squirrel
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American Airboune surgeons

Mon Oct 18, 2010 23:46

Hello all I do hope you may be of some help. Please could somebody tell me were there any surgeons or doctors that did combat jumps. Or if any ranking officerssurgeon Lt Col or above were attached to the 82nd airbourne that may have jumped.

Or if a surgeon capt or major did jump during ww2 and the was promoted during war time would they still be entitled to wear the jump suits later on.
Many thanks for your time.

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LOZ
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Re: American Airboune surgeons

Tue Oct 19, 2010 00:36

see the 307th AMC in the unit histories section on this site.
also check out the Michel De Trez book on doc Mcilvoy ISBN 2-9600176-6-8

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GliderRiderMedic
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Re: American Airboune surgeons

Tue Oct 19, 2010 05:23

squirrel wrote:Hello all I do hope you may be of some help. Please could somebody tell me were there any surgeons or doctors that did combat jumps. Or if any ranking officers surgeon Lt Col or above were attached to the 82nd airbourne that may have jumped.



There were regimental surgeons with each PIR that jumped. There were also airborne medical companies and an auxiliary surgical team attached to each airborne division. With the 82nd these would have been:
-307th Airborne Medical Company, 82nd AB
-Team 19, 3rd Auxiliary Surgical Team
Since my focus is on the 101st (I am actually the commander of an airborne medical company/auxiliary surgical team reenacting unit), I don't know the specifics on Team 19 all that well, but I believe they came in by gliders. The first element was lead by a Major Whitsit and came in on the morning of D-Day with some of the 307th and the rest of the 307th came in on the evening of D-Day by glider if memory serves me.

As for surgeons or physicians who jumped and were Lt Colonels, the only probable case of that would be a division surgeon and that should be easy to ascertain. The commanders of the AMCs and surgical teams were generally majors.

Not the 82nd Airborne but three surgeons with 326th Airborne Medical Companies and Team 20 jumped.
Captain Willis P. McKee, MD, with the 326th Airborne Medical Company, 101st Airborne. I happen to know members of the McKee family and have a copy of a second testimony that Dr. McKee gave after the war. Here is his official US Army testimony about his experiences:
http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs ... oDDay.html
Captain Alfred M. Slotta, 4104 N. Major Ave., Chicago, Illinois, who had jumped by parachute at the head of his section, had continued working with the regiment which he was supporting and joined the company on Thursday 8 June 1944 at 1400. Although Captain Slotta had fractured his right ankle at the time of the jump, he continued in the performance of his duties and was not evacuated until 24 June 1944.
Captain Walter W. Meyers, of Colome, South Dakota, after jumping with his section was cut off from the remainder of the division for three (3) days and after establishing his aid station began treating casualties. Captain Meyers rejoined this organization on 8 June 1944 at 2100.

Or if a surgeon capt or major did jump during ww2 and the was promoted during war time would they still be entitled to wear the jump suits later on.


BTW, once you earn your jump wings, you are always entitled to wear them. Promotion would not make a damn bit of difference about it. That said, I don't know why you would wear the jumpsuit when not jumping which is what you asked about.

Just out of curiosity, why the specific interest in the 82nd side of things? If I can be of any further help let me know. I know a considerable amount about the operations of the auxiliary surgical teams from a technical standpoint (as in, the medical operations of all the units and the tactical operations of the 101st side of things). Shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.

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Ben
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Re: American Airboune surgeons

Tue Oct 19, 2010 09:28

Hi Stephen, and welcome to the Forum.

Why not try reading over some of our Airborne Medical Unit Histories on the site:

224th Airborne Medical Company
307th Airborne Medical Company
326th Airborne Medical Company

Also, as Loz has suggested, try to get a copy of Michel DeTrez' book dedicated to Doc McIlvoy.

Kind regards,
Ben :)
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ben@med-dept.com

1943 Harley-Davidson WLA
1943 Douglas C-47
1944 Cushman 53 Airborne Motor Scooter

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WS-G
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Re: American Airboune surgeons

Fri Jan 25, 2019 07:30

squirrel wrote:Hello all I do hope you may be of some help. Please could somebody tell me were there any surgeons or doctors that did combat jumps. Or if any ranking officerssurgeon Lt Col or above were attached to the 82nd airbourne that may have jumped.

Or if a surgeon capt or major did jump during ww2 and the was promoted during war time would they still be entitled to wear the jump suits later on.
Many thanks for your time.

ABSOLUTELY YES !!!

I had the privilege to know personally the late Robert Franco, Capt., MC, who -- as battalion surgeon of the 1/505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, made all four of the 82nd Airborne Division's combat jumps. He also received the Silver Star and the Soldier's Medal for two separate acts carried out on the same day during Operation Neptune (Normandy). Already a board certified surgeon before the war, he served in the 505th for the duration, returning to his civilian practice after the war until his retirement in the 1990s. He was originally from Seattle (both parents immigrants from the Island of Rhodes, part of the Ottoman Empire at the time), and was a long-term resident of Richland, Washington when I first met him in 2002; we attended the same synagogue during the final decade of his life before his passing six years ago. He and his wife are both buried in Richland, WA.

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WS-G
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Re: American Airboune surgeons

Fri Jan 25, 2019 07:52

As GliderRiderMedic correctly points out...
GliderRiderMedic wrote:...once you earn your jump wings, you are always entitled to wear them. Promotion would not make a damn bit of difference about it. That said, I don't know why you would wear the jumpsuit when not jumping which is what you asked about....

...the Parachutist Wings become a permanent award as soon as one has completed the required course of instruction and performed the prescribed training jumps (five in all, unless one of those was in actual combat, in which case only that one was required -- doesn't happen that way in today's Army!). Once that is finished, then one must perform all assigned jumps for the duration of one's assignment to an Airborne unit; one can (and almost always will) lose those wings if he refuses to exit the aircraft once airborne (that gets very ugly, even today).

From 1942 to the present, a minimum of one jump per quarter is required to draw jump pay for that quarter, although most Airborne units do jump more frequently than that, even those units which are part of the reserve component (yes, the reserve and the National Guard do have them -- I was in one of those units myself). With a prescribed number of additional jumps -- of which a certain number must involve tactical exercises/operations, be performed at night, be with full combat equipment, and with some as jumpmaster -- plus a prescribed number of total months on jump status, a soldier may be awarded the Senior Parachutist and Master Parachutist Badges. For those who have made parachute descents in actual combat, a small bronze five-point star is authorized to be mounted on one's wings -- one for each actual combat jump.

The slang term for the combat jump star, by the way, is mustard stain, and those are taken very seriously by paratroopers, whether they've made a combat jump or not (I personally have not, out of 33 total jumps, with both US and British wings awarded), so even in the "dramatic representation" re-enactor role, it's a very good idea to not be seen wearing one unless one has actually earned it.

Another uniform distinction sported by US Army paratroopers is the wear of the Corcoran (pronounced kahk-ran, as the original manufacturer was in the state of Massachusetts and the name is pronounced that way in the local dialect) jump boot with the Class A and B (service-dress and service) uniforms instead of the low-quarter Oxford shoe. These however are worn with those uniforms only while actually assigned to an Airborne unit, even if (rare, but it happens) one is not a qualified parachutist. A paratrooper who ends up in a follow-on assignment to a "leg" (non-Airborne) unit no longer wears them. The wings remain however! The Corcoran boot continues to the present day, incidentally, though is no longer worn in the field or even with any uniform other than the Class A or Class B. The vast majority of examples one will find -- due to post-war uniform changes -- are black leather instead of the original russet brown.

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