of which the veterinary officer was a part required many specialists in the several fields of medicine, bacteriology, chemistry, entomology, immunology, parasitology, public health, and virology. If qualified by previous experience or training, the veterinary officer soon found himself participating in nonveterinary work.

The veterinary section or branch of these laboratories usually did not function as an independent self-sufficient unit, as might be expected. The veterinary officer was normally in charge of the work or activities which dealt primarily with animals, animal diseases, and foods of animal origin. Moreover, he depended upon other sections of the laboratory to assist him  


in his problems; that is, problems in bacteriology were frequently referred to the bacteriology section, and problems in chemistry to the laboratory's chemist, thus allowing the veterinary laboratory officer to utilize the combined skills of the entire staff in handling the veterinary work. However, the veterinary laboratory officer was usually qualified for such an assignment by his prior civilian experience and education, and by specialized laboratory training within the Military Establishment.

The central administration of the laboratory service included ways and means of developing uniformity of laboratory methods and techniques, the training of personnel, the evaluation study of laboratory efficiency, and the inspection of veterinary laboratory facilities.

Steps for standardizing the methods and techniques that were used in the various laboratories were begun early in the history of the veterinary laboratory service and were continued throughout World War II. One such action was the training publication, Technical Manual No. 8-227, Methods for Laboratory Technicians, an edition of which appeared on 17 October 1941. This was incomplete in regard to the description of food analytical procedures, a matter of utmost importance to the Army Veterinary Service in connection with the procurement inspections of foods of animal origin. This problem was answered, in part for the first time, during the immediate pre-World War II emergency periods when the Army Veterinary School prepared the mimeographed text, Methods of Chemical Analysis of Meat Food Products. At about this time, a trend became evident toward the greater use of laboratory methods and techniques which were developed or were advanced by quasi-official national organizations.

Thus, in connection with the examination of milk and other dairy products, the veterinary laboratories made reference to the American Public Health Association's Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products and to the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists' Official and Tentative Methods of Analysis. These were specified in the Federal specifications and contractual documents relating to the procurement of food, and their use was mandatory. As the war progressed, the commercial food industries and related associations, including the American Oil Chemists Society, National Canners Association, American Dry Milk Institute, and the Quartermaster Corps, modified their test procedures, as did such Federal agencies as the U.S. Public Health Service and the Food and Drug Administration.

Frequently, during the war, new products were developed, and laboratory quality tests had to be developed for them. Even after a test was developed or perfected, there remained the problem of interpretation and application of the test results; for example, one could mention the Escherichia coli contamination in fresh milk, the mycelia count of butter, and the fluorescent value of dried egg powder. These analytical methods and procedures were important, being a part of contractual documents relating to the  


procurement of many million pounds of food for the Armed Forces. Also, the details of the test, which included the naming of specific equipment, had to be followed since the food analytical work of the Army veterinary laboratory service was subjected to legal review in claims made by contractors.

Allied with the standardization of laboratory methods and procedures, announced in published manuals and bulletins, was the matter of training. During World War II, a short refresher Special Graduate Course in Clinical Pathology was organized and conducted for 42 veterinary officers, and a wartime Course for Enlisted Specialists, Veterinary Laboratory Technicians, was established and conducted for 23 veterinary enlisted personnel. These courses emphasized training in laboratory work.

In addition to the utilization of published reference texts and training media, of a central training agency, and of programs of research and development, the Army Veterinary School instituted laboratory evaluation studies as a means of obtaining standardization. Briefly, these studies involved the measurement of efficiency of several laboratories by one central laboratory (Army Veterinary School Laboratory) and involved the latter's action of sending identical food samples (controls) to subordinate or corollary laboratories for analyses and then reviewing and comparing the test results which were reported. Laboratories that failed to report satisfactory results were subsequently inspected or requested to assign their veterinary personnel to the central laboratory for on-the-job training. It was a command responsibility to conduct such evaluation studies and was little used until after the onset of World War II. During the war, the veterinary section of the Fourth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort McPherson, Ga., instituted evaluation studies on hospital laboratories in Army camps conducting local milk quality control programs.

Steps were taken to standardize veterinary laboratory methods and techniques within the Army Veterinary Service to insure that all veterinary laboratories would or could provide the same end results of analyses on any given food sample and also to insure that the veterinary laboratory service could be generally recognized as a competent quality-control military agency of the Government. At times, a laboratory seemed to be out of line with respect to a procedure or on a report of results of analyses, but this was no different from the experiences of the food industries with their laboratory controls. Within the Army, such failures were usually uncovered almost as soon as they appeared, and aggressive action was undertaken for the correction of the situation immediately. Complaints by the commercial food industries of inaccuracies of veterinary laboratory reports of analyses did occur; however, in no instance was a complaint substantiated.

The studies and standardization of laboratory methods and techniques involved studies and standardization of equipment and supplies. During World War II, the equipping of veterinary laboratories became a major problem. The problem was quantitative in nature because of the increased  


number of veterinary laboratories. It was also qualitative, particularly in the Zone of Interior where there was a developing emphasis upon the utilization of official test procedures in connection with the expanding veterinary food inspection services. The test procedures, which were agreed to jointly by quartermaster procurement officials, the food industries and their quasi-official national organizations, and the Army Veterinary Service, frequently specified a type or brand of equipment or laboratory material which was to be used; it became mandatory that the veterinary laboratories be properly equipped or supplied to conduct the official test procedures. If such were not available or used, the results of the analyses conducted by laboratories which may have used substitute equipment or material were regarded as unacceptable within the purview of the contractual documents relating to food procurement. In an instance where a special type of electric mixer, as prescribed in the test for the solubility index of dry milk powder, was in short supply, the American Dry Milk Institute and the Quartermaster Subsistence Research and Development Laboratory cooperated to test and to make arrangements for the supply of substitute types of mixers.

The advancements which were made in laboratory test procedures and equipment were paralleled with changing attitudes toward the importance of laboratory experimental and test animals. There always existed the problem in the supply of laboratory animals in terms of quantity, but the supply of good quality and properly conditioned animals was a relatively modern innovation. It involved the supply of parasite-free animals, sometimes specific pathogen-free animals, or animals which were specially fed or grown under special environmental conditions. The lack of appreciation of quality and condition in laboratory animals in past years may have caused some of the irregularities in the results of animal test procedures in routine clinicodiagnostic work, and it may be associated with the inability at times to verify the reports of original research investigations. The developing importance of laboratory animal supply paralleled the history of the responsibilities and functions of the Army Veterinary Service with the Medical Department laboratory system. The supply of good quality animals in adequate numbers was progressively experienced as being essential to the clinicodiagnostic procedures and research investigations by the Medical Department (fig. 36 ).

Requests for the utilization of unserviceable Army horses in connection with the developmental studies on protective equipment against chemical warfare agents were disapproved by the War Department until 18 March 1941 (8). When approval was granted at that time, the War Department directed that the Chemical Warfare Service employ those criteria of the American Medical Association that concerned the humane care and use of laboratory experimental animals.

During World War II, the Army Veterinary Service was active in the care and handling of laboratory animals, not only for the Medical Depart-  


FIGURE 36.-Experimental surgery on laboratory animals was conducted under humane, professional veterinary guidance in connection with the studies of missile effects on soldiers.


ment laboratory system but also in connection with the antichemical and antibiological warfare research and development programs of the Chemical Warfare Service. This was in line with the natural sequence of events and possibly as the result of the specified requirements by the War Department in 1941 that veterinary and humane treatment be accorded Army horses which were utilized in defensive chemical warfare research. On at least two separate occasions, once in 1943 and again in 1944, the Chemical Warfare Service requested the assignment of veterinary officers1 whose duties were to assist in the interpretation of the pathological changes in experimental animals and to procure and manage animal colonies (9, 10). Within the Medical Department laboratory system, the veterinary sections of new medical laboratories and laboratory units in the Zone of Interior and oversea theaters invariably operated the animal colonies. The operation included procurement, breeding, maintenance, and issue, as well as the conduct of sanitary programs and professional services. Plans were developed for the proper housing of laboratory animals. These operations were especially difficult under field conditions where the laboratories were frequently relocated and in areas where climatic conditions adversely affected the maintenance and propagation of animals. At ports, the Veterinary Service assisted in the oversea movement of laboratory animals. Unfortunately, laboratory animals did not well withstand the rigors of long voyages on shipboard; in some instances, the animals were moved by aerial transport and were accompanied by attendants to assure that they were properly cared for en route. The procurement of an adequate food supply was a frequent problem.


This section and the following section comprise the unit histories of veterinary laboratories and sections during World War II, in the Zone of Interior and in the oversea theaters, respectively. They relate the veterinary operations of 34 newly organized or revitalized facilities and units of the Medical Department laboratory system. The war's end found the operational responsibilities of the veterinary laboratory service to be of importance equaling the two original missions of the Army Veterinary Service-the mission concerned with the care of animals and that related to the inspection of food.  

In the Zone of Interior, the veterinary laboratory service was an activity of the Army Veterinary Service that was evolved within the Medical

1On 29 July 1944, the Veterinary Division, SGO, initiated action for the transfer of Capt. A. H. Gaffin, VC, from the 42d Veterinary Company (Separate) to the Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele, Utah, and of Capt. R. J. Veenstra, VC, from the 23d Station Hospital to the Toxicological Research Laboratory, Edgewood Arsenal, Md.  


Department laboratory system. The onset of World War II found the Army Veterinary Service dependent upon three laboratories for its clinicodiagnostic work and food analyses: The Army Veterinary School, the station hospital at Fort Sam Houston, and the general depot at Fort Mason.

The laboratory at the Army Veterinary School was really the parent laboratory of all veterinary laboratories organized during World War II. Most of the veterinary officers that were assigned to other laboratories received a preassignment training course in this laboratory. It served as the control laboratory for all service command laboratories and as an appeal laboratory to arbitrate differences between service command and food industry laboratories. In addition to performing its usual research training, production of biolocicals, and other functions, it provided all veterinary laboratory service for the Third Service Command. During World War II, the laboratory examined 51,950 samples of food, making 163,000 separate determinations. The production of biologicals was as follows:







Equine infectious abortion bacterin

cubic centimeters


Equine, encephalomyelitis vaccine

cubic centimeters


Japanese B encephalitis vaccine

cubic centimeters


As the pre-World War II emergency period saw the formation of hospital laboratories at many new Army camps and airbases, the Surgeon General's Office planned for the establishment of zonal-type laboratories as supplementary to the hospital laboratories-one for each of the corps areas and the oversea departments. The planning for corps area and department medical laboratories in the expanding Medical Department laboratory system became the nucleus of the wartime organization of the veterinary laboratory service, because veterinary personnel were too few in numbers for assignment to the numerous hospital laboratories. Such zonal-type laboratories were recognized as important in the investigation of diseases significant in military veterinary medicine and in the operation of quality controls over the foods procured for use by the Army.

Specifically, the Surgeon General's Office recommended that medical laboratories be established in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and two in the Ninth Corps Areas and in the Panama and the Puerto Rican Departments, that the Second Corps Area laboratory which was then in operation be continued, and that the Army Medical Center provide laboratory services for the Third Corps Area (11, 12, 13). It was not believed necessary to establish departmental medical laboratories in the Hawaiian and the Philippine Departments at that time. The plan, "* * * as a part of the present program of expansion," was approved by the War Department on 30 November 1940. On 15 January 1941, this approval was supplemented by a letter directing corps area and department commanders


that steps would be taken locations immediately to establish laboratories in the following locations:  

First Corps Area

Fort Devens, Mass.

Fourth Corps Area

In the vicinity of Atlanta, Ga.

Fifth Corps Area

Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind. 

Sixth Corps Area

Fort Sheridan, Ill.  

Seventh Corps Area

In the vicinity of Omaha, Nebr. 

Eighth Corps Area

Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

Ninth Corps Area

In the Puget Sound area, Wash.
Southern California

Panama Canal Department

In the Pacific section.

Puerto Rican Department

San Juan, Puerto Rico.

During this time, the surgeons of the relevant commands were asked to conduct preliminary studies for establishing corps area and department laboratories. Also, tables of personnel authorizations, special lists of equipment, and plans for housing the laboratories were developed. The tables of authorizations for each provided for a total of 31 personnel (5 officers, 14 enlisted personnel, and 12 civilian employees) of which number the following were named to the laboratory's veterinary component: 1 veterinary officer (in the rank of major), 1 sergeant, 1 private, and 2 civilian employees (14).

Veterinary personnel were assigned to the corps area medical laboratories as they were formed. In 1942, these laboratories were renamed service command medical laboratories, a name which continued until after V-J Day when they became known as Army area medical laboratories. Within the laboratories, the veterinary components were variously named as sections, food chemistry branches, or veterinary laboratory (chart 3). Most of the laboratories soon included veterinary personnel in numbers exceeding that originally planned by The Surgeon General; one laboratory had as many as 38 persons detailed to veterinary work. A total of approximately 30 Veterinary Corps officers were assigned to the nine corps area laboratories in the Zone of Interior during the war period; some of these later served in laboratory units which were deployed overseas. Any doubts as to the value of the expanding veterinary service in the new service command medical laboratories were soon put aside as the war progressed; the termination of the war found the veterinary clinicodiagnostic and food analytical services to be a major function of the Medical Department laboratory system. In the period from 1942 to the end of active hostilities in 1945, the Army Veterinary Service in the nine service commands of the Zone of Interior received an estimated 300,000 animal specimens and food samples, and several thousand water samples and specimens of human origin for examination. This is exclusive of the veterinary work conducted at the hospital laboratories in the Army camps and airbases, at quartermaster depots, at the veterinary laboratory of the Army Medical Center, or of organoleptic inspections. The annual workload per laboratory, in terms  


CHART 3.-Typical organization of a service command laboratory, showing veterinary service

of numbers of food samples received, increased from 3,750 in 1942 to 13,600 in 1945 (up to V-J Day). For each specimen or sample received, the laboratories conducted one or more tests or determinations.

First Service Command Medical Laboratory

The First Service Command Medical Laboratory, Jamaica Plain, Mass. (15), was established as the First Corps Area Medical Laboratory, effective on 19 July 1941. Its veterinary personnel were originally assigned to the laboratory's serology department, but, as the result of ever-increasing demands for food analyses, these personnel in March 1943 assumed the operation of the chemistry department. In both departments, the Army Veterinary Service conducted certain clinicodiagnostic examinations concerned with human medicine. For example, during 1941, all sera received for the Kahn and Wassermann tests were surveyed for brucellosis agglutinins. In 1944, approximately 900 chemical tests were conducted on blood, spinal fluid, urine, and stool specimens of human origin. However, the analyses of food and water, the conduct of laboratory surveys of fresh milk supplies, and the operation of the laboratory animal colony comprised the major activities of the Army Veterinary Service. In regard to food analyses and testing of water, the laboratory's veterinary service in 1944 conducted 11,050 tests, of which 6,875 were chemical in nature and 4,175 were bacteriological examinations. The examinations of milk and dairy products comprised the greater part of the bacteriological work; otherwise, the analyses pertained to food of animal origin, as well as a few fruit and vegetable items, and water. Other veterinary activities at the First Service Command Laboratory included the conduct of a sanitary survey of the milkshed in Vermont and assistance to the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Security Agency,  


and a survey of the supply of water and fresh milk for the Army airbase on Presque Isle. In addition, limited laboratory services were provided to local Navy installations.

Second Service Command Medical Laboratory

Veterinary service in the Second Service Command Medical Laboratory, New York, N. Y., began in the spring of 1941; it included a veterinary branch which was completely equipped to render animal clinicodiagnostic services and food analyses, the latter being its major activity. During the period from October 1941 to August 1945, the number of food samples received totaled 27,421; the number of food tests or determinations totaled 88,128. The distribution of this workload by years is shown in table 24. The food samples were representative of foods of animal origin as well as a few fruit and vegetable items. Special veterinary activities included means for the standardization of test procedures, the operation of the laboratory animal colony, and preliminary research studies on paratyphoid infection of Army signal pigeons for the purpose of developing a suitable prophylactic serum.

Table 24.-Food samples received and determinations made, Veterinary Section, Second Service Command Medical Laboratory, 1941-45  


Food samples






















Fourth Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Fourth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort McPherson, organized on 21 October 1941, included the Fourth Service Command Veterinary Laboratory. Its veterinary strength increased from 1 veterinary officer and 1 enlisted man to 21 personnel as of early 1945-the latter including 3 officers, 4 enlisted technicians, 9 civilian technicians, 1 animal attendant, 2 stenographers, and 2 housekeepers. During World War II, the laboratory's veterinary service received 23,769 food samples and 827 animal specimens (table 25). The food analytical activities pertained largely to the examination of dairy products which were supplied locally to troops, although after the spring of 1944, as many as 500 samples of canned meats were received each month for determining compliance with military procurement require-


ments. Overall, 22 percent of the food samples failed in one or more particulars to comply with the provisions of contractual documents and specifications. This percentage was significant in that defective food supplies which might prove injurious to troop health or which may have greatly deteriorated or spoiled while in Government storage were eliminated. In connection with the examinations of animal specimens, investigational studies were conducted on three diseases: equine encephalomyelitis, botulism or forage poisoning, and rabies. The first-named disease was tentatively diagnosed among animals in Florida and Georgia, but studies by the laboratory failed to demonstrate the presence of the causative viral agent. Botulism was clinically suspected in 129 animals at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., but laboratory studies were inconclusive and only suggestive that the condition could have been a toxemia caused by spoiled forage. Rabies was a major clinicodiagnostic problem; of 65 specimens from animals suspected of being rabid, 24 were positive by the mouse inoculation test. Research studies also were undertaken for improving laboratory methods used in the determinations of added neutralizer in high acid milk and of added raw milk in pasteurized milk. Technical papers were prepared on the subjects of a container for refrigerating milk samples, and mechanical aids for use in the direct microscopic method of counting bacteria. Possibly, one of the most important activities of the laboratory's veterinary service was its operations as a central control laboratory for the food analyses which were conducted in hospitals of Army camps and airbases in the Fourth Service Command. This involved a program of training laboratory technicians from the hospitals, particularly in the methods of examining milk and dairy products. Eighty-three students in 1943 and thirty-seven additional students in 1944 were ordered to the laboratory for a 2-week training program. The program of training was augmented by a program of continued professional assistance involving the publication of a series of technical letters and the conduct of evaluation studies on the efficiency of hospital laboratories to analyze control dairy samples.

TABLE 25.-Food samples and animal specimens received, Veterinary Section, Fourth Service Command Medical Laboratory, 21 October 1941 through 31 September 1945 


Food samples

Animal specimens



1941 (21 Oct.-31 Dec.)












1945 (1 Jan.-31 Sept.)







Fifth Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Fifth Service Command Laboratory, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., activated on 15 September 1941, was completed for operations on 2 December 1941. During World War II, the veterinary section conducted 111,715 tests on 38,986 food samples and animal specimens (table 26). During 1943, the laboratory confirmed the report of a clinical diagnosis of glanders in an animal at the U.S. Naval Ordinance Depot in southern Indiana. The veterinary section also operated the laboratory's animal colony, conducted animal inoculation tests, and produced some essential serological products. However, the analyses of foods comprised the principal veterinary activity that reached a peak workload during the month of June 1945, when 2,400 food samples were received and 5,600 analytical procedures were conducted. The food samples received in the greatest number were those of canned evaporated milk and canned meats and vegetables, along with a large number of samples of butter, cheese, and lard. Food samples which did not comply with the provisions of contractual documents and procurement specifications included canned evaporated milk which was low in total solids content, pork and ground beef with excessive fat, milk and frozen eggs which showed Esch. coli contamination, and cheese having excessive moisture. Foodborne outbreaks also were studied. Research and developmental studies were conducted on a variety of analytical tests. For example, it was found that the copper-reduction test procedure commonly used in the separate determination of the lactose and the sucrose contents of ice cream was unsuitable where syrup, instead of sugar, was used in the manufacture of the ice cream. In another instance, the laboratory reportedly found that the official test methods for starch in meat products were not sufficiently accurate. In connection with the test for added cereals, particularly soybean flour in meat products, the laboratory studied the original chemical test for glycinin (a globulin protein in the soybean) and developed an improvement to the serological test for soybean additives (16).

TABLE 26.-Tests conducted on food samples and animal specimens, Veterinary Section, Fifth Service Command Medical Laboratory, 1942-45


Samples and animals specimens received

Laboratory procedures or determinations



















Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Sheridan, Ill., established on 4 February 1941, included a veterinary section which, in time, was expanded to include a staff of 38 (17). When the parent unit transferred to Gardiner General Hospital, Chicago, Ill. (during November 1944), the laboratory's Food Chemistry Section, that is, the Veterinary Section, remained at Fort Sheridan. Its principal activity was the chemical and bacteriological examination of foods. The veterinary officer in charge also supervised the laboratory's serology and media sections, operated the animal colony, and conducted bacteriological examinations of water samples. During World War II, this laboratory received more than 66,000 food and water samples (table 27). In 1944, the 29,141 food samples involved the conduction of 120,300 laboratory test procedures. The peak monthly workload was reach in July 1944 when approximately 4,000 samples were received. During the war, the laboratory, located in the Nation's dairy center, was involved in the analysis of the large quantities of canned evaporated milk, dried powdered milk, and cheese which were procured for the Armed Forces. Individually, these commodities presented specific veterinary laboratory problems. In the instance of the milk products, the problem involved one of rapid reporting of results because they were frequently accepted provisionally and shipped from the contractors' establishment to depots and ports before the laboratory analysis could be completed. In June 1944, the laboratory began the testing for trace metals (copper and iron) in milk. In the instance of cheese, the problem involved one of establishing the Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory for the check control on certain commercial cheese laboratories. Research studies were conducted on the deterioration of cheese that occurred as the result of an oiling-off condition and moisture loss. Other food items requiring considerable study and entailing a large amount of work were dried egg powder and frozen eggs, until March 1945 when laboratory work relative to all Army procurements of dried egg powder was centralized in the Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory.

TABLE 27.-Water and food samples received by Veterinary Section, Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory, 1942 through August 1945  


Water samples

Evaporated milk

Food samples
















1945 (through August)









Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Omaha, Nebr., was established on 5 November 1941, with a veterinary department which at one time included 17 personnel (18). During World War II, the latter department was concerned principally with the analyses of foods, receiving 56,885 food samples on which more than 490,000 laboratory procedures were conducted (table 28). In regard to the food analyses, the Veterinary Department of this laboratory conducted research studies for improving the laboratory methods for the bacteriological examination of cereals, flour, powdered milk, and frozen and powdered eggs. The studies on egg products were undertaken when the laboratory's veterinary officer was named to a committee at the Chicago Quartermaster Depot which sought improvement in determining the bacteriological quality of powdered eggs. The results of these studies were integrated into the U.S. military procurement specifications, and in 1945, the Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory was named as the Army's central control laboratory for the analyses of all powdered eggs procured in the Zone of Interior. The Veterinary Department was also in charge of the animal colony.

TABLE 28.-Food samples received and determinations made, Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory, October 1942 through September 1945


Food samples




1942 (October through December)









1945 (January through September)






Eighth Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Eighth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., established on 15 March 1941, included a food analyses branch and a virus laboratory, both of which were supervised and operated by veterinary personnel. In regard to food analyses, the veterinary branch was divided into two operational sections whose workloads are shown in table 29. A major portion of these workloads was related to sanitary surveys of local milk supplies which were being procured by the Army. Research studies were initiated with regard to the mycological and bacteriological quality of egg products. The operation of the virus laboratory involved certain clinicodiagnostic laboratory procedures (table 30). The virus laboratory was mainly concerned with the study of the troop health aspects of such  


diseases as typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, lymphogranuloma venereum, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, rabies, ornithosis, equine encephalomyelitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. Laboratory research projects on rickettsial diseases also were undertaken (19 through 23).

TABLE 29.- Food analyses conducted by Veterinary Section, Eighth Service Command Medical Laboratory, 1942-45




Food Bacteriology Section

Food Chemistry Section
























TABLE 30.- Clinicodiagnostic laboratory procedures, Veterinary Section, Eighth Service Command Medical Laboratory, 1943-45


Clinical pathology


Animal inoculations









































Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory

The Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., one of two laboratories established in the Ninth Service Command, was established during June 1941, originally at Fort Ord, Calif., and then moved during January 1942. Its veterinary section was gradually expanded from a staff comprising 1 veterinary officer, 2 enlisted personnel, and 2 civilian employees to a total of 10 personnel. During June 1945, a Sanitary Corps officer was designated in charge of the veterinary section's food analysis branch. This branch conducted the analyses and examinations of all food and water samples received in this laboratory during World War II (table 31). The veterinary section also conducted a few clinicodiagnostic examinations pertaining to animal diseases and operated the labora-  


FIGURE 37.-Animal house, Veterinary Section, showing guinea pig housing at the Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Presidio of Monterey, Calif.

tory animal colony (figs. 37 and 38). In addition to these routine laboratory activities, research studies were conducted on the method of diagnosing canine filariasis in Army dogs, and a sanitary survey was made on the incidence of salmonellosis among Army and civilian dogs. Other studies were made on the technique of collecting gases from "sweller" cans of food, on the causes of curdled evaporated milk, and on the efficacy of the Babcock fat test in samples of homogenized milk to which formalin had been added as a preservative.

The Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Lewis, Wash., was the other laboratory facility in the Ninth Service Command. As of 1 July 1942, it included a veterinary section with as many as nine personnel at times; all were employed in the analyses of foods, water examinations, veterinary clinicodiagnostic services, and research investigations. The latter included the bacteriological survey of five dairy plants in the area and the investigation of an outbreak of paratyphoid infection among Army signal pigeons. During the period from 1942 through 1943, the laboratory's veteri-  


FIGURE 38.-Animal house, stockroom, Veterinary Section, Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., showing mice, cotton rats, hamsters. and rats.

TABLE 31.-Analyses and examinations of food and water received, Veterinary Section, Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., 1942-43


Samples and specimens received

Laboratory procedures


Food samples



















1Food samples only.


FIGURE 39.-Animal house, Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Lewis, Wash. All of the noninfected animals and breeding stock were under the supervision of a veterinarian responsible for the handling, housing, feeding, and breeding of white rats, white mice, cotton rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, and sheep.

nary section received more than 18,000 samples and specimens, a workload that required 32,263 laboratory procedures:


Samples and specimens









In addition to these activities, the veterinary section operated the laboratory animal colony (figs. 39 and 40) and conducted animal inoculation tests.


During World War II, a veterinary laboratory service was organized and operated at a theater level for the first time in military veterinary history. (During World War I, only a single veterinary hospital laboratory was formed.) This service was provided in 4 medical general laboratory units and in 19 field army-type and communications zone medical labora-  


FIGURE 40.-Guinea pig room, animal house, Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Lewis, Wash.

tory units. At times, in some oversea areas, the Army Veterinary Service also utilized or assisted in the operation of military department laboratories, Army hospital laboratories, and civilian facilities. As was explained previously in connection with the organization of the Medical Department's laboratory system in the Zone of Interior, the clinicodiagnostic laboratories in the oversea hospital units constituted the base, the army-type, and communications zone medical laboratories and supplemented the basic hospital laboratories. Within the theater of operations, the medical general laboratory became the control laboratory, operating somewhat as the Army Medical Center laboratory did in the United States.

The Field Army and Communications Zone Laboratory

The army-type or communications zone medical laboratory was described in the T/O's (War Department tables of organization) which were published from time to time during the peacetime period between World Wars I and II, but no provisions had been made for an organic veterinary service until 1 October 1940, when a new edition of the tables was published. Since then, these organizational tables have been changed several times; those changes relating to authorizations for assigned veterinary personnel are shown in table 32.


TABLE 32.- Tables of organization for veterinary personnel assigned to medical laboratories, 1 October 1940 through 18 January 1945




Veterinary personnel

Total strength





T/O 8-234

Medical Laboratory Army or Communications Zone

1 Oct. 1940




T/O 8-611


1 Apr. 1942




T/O&E 8-611

Medical Laboratory

25 Aug. 1943




T/O&E 8-500

Medical Department Service Organization

23 Apr. 1944




T/O&E 8-500

Medical Service Organization

18 Jan. 1945




1In the rank of major.

During World War II, the 19 such units were activated and deployed overseas. They were organized as self-contained units, being composed of a headquarters, three mobile laboratories, and the base stationary laboratory (chart 4). The headquarters and base laboratory, upon which the three mobile sections were satellited, was composed of several professional sections such as bacteriological, pathological, serologic, and veterinary. These conducted epidemiological investigations, sanitary surveys, and studies with the necessary laboratory work. Usually, one such medical laboratory was assigned to a field army or to a major command element in the communications zone, there implementing that portion of the Medical Department's laboratory system contained in the various hospital units. Although organized to provide three mobile laboratories, a few of these laboratory units were permanently located in an area for long periods of time, while others operated as the general medical laboratory for a theater.

The veterinary personnel of the medical laboratory routinely operated the veterinary section of the unit's base stationary laboratory. Its special functions were described as follows (24):

This section is commanded by a Veterinary Corps officer assisted by enlisted technicians. It is charged with the laboratory examination of foods, animal cultures, including bacteriology of food specimens sent in from other organizations of the army or communications zone.

However, this did not preclude the utilization of veterinary personnel in any of the mobile laboratories when special veterinary investigations or surveys had to be conducted in areas not readily accessible to the base stationary laboratory. Under emergency conditions, the veterinary personnel were engaged in special laboratory work that was not veterinary in nature, and, at other times, especially when the unit was more or less in permanent station, the activities of the veterinary laboratory service were greater than the normal operating capacity of its veterinary facilities and personnel permitted.


CHART 4.-Functional organization of the army-type or communications zone medical laboratory

The veterinary section of the medical laboratory comprised the basic, and sometimes the only, veterinary laboratory service available in a command or a theater.

The first of these units, the 2d Medical Laboratory, was activated on 1 September 1940, and was followed on 10 February 1941, by the activation of the 3d Medical Laboratory. A cadre of the latter unit was on shipboard en route to the Philippine Department at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was recalled and embarked for Brisbane, Australia, in May 1942. During 1942, eight more medical laboratories were activated and organized-thus making available the 1st through the 10th Medical Laboratories. Some of these were activated at Camp Rucker, Ala., although the majority were activated at Fort Sam Houston. All were provided with technical training. While within the jurisdiction of the Third U.S. Army, many of these laboratories entered into field maneuver training either in Louisiana or at San Bernardino, Calif.

Beginning in December 1943 and continuing until February 1945, eight additional numbered medical laboratories were activated in the Zone of Interior, at Camp Ellis, Ill., Fort Lewis, or Camp Barkeley, Tex. The nineteenth unit was activated in the Central Pacific Area. Unlike the others, the last few units were hastily organized and were not given extensive training. In fact, one medical laboratory was en route to the port of embarkation within 10 days following its activation.

The Medical General Laboratory

The medical general laboratory of a theater of operations was designed to be the central control laboratory of the theater's Medical Department  


CHART 5.-Functional organization of a medical general laboratory

laboratory system, which may have included one or more army or communications zone medical laboratories and the various hospital laboratories. During World War II, four medical general laboratories were organized and deployed in the oversea theaters. Typically, each included the headquarters and administrative division, and a group of professional sections (chart 5). Ordinarily, one such unit was assigned to a theater; its general functions were described as follows (25):

* * * It conducts epidemiological studies, researches, technical inspections, and investigations. Specially trained individuals are sent to various parts of the theater of operations to make epidemiological investigations or assist in the control of an epidemic of serious nature or proportions. The laboratory manufactures and standardizes sera, standard chemical solutions, bacterial antigens, stains, biologicals, etc. It distributes pertinent technical literature on disease control and laboratory methods. It standardizes all technique for all laboratory service (hospital and medical laboratory) in the theater of operations.

Table 33 shows the number of assigned veterinary personnel compared to total personnel. Ordinarily, the veterinary personnel comprised the veterinary section of the laboratory's professional division, but they could also be detailed to augment other sections, as required or dependent upon the qualifications of the individuals. The special functions of the veterinary sections were described as follows (26):

This section is commanded by a Veterinary Corps officer assisted by another veterinary officer, a noncommissioned officer, and enlisted technicians. It is divided into two subsections.

1. Bacteriology subsection. This subsection is charged with isolation of bacteria in specimens (meat, milk, food, cultures, etc., from sick or wounded animals) sent in by other organizations in the theater.


2. Pathology subsection. This subsection is charged with giving technical recommendations on meat inspection, acting as consultant on such matters, and the examination of specimens sent in by other organizations in the theater.

TABLE 33.- Tables of organization for veterinary personnel, medical laboratories, compared to total personnel strength  



Veterinary personnel

Total strength






Table 680W

23 Feb. 1927




T/O 8-504

1 Nov. 1940




T/O 8-610

1 Apr. 1942




TO&E 8-610

6 June 1943




TO&E 8-500

23 Apr. 1944




TO&E 8-500

18 Jan. 1945




1T/O 8-504 and succeeding tables authorized veterinary officer personnel in the grades of 1 lieutenant colonel and 1 captain or first lieutenant.
2In grades as follows: l lieutenant colonel, 1 major, 1 first lieutenant, and 1 second lieutenant. 
3Indicated as minimal number.

The four medical general laboratories, each with organic veterinary sections, were organized in the Zone of Interior. The 1st Medical General Laboratory, which was deployed in the European theater, was organized at Camp Rucker, Ala., on 25 June 1942. The 15th Medical General Laboratory, which set up station in the North African-Mediterranean theater, and the 18th Medical General Laboratory, which was deployed to the Central Pacific Area, were activated at Fort Sam Houston, on 19 December 1942, and 10 September 1943, respectively. The 19th Medical General Laboratory, which served in Hollandia, New Guinea, and then in the Philippine Islands, was organized at Fort McPherson, on 5 October 1943. With the exception of the last-named unit which was trained at Fort McPherson, the medical general laboratories received from 7 to 9 months of technical and unit training at Fort Sam Houston prior to staging at a port of embarkation for shipment overseas. The Veterinary Corps officers assigned to the units were trained at the Army Veterinary School.

Deployment of Laboratory Units in the Theaters

North African-Mediterranean theater.-Four laboratory units were deployed in the North African-Mediterranean theater. The 2d Medical Laboratory, arriving there during December 1942, set up station in Casablanca, French Morocco, as the communications zone laboratory for the Atlantic Base Section. The 1st Medical Laboratory, arriving during March 1943 as the campaign in North Africa came to a close, operated for the Eastern Base Section from its location in Constantine, Tunisia, and the 4th Medical Labo-  


ratory, coming into the theater in April 1943, was located in Oran, Algeria, which then comprised the Mediterranean Base Section. During the latter part of 1943, the 15th Medical General Laboratory arrived from the Zone of Interior, but it did not become operational as the central and control facility of the theater's medical laboratory system until 10 January 1944, when it was transferred from North Africa to the Naples, Italy, area. The three medical laboratories, as was the general laboratory, were also moved out of North Africa, the 2d Medical Laboratory becoming operational as a Fifth U.S. Army unit in the campaign on the Italian peninsula. The 1st and the 4th Medical Laboratories, being assigned to the Seventh U.S. Army after the defeat of the German Afrika Korps and rollup of the North African base section, were subsequently moved to southern France, which area was soon assigned under the jurisdictional control of the European theater (20 November 1944). The 2d Medical General Laboratory accompanied the advances of the Fifth U.S. Army northward through Italy, eventually reaching Florence where it operated for a 3-month period ending on 3 June 1945, when preparations were started in its planned redeployment to the Pacific theater.

European theater.-The Medical Department laboratory system in the European theater was started with the advance cadre, or General Medical Laboratory "A" of the 1st Medical General Laboratory, joined later by seven medical laboratories, two operating in the communications zone, and five with the field armies. The 1st Medical General Laboratory was the central and control laboratory for the theater. Originally located in England, it was replaced in March 1945 by the 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) during the move to Paris, France, and then by the 4th Medical Laboratory when preparations were started for its return from Paris to the Zone of Interior (during June 1945). The 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) and the 4th Medical Laboratory both operated as communications zone laboratories. After V-E Day, the first-named unit, then located in the United Kingdom Base command, was inactivated, and the 4th Medical Laboratory moved from location in the Seine section command in France to Darmstadt, Germany, where it became one of two such laboratories of the U.S. Occupation Forces in Germany; the other was the 7th Medical Laboratory, this laboratory having served in an outstanding manner with the Third U.S. Army during combat in the European theater.

In regard to those medical laboratories with the combat forces, the 1st Medical Laboratory with the Seventh U.S. Army (originally from the North African-Mediterranean theater), the 7th Medical Laboratory with the Third U.S. Army, and the 10th Medical Laboratory with the First and Ninth U.S. Armies moved rapidly, sometimes setting up station at two or three new areas within a 30-day period and frequently rendering laboratory service in more than one area. The 1st and the 10th Medical Laboratories used their organic transportation facilities as shuttle service to move equipment and personnel, whereas the 7th Medical Laboratory was divided into two separate  


sections which leapfrogged from one place to another. The 28th Medical Laboratory and the 362d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory), both assigned to the Fifteenth and Ninth U.S. Armies, were moved less often than the other three units deployed with the armies because they did not arrive until near the completion of the campaigns through northwest Europe into Germany. Following V-E Day, some few of the units were prepared for deployment to the Pacific theaters, but only one, the 28th Medical Laboratory, arrived there. Of the five units which served with the combat armies, only the 7th Medical Laboratory, as noted previously, was retained in operation as part of the U.S. Occupation Forces in Germany.

Central and South Pacific Areas.-The laboratory system in these areas originated in the Hawaiian Department which, during January 1942, established the Hawaiian Department Laboratory, Honolulu, T.H.; this was renamed the Central Pacific Area Laboratory on 10 November 1943. On 8 July 1944, the laboratory was disbanded to form the newly activated 14th Medical Laboratory which serviced the Central Pacific Area until relieved by the 18th Medical General Laboratory on Oahu, T.H., which arrived from the Zone of Interior on 17 August 1944 (including the veterinary branch). Subsequently. the 14th Medical Laboratory was deployed to the Ryukyus (Okinawa and Ie Shima), and on 19 September 1945, embarked for Korea. The 18th Medical General Laboratory provided the central veterinary laboratory service for the Central Pacific Areas. Other laboratories included not only the 14th Medical Laboratory but also the 6th Medical Laboratory which, having arrived on Guadalcanal on 16 February 1944, rendered veterinary laboratory service to the troops scattered on New Zealand, New Caledonia. Guadalcanal, Fiji, Espiritu Santo, Russell Islands, and other island bases in the South Pacific area, and the 12th Medical Laboratory which, having arrived on Saipan on 8 May 1945, rendered laboratory service to troops in the Marianas Islands group.

Southwest Pacific Area.-The 3d Medical Laboratory (including assigned veterinary laboratory officers and technicians) was the first laboratory unit to be deployed in the SWPA (Southwest Pacific Area), having arrived in Australia on 18 June 1942. It rendered theaterwide laboratory service and detached mobile units and advance sections into New Guinea before the arrival of the 5th Medical Laboratory (on 13 July 1943). This unit relieved the 3d Medical Laboratory in some areas in Australia and New Guinea and covered also the Admiralty Islands and New Britain. The 5th Medical Laboratory eventually was consolidated at Finschhafen, New Guinea (on 13 April 1945). The 8th Medical Laboratory arrived in Australia on 15 August 1943, and, after a diversified deployment of its mobile sections to Brisbane and Townsville in Australia and to Port Moresby and Milne Bay on New Guinea, it was consolidated on Biak Island in October 1944. Following the initial landings by U.S. forces in strength on Leyte on 20 October 1944 and the successful occupation of the Philippine Islands, the laboratory services


in the SWPA then included the 3d, 5th, and 8th Medical Laboratories; these and the 19th Medical General Laboratory were transferred to the West Pacific Area. They were augmented later by the newly arrived 26th and 27th Medical Laboratories and the 363d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory). These laboratory units usually did not function as a composite unit but were deployed as small detachments or advanced mobile sections to two or more island bases which required laboratory services. Lines of communication and means of travel between these bases were rendered especially difficult by large distances measured by sea miles, so that the laboratory sections frequently acted in the capacity of a medical laboratory. Laboratory services were established during the early phases of operations in the Philippine Islands; the detachment of the 19th Medical General Laboratory, which landed on Leyte on D-day, was joined by the 27th Medical Laboratory on 12 November 1944, the latter setting up station at Tacloban. Subsequently, the Advance Section of the 3d Medical Laboratory and the 363d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) operated on Leyte. When the U.S. forces bypassed the major concentration of the Japanese to invade Luzon, the 26th Medical Laboratory arrived at Lingayen Gulf 12 days after the date of the invasion (9 January 1945). It was the only laboratory unit on Luzon for the succeeding 6-month period, although this island operation saw the largest U.S. force yet employed in the Pacific. The 363d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) opened station on Luzon on 1 June 1945.

China-Burma-India theater.-The 9th and 29th Medical Laboratories were the only such units deployed in the China-Burma-India theater. The first-named laboratory arrived in the theater during February 1944 and established station in Chabua, Assam. The 29th Medical Laboratory, arriving May 1945, was divided into two sections for operations in New Delhi and Calcutta, India; after V-J Day, the latter was designated also to assume the responsibilities of the 9th Medical Laboratory.

1st Medical General Laboratory.-The central control laboratory for the Medical Department laboratory system in the European theater was the 1st Medical General Laboratory; its advanced cadre, named the Medical General Laboratory "A," originally established operations (in mid-1943) at the American Red Cross Harvard Field Hospital in southern England. On 14 August 1944, a detachment of the laboratory was temporarily detailed to Paris, where laboratory services were set up; this arrangement continued until November 1944 when it was relieved by the 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory). The advance detachment in Paris included a veterinary food analysis and chemistry section composed of an officer and an enlisted man. During March 1945, the remainder of the 1st General Laboratory was transferred from its station in England, being replaced by the 361st Medical Composite Detachment, and relocated in Paris. Following V-E Day, the unit was alerted for redeployment, and, as of 1 June 1945, its theater responsibilities were transferred to the 4th Medical Laboratory. On 29 July  


FIGURE 41.-Veterinary food analysis in the 1st Medical General Laboratory, Salisbury, England, in the fall of 1944.

1945, the 1st Medical General Laboratory was returned to the United States. 

During the period of deployment in the European theater, the veterinary section of this laboratory (fig. 41) conducted 5,426 analytical and clinicodiagnostic examinations on 2,847 food samples and specimens as shown in table 34. Special projects included the investigation of outbreaks of foodborne diseases in troops; studies on suspected psittacosis and pigeonosis, a disease of undetermined viral origin in Army signal pigeons; the determination of the suitability of nonperishable (or canned) foods which had been frozen the investigation of the bacterial flora of dried egg products; studies on other foods such as cheese which was infected with mites; and the bacterial contamination (Proteus sp. or Staphylococcus albus) of canned pork sausage.

15th Medical General Laboratory.-The 15th Medical General Laboratory, arriving at Oran from the Zone of Interior during the fall of 1943, was soon transshipped to the Naples area where it opened as the central control laboratory for the Medical Department laboratory system in the North African-Mediterranean theater. Its organic veterinary section conducted chemical analyses and bacteriological examinations of foods, water, and locally procured beverages. It supervised the operations of the laboratory animal colony. Special studies were made of piroplasmosis and epizootic lymphan-  


TABLE 34.- Examinations conducted by the Veterinary Section, 1st Medical General Laboratory, 3 June 1943 through 5 June 1945


3 June-31 Dec. 1943


1 Jan.-5 June 1945

Specimens and food samples




Nature of determinations:

Animal inoculations
































gitis which appeared among the horses and mules used by the divisions and the allied Italian pack companies of the Fifth U.S. Army. As the result of special qualifications of the personnel involved, the veterinary section of the 15th Medical General Laboratory became the theater's typing center for human salmonellosis; in addition, investigations were undertaken in regard to determining the role of salmonella in infectious hepatitis in troops; also, a special polyvalent, type O antiserum for rapid testing of human salmonellosis was developed.

18th Medical General Laboratory.-The 18th Medical General Laboratory, in August 1944, superseded the original Hawaiian Department or Central Pacific Area Medical Laboratory (later reorganized as the 14th Medical Laboratory) as the senior laboratory unit in the Central Pacific Area. It also assumed the duties of the 14th Medical Laboratory when the latter was assigned to the Tenth U.S. Army. All foods produced in commercial establishments under veterinary food-security (antibiological) supervision in the Hawaiian Islands were chemically tested and bacteriologically examined in this laboratory. During 1945, the laboratory's veterinary section analyzed 3,778 food samples and examined 648 animal specimens, a workload that involved 25,635 laboratory procedures. Among its special projects were the veterinary-entomological investigation, in January-February 1945, of the allegation by the French Colonial Government on New Caledonia that Army horses procured in Australia had introduced cattle ticks (Boophilus annulatus, var. australis) and the veterinary surveys of the animal disease situations in the Marianas Islands group after their capture or recapture from the Japanese. Original studies were conducted on the efficacy of BAL (British anti-lewisite) in the treatment of experimental arsenical poisoning in laboratory animals. Studies were also undertaken to determine


the efficacy of DDT for controlling ticks on Army dogs, ectoparasites on signal pigeons, ear mites of laboratory animals, and the stablefly on horses. 

19th Medical General Laboratory.-This unit, after its arrival in August 1944, became the central control laboratory for the SWPA; on 28 June 1945, it was transshipped from New Guinea to station at Manila, Luzon, P.I. The veterinary department of the laboratory operated the food analytical section and the animal colony. During the fall of 1944, the veterinary officer was detailed as senior officer in charge of a virology team which investigated an epidemic of poliomyelitis in Sixth U.S. Army troops on Leyte. Studies also were made of scrub typhus infection in troops.

1st Medical Laboratory.-Shortly after its arrival in the North African?Mediterranean theater in March 1943, the 1st Medical Laboratory was assigned as the communications zone laboratory for the Eastern Base Section. Its base stationary laboratory was located near Constantine, from which the three mobile sections were sent out. This activity lasted for approximately 1 year. During the spring of 1944, the laboratory was transferred to the Italian peninsula and then to the Seventh U.S. Army, accompanying that command to southern France. As an army-type laboratory, the 1st Medical Laboratory was transferred to the European theater on 20 November 1944, where stations were established successively at Besan?on, ?spinal, and Sarrebourg, in France; then at Kaiserslautern, Darmstadt, Tauberbischofsheim, Bad Mergentheim, and finally Augsburg in Germany. After V-E Day it was returned to Darmstadt. Its operations there were later assumed by the 4th Medical Laboratory in November 1945. The laboratory veterinarian conducted examinations and tests of water and locally procured foodstuffs, including the rendition of ante mortem and post mortem examination of animals purchased by the Army.

2d Medical Laboratory.-The 2d Medical Laboratory arrived in the North African-Mediterranean theater on D-plus-45-day and was soon established as a communications zone laboratory at Casablanca for the Atlantic Base Section. During mid-1943, the laboratory was transferred to the Fifth U.S. Army and ceased operations pending its movement to the Italian peninsula. As that army's medical laboratory, it operated a base stationary section with three satellite mobile laboratories, the former originally located in Naples. During 1944, the main element of the 2d Medical Laboratory moved to Vairano, and thence to Anzio, Grosseto, Fabrica, and Florence. It ceased operations on 3 June 1945, and prepared for deployment to the Asiatic?Pacific theater. There was only a limited demand for veterinary laboratory work, so that the main duties of the unit's veterinary officer were, as chief of the parasitology branch, to render clinical and routine examinations of fecal and blood specimens (human). Some laboratory work was performed on the Army dogs in the theater for the diagnosis of Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm).  


3d Medical Laboratory.-This unit arrived in Brisbane on 18 June 1942, and divided into two sections: the Headquarters Section at Brisbane and the Advance Section at Townsville. This was the only laboratory unit in the SWPA and Australia until the arrival of the 5th Medical Laboratory in mid-1943. Then, pending arrival of the 8th Medical Laboratory in August 1943, the Headquarters Section moved to the Oro Bay area on New Guinea; the Advance Section established station at Lae, New Guinea, and a detachment proceeded to Hollandia. In early 1945, the Advance Section transshipped to Leyte and thence to Mindanao, P.I., and the Headquarters Section joined up with the detachment at Hollandia. In mid-1945, the Headquarters Section moved to Manila, arriving on 10 August 1945, followed with the arrival of the Advance Section from Mindanao on 13 November 1945. Because of the division of the unit into two or three operating sections, the veterinary laboratory activities were somewhat limited. The unit veterinary officer served with the Headquarters Section in Brisbane, and later in Dobodura, New Guinea, and also, as the acting commanding officer of the special detachment, proceeded to Hollandia. Routine bacteriological and chemical water and food analyses were rendered by the veterinary officer, and special bacteriological investigations were made of outbreaks of foodborne diseases.

4th Medical Laboratory.-Within 2 months after arrival overseas, the unit established station as the Mediterranean Base Section laboratory in central North Africa. It was transshipped to France, arriving at Marseilles in September 1944, and, on 20 November 1944, it was transferred to the European theater. The 4th Medical Laboratory functioned as a communications zone laboratory in the European theater's SOLOC (Southern Line of Communications) and then in the Seine section. On 30 May 1945, it moved to Paris, and on 7 June 1945, it assumed the duties of the 1st Medical General Laboratory which was then preparing for redeployment to the Pacific theater. Routine veterinary laboratory procedures included a total of 1,707 tests during 1944 and 3,344 tests during the first 6 months of 1945. Most of these pertained to the bacteriological, chemical, and physical examination of water and food. Certain diagnostic biologicals were prepared for limited distribution to hospitals in southern France.

5th Medical Laboratory.-This unit operated laboratory sections in Brisbane and Townsville, but in November 1944 the unit established laboratory facilities in the Milne Bay, New Guinea, area where it remained until 1 April 1945, when it left for Finschhafen preparatory to staging for transfer to Manila, leaving on 4 July 1945. No extensive laboratory activities were engaged in while on Luzon, and following V-J Day it embarked for Kyushu, Japan. The veterinary personnel performed all bacteriological examinations of water, parasitological examinations of human fecal specimens, and bacteriological examinations of food. Special laboratory investigations were made of two foodborne outbreaks among troops. Table 35 shows the work-  


load of the Veterinary Section, 5th Medical Laboratory, and is typical of the Army Veterinary Service in many medical laboratories which were deployed yin the theaters overseas during World War II.

TABLE 35.-Examinations conducted by the Veterinary Section, 5th Medical Laboratory, 1943-45





4th Quarter

1st Quarter

2d Quarter

3d Quarter

4th Quarter

1st Quarter

Bacteriological water examinations







Parasitological examinations of human stools







Bacteriological food examinations







Miscellaneous (Zondek test; rabies examinations, etc.)














6th Medical Laboratory.-This was the only medical laboratory unit in the South Pacific Area, arriving on Guadalcanal in February 1944. It rendered laboratory service to the American bases on New Zealand, New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo, and the island groups of Fiji, Solomon, Russell, New Hebrides, and others. Veterinary examinations of food products that were obtained in New Zealand by the U.S. Joint Army-Navy Purchasing Board, South Pacific Area, constituted the main activities of the veterinary section. This activity was largely responsible, by laboratory test procedures, for the improvement of foods supplied to the Armed Forces who were subsisted on the foods procured by this Navy-controlled joint purchasing board.

7th Medical Laboratory.-This laboratory was assigned to the Third U.S. Army for operations in the European theater. As an army-type mobile laboratory, it left for the Normandy Beachhead (Utah) in July 1944 and then moved to Muneville-le-Biengard, Tirepied, and Vitr? (where it picked up its lost equipment), reaching Orl?ans on 22 August 1944. It was divided into two sections, one on each flank of the Army, that leapfrogged along as the army advanced. The first section set up station successively at Metz, France; and at Bad Kreuznach, Bebra, Lauf, and finally, at Gr?felfing in Germany, where it was joined by the second section which had proceeded through Luxembourg, Frankfurt, and Lauf.

8th Medical Laboratory.-In the SWPA, the laboratory divided into an Advance Section which set up laboratory facilities in Townsville, while the Headquarters Section proceeded to Brisbane. A detachment was later deployed to New Guinea. On 29 August 1944, the two sections in Australia embarked for Biak Island where they were joined by the detachment from New Guinea, the entire unit finally coming together in October 1944. The  


Advance Section of the laboratory in May 1945 was transshipped to Luzon, setting up station at San Fabian, followed by the Headquarters Section which moved to San Fernando in August 1945. The unit ceased operations on 18 December 1945, and on 10 February 1946, was inactivated. Both the Headquarters and Advance Sections of the laboratory while in Australia were provided with veterinary officers. During the 1-year period in Australia, the Advance Section rendered routine laboratory tests on an average of 82 food samples per month, whereas the base section, which reported in a different manner, conducted an average monthly total of 82 bacteriological, 158 chemical, and 101 physical tests and examinations on food products, including canned meats which were being procured in Australia. Veterinary personnel supervised the animal section of the laboratory (including up to 900 animals), rendered routine analysis of all water samples, and, in addition, prepared biologicals for theaterwide distribution. Special laboratory investigations were conducted on outbreaks of foodborne infections, and veterinary officers assisted in the isolation and study of human influenza viruses and in the purification of a test antigen for the diagnosis of filariasis in troops.

9th Medical Laboratory.-The 9th Medical Laboratory, after its arrival in the China-Burma-India theater in early 1944, set up station at Chabua and continued operations there until 30 September 1945, when its activities were stopped and preparations were made for return to the United States. An insight into the activities of this laboratory's veterinary section may be gained from the review of a summary statement for the 6-month period ending December 1944 (27):

* * * * * * *

3. Following tests were conducted during this period:

a. Water and ice (completed tests) 


b. Foods and beverages (bacteriologic)


c. Forage specimens


d. Veterinary bacteriology 


Smear examinations only


Autogenous bacterins


Anthrax vaccine tests


Cultural studies


e. Veterinary serology


f. Veterinary pathology




Rabies examination


Other histopathology




Urine examination


g. Veterinary parasitology


Blood specimens


Fecal specimens




 (No duplications. Cultures and sections from autopsies, etc., not listed separately.)


4.  Three field investigations made during this period are listed below:

a. During period 16 July-2 Aug. 44 visited Co E, 13th Med Bn Mtn at Warazup, 22nd Chinese Div. at Kamaing, and 38th Chinese Division at Mogaung, diagnosing surra in the latter unit.

b. During period 16-18 Oct. 44 visited Rāmgarh Training Center, diagnosing "vaccination anthrax."

c. During period 24-26 Nov. 44 visited the 38th Chinese Division at Momauk and Si-in near Bhamo, Burma, diagnosing infectious equine anemia.

5. Miscellaneous items of veterinary interest follow:

a. Three out of four dog heads examined were positive for rabies.

b. In 101 examinations of dog feces (mostly from War Dogs) found the following infections:

Hookworm - 75
Trichuris vulpis - 5
Dipylidium caninum - 1
Toxascaris leonina - 1
Negative stools - 23

 c. In 20 examinations of blood from War Dogs found four infected with Dirofilaria immitis.

d. Found Taenia echinococcus in three sets of beef organs (liver, lungs, heart); Cheilospirura hamulosa in a lot of several chicken gizzards; and Taenia hydatigena in the liver capsule of a pig. Commonest parasites noted in autopsies of Chinese and American Army horses and mules were stomach worms (Habronema sp.) strongyles, and Gastrophilus larvae. A few Setaria equina, Oxyuris equi, and flukes were also observed.

e. Have received four horse or mule brains from China (Y-Force) from animals showing nervous symptoms suggestive of equine encephalomyelitis. Sections showed no definite lesions of encephalitis. Cultures and animal inoculations were negative. At least two of these animals had liver damage (flukes in one), with incomplete autopsy reports on the others. It is thought that these are cases of hepatogenous toxic encephalopathy.

f. An outbreak of salmonellosis in Chinese Army horses and mules near Ledo was diagnosed 13 Nov. 44. The etiologic agent was culturally and biochemically a Salmonella, and was serologically typed by C. D. Cox, 1st Lt., SnC, of this organization, as S. rottbus. Ten or a dozen animals were affected before the outbreak was checked by sulfaguanidine and sanitation measures.

g. A group of nine cases of nervous symptoms, resembling encephalitis, in dogs is being studied. Eight were War Dogs and one a pet. Of four deaths only one brain has been obtained. This, in addition to the complete autopsy of the pet animal, shows a severe encephalitis of unusual type. Cultures and the inoculation of usual lab animals have been negative. If further cases can be obtained it is planned to use puppies and mongooses if available in time. Lesions are limited almost entirely to the brain and the two sets of slides represent one early and one late case, but the picture is still somewhat incomplete.

h. A scattering of swollen cans of food has been examined. Hydrogen swells and some due to thermophilic anaerobic bacteria have been the chief causes. This laboratory is somewhat limited in equipment and materials for anaerobe culture work, but the procedures have been recently extended and more satisfactory results are anticipated.

* * * * * * * 

10th Medical Laboratory.-On arrival in the European theater in March 1944, this laboratory was assigned to the First U.S. Army.As an army-type  


laboratory it proceeded to the Normandy beachhead (Omaha) on D-plus-11?day, where for almost 1 month it operated at 50 percent capacity as the only Army medical laboratory on the European Continent. It then set up station successively at Saint-L?, Alen?on, La Capelle, and then at Eupen, Belgium, where it was subjected to enemy bombardment from 16 through 19 December 1944, and again during March 1945. During the first part of 1945, it moved to Godesberg, Germany, and later to Jena. After V-E Day, it took all the workload of the 362d Medical Laboratory in the Ninth U.S. Army area, but it ceased operations on 31 May 1945. On 12 June 1945, it was returned to France in preparation for redeployment, but on 12 November 1945, it was inactivated. The veterinary section of the laboratory, during the 11?-month period of operation under field conditions on the European Continent, rendered a total of 7,348 examinations and tests, mainly in connection with the examination of water.Over 1,500 examinations and tests procedures were conducted on animal specimens and food samples (or about 25 percent of the total number of laboratory tests performed in the veterinary section).

12th Medical Laboratory.-The 12th Medical Laboratory with its organic veterinary section was established on Saipan in the Marianas Islands group during July 1945. Its location there was dependent upon a plan for its utilization as a communications zone laboratory for supporting many large hospitals which were being grouped in the Western Pacific Base Command (including the Army bases on Angaur, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima) in connection with the planned assault on the Japanese homeland.

14th Medical Laboratory.-The 14th Medical Laboratory was the only unit of this type to be activated overseas. It was organized to include personnel formerly assigned to the Central Pacific Area Laboratory. The new unit continued to operate as the central and control laboratory in the Central Pacific Area until relieved by the 18th Medical General Laboratory in late 1944. At about this time, the 14th Medical Laboratory was reassigned to the Tenth U.S. Army and was subsequently deployed to Okinawa. Following V-J Day, it was redeployed as a service command-type laboratory to Korea. The laboratory ceased operation on 16 February 1946, and was inactivated on 31 May 1946. The assigned veterinary personnel, for the most part, maintained the laboratory's animal colony, and after December 1945 the veterinary officer assigned duty as commanding officer.

26th Medical Laboratory.-This unit, upon its arrival in New Guinea, was assigned to the Sixth U.S. Army and disembarked in Luzon, soon after the start of that campaign (22 January 1945). It comprised the only laboratory service available on Luzon until 1 June 1945, when it was joined by the 363d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory). After V-J Day, the 26th Medical Laboratory was transferred to Kyoto, Honshu Island, where it operated as a service command laboratory for the U.S. occupation troops in Japan.  


27th Medical Laboratory.-The 27th Medical Laboratory, upon its arrival in the SWPA in August 1944, was staged at Hollandia and then deployed for operations during the Leyte campaign. It established station at Tacloban, Leyte, soon after the landings got underway. During October 1945, the 27th Medical Laboratory was transferred to Hokkaido Island, Japan, to set up a service command-type laboratory at Otaru. The laboratory's veterinary section, while on Leyte, operated the laboratory's animal colony and conducted a clinic for the care of Army dogs and animal pets.

28th Medical Laboratory.-The 28th Medical Laboratory, upon its arrival in December 1944 in Salisbury, England, was stationed near the 1st Medical General Laboratory, but, during March 1945, it was assigned to the Fifteenth U.S. Army. It was actively deployed as that army's laboratory, located first at Heer Agimont in Belgium and then moving to Bergheim, Germany, and to Bad Kreuznach. Following V-E Day, the laboratory was selected for redeployment to the Asiatic-Pacific theaters, leaving through the Marseilles port on 30 July 1945, being routed through the Panama Canal, and arriving on Luzon Island on 12 September 1945. In the next month (after V-J Day) the laboratory was transshipped to Yokohama, Honshu, Japan.

29th Medical Laboratory.-This laboratory was divided into two sections; one section was at Delhi and the other at Calcutta. After 3 October 1945, with the closure of the 9th Medical Laboratory at Chabua, this unit was set up as the India-Burma theater's medical laboratory and served the laboratory requirements of the China theater. The professional services of the unit veterinary officer were used as sanitary inspector of Allied in-bounds restaurants in Calcutta for the period from 10 September to 29 December 1945.

361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory).-The 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory), upon its arrival in the European theater in the fall of 1944, became one of the two such units that operated in the communications zone (in the Seine Base Section). Preparatory to its deployment, it was staged at Valognes, France, from whence it was moved to Paris, beginning operations there on 30 October 1944. During March 1945, the 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory), in an exchange of locations with the 1st Medical General Laboratory, was moved to Salisbury, where it became the major medical facility of that kind for the United Kingdom Base Section. During June 1945, the 361st Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) ceased to operate and was inactivated several months later. The laboratory's veterinary section received 185 samples and specimens during the period from January through May 1945, involving 992 laboratory procedures. Of this number of procedures, 54 percent were bacteriological in nature.

362d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory).-The 362d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory), upon its arrival in the European theater (in October 1944), was staged at the 1st Medical General Labora-  


tory and then, on 7 October 1944, was assigned to the Ninth U.S. Army. Departing from England and en route for little less than a month, it established station first in Rouen, France. Divided into two sections, this army laboratory moved successively to Wittem, Holland, and then to Helenbrunn, Beckum, and Helmstedt in Germany. During May 1945, shortly after V-E Day, the 362d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory) discontinued operations. Up until this time the organic veterinary section participated in studies of foot-and-mouth disease and conducted the analyses of captured German foods in a search for possible intentional contamination.

363d Medical Composite Detachment (Laboratory).-The 363d Medical Composite Detachment was provided on-the-job training with the 27th Medical Laboratory on Leyte, and then, during April 1945, was transferred to Luzon. On 1 June 1945, the laboratory established station at Dagupan, continuing there for several months past V-J Day. Food analyses comprised the major activity of the laboratory's veterinary section; 1,092 procedures were conducted during the 5-month period, June to November 1945.

A review of the veterinary activities of the 23 numbered laboratory units that were deployed in the major oversea theaters shows that the scope of activities and the accomplishments of the veterinary laboratory service varied greatly among the separate laboratory units. These laboratories were developed for operations under field conditions and to that end were organized, equipped, and trained in a manner facilitating their adaptation to meet the military requirements for almost any type of medical and veterinary laboratory service which could be placed upon them. In the instances of the general medical laboratories and of many of the army-type medical laboratories that operated more or less in permanent station, the veterinary personnel of the laboratory provided routine clinical and diagnostic and research laboratory facilities that were valuable to meet the special laboratory needs of the Army Veterinary Service in that area. Under those field conditions, however, where the army-type medical laboratories operated in two or more sections and changed locations frequently to keep up with the tactical situation, the veterinary section frequently lost its true identity, and its personnel were used to operate in other sections or departments of the laboratory. In some instances there were only a few purely veterinary laboratory problems except to maintain the animal colony of the laboratory. In other laboratories and theaters, veterinary personnel were engaged in far more extensive veterinary laboratory work.

There were many reasons for this variation in the scope of deployment and in the extensiveness of the veterinary laboratory facilities and work. Although there were certainly definite requirements for a veterinary laboratory service in each theater or area overseas, the failure on the part of veterinary officers to properly plan, supervise, and coordinate these activities from a theater or staff level accounted for some variations. Many veterinary officers, also, were too preoccupied with immediate day-to-day operations and


frequently overlooked matters which might well have been referred to a laboratory for further investigation.

Veterinary Laboratory Service in Minor and Other Oversea Commands

In only two or three other areas during World War II was there an urgency of requirements for a veterinary laboratory service which was not satisfied by a Medical Department laboratory system as existed in the major theaters. In the South Atlantic area, in New Zealand of the South Pacific Area, and in Iceland, the veterinary laboratory requirements were placed upon hospital laboratories, quartermaster facilities, and foreign civilian university and medical laboratories. In the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Areas, where a sizable quantity of foods were procured by the Armed Forces, veterinary food analytical laboratories were required, but the troop strengths of the relevant areas precluded the deployment of any of the foregoing medical laboratory units. In the South Atlantic Area, utilization was made of the 200th Station Hospital, Recife, Brazil. In the 2-year period, 375 food samples were referred to this hospital laboratory.

In New Zealand, where the U.S. Joint Army-Navy Purchasing Board, South Pacific, procured millions of pounds of foods for the Armed Forces under the provisions of reverse lend-lease agreement, the Army Veterinary Service in and about the Auckland area depended upon the clinicodiagnostic laboratory of the 30th General Hospital for conducting most of the food analyses. After December 1944, however, the Purchasing Board established its own laboratory, with a veterinary officer in charge, that assumed most of the workload previously handled by that hospital. Recourse was made to the utilization of local civilian medical laboratories elsewhere throughout New Zealand.

Much the same occurred with the U.S. forces located in Iceland, where a cooperative program for improving the local animal livestock and food industries was conducted with the assistance from the Government of Iceland. The Army Veterinary Service established and operated a veterinary laboratory at the University of Reykjavik (figs. 42 and 43). This veterinary laboratory conducted the analyses of foods procured by the Armed Forces and sought a program of laboratory control over the local civilian food industries, particularly of dairy products. Also, clinicodiagnostic services and research studies of diseases common to the animal population were carried out.

Medical laboratories comparable to those established in the corps areas or service commands in the Zone of Interior were established in the Northwest Service Command and the oversea departments. In the Hawaiian Department, responsibility for the medical laboratory system originally devolved upon two hospitals, but, during January 1942, the Hawaiian Department Laboratory was organized with location in Honolulu. On 10 November 1943, this department laboratory was redesignated the Central Pacific Area Labo-


FIGURE 42.-Laboratory building of the University of Reykjavik, Iceland, 1941. Veterinary laboratory of the U.S. forces was located in lower left corner room on front.

ratory and continued as the theater's central laboratory until late 1944, when the 18th Medical General Laboratory arrived from the Zone of Interior. The Central Pacific Area Laboratory, on 30 June 1944, was assigned to the Central Pacific Base Command and, on 8 July 1944, was reorganized and redesignated as the 14th Medical Laboratory.

Another department laboratory was that of the Puerto Rican Department, later redesignated the Antilles Department Medical Laboratory, located in San Juan. It was organized to include a veterinary section to which an officer and two enlisted personnel were assigned for 2 years or more; with the removal of veterinary personnel during 1944, the veterinary activities within the laboratory were delegated to the bacteriology section. During World War II, the veterinary laboratory service was extended to the conduct of sanitary surveys of beach sites for recreational purposes and to the establishment of sanitary control over local food procurements.

Within the same classification as the medical laboratories of the Hawaiian and the Puerto Rican Departments there was a third laboratory outside the Zone of Interior in which veterinary services were rendered. This was the Northwest Service Command Laboratory located in Edmonton, Canada-a veterinary officer being assigned there during the period from June 1943 to April 1944 in charge of the laboratory's Food Analysis and Examination  


FIGURE 43.-Veterinary laboratory at the University of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1941.

Section. Its most outstanding contribution was its establishment of an original laboratory quality control program over the local fluid milk industry.


Another problem of major concern to the Army Veterinary Service was its relationship to the laboratory services of the other services of the Army (such as the Chemical Warfare Service, Quartermaster Corps), of the other Armed Services (Air Force and Navy), of the Federal agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and of State or local governmental and private industrial laboratories. Collectively, they could not meet the laboratory demands of the Army Veterinary Service; during World War II, some few laboratories which had been used in the preceding peacetime period withdrew their services for the Army because of their own personnel shortages and wartime peak workloads. This occurred in the vicinity of the Seattle, Wash., and Mira Loma, Calif., depots (28, 29). Also, many local public health laboratories which were being used in connection with the inspection of the fresh milk supply to Army camps gradually withdrew or curtailed their services during the war. Commercial or civilian laboratories were often too limited in their facilities, personnel, and time to provide a complete food analytical service and sometimes used short-cut test proce-  


dures giving results which no central control laboratory could have properly interpreted in any survey of such laboratories' efficiency. During the war period, Army contractors were urged to maintain their own quality-control laboratories, but only certain of the food industries (such as the milk canning, dried milk, and egg drying plants) accomplished this with any degree of merit; the smaller establishments and most of the Army's canned meat contractors could not or would not (probably for economic reasons) establish plant quality-control laboratories. The latter depended on the rapid collection and shipment of samples by in-plant Army veterinary inspection personnel located in their establishments and then at times voiced criticism of veterinary food inspection service when the concerned Army laboratory did not immediately report analytical test results on the submitted samples.

Quartermaster Corps Depot Laboratories

The veterinary laboratory service as a component of the Medical Department laboratory system constituted the official facilities for the analyses of meat and dairy products when procured by the Army Quartermaster Corps. This relationship to the Quartermaster Corps led to the development of a military veterinary laboratory service that needed to be accurate as well as rapid. The laboratories had to be located, properly organized, and adequately equipped to satisfy the laboratory requirements of the food supply chain that extended from contractors' plants, through the depots and ports, to the distribution points in all parts of the world. The purposes were the assurance of food quality as related to the monetary payments and the assurance of the safeness of the foods for troop issue. In addition to participation in food procurement inspections, the veterinary laboratory service assisted in the Army surveillance program against serious loss of Government-owned foods in storage and conducted cooperative programs of research on quality control and the storage life of foods.

The Quartermaster Corps developed a laboratory system of its own, suitable to its needs, but, unfortunately, this at times threatened to expand into the mission of the Medical Department laboratory system. For example, the quartermaster depot system during World War II developed laboratories which were little less active in their scope of operations, including food analyses, than the service command laboratories in the Zone of Interior. On the other hand, there was no veterinary problem in connection with quartermaster laboratories concerned with the examination and developmental studies of packing and packaging materiel, or such analyses of nonanimal?origin foods that did not involve a health problem, or the development of assembled rations. Seemingly, the new assignment of veterinary officers into the quartermaster depots during the early part of the war period seemed to have been the signal for the establishment or development of many such laboratories inside the depots. When it became evident that the corps area (later renamed service command) medical laboratories would be able to


satisfy all veterinary laboratory requirements, the depots either modified their original plans or continued to establish a general testing laboratory, but other depots proceeded to establish a subsistence laboratory. This conflict with the Medical Department's laboratory system was generally apparent, but the Surgeon General's Office approached the problem with the attitude that no veterinary laboratory service of a permanent nature would exist outside the Medical Department.

The Surgeon General's Office, however, differentiated between the quartermaster responsibilities and the medical responsibilities in connection with food analyses, generally accepting the fact of veterinary officer participation in the subsistence testing laboratories which were being developed in the quartermaster depot system, but specifically refused the deployment of qualified and trained veterinary laboratory personnel and the utilization of medical equipment and supplies at the quartermaster depots and sections of general depots (30).

Subsistence laboratories, however, were established and operated under the supervision of depot-assigned veterinary personnel (who were then under the control of the Quartermaster General) at the depots located in Atlanta, Ga., Oakland, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., Jersey City, N.J., Kansas City, Mo., Memphis, Tenn., Mira Loma, Calif., and Seattle, Wash. A major factor influencing this development included the assignment to them of food procurement inspection responsibilities in the larger metropolitan areas, the difficulties of shipping food samples to far-distant medical laboratories, and the urgency of a rapid laboratory reporting system in connection with food procurement. The timelag between the shipment of food samples and the receipt of the laboratory report of analysis was a constant problem which some quartermaster procurement officers believed could be overcome by a quartermaster food laboratory service. Of the foregoing laboratories, six evolved as expansive medicotechnical laboratories under the supervision of the depot veterinary service. These were equipped, funded, and manned by the Quartermaster Corps, including for the most part, one to three civilian bacteriologists and chemists in each. The civilian staff in the Jersey City's Miscellaneous Subsistence Laboratory totaled 30. In the Mira Loma depot's Subsistence Laboratory, the chemical analyses of food was conducted by a civilian employee, and food bacteriology was accomplished by the Army veterinary officer.

Among these depot subsistence laboratories, the Oakland depot's food laboratory was probably the most active and best equipped facility of its kind. It was the continuation of a food analytical laboratory which had been established just before the war at the former San Francisco Port of Embarkation and General Depot, Fort Mason. During the period from 1939 through 1945, this depot facility conducted more than 143,000 laboratory examinations and tests. Referring to the conduct of 40,050 tests in 1944, it is noted that these involved 14,630 samples which were representative of more  


than 78 million pounds of food. On the basis of the results of the tests, 69 million pounds of food were recommended as satisfactory for Army procurement; 9 million pounds were recommended as unsatisfactory. Of the total number of tests, the bacteriological examinations and the chemical analyses numbered approximately the same, 20,425 and 19,625, respectively. Incidental to the laboratory examination of milk samples from the milkshed of the so-called Metropolitan Bay Area, Calif., it was found that 90.53 percent of raw milk samples from 581 milk producers supplying the Army had a bacterial count under 50,000 per cubic centimeter on standard plate count in 1944. It also conducted laboratory investigation of foodborne infections among troops in the area and was largely responsible for the development of a formula which was used in the manufacture of fruitcake for oversea shipment into the Pacific theaters.

Two or three other depot laboratories were established for reasons none other than that the depot veterinary service, conducting a relatively large amount of food procurement inspections in contiguous metropolitan areas, seemed to have required a convenience of facilities which were not available through the Medical Department's laboratory system. This was true of the Kansas City depot food laboratory which before its closure in January 1946 was used in a veterinary quality-control program for the milk supplies coming out of that area for the Armed Forces and in connection with the procurement inspection of Army boneless beef (31). It was in operation for little less than 2 years. At the Memphis depot a subsistence laboratory was opened in mid-1942, and at the Charlotte depot a subsistence inspection branch laboratory was opened during 1941, which in time became a general service laboratory under veterinary supervision.

The laboratory services previously rendered for the depot in Mira Loma by the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Security Agency, were withdrawn in January 1945, and, in June 1945, the depot established its own laboratory. Much the same occurred in regard to the utilization of that Federal agency's facilities in Seattle, for in 1942 the depot made use of the Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratories. However, in August 1943, the Seattle Army Service Forces depot established the Laboratory Section, Veterinary Inspection Branch, which gradually developed into a general service laboratory. In 1945, it assumed the workload of the Ninth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Lewis, following its discontinuance. In the period of its operation, August 1943 to December 1945, 18,000 samples were processed through this laboratory. Its most notable contribution was the cooperative study with the American Can Company on a canned dogfood which was used in feeding Army dogs.

Aside from the developmental studies on a cake formula at the Oakland, Calif., depot and those on canned dogfood at the Seattle depot, possibly the only other work of importance in military veterinary research in these quartermaster subsistence laboratories was the development of a simple method  


by the Atlanta depot of testing the efficacy of dishwashing procedures. This study was conducted in cooperation with the Fourth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Atlanta (32).

Commercial Laboratories

In various commercial food establishments producing for the Armed Forces, the Army Veterinary Service had no recourse other than to provide the necessary routine food analytical services. What was desired was that the Army Veterinary Service conduct a program of check control over local governmental and plant laboratories. It is a matter of record, however, that many food establishments depended on the Army Veterinary Service to provide the plant quality controls because the service came free of any direct charge. Of course, where plant laboratories were maintained, difficulties arose over the interpretation and use of that laboratory's results, keeping in mind that these could be influenced by the plant's management or by improper analytical procedures.

Few, if any, steps were taken to minimize the problems attendant to the lack or failure of food establishments to establish or maintain their own plant laboratories. The war saw the beginning of such demands on the members of at least two food industries-the cheese manufacturers and the dried egg producers. The demands on the cheese manufacturers came about during the latter part of the Army's 1943 cheese procurement and storage program. At that time, the Office of Price Administration scheduled ceiling prices for cheese according to the moisture content; cheese with a moisture content of under 33.2 percent was marketed at a premium price. The Army's cheese buying program was then amended to add to the regular organoleptic examinations by the Army Veterinary Service, the requirement for determining the moisture content of cheese. Thousands of laboratory analyses were foreseen; in the beginning, hundreds of cheese samples were submitted to the Veterinary Food Chemistry Section, Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory, Fort Sheridan, Ill. (17):

This did not prove satisfactory, however, since "oiling" and loss of moisture usually occurred in the samples curing transit.

A substitute procedure was then arranged by the Sixth Service Command Veterinarian whereby the required cheese analyses were obtained from certain warehouse laboratories at points where the products were inspected. The Army Laboratory Veterinarian checked the equipment and methods of these laboratories, and the inspectors submitted cheese samples to them under coded identification. The results of the laboratory's tests on coded samples then were compared with company records which were submitted to the Army inspector before the latter personally selected his samples, coded them, and submitted them for local testing. Significantly, veterinary officers qualified to do so conducted their own tests utilizing the facilities of commercial or warehouse laboratories, and in other instances supervised the conduct of the tests.

Some duplicate cheese analysis was continued by the Food Chemistry Service, 6th Service Command Laboratory, for confirmation of field reports. Close liaison was main?


tained with technicians from other laboratories for correction of any discrepancies. The new method saved time, gave accurate analysis, and was continued to the end of the war with excellent results.

The same veterinary program of dependence on the industry's laboratories and check analyses in the Army veterinary laboratories was repeated in the subsequent cheese procurement and storage programs. These programs approximated 70 million pounds in 1943 and 150 million pounds in 1944. Even with only the so-called check samples, the Army Veterinary Service experienced a heavy workload in its laboratory at Fort Sheridan, Ill., as follows:

Cheese samples









During the peak of the seasonal buying, samples approximated 750 each week, at the rate of 5 check control samples per carlot of cheese.

In the year after the development of the check control by the Army Veterinary Service on the commercial cheese laboratories, the Surgeon General's Office was assisted by the Quartermaster Subsistence Research and Development Laboratory, Chicago, Ill., in developing a similar program with respect to the Army's dried egg procurement. The new program was announced during August 1944 and seemed to have gained some importance as the first official acknowledgment that the food industries which entered into the Army supply program should establish and maintain their own quality?control laboratories subject, to surveillance by the Army Veterinary Service (33).

An Army Collaborative Powdered Whole Egg Test was conducted preparatory to this August 1944 announcement by the Surgeon General's Office. It had for its purpose the surrey of the capabilities of the various veterinary and plant laboratories to conduct certain analyses. In February 1945, the Surgeon General's Office named the Seventh Service Command Medical Laboratory, Omaha, Nebr., as the sole control laboratory for the review of the quality controls maintained in all plants which were producing dried egg for the Armed Forces (34) .

Other Laboratories

Public health laboratories.-In addition to the commercial or in-plant laboratories, there were the public health and local hospital laboratories which were utilized by the Army Veterinary Service, particularly in connection with safeguarding the milk supply to Army camps and airbases. Unfortunately, many of these withdrew or curtailed their services during the war. In fact, according to a nationwide survey by the U.S. Public Health Service, many became deficient in a facility or technique, so as to raise the question  


of their capability to perform a complete laboratory examination and test on milk samples (35). This was particularly inopportune when the Army supply program was extended into new areas and food establishments wherein the standards of sanitation and quality control had not been previously measured.

Transportation Corps port laboratories.-During World War II, the Army Veterinary Service with the ports at Boston, Mass., Charleston, S.C., Hampton Roads, Va., and New Orleans, La., improvised small laboratories (36, 37, 38, 39). These were developed under much the same conditions that contributed to the organization of many veterinary laboratories inside the quartermaster depot system during the war. They were less active, however, and were directed, for the most part, toward the development and improvement of local fresh milk supplies. The Charleston port discontinued its veterinary laboratory operations when Stark General Hospital undertook the milk analyses work. In the 2-year period from June 1943 through June 1945, the Hampton Roads port conducted more than a thousand tests.

Civil affairs and military government.-The veterinary laboratories in liberated and occupied areas were seldom used to support the Army veterinary laboratory service. In civil affairs and military government activities, however, great emphasis was given to the rehabilitation and operation of the veterinary laboratories of the various countries. Army veterinary officers, especially trained in laboratory work, were frequently assigned to civil affairs and military government duties to assist in such rehabilitation. Indirectly, this helped the Army veterinary laboratory service to the extent that without these rehabilitated laboratories the civil demands in liberated and occupied areas for veterinary clinicodiagnostic services and food analyses would have been passed to the Army.


This section of the record of the Army Veterinary Service concerns its research and development activities within the scope of military medicine. A large share of these activities were conducted by the Medical Department laboratory system and related independent agencies or facilities which were specifically established for the purpose of conducting research; some activities, including development, were centered in laboratories of the Medical Department school system.

Veterinary Research Laboratory

Veterinary research and developmental activities were greatly accelerated and expanded when The Surgeon General, just before the onset of World War II, projected the plan for studies of certain animal diseases that led to the establishment of the VRL (Veterinary Research Laboratory) at the Front Royal, Va., remount depot (40, 41). The laboratory was most active in con-  


ducting important research investigations throughout the subsequent war period; in the fall of 1945, it was relocated at the Fort Robinson, Nebr., remount depot, and then, in mid-1947, was transferred on an inactive status to the Army Medical Center.

The first project, sometimes later referred to as Project No. AVRL-2, had for its objective the development of a means of eliminating equine influenza as a cause of morbidity and mortality of Army horses and mules. The project included several subprojects:

Clinical laboratory studies of cases (blood picture)
Utilization of sulfonamides and other therapeutic agents
Transmission studies of the viral agent and its complementary secondary invaders
Neutralization studies of the virus of the human, swine, and equine influenzas 
Methods of immunization

The research studies on equine periodic ophthalmia encompassed not only the object for developing a means of its elimination as a cause of losses among Army animals but also the object for determining its etiology. The project, originally designated as V-3, and later as AVRL-3, included several subprojects:  

Relation to bacteria (brucellosis)
Clinical laboratory studies
Transmission studies  
Relation to viruses, attempts at isolation
Relation to parasitic helminths  
Development of diagnostic tests  
Relation to hypersensitivity
Role of ascorbic acid in ocular lesions  
Relation to nutrition

In 1940, following the relocation of the laboratory at the Fort Robinson, Nebr., remount depot, a third major research project pertaining to diseases of the horse and mule was assigned: No. AVRL-7, Equine Infectious Anemia. The project was undertaken for the purpose of better understanding the disease and with a view toward the development of a biologic control program. 

In 1945, toxicological studies were started on trypanocidal drugs-one drug being Antrypol which the Army Veterinary Service in the China-Burma?India theater was using to control trypanosomiasis (surra), and the other being para-arsenosophenylbutyric acid, or Formula 70-A, which the U.S. Public Health Service had developed and suggested for veterinary use. In another instance, a detailed case history of sporotrichosis in horses was also prepared for publication. It was indicated that the present military use of horses and mules in tropical countries where equine skin infections are common makes the differential diagnosis of sporotrichosis a matter of importance because it may closely resemble the skin form of glanders (farcy), epizootic lymphangitis, and ulcerative lymphangitis (42).

Aside from the studies of diseases of horses and mules, the Veterinary Research Laboratory studied several diseases common to the dog. These were undertaken as the result of its location at one of the six Army dog centers in the Zone of Interior. Canine filariasis, the infestation of dogs with cereal  


mites from dogfood (43), and canine leptospirosis were included in this research. Most of the pathological studies of the animal diseases were conducted in collaboration with the Army Institute of Pathology.

In addition to the research on purely animal diseases of importance in military veterinary medicine, the laboratory studied problems for safeguarding troop health. The comparative study of the antigenetic differences of the human, swine, and equine influenzas was one such problem. Another was the conduct of a series of experiments to confirm reported beneficial effects of bovine lung extracts on the healing of wounds. Also, in collaboration with the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Preventive Medicine Division, Surgeon General's Office, a detailed study was made of the infectivity of the human viral agent of infectious hepatitis (catarrhal jaundice) for the horse; subsequently, the horse was determined to be an unsuitable experimental animal for the study of this disease. These studies, started in August 1942, were discontinued on 14 May 1943 (44).

The wartime research and developmental activities at the VRL were influenced by two factors: The threatened early closure of the Front Royal remount depot as a military installation and the belief by a few that the lessened military utilization of horses and mules nullified the requirement for the VRL. In connections with the first problem, the Surgeon General's Office, which had been alerted to tentative plans for the inactivation of the depot, obtained special authorization from Headquarters, Army Service Forces, to continue the laboratory at Front Royal until its current projects could be completed (45). This occurred during the fall of 1944, and, in April 1945, the Surgeon General's Office recommended that the laboratory be relocated at the Fort Robinson remount depot (46).

Headquarters, Army Service Forces, on 1 September 1945, ordered the movement of the VRL to Fort Robinson (47). Two officers, seven enlisted personnel, and two civilian employees accompanied the movement which was made during September. During the period of its stay at Fort Robinson, the studies on the original research projects, equine influenza and equine periodic ophthalmia, were continued. A little progress was made on the development of a method for immunizing animals against equine influenza.

Other Research Facilities and Projects

Other veterinary research programs were undertaken at the Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, which was the parent organization of the Medical Department Equipment Laboratory, and at the Army Veterinary School. Also, outside the sphere of the Medical Department laboratory system, the Army Veterinary Service cooperated with, and provided personnel to, the laboratory systems and programs of research of the Chemical Warfare Service, the Quartermaster Corps, the Signal Corps, the other Armed Forces, nonmilitary Federal agencies, international organiza-  


tions, and foreign governments. The laboratory system and research programs were related to equipment and supplies, animal disease control, and quality food control methods.

Gorgas Memorial Research Board.-There were at least two international organizations which, on their request, were provided with veterinary officers for the purpose of conducting laboratory investigations and surveys of animal diseases in foreign countries; namely, the Gorgas Memorial Laboratory and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. In addition, a veterinary officer was detailed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Joint Mexican?American Commission for the Eradication of Aphthous Fever (1949-51), and, during World War II, six officers were detailed to the research program on rinderpest that was established under the jurisdiction of a Joint United States-Canadian Commission. The latter is considered under the broader aspects of veterinary participation in the antibiological warfare programs of research and development.

Within the scope of research and studies on tropical animal diseases of importance in military veterinary medicine, the Army Veterinary Service seemingly has centered attention on the survey and investigation of animal diseases in the Central American republics. In 1931, such were first undertaken in Panama at the request of the Gorgas Memorial Research Fund. During 1934, the Army Medical Department Research Board transferred from the Philippine Islands to the Panama Canal Department and remained there until November 1939. And then, during the 2-year period, May 1943 to June 1945, a survey of the animal disease situation along the Pan American Highway route from the United States through six Central American republics to Colombia, South America, was conducted on the request of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau.

Pan American Sanitary Bureau.-In the mid-1920's, conferences were held among North American, Central American, and South American countries on the construction of a Pan American Highway. In 1925, the United States provided funds to start construction of that portion from the United States to Panama. Upon the outbreak of the war, plans were made to speed up the construction in order to improve hemispheric defense. The Pan American Sanitary Bureau anticipated an increase of animal disease from the increased traffic. In April 1943, this Bureau requested Secretary of War Stimson to assign an Army veterinary officer to make an animal disease survey on the Central American countries. The Surgeon General designated Lt. Col. John H. Kintner, VC, for this task, and he stated his assignment in June 1943. A Veterinary Survey Group, Caribbean Sector, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, was established with headquarters at Guatemala City, Guatemala. Two more Army veterinary officers and two civilian employees were added to the Group. A mobile veterinary laboratory was furnished by the Army Medical Department, and its equipment was supplied by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau.  


The actual survey started in December 1943. The plan of the survey (48, 49) included considerable laboratory work in order to make diagnoses. Included in the tests were agglutination tests for brucellosis of 11,000 cattle, 5,000 goats, and 4,000 hogs, and tuberculin tests of some 500 cattle.

Antibiological warfare research and development.-In addition to these relations to such international agencies as the Joint Mexican-American Commission for the Eradication of Aphthous Fever, the Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, the Army Veterinary Service also participated in programs of antibiological warfare and research. During December 1941, in the Hawaiian Islands, the veterinary service, under the supervision of the Hawaiian Department Surgeon, began a program of antibiological warfare which was soon extended to all "sensitive" foods processed locally for civilian and military alike. In another theater, the senior veterinary officer was named the antibiological warfare officer. While this was taking place overseas, there were other developments in the Zone of Interior (50). Reportedly, during 1941, the Secretary of War requested the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., to survey the current situation in regard to biological warfare and its future possibilities. A committee, designated briefly as the WBC Committee, was named by the National Academy of Sciences, in October 1941, to study this assigned problem, and, in February 1942, the committee reported that biological warfare was feasible and submitted recommendations that appropriate steps should be taken by the United States against it. Brig. Gen. Raymond A. Kelser, Veterinarv Division, Surgeon General's Office, was appointed as a member of the WBC Committee. In action subsequent to the committee's report, which was referred to the President, a War Research Service was organized in the summer of 1942. On 19 November 1942, Lt. Col. A. T. Thompson, VC, on duty with the Chemical Warfare Service since March 1942, was detailed as the Army's technical aid and executive officer of the War Research Service.

This Federal agency was civilian controlled, attached to the Federal Security Agency, and depended entirely on facilities, personnel, and experience that already existed in private institutions and in Federal agencies such as the War Department and the Navy Department. It established liaison also with the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Briefly, the War Research Service functioned and operated only as a Federal planning and coordinating agency. Technical and professional assistance to this War Research Service was provided by the National Research Council through a newly appointed ABC Committee, which included General Kelser as a liaison member. The service assumed the major task of establishing antibiological programs in the water supply systems and among the milk and food industries in the United States, as had been done in the Hawaiian Islands, and later in other oversea theaters. Its major accomplishment,  


however, was the organization of the program of development and research on the many aspects of biological warfare and protection against it. Research studies were carried out for the most part in civil institutions, laboratories, and universities; however, additional developmental operations on a larger scale were soon required. To this end, the War Research Service requested the Army's Chemical Warfare Service to establish laboratories and pilot plants for a more exhaustive research and development program.

As a result of reported enemy interest in biological agents, the War Research Service, in January 1944, stepped up its activities and transferred some of its responsibility to the Chemical Warfare Service. In June 1944, all responsibility in connection with biological warfare activities in the United States were transferred to the War Department. The pace of biological warfare research and development was accelerated, and the War Department set up a new U.S. BWC Committee, which included the former director of the War Research Service as chairman, representatives of the Chemical Warfare Service and the Medical Department, and personnel from the Navy's Bureaus of Medicine and of Ordnance, the New Developments Division of the War Department Special Staff, and the Army's Office of Strategic Services. The former ABC Committee, appointed jointly by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences to provide technical scientific aid to the War Research Service, gave way to a new committee, the DEF, which provided technical assistance to the War Department's U.S. BWC Committee. General Kelser was appointed as a member of the last-named committee.

In the assumption of the role of supervising the biological warfare program, the Chemical Warfare Service organized a Special Projects Division with a base of operations, in April 1943, at Camp Detrick, Md. Field testing installations were set up on Horn Island, Miss., in mid-summer 1943, and at the Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele, Utah, in the summer of 1944. A pilot plant for the investigation of large-scale production was established in early 1944 at Vigo Plant, Terre Haute, Ind. During this time, several Veterinary Corps officers were detailed to the Chemical Warfare Service and acted in the capacity of consultants for the veterinary aspects of the projects that were carried on, as bacteriologists and research workers, and as supervisors of the development and maintenance of much-needed experimental animal colonies. The specific details of their activities and of the projects with which they were associated are classified and cannot be revealed, but it is known that the veterinary profession, represented to a large part by Army veterinary officers, contributed much to the success of the projects as they were related to veterinary aspects of biological warfare.1

1Veterinary officers detailed to these installations included Lt. Col. A. T. Thompson and Lt. Col. N. J. Pyle; Majors L. C. Ferguson, A. N. Gorelick, and C. E. Venzke; Captains K. H. Martin, V. W. Nieman, C. J. Nordon, A. S. Rosenwald, and G. A. Young; and First Lieutenants R. C. Fish, R. H. Hoyt, and C. O. Seward.


Not all biological warfare research and development activities were delegated by the War Department to the Chemical Warfare Service. There were other organizations that assumed considerable responsibility under the program originally set up by the War Research Service and later continued by the Army. They were related to Chemical Warfare Service only from a budgetary standpoint. Of interest to the veterinary profession were the special animal-disease research projects on Newcastle disease and fowl plague that were conducted at Harvard University. These projects were begun in 1943 when they were set up by the War Research Service. After September 1944, until their termination in November 1945, these projects were under the direction of the War Department Commission, which included General Kelser as a member (51 through 55). The actual research and work was performed by civilian veterinary specialists, and no Veterinary Corps officers were assigned to this project.

War Disease Control Station, Grosse ?le, Canada.-Allied in its purpose to the wartime research project on Newcastle disease of poultry was the project on rinderpest that was conducted under the direction of a Joint United States-Canadian Commission (56). Its purpose was "* * * to develop ways and means of protecting the livestock industry of the North American continent against a foreign plague that might be introduced intentionally, as an enemy method of biological warfare, or accidentally." The Commission was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Canadian Minister of National Defense in July 1942. It consisted of a Canadian section and an American section-the latter including R. E. Dyer of the U.S. Public Health Service, E. B. Fred of the University of Wisconsin, General Kelser of the Army Veterinary Service, and H. W. Schoening of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A War Disease Control Station was established on Grosse ?le, Province of Quebec, Canada, where rigid quarantine and safety procedures were enforced as a means of confining the disease to the experimental area. The actual work was conducted by a joint United States-Canadian scientific staff including six U.S. Army Veterinary Corps officers, one from the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy, and two Canadian Army scientists.2 Their first objective was to produce rinderpest vaccine in quantities that might be needed immediately should the disease occur. This was accomplished by February 1944, as follows:

We have prepared a (chloroform-inactivated bovine tissue) vaccine which, so far as can be told from tests under experimental conditions, is satisfactory for use in protecting cattle against rinderpest. The vaccine, as prepared, is a very slight modification of the one developed and used successfully in the Philippines by Kelser and his coworkers. We have on hand a sufficient amount of finished vaccine to combat initial scattered outbreaks of the disease and we have, further, in frozen storage a relatively large amount of infected tissue which can, on short notice, to be made into vaccine.

2The veterinary officers included: Lt. Col. M. W. Hale, Maj. F. D. Maurer, and Captains J. A. Baker, H. K. Cooper, D. L. Jenkins, and T. O. Roby.  


If our vaccine is to be employed at all in Canada or the United States, it will be only as an emergency procedure and in the face of an outbreak of rinderpest. Under such a circumstance, there are very obvious disadvantages to the use of a vaccine requiring multiple inoculations to immunize. We have, therefore, directed our efforts towards the production of one which will confer satisfactory immunity after a single administration. So far as we can determine under experimental conditions, a single injection of 10 cc. of the vaccine is adequate to confer protection. * * * However, because of the possibility that during transportation the vaccine may be submitted to deleterious conditions and, as an added protection in the face of an emergency, it would be safer to place the recommended field dose at 20 cc. per head subcutaneously.

After completing the first objective, investigations were begun on the development of an efficient vaccine which could be produced more economically. These studies actually gave way to virus research which contributed to scientific advances with other diseases. Before the end of 1945, these investigations were concluded with the finding that the rinderpest virus could be adapted to embryonating hens' eggs and attenuated for use in cattle with retention of long-lasting, high antigenic properties; the new avianized vaccine was developed in consideration of its keeping qualities during periods of storage. Subsequently, techniques were developed for the large-scale production of the "live" attenuated-virus rinderpest vaccine (of chick-embryo origin). The successful outcome of the laboratory research and development work at Grosse ?le constituted an outstanding contribution to veterinary science by the development of a highly efficient, economical, and safe vaccine which was shown to produce a solid and lasting immunity against rinderpest in cattle. The postvaccination reaction in animals was shown to be mild and of short duration, and the immune response was prompt. Although not then proved by extensive field trial, this new avianized rinderpest vaccine was believed to be safe for use in virgin areas, such as in the United States, should an outbreak occur and to be efficient when used in areas where the disease existed or was rampant.

During the period of 4 years, the scientific staff on Gross ?le rendered periodic progress reports and deposited 16 papers with the Joint United States-Canadian Commission for publication when the existent security procedures regarding the rinderpest project were changed. These papers (57) covered the following studies:

I. The Cultivation of Rinderpest Virus in the Developing Hen's Egg
II. Certain Immunity Reactions
III. Immunization Experiments With Inactivated Bovine Tissue Vaccines
IV. Infection of the Embryos and the Fluids of Developing Hens' Eggs  
V. Attempts To Prepare an Effective Rinderpest Vaccine From Inactivated Egg-Cultivated Virus
VI. The Persistence of Virus in Chicks Hatched From Infected Eggs
VII. The Attenuation of Rinderpest Virus for Cattle by Cultivation in Embryonating Eggs
VIII. Rinderpest Infection in Rabbits
IX. Neutralization Tests in Rabbits as a Measure of the Immune Responses in Calves to Vaccination Against Rinderpest  


X. The Response of Guinea Pigs to the Virus of Rinderpest  
XI. The Survival of Rinderpest Virus in Various Mediums  
XII. The Successful Use of Young Chicks To Measure the Concentration of Rinderpest Virus Propagated in Eggs
XIII. The Production of Rinderpest Vaccine From an Attenuated Strain of Virus  
XIV. Immunization Experiments With Attenuated Rinderpest Vaccine, Including Some Observations on the Keeping Qualities and Potency Tests  
XV. Morphological Changes in the Blood of Young Cattle During Rinderpest and After Vaccination With Attenuated Virus Vaccine  
XVI. Complement Fixation Test for Rinderpest

In 1946, the United States and Canadian Governments jointly donated a million doses of the avianized rinderpest vaccine to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for use in China.


1. Merillat, L. A., and Campbell, D. M.: Veterinary Military History of the United States. Chicago: Veterinary Medicine Corporation, 1935.

2. Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940.

3. Annual Reports of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, and 1931.

4. Veterinary Circular Letter No. 58, Surgeon General's Office, 1 Nov. 1920. 

5. AR 40-2140, 3 Dec. 1921.  

6. AR 40-2140, 3 Aug. 1942.

7. Letter, Surgeon's Office, Headquarters, Pacific Ocean Areas, 21 Mar. 1945, subject: Veterinary Technical Guide for Animal Disease Investigation.

8. Letter, The Adjutant General to The Surgeon General, 18 Mar. 1941, subject: Use of Live Animals for Experimental Purposes.

9. Letter, Lt. Col. J. R. Wood, MC, to The Surgeon General, 9 Apr. 1943, subject: Assignment of Veterinary Officer.

10. Letter, Maj. J. B. Costello, CWS, Military Personnel Division, to The Surgeon General, 26 July 1944, Subject: Request for Orders.

11. Letter, Col. L. B. McAfee, MC, Surgeon General's Office, to The Adjutant General, 30 Oct. 1950, subject: Activation of Corps Area Laboratories.

12. Letter, Col. L. B. McAfee, MC, Surgeon General's Office, to surgeons of 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th corps areas and of Panama Canal and Puerto Rican Departments, 27 Dec. 1940, subject: Establishment of Corps Area and Department Laboratories.

13. Letter, The Adjutant General's Office to commanding generals of corps areas and Puerto Rican and Panama Canal Departments, 15 Jan. 1941, subject: Establishment of Corps Area and Department Laboratories.

14. Letter, Col. L. B. McAfee, MC, Surgeon General's Office, to surgeons of corps areas and departments, 16 Jan. 1941, subject: Corps Area Laboratories.

15. Derrick, J. D.: World War II Historical Report of the Army Veterinary Service, First Service Command, Army Service Forces, 8 Sept. 1939 to 14 Aug. 1945. [Official record. ]

16. Hale, M. W.: Determination of Soybean Flour in Meat Products. Food Research 10: 60-65, January-February 1945.

17. Shook, L. L.: World War II Historical Report of the Army Veterinary Service, Sixth Service Command, 8 September 1939 to 7 December 1941. [Official record.]


18. Egan, H. E.: History of the Veterinary Service, Seventh Service Command, World War II. [Official record.]

19. Reynolds, F. H. K., and Pollard, M.: The Employment of a Rickettsial Vaccine for Antigen in the Diagnostic Complement-Fixation Test. Am. J. Trop. Med. 23: 321?323, May 1943.

20. Livesay, H. R., and Pollard, M.: Laboratory Report on a Clinical Syndrome Referred to as Bullis Fever. Am. J. Trop. Med. 23: 475-479, September 1943.

21. Livesay, H. R., and Pollard, M.: Serological Studies of Bullis Fever. Am. J. Trop. Med. 24: 281-284, September 1944.

22. Pollard, M., and Augustson, F. F.: Serological Entomological Survey of Murine Typhus. Am. J. Trop. Med. 25: 31-32, January 1945.

23. Pollard, M.: The Employment of the Chick Embryo in Virus and Rickettsial Disease Problems. Texas State J. Med. 40: 480-481, January 1945.

24. FM 8-5, 31 May 1945, par. 1546. 

25. FM 8-5, 31 May 1945, par. 254.a. 

26. FM 8-5, 31 May 1945, par. 254.b.

27. Cordy, D. R.: Historical Report of the Veterinary Section, Ninth Medical Service Detachment (Laboratory), APO 629, 1 July-31 December 1944. [Official record.]

28. Clark, R. H.: History of Office of the Depot Veterinarian, Mira Loma Quartermaster Depot, 1 May 1942-15 August 1942. [Official record.]

29. Betzold, C. W.: Depot Veterinary History, Seattle Army Service Forces Depot. [Official record.]

30. Letter, Col. J. F. Crosby, VC, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, to Lt. Col. P. H. Hand, VC, Kansas City Quartermaster Depot, Kansas City, Mo., 17 Jan. 1946.

31. Letter, Lt. Col. P. H. Hand, VC, Depot Veterinarian, Kansas City Quartermaster Depot, Kansas City, Mo., to Col. J. F. Crosby, VC, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, 10 Jan. 1946, and letter of reply, 17 Jan. 1946.

32. Pounden, W. D., Ferguson, L. C., and Sunderville, E. J.: Methylene Blue Food Utensil Test. North Am. Vet. 26: 271-273, May 1945.

33. Letter, Maj. Gen. N. T. Kirk, The Surgeon General, and Brig. Gen. R. A. Kelser, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, to service command veterinarians, 5 and 7 Aug. 1944, subject: Veterinary Corps Inspection of Desiccated Eggs.

34. Letter, Deputy The Surgeon General, and Brig. Gen. R. A. Kelser, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, to headquarters, 3d, 4th, 6th, and 8th service commands, 24 Feb. 1945, subject: Laboratory Examination of Desiccated Eggs.

35. Black, L. A.: Surveys of Milk Laboratories in War Areas in the United States. Pub. Health Rep. 58: 1605-1623, 1641-1656, 1681-1689, 1943.

36. Case, L. I.: Veterinary History of the Port Veterinarian's Office, Boston Port of Embarkation, Boston, Mass. [Official record.]

37. History of the Veterinary Branch, Medical Division, Charleston Port of Embarkation. [Official record.]

38. Richter, J. B.: History of Veterinary Service at Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va., August 1942 to June 1945. [Official record.]

39. Smith, E. J., and Crawford, A. W.: History of the Veterinary Service at the New Orleans Port of Embarkation, New Orleans, La. [Official record.]

40. Jones, T. C.: History of the Army Veterinary Research Laboratory, Front Royal Quartermaster Depot (Remount), Front Royal, Va. [Official record.]

41. Jones, T. C.: Research in Animal Diseases at the Veterinary Research Laboratory, Army Remount Depot, Front Royal, Va. Mil. Surgeon 96: 310-314, April 1945.

42. Jones, T. C., and Maurer, F. D.: Sporotrichosis in Horses. Bull. U.S. Army M. Dept. No. 74, pp. 63-73, March 1944.  


43. Schuelle, G. B., and Jones, T. C.: Occurrence of the Cereal Mite in War Dogs. J. Am. Vet. M. A. 104: 213-214, April 1944.

44. Jones, T. C., and Maurer, F. D.: Attempts to Produce Jaundice in Horses by Inoculation of Yellow Fever Vaccine. Bull. U.S. Army M. Dept. No. 76, pp. 115-120, May 1944.

45. Memorandum, Lt. Col. R. J. Carpenter, MC, and Col. J. F. Crosby, VC, for The Surgeon General, to Plans and Operations Division, Headquarters, Army Service Forces, 1944, subject: Temporary Retention of Veterinary Research Laboratory, with 1st indorsement thereto, Maj. Gen. W. D. Styer, Headquarters, Army Service Forces, to The Surgeon General, 11 Nov. 1944.

46. Letter, Lt. Col. R. J. Carpenter, MC, for The Surgeon General, to Commanding General, Army Service Forces, subject: Relocation of Veterinary Research Laboratory. 

47. Letter, Adjutant General's Office to Commanding General, Third Service Command, 1 Sept. 1945, subject: Movement of Personnel and Equipment of Veterinary Research Laboratory.

48. Kintner, J. H.: History of the Veterinary Survey in Mexico and Central America. [Official record.]

49. Report, Col. John H. Kintner, VC, Maj. Wilfred S. Benthram, VC, and Capt. Stephen B. Hitchner, VC, Veterinary Survey Group, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, to Brig. Gen. R. A. Kelser, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, through Hugh S. Cumming, Director, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Washington, D.C., subject: Report of Veterinary Survey, Colombia, June 1945.

50. Norden, C. J., Jr.: "B-W" Biological Warfare. The Norden News 20: 4-5, July?August 1946.

51. Brandly, C. A., Moses, H. E., Jungherr, E. L., and Jones, E. E.: Epizootiology of Newcastle Disease of Poultry. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 243-249, July 1946.

52. Jungherr, E. L., Tyzzer, E. E., Brandly, C. A., and Moses, H. E.: The Comparative Pathology of Fowl Plague and Newcastle Disease. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 250-288, July 1946.

53. Brandly, C. A., Moses, H. E., Jungherr, E. L., and Jones, E. E.: The Isolation and Identification of Newcastle Disease Virus. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 289-306, July 1946. 

54. Brandly, C. A., Moses, H. E., Jones, E. E., and Jungherr, E. L.: Immunization of Chickens Against Newcastle Disease. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 307-332, July 1946.

55. Brandly, C. A., Moses, H. E., and Jungherr, E. L.: Transmission of Antiviral Activity Via the Egg and the Role of Congenital Passive Immunity to Newcastle Disease in Chickens. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 333-342, July 1946.

56. Rinderpest, the Preparation of Tissue and Egg Vaccines. Am. J. Vet. Research 7: 133-134, April 1946.

57. Am J. Vet. Research 7: 135-237, April 1946.