Eric Bakken
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 00:13

42nd Field Hospital

Sun Mar 21, 2010 00:44


I am extremely grateful for this site containing such valuable history of Medical Units in operation during WWII in the ETO.
My late uncle was a Stretcherbearer, and saw action in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. I believe he was attached
to the 42nd Field Hospital, but I haven't been able to confirm this because the return addresses on mail he sent home
varied from time to time. For example: Pvt. Reuben H. Field, 36268278, 422 Medical Collection Company, Camp Carson,
Colorado; Pvt. Reuben H. Field, 36268278, 422 Coll. Co. 168th Med. Bn. APO #183 c/o Postmaster, Los Angeles, Cal.;
(same name and serial #, 422 Med. Coll. Co. , Camp Cooke, Calif., (same name and serial #) Company H & S, 31st Medical
Regiment, Camp Barkeley, Texas; (same name & serial #) 422 Med. Coll. Co. (Sep) APO #403 c/o Postmaster, New York, NY.
My Uncle went to basic training at Camp Barkeley in Texas, then went to Camp Cooke in California for more training, and
then to Camp Carson, Colorado where the 42nd Field Hospital was activated on 15 July 1943 (during the time my Uncle
was there). As I have been unable to locate any information the 422 Medical Collection Company, I have a suspicion that
Reuben wrote the number this way rather than "42nd," that is, the second "2" was his designation for "nd." After Camp
Carson, Reuben departed the U.S. for England (?) on a Troop Transport out of the port of Boston. I have been copying
hundreds of my Uncle's letters to his mother and family for transfer to a disc format.

I am interested to know more about the training Stretcherbearers received. Were they trained in First Aid technique?
Were they allowed to give first care to the wounded to stop bleeding, etc., or to administer morphine? Did they work
in Field Hospitals as needed? Just how extensive were their duties? If anyone can help me in learning more about the
experiences of Stretcherbearers in WWII, I would be most grateful. My uncle received The Bronze Star for valor, The
Victory Medal, The American Theatre Ribbon, The European-African-Middle East Theatre Medal with three bronze stars,
and the Good Conduct Medal. If is ironic that after he returned home after serving during and surviving several major battles without a scratch, he drowned in a fishing accident in 1950.

in Europe without a scratch

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Posts: 388
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 23:54
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: 42nd Field Hospital

Sun Mar 21, 2010 08:49

Hi Eric and welcome to the forum. thanks for sharing the information about your uncle.

More than likely you have the unit correct as the 422nd Medical Collection Company. By mid 1944, a medical battalion would have two collection companies and one clearing company. The collection companies would have the litter bearers and ambulances and were responsible for getting casualties to the clearing company. The clearing company was setup to provide advanced medical care including surgical procedures prior to the casualty being evacuated further down the chain.

I don't have any specific information about the 422nd Collection Company. But I checked and APO 403 was the 3rd Army - Gen George Patton's Army. I have a document that lists the 422nd collection company as a non-divisional unit either assigned or attached to the 9th Army 5 Sept 1944 thru 5 May 1945. As a separate (Sep) collecting company, they would have been re-assigned to a variety of units as needed in various parts of Europe.

If you haven't seen it, there is an article relating to 42nd Field Hospital here.

Hopefully someone else will have more information.

'43 Dodge WC54
piles of smelly green stuff
a couple of band-aids

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Posts: 436
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 20:56
Location: Belgium

Re: 42nd Field Hospital

Mon Mar 22, 2010 09:47

I noted you preferred to reply to my e-mail via the Forum, that's fine with me.
I meanwhile read your Uncle's personal data with thanks.
Peter is correct, your Uncle did serve with the 422d Med Coll Co (and most certainly not with the 42d Fld Hosp)!

Once more a piece of advice, the info about Stretcher Bearer / Litter Bearer is available on our webpages, and I would strongly suggest to consult them. This applies also to the organization of the Medical Battalion and its components (Collecting + Clearing Companies).

See Navigation > Resources > Glossary of WW2 US Medical Terms > Select letter "L" > Litter Bearer
See Navigation > Articles > The Medical Department > WW2 Medical "MOS" Definitions > Medical Corpsman (MOS 657)
See Navigation > Articles > The Mdical Department > The WW2 Medical Battalion, Infantry Division

Alain S. Batens :idea:
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