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67th Evacuation Hospital
|Map showing locations of the 67th Evacuation Hospital on the Cotentin Peninsula|
The 67th Evacuation Hospital was activated at Fort Rodman, Massachusetts (Coastal Fort controlling a number of Gun Batteries part of the harbor defense of New Bedford, later also in use as a Training and Support facility -ed) on 16 March 1942 as a 750-bed Evacuation Hospital and assigned to First United States Army. At the time of commissioning, the total cadre for the Hospital was 47 Officers, 52 Nurses and 318 Enlisted Men, with an additional 19 men reporting for duty on 27 March 1942 having been transferred from the 3d Evacuation Hospital (Fort Benning, Georgia -ed).
On 30 March the first of the Hospital’s shipment of basic training equipment was received. Except for the lack of hospital ward tents, x-ray equipment and certain surgical and medical supplies, the equipment was sufficient for basic training purposes and included material such as literature, aids, script and films, with additional material having been received upon request. The training program was structured and continued to operate well for all personnel of the unit. Those Enlisted Men received from the 3d Evacuation Hospital had already completed basic training with their former unit, and so were used in an administrative role within the new organization, and to direct and advise good practice during the training.
On 24 April, 20 Enlisted Men (who had received limited training) reported from Camp Lee, Virginia. An intensive training course was at once inaugurated. The primary purpose of this course was to familiarize each man with the equipment of an Evacuation Hospital, the duties he would perform in the installation, pitching and striking of tentage, receiving, care and evacuation of the sick and wounded in a Theater of Operations. During the training period, the unit was stationed in a two-story barracks which was more than sufficient. Heating, lights and ventilation were all provided and functioned as expected. Toilets, laundry and bathing facilities were also adequate, and fresh water supply was also readily available, since the post received its water supply from the town of New Bedford.
The basic training program lasted a total of 13 weeks and was completed on 25 July 1942. By this time, the original personnel of the cadre had received specialist training as Laboratory, X-Ray, Surgical and Medical Technicians in adjacent Hospitals. 3 Hospital ward tents had been received on 15 July and following an additional two-week training period, selected squads could erect a tent in 15 minutes and strike it in seven.
|Members of an unidentified Evacuation Hospital pitch tents and unload supplies during training in the ZI.|
Due to the small number of Enlisted personnel present during the unit’s first four months of existence, a unit mess was not operated; the men were attached to the Fort Rodman Station Hospital for rations. However by September, the unit had received an additional 275 men from Fort Sill and Camp Joseph T. Robinson (Oklahoma and Arkansas respectively –ed) and opened its own mess. The equipment used for this purpose was satisfactory and there was no difficulty in procuring food and maintaining an adequate and well-balanced menu.
In the latter part of August, a field demonstration was prepared for the American Red Cross. Approximately 200 members and guests attended and were shown the evacuation of wounded men from the front line through the Battalion Aid Station to an Evacuation Hospital. Three hospital ward tents were pitched; one equipped and operating as a receiving tent, one fitted as an operating room and one as a ward. To make the demonstration more realistic, smoke pots were used and the personnel of the Battalion Aid Station, wearing gas masks, evacuated patients through the smoke.
A second basic training period then took place for the men who had been received from Fort Sill and Camp Robinson, which began on 3 September 1942. During this period technical training was also given by placing men in groups of 50 for a 30-day period on DS in the Station Hospital at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. This second and final training episode was completed on 5 December 1942. The technical phase of training (based heavily around MTP 8-10 –ed) began on 7 December. The hospital personnel was broken down into small sections, each under a competent Officer and NCO who acted as instructor. Each section received instruction in either administrative or tactical subjects peculiar to the Evacuation Hospital.
On 21 September 1942 the organization was re-designated as the 67th Evacuation Hospital (Motorized) and re-organized according to T/O 8-581. As of 31 December, the unit had been assigned to XIII Corps, and ended the year as a 400-bed semi-mobile Evacuation Hospital assigned to First United States Army. Physical fitness tests on 19 January 1943 highlighted the period of technical training.
In February of the same year the organization was redesignated as the 67th Evacuation Hospital, Semimobile.
Technical training continued into the New Year until the unit was moved by motor convoy to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in sub-zero temperatures on 16 February 1943. Three weeks later another move was made, this time by train, to the A. P. Hill Military Reservation in Virginia. On arrival, the unit’s personnel established camp in pyramidal tents and remained tent-dwellers for more than eight months at this station. Once all personnel had reached the new station, the third period of combined training began and continued until 4 June 1943.
|General view of an Evacuation Hospital during training in the ZI.|
During this time, the 67th furnished medical support to the 71st Field Artillery Brigade in tactical maneuvers, serving for the most part as a Medical Battalion. The 67th also provided the Officers’ Mess for the 71st Fld Arty Bde. A variety of tactical maneuvers (both with and without simulated casualties) were carried out in all manner of conditions. The unit as a whole and in sections practiced maneuvering both in blackout conditions and during daylight, as well as pitching ward tents and the loading and unloading of equipment. Both the ward and operating sections were set up under cover, well dispersed and with strict adherence to camouflage. Many different arrangements of tents were tried out. However, in the main tentage and equipment of the Hospital were so arranged that they could be split into two identical halves, each able to function independently with four operating tables and teams. Another benefit of this arrangement was to allow for tactical moves of the unit in echelons. During the principal problem and maneuver with the 71st Field Artillery Brigade from 25 April to 1 May 1943, Collecting and Clearing Stations as well as an Evacuation Hospital were set up and operated with simulated casualties. A special commendation was received for the work during this problem. The Infiltration Course (under live fire) was completed 31 March 1943, while MTP tests were taken the next day, and again on 12 May 1943.
A large number of Enlisted Men from units which had gone overseas were received and peaked at 361 on 5 April 1943. The overstrength was reduced as a result of the release from active service of 32 men over thirty-eight (38) years of age for work in agriculture and defence industries and the sending out of four cadres. In May, one cadre went to the 106th Evacuation Hospital (Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland –ed). Smaller cadres, each of three men were sent to the 179th and 188th Engineer Combat Battalions at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in July 1943. On 20 June, the unit received a full complement of Nurses.
The final period of training began on 7 June 1943 and lasted until 4 September. In late June the 67th Evac Hosp was attached to the 76th Infantry Division and on 4 July began to function as a Station Hospital. In the two months which followed, a total of 796 patients were admitted, treated for medical and surgical conditions and discharged. During this time, the Officers of the Operating Section were assigned to the Ward Section to act as Ward Officers, with the exception of the Chief of Section and several specialists. The latter administered the OR and the out-patient clinic, as well as acting as consultants to the Ward Sections. About 100 surgical procedures were performed, consisting of emergency operations and those elective procedures allowed by higher authority. Despite the fact that the weather was extremely hot and the work had been carried out under field conditions and without screening, the incidence of post-operative complications was almost nil and there were only two deaths during the entire period.
On 15 July 1943, command of the unit passed from Colonel Harry B. Gantt to Colonel John L. Crawford.
Amphibious training, including swimming classes and demonstrations of various techniques of saving one’s own life and the lives of others at sea, was carried out at Westmoreland State Park in August 1943. Four barracks bags tied together were found to support the weight of a litter with a patient. A field problem consisting of a convoy journey of 100 miles and setting up and moving under darkness brought this period to a close.
With the receipt of Warning Orders in August, overseas service was drawing nearer. September therefore became a month of intensive preparations in all departments of the Hospital. A two-day visit from Colonel Raymond D. Scott (CO > 11th Evacuation Hospital in Tunisia and Sicily –ed) brought much valuable information concerning all phases of medical service in an Evacuation Hospital overseas.
|A wounded GI is prepared for emergency surgery at the 51st Evacuation Hospital in France. Photograph taken on 11 August 1944.|
October passed quickly in final preparations, which were relieved by two motor convoys and bivouacs of a two-day duration to Williamsburg, Virginia. In November, the unit moved from A. P. Hill Military Reservation, Virginia, to a staging area near New York. The latter became the unit’s Port of Embarkation, and the organization boarded a ship bound for Scotland. Three Officers and twelve Enlisted Men constituted a detail which operated two dispensaries on the transport. A rail journey brought the unit to a new location in England on the last day of November 1943. After being reassigned to the First United States Army the unit moved from Scotland to England by rail on 29 November where it was to train at several locations in Gloucestershire from 30 November 1943 to 16 June 1944.
The 67th Evac was soon busy adjusting itself to the English climate and living conditions. The ETO “indoctrination” course was completed, and further training programs instituted for the remainder of December. A Christmas dinner at a local hall brought the personnel of the 67th Evacuation Hospital together as a unit for the last time in 1943.
Training continued in the UK for several more months in preparation for the unit’s move to Normandy, France. The first five months of 1944, recollected with difficulty after the exciting events which would eventually follow them, passed slowly in England.
Intensive training was the order of the day, for signs of the nearness of the enemy were not lacking in England. The town in which the Hospital was located, however, experienced only three air-raid alerts and no bombs fell nearer than five miles away. Valuable as every hour of preparation turned out to be, training schedules, field problems, hikes, classes, and "dry runs", followed by more "dry runs" alternately brought spells of "invasion fever" and a sense of frustration. This state of affairs continued into June.
Recreational and morale activities were important aspects of the stay in England. Fortunately the town possessed a large hall where dances for both commissioned and enlisted personnel could be held and Special Service movies shown. Three USO shows played to crowded and enthusiastic houses. International goodwill was fostered, perhaps not negligibly, by the custom of inviting to these dances groups of members of the RAF and WAAF from nearby airfields. A softball league among the hospitals of the region, mainly First US Army Evacuation Hospitals, proved diverting to both soldiers and citizenry. The local secondary school generously loaned its playing fields for ceremonies so that formal retreat was held daily after April. The entire unit participated with other local American troops in the "Salute the Soldier Week" parade and ceremonies in May.
On 17 April 1944 a detachment of 1 Officer and 33 Enlisted Men of the 456th Quartermaster Laundry Company was permanently attached to the Hospital, becoming a very valuable, indeed, almost indispensable, part of the organization. Two members of the American Red Cross, an assistant Field Director and a recreational assistant, were attached also in the same month. A course in waterproofing was attended by the unit’s Motor Transportation Officer and three Enlisted Men, who later instructed other drivers and mechanics.
|Partial view of the 67th Evacuation Hospital near Gorron, France, where the unit bivouacked from 15 August 1944 to 29 August 1944. Although closed for operations 27 August 1944, the organization would only leave on 30 August for a new change of station.|
About 1 May 1944, the Mess Officer received word that for a movement to the Continent, K-Rations for three days for Hospital personnel and B-Rations for two days, excluding perishable items, for patients would be carried. Early In June the unit was brought to full strength. Unit equipment which was not to be taken on organizational vehicles was transported to a Welsh port and loaded on cargo ships.
D-Day arrived, however, with the 67th still in Gloucestershire, waiting impatiently for the secret order which finally came on the evening of 14 June 1944; the unit was to leave for France in the morning! Last-minute loading of vehicles with personal luggage and "housekeeping equipment" was accomplished with enthusiastic dispatch.
On the following morning 6 Officers and 51 Enlisted Men departed in motor convoy from the home station at 0600 hours, arriving five hours later at Marshalling Area D near a Channel port. Final waterproofing was immediately started. All other personnel departed by rail at 0945 and reached their destination about four hours later. During the afternoon and evening personnel were "processed" and received the usual instructions. Pounds and Shillings were exchanged for Francs, “Série de 1944”. A detachment of 3 Officers and 13 Enlisted Men left with 8 vehicles for LST 1109 just before midnight.
The morning of 16 June saw the main detachment of hospital personnel being loaded onto LCIs 1423 and 1424 in groups of 201 (31 Officers, 40 Nurses, and 130 Enlisted Men) and 75 (1 Officer and 74 Enlisted Men). About 1500 hours these commodious vessels got underway. The crossing was slow because the LCIs were serving as escorts for a number of lumbering LCTs. 3 Officers and 38 Enlisted Men loaded the remaining vehicles on LST 1110 later that same night.
The crossing of the Channel and the landing of the four detachments into which the 67th Evacuation Hospital had been divided proved entirely uneventful. None of the groups encountered any known enemy action, and the sands of Utah Beach were gained without so much as a wet foot. The two main groups of personnel disembarked at 1400 hours, 17 June 1944, and proceeded on foot to a temporary transit area a quarter of a mile back from the beach, remaining there for a few hours. Officers and Nurses then went to the 91st Evacuation Hospital, several of them going to work soon after arrival. Enlisted Men bivouacked in a separate area.
During the morning of 18 June, the detachment with the unit vehicles landed from its LSTs and reached the temporary location of the unit. The first truckload of supplies reached the organization’s Supply Office early afternoon. On receipt of instructions to open the Hospital on the following day, Enlisted personnel went to prepare the site to set up the organization.
The move to the first site having been completed, the 67th Evacuation Hospital officially opened at 1200 hours in the vicinity of La Fière, about four miles west of Sainte-Mère-Eglise. The front lines were about 7 or 8 miles away on the north, 6 miles on the west, and 3 to 4 miles on the southwest. The first of the 4,684 patients admitted during 28 ½ days of operation, Pvt John Micheal, was admitted at approximately 1500 hours. Two of the first ten patients were enemy PWs.
The Hospital had for its use two large fields bounded by typical Normandy hedgerows. The organization occupied the larger field, with the pup tents and foxholes of the Enlisted Men spread along the edges. Tents for Officers and Nurses were placed in the other and smaller field to the rear, which sloped toward the rearward front line west of Carentan. Adjoining fields were later employed by two attached Hospitals. The Motor Pool had a separate field a few yards away. All fields were nearly level and covered with grass. All in all, the site proved very satisfactory, and it was approached by a fine network of roads.
On the second day of operation the first of many surgical teams of specialists from the 3d Auxiliary Surgical Group (as well as others) and General Hospitals arrived for duty. Thereafter, the 67th normally functioned with at least two attached Surgical Teams. Aside from the anticipated strains and excitement connected with starting to operate for the first time under real combat conditions, the only significant snag during Operation 1 was the hold-up in evacuation of patients to the beach and to air-strips resulting from adverse weather conditions.
From 19 June until 27 June, the Hospital utilized 40 PWs, mainly as litter bearers and mess helpers. The prisoners were returned to a PW enclosure and replaced by some 38 Polish civilians obtained from a Civil Affairs "cage". The men, formerly forced laborers in a German Organisation Todt battalion in the Cherbourg region, were the first of a group (which for a few days in August numbered 68) to be employed in an experiment which turned out to be highly successful. The energy and willingness of the Polish workers surpassed all expectations. The Hospital benefited from the freedom from the resentment and hostility frequently felt by wounded American soldiers when in the presence of prisoners serving in the hospital. A few of the Polish workers drifted from the Hospital during the summer, and nearly half of them left in early November, some to another Evacuation Hospital and many of the youngest and best workers to join the Polish Army in France and England. Fifteen were still with the Hospital at the end of the year in the role of civilian employees - a status which had been attained for them in October.
|Preparing x-rays at an Evacuation Hospital somewhere in France, 1944.|
On the first day of July, A Company of the 91st Medical Gas Treatment Battalion was attached to the Hospital and moved into a connecting field. A welcome adjunct, the unit rendered invaluable assistance for a period of slightly more than 2 weeks. Personnel of the organization worked both in the main hospital and in wards set up in their own tents. A few minor operations were performed at tables in their own OR. Several Officers and Nurses from the 77th Evacuation Hospital, who had been assigned a large field near the unit, were attached also for duty from July 8 to July 16 when their own hospital began to function.
On 17 July the last day of this operation, the Hospital was visited by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, accompanied by Lieutenant Generals O.N. Bradley and G.S. Patton. Secretary Stimson went through the operating room and several wards with General Bradley.
After 28 ½ days of operation the Hospital closed at midnight on 17 July 1944. The remaining patients were taken over in situ by the 32d Evacuation Hospital, and attached units were relieved.
Summary of Operations:
Period of Operation: 28 ½ days (19 June - 17 July 1944)
Total Admissions: 4,673
Daily Average: 163.9
Total Surgical Operations: 2,563
Daily Average: 89.9
Greatest Number Admissions in One Day: 350 (7 July)
Greatest Number Dispositions in One Day: 244 (7 July)
Greatest Number Patients in Hospital: 667
Greatest Number Surgical Operations in One Day: 137 (10 July)
Greatest Surgical Backlog: 275 (7 July)
On Admission: 1
In Operating Room: 2
Total Deaths: 66
Percentage Of Post Operative Deaths To Total Operations: 1.2%
18 July 1944 marked the beginning of a welcome rest period of just under two weeks. 6 days were spent in bivouac about a half mile from the site of the operation, followed by a similar stay in the vicinity of Lison, Normandy. At the latter site the Hospital watched from a comfortable distance the bombings of the Saint-Lô region and the beginnings of the Allied breakthrough.
On the 31 July the 67th Evac Hospital moved to a site about four miles east of Saint-Lô, opening at 1200 hours the next day. The Hospital set up in a large field, uneven by nature and now pock-marked by bomb and shell craters of various sizes. Several duds, shells, and mines were removed from the field before occupation. The field was always dry, and before many days of activity the dust problem became intolerable. Enlisted Men's shelter tents and foxholes were spaced along a lane between apple trees which led to a shell of a farmhouse in and about which many dead animals were scattered when the unit arrived. Officers' and Nurses' tents were pitched in an orchard. Along the sides and at the back of the orchard, on the arrival of the unit, were two unexploded minefields and several bodies of German and American soldiers and civilians.
Early on 2 August occurred the most serious accident during the entire year involving members of the organization. When personnel of the attached 502d Medical Collecting Company drove its ration truck into the farthest corner of the adjoining field, which had been swept and reported clear by the Engineers, a German Tellermine exploded, injuring two sergeants. An ambulance with personnel advanced to render medical treatment, thereby setting off another mine. The ambulance having caught fire, several Officers and men from both the Collecting Company and the Hospital advanced with fire extinguishers and first aid materials. One of them set off a third mine. At least one dud also went off. Altogether, the accident caused one fatality, while 1 Officer and 13 Enlisted Men required medical treatment and hospitalization. In all but three cases, the injuries were sustained by members of the 502d Medical Collecting Company. Two of the casualties among hospital personnel had to be evacuated and had not been returned at the end of the year. The Purple Heart Medals awarded to the men injured in this incident were the only ones awarded to the members of this organization during the year. Engineers again inspected the hospital areas for mines and also gave a demonstration of the mechanism of mines, explaining what had happened.
On 4 August 1944 the largest number of operations in any one 24-hour period in the year were performed, namely 145. Two days later 221 patients were evacuated, the largest number in a 24-hour period throughout the year.
|General view of an x-ray dark room setup.|
At about 1600 on 8 August, word was received that 200 casualties were to arrive that evening. Within an hour casualties appeared in an ever-increasing stream until the Hospital tents were filled to overflowing. About 200 of the lesser wounded were placed on litters and blankets under the trees along the entrance. Altogether nearly 500 patients arrived in about 4 hours. In a 12-hour period between 1800 on 8 August and 0600 on 9 August, the patients actually admitted into the Hospital numbered 412, while all the rest had been put under cover.
Therefore, 8 August showed the year's greatest figure for admissions in a day (476). The following day, began with the largest surgical backlog of the year, 295. Before midnight, however, all the major operations had been completed, and within another 24 hours the surgical backlog had been reduced to nothing. The Hospital closed for admissions at 1200 hours, on 10 August, but continued to evacuate patients until 27 August when the 617th Medical Collecting Company took over the remaining patients.
Bronze Star Medals, the first decorations received by members of the 67th Evacuation Hospital were awarded on 11 August to one Ward Nurse (post-operative) and two Enlisted Men (an X-Ray and a Surgical Technician). 2d Lieutenant Miller's medal is believed to have been the first awarded to a female member of the American armed services during the Western European campaign.
On 16 August the hospital moved 100 miles for its third operation in combat, to an attractive site on the grounds of a country mansion with an ancient moat just outside Gorron, Mayenne. The hospital proper was set up in fields on one side of a long lane of old beech trees, Enlisted Men's and Officer's tents were pitched in an orchard on the other side, while the Nurses enjoyed a separate garden area behind stone walls. The Hospital admitted patients for only 4 days but remained in its beautiful surroundings for an additional 10 days.
The first and only death among the personnel of the 67th Evacuation Hospital occurred on 18 August, when Technician 5th Grade Earl Seawright died as a result of injuries received when a truck in which he was a passenger overturned while he was on detached service with the 1st Medical Supply Depot.
The longest convoy movement during the year was undertaken on the last two days of August. After traveling 230 miles to the city of Arpajon, southeast of Paris, orders were received about 1800 to continue immediately to Pierre Levée, a distance of more than 50 miles. By traveling all night the movement was finally completed at approximately 0900.
The 67th was at once set up in a large pasture near the 51st Field Hospital, which was closed soon after this organization opened at 1200, 31 August 1944. The unit was tired but proud that it had been able to move nearly three hundred miles in 24 hours and at the same time to set up and open the facilities within 30 hours after such a long movement had begun. Morale was at a very high level. Nearly a third of the patients treated during this short operation were German soldiers. The unit closed for admission on 7 September and the last patient was evacuated four days later. Nine days of rest ensued.
Unit Stations - France
Ste-Mère-Eglise (La Fière) - 19 June 1944 > 17 July 1944
Bérigny - 1 August 1944 > 14 August 1944
Gorron - 16 August 1944 > 26 August 1944
Pierre-Levée - 31 August 1944 > 11 September 1944
Direct Admissions - 7,175
After several days of "infiltration" movement to Lentzweiler, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, was completed at 2000 hours, 24 September 1944. The distance covered exceeded two hundred miles, the last seventy miles being through the Forest of the Ardennes.
For 10 days the Hospital operated under the most exasperating physical conditions encountered during the year. Tents were pitched in stubble fields which had been ploughed this year so that what with the almost constant rain, it had become a mud-patch even before the unit was set up. Engineers valiantly attempted to build roads, but bogged down after making the first row of tents accessible to ambulances. A double ward tent was successfully employed for receiving. On October 4, the remaining patients were turned over to the 617th Medical Clearing Company.
Unit Station - Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Lenztweiler - 24 September 1944 > 5 October 1944
Direct Admissions - 1,020
The period from 5 October to 29 October passed swiftly and pleasantly in bivouac at Stavelot, Belgium, an interesting old town which was to become well known to Americans two months later. Enlisted Men were housed in the Communal School and in the Boys' College. Nurses and a few Officers lodged in a hotel, and the remaining Officers enjoyed billets in private homes. The period was profitably spent in cleaning and checking equipment and in making plans for future operations as well as in a little more resting.
|67th Evac Hosp movements marked on a map of Belgium and Luxembourg.|
On the last day of October a move of only eight miles was made to Malmédy, where the Hospital operated for 7 weeks. The unit's sixth was both the longest and final operation of the year. For the first time buildings (former Belgian Army barracks) were used. The main building provided room for eight wards and the x-ray and laboratory sections on the first two floors, the quarters of Officers and Nurses, the Red Cross, and Headquarters on the second floor and wings and the Enlisted quarters and day-room on the third floor. Tents for receiving and the Enlisted Men’s mess were the only ones set up. After two weeks the Enlisted mess was moved indoors. Receiving occupied four ward tents in the shape of a large H with connecting canvas. A large garage furnished room for an operating room and surgical wards. Smaller buildings flanking the entrance served as offices for the Registrar and the Chaplain. Another large building was utilized for the dental and EENT clinics and for the Officers' mess and clubroom. Supply occupied a large barn.
The 67th celebrated the first anniversary of its departure from the shores of America on Thanksgiving Day when the unit was honored in having as guests for dinner Major General Albert W. Kenner and Colonel John A. Rogers, First US Army Surgeon. Two days later General Kenner and the Army Surgeon inspected the Hospital in operation.
An important change in Enlisted personnel occurred with the assignment of 33 men from the disbanded 479th Motor Ambulance Company and the transfer of a like number to other units. A month later nineteen men were transferred to medical units of the 2nd Infantry Division and replacements obtained.
Artillery shells falling in and around Malmédy at 0545, 0800, and 1300 hours on 16 December ushered in what proved to be the most eventful week for this Hospital since its landing in Normandy. A few fragments from the shells fired during the first two sallies fell within the medical area, but injured no one and did no damage.
By 1400 hours the following afternoon the movement of civilians, soldiers, and heavy equipment along the main road suggested that the Hospital, too, might have to move. The order to depart without equipment was given at about 1630 hours. Nurses left at 1700 hours, followed by Officers at 1810 and Enlisted personnel from 1830 to 2100 hours. Attached surgical teams and litter bearers accompanied the unit. The movement was slow, owing to almost solid lines of trucks going north and west against continuous lines of other vehicles, mainly armored vehicles and ambulances, going in the direction of both Stavelot and Malmédy.
Only the vital Headquarters and Registrar records were taken at that time. The night was spent at Spa at the 4th Convalescent Hospital with the "refugees" from other medical units forced to flee. On both 16 and 17 December many casualties had arrived at the Hospital so that when withdrawal became necessary some 200 patients were still in its installations. The following 3 Officers, 5 Nurses (volunteers), and 40 Enlisted Men remained to care for and to evacuate the remaining patients:
Captain William T. Van Huysen (MC)
Captain Norman Hagopian (MC)
Captain William N. Baker (MAC)
1st Lt Anna M. Aslakson (ANC)
1st Lt Nina L. Bareham (ANC)
1st Lt Sally J. Casement (ANC)
1st Lt Ethel Gilbert (ANC)
1st Lt Elizabeth J. Stuber (ANC)
S/Sgt William Anderson
S/Sgt Joseph J. Wysocki
Tec 3 Warren D. Blaylock
Tec 3 Winford L. Graham
Tec 3 Norman E. Long
Tec 3 Thaddeus J. Naskiewicz
Tec 4 Thomas Coffman
Tec 4 Warren W. Hallsell
Tec 4 Dal C. Holland, Jr.
Tec 4 William P. Shrader
Tec 4 William C. Snider
Tec 4 John J. Zysk
Cpl Cecil V. Horton
Cpl Edward Stevens, Jr.
Cpl Ralph D. Young
Tec 5 Howard J. Hancock
Tec 5 W. J. Newbolt
Tec 5 Wiley R. Oliver
Tec 5 James G. Walker
Pfc Ollie F. Barfield
Pfc Irven Bierman
Pfc Damon H. Burkeen
Pfc Woodrow N. Littleton
Pfc Christopher W. Nagle
Pfc Clyde N. Snyder
Pfc Luther B. Tabor
Pfc Howard I. Tilley
Pfc Joe Vietti
Pfc Jewel C. Webb
Pfc Calvin H. Weber
Pfc Alvia Young
Pvt Donal R. Barnhart
Pvt Helmut M. Boehm
Pvt Charles W. Carr
Pvt Charles Miller
Pvt Warren G. Neal
Pvt Paul Roberts
Pvt James T. Rose
Pvt Elmer L. Schrader
Pvt Jack N. Troll
More than ten operations were performed that evening. 5 ambulance drivers attached from the 464th Medical Collecting Company bravely evacuated the patients under increasingly hazardous conditions. Before 1200 Hospital personnel except for those listed below were able to rejoin the unit. The last patient left safely in the afternoon. Captain Van Huysen and the following seven EM stayed at the Hospital site as guards over the hospital equipment:
Tec 4 Thomas Coffman
Tec 4 William P. Shrader
Cpl Edward Stevens, Jr.
Tec 5 William B. Reed
Pfc Christopher N. Nagle
Pfc Clyde N. Snyder
Pfc William J. Wilson
Certificates of Merit were later awarded to the Officers and Nurses and to several of the Enlisted Men, all EM being commended for their unselfish devotion to duty.
|American soldiers are recovering bodies of American and German casualties in the Bulge, (Belgian Ardennes). Photo taken in January 1945.|
While the Hospital at Malmédy was being cleared, personnel went on to a second stopping place on their westward flight at a large and old château near Harzé. Only one night was spent there, for it was too near to the approaching enemy tanks. Aerial battles and tank skirmishes occurred at no great distance during the night and paratroopers were dropped about five miles away. On the following morning without delay Officers and Nurses moved farther westward across the Ourthe River to a château at Terwagne, and Enlisted Men continued on to Huy on the Meuse River.
On the afternoon of 20 December, a party of 6 Officers and 77 Enlisted Men returned in several vehicles to obtain the equipment left under guard at Malmédy. Infantry troops were found occupying the former Hospital, with a Battalion Aid Station set up in what had been the OR. Between 2200 hours, when the group arrived and 0300 hours on the 21 December, some 28 trucks were loaded. One of the major lines of the German attacks had approached to within a half mile of the Hospital, and small arms fire was frequently heard. For a few hours Officers and men slept as best they could before returning in the morning. The rear guard came back with the others, the last group reaching Huy about 1800 hours.
This action was carried out without any harm to Hospital personnel beyond a dent in an Officer's helmet made by a sniper's bullet at Malmédy. The gas tanks on several trucks were hit but the holes were plugged with sticks and adhesive tape. All major items of equipment were saved, the only losses being a few instruments and one trailer. Thus, as a result of valiant efforts on the part of all Officers and EM participating in these actions, much valuable Medical Department equipment was saved from possible capture by the enemy and from certain pillage and destruction. Most of the recovered equipment was stored at the Medical Supply Depot in Dolhain, and a small detail was left there.
On 23 December personnel of the Hospital went still further west to Namur on the final move of the year, installing themselves in two local Schools. The movement of equipment to Namur extended over several days.
Christmas Day found the unit well billeted after a week of retrograde action dictated by the tactical situation in the field. An excellent turkey dinner was served, even though it lacked some of the items listed on the printed menu. These souvenirs could not be given out until later, since the printer, thinking the unit had been captured, failed to get them out on time.
The last days of 1944 were spent in sorting, checking, and cleaning equipment and in otherwise taking stock. Replacement of unit and personal equipment was accomplished.
The 67th Evacuation Hospital spent the first ten days of the year 1945 at Namur, in bivouac. Eagerness to participate in another operation mounted as unit and personal equipment was gradually replaced and recovery from the somewhat gruelling events of the withdrawals from Malmédy, 17-23 December 1944, which had been forced on the unit by the German counter-offensive was completed. The usual administrative duties were carried out with all equipment being checked, repaired when necessary, salvaged and inventoried.
|Official 67th Evac Hosp Award ceremony and unit formation at Antheit, Belgium, which took place 4 January 1945.|
On the afternoon of 4 January 1945 at the first ceremonial formation on the Continent of the entire unit, Brigadier General John A. Rogers presented Bronze Star Medals to the following personnel:
Captain Frank A. Jones (MC)
Captain Stephen A. Larrabee (MAC)
Captain William T. Van Huysen (MC)
Captain Jean R. Truckey (ANC, Chief Nurse)
1st Lieutenant Mary C. Willhide (ANC)
(1st Lieutenant Alice A. Miller (ANC) already obtained the BSM 2 August 1944)
Staff Sergeant Lawrence B. Botohe
Staff Sergeant Winford L. Graham
Certificates of Merit were awarded to the 4 Officers, 6 Nurses, and 40 Enlisted Men who regardless of the approach of the enemy had accomplished the evacuation of over 200 patients from the Malmédy setup on 17 and 18 December 1944, and also to the 7 Enlisted Men who had remained behind with Captain Van Huysen as the rear guard to protect the unit’s equipment.
Unit Direct Admissions 1944 (19 June 1944 > 18 December 1944)
Total Number - 11,478
Unit Operative Statistics 1944
Total number of Patients operated - 4,946
Single Wounds - 1,098 (severe) - 1,418 (slight)
Multiple Wounds - 1,080 (severe) - 1,050 (slight)
Others - 300
Non-Battle - 75
Battle - 3
Deaths - 1
Medical Service Ward Setup 1944
Ward Tents Used - 22
Bed Capacity - 410
Having received orders to open near Huy, Belgium, for operation, the Hospital returned on 10 January 1945 to the northwestern edge of what had been "The Belgian Bulge" and took over the patients then under the care of the 51st Field Hospital.
|Surgeons and Surgical Technicians carry out a procedure in the field.|
The main barracks of a former Belgian Caserne served for wards and quarters for Enlisted personnel, with adjoining buildings being utilized for the operating ward section, x-ray and laboratory departments, and clinics. A small building housed Headquarters and quarters and club room for Officers. Nurses were housed in a separate building. The receiving section used a large garage-like building with the Registrar's Office in a small building nearby. Severely wounded battle casualties were received for several days. A large number of cases of frostbite, especially among prisoners of war, were received. All but the mildest cases were evacuated for definitive treatment. For the last two weeks of the operation, which ended 13 February, the Hospital functioned primarily as a communicable disease hospital.
Unit Stations - Belgium
Malmédy - 31 October 1944 > 18 December 1944
Antheit - 10 January 1945 > 13 February 1945
Direct Admissions - 6,085
Moving by infiltration over a period of days, the Hospital at last entered Germany, the command post opening 13 February at Brand, Germany. Several other medical units of the First US Army were set up in adjacent buildings; a group of modern brick buildings. The 67th Evacuation Hospital received no patients but was held in reserve. For nearly a month the unit was subject to two-hour alert orders. Since only the x-ray and laboratory sections and the dental and EENT clinics were called to assist the 44th and 102d Evacuations Hospitals and the 633d Medical Clearing Company, a full recreational and training program was instituted.
At least three small groups of Officers and Enlisted Men went on special training trips to the forward medical installations of the 104th Infantry Division, on the west bank of the Roer River, to witness something of medical treatment of casualties before they reach an Evacuation Hospital.
Good Conduct Medals were given to some thirty Enlisted Men in a formation of one detachment.
On 6 March 1945, the unit was honored by a visit of the Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, Colonel Florence A. Blanchfield, who was accompanied by General Rogers and Major MacCafferty, Chief Nurse, FUSA. The Nurses of the Hospital entertained the Nurses of five other FUSA Hospitals at a very enjoyable tea for Colonel Blanchfield.
Unit Stations - Germany
Brand - 14 February 1945 > 9 March 1945
Düren - 10 March 1945 > 24 March 1945
Bonn - 26 March 1945 > 31 March 1945
Herborn - 31 March 1945 > 25 April 1945
Bayreuth - 6 May 1945 > 11 May 1945
Direct Admissions - 3,287
|Movements and locations of the 67th Evacuation Hospital across Germany.|
After the Roer River had been crossed by American troops, several reconnaissance trips for possible future sites were undertaken. A group of badly bombed buildings, formerly the city hospital of Düren, eventually became the setting for the second operation of 1945. Several days of arduous labor were needed to remove the debris from the lower floors and to clean up the surroundings. Practically every department was forced to function under crowded and difficult conditions. Fortunately, casualties were lighter than anticipated, and the unit functioned as successfully as it had in many better physical set-ups. For more than a week the 67th handled principally venereal patients, with an Officer from the 4th Convalescent Hospital attached to supervise the work on the VD ward.
The next move took the Hospital to Bonn on the west bank of the Rhine. Here the organization set up in a large modern building which had housed several clinics of the University of Bonn and, apparently, certain offices of the local Nazi party. From two wards one looked directly out onto the Rhine. Officers and Nurses were quartered in nearby houses.
On 30 March the unit suddenly received orders to move to the vicinity of Edingen, Germany, and to open as soon as possible. The mission was to hospitalize battle casualties among the troops closing the "Ruhr Pocket" from the south.
A move of more than 80 miles was completed and the entire unit was set up under canvas (for the first time since October 1944) and functioning within 24 hours. The 46th Field Hospital took over the patients remaining at Bonn.
During the first three weeks of the operation, the Hospital received a load of patients which rivalled its first Continental operation on the Cherbourg peninsula in the continuous intensity and in the severity of the casualties. For two days during the rapid eastward thrust all casualties in the First US Army came to this Hospital. Many Recovered Allied Military Personnel (RAMPs), ex-prisoners of war, were received and evacuated to nearby airfields. Admissions ceased on 20 April 1945, with the closing of the Ruhr Pocket, the last patient leaving the installations 4 days later. A brief period of rest proved most welcome.
On 6 May the 67th Evac opened on an extensive level area field (part of the civilian airfield) at Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany, after completing a 300-mile movement by unit and for the first time, employing ADSEC transportation. The original plan to operate a holding unit for Russians to be returned via a nearby air strip did not materialize, and the unit functioned normally for a very few days.
This operation was notable only for the scarcity of patients and the arrival of V-E Day, which was celebrated with somewhat restrained joy.
On 12 May 1945 the hospital moved by infiltration to the 1st Infantry Division PW Enclosure, near Cheb (in German: Eger -ed), Czechoslovakia, and set up a relay and sorting station for German prisoners of war. Nurses of the unit were quartered about fifteen miles away in the Germania Hotel, Marienbad, and several Medical Officers were placed on DS at "overrun" hospitals with German PWs. About 10 German Medical Officers and 80 German Enlisted Men stayed at the Hospital area and did the major share of the work under the advice and supervision of the American staff. The Receiving and Registrar sections had particularly difficult tasks in preparing the records and in evacuating the 2,213 patients who were admitted in two weeks. 1,745 patients went thru the operating room, 174 having incisions, drainage, and applications of casts. 301 patients were evacuated on 21 May, the largest number in a single day. Captured medical supplies were utilized, and prisoners were fed from their own mess operated by captured enemy personnel in coordination with the rest of the enclosure.
The last German patients were evacuated on 25 May. On the same day the remaining personnel of the Hospital moved into Marienbad. Enlisted Men moved into the Marienbader Mühle Hotel. Officers moved into a villa nearby.
After two days of inactivity, preparations were made to open the organization in a large hotel on a hill behind the EM’s quarters. Prisoners cleaned out the five-story building and helped set up the installation. On 1 June the unit received its first patient. The unit continued to function as a Station Hospital throughout the month of June. On 17 June it celebrated one year of service on the Continent.
An EM's party for some 50 Czech girls brought the social events of the year to a satisfying close.
Unit Stations - Czechoslovakia
Cheb - 13 May 1945 > 25 May 1945
Marienbad - 1 June 1945 > 30 June 1945
Direct Admissions - 2,925
The Hospital closed at Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, at 0600 hours and reopened in Erlangen, Germany, WO 36-16, 1800 on 16 August 1945. At Erlangen, the 67th and personnel billets were in 5 different buildings. The Hospital set-up was in a large University building, messes were in the dormitory and recreation building of the University, Enlisted Men's billets were located in an apartment house one block from the Hospital and the Officers' billets were in another apartment house two blocks away, while the Nurses were quartered in a separate apartment house adjacent to the Hospital building. A good bit of work was involved in changing the building around so as to make it adequate for the type of medical installation needed.
Colonel J.L. Crawford, (CO) was relieved from duty with the 67th Evacuation Hospital and re-assigned to the 304th Station Hospital on 26 September 1945. He was however placed on TD from the 304th Station Hospital to command the Hospital until the arrival of a replacement.
Redeployment struck its first hard blow on the 27 September on which date the 67th Evacuation Hospital transferred 81 Enlisted Men with over 80 points to the 109th Evacuation Hospital and 16 Enlisted Men with over 80 points to the 110th Evacuation Hospital. These men were replaced by low-point personnel from the 109th and 110th Evacuation Hospitals. A large number of the unit's Officers and Nurses had already been redeployed.
On 6 October 1945, Colonel John L. Crawford was relieved from TD and Lt. Colonel Michael D. Buscemi joined and assumed command of the 67th Evacuation Hospital.
On 9 October the unit opened a 200-bed VD Clinic as an annex to its Hospital. This clinic was housed in a building across the street from the main set-up. The clinic was supervised by laboratory personnel on TD from the 116th General Hospital. The greatest difficulty in setting up the VD clinic was the procurement of adequate supplies and equipment for this type of work. After several days of phoning Army Headquarters the unit was finally able to get the equipment on a loan basis. The new addition placed considerably more strain upon its already critical personnel situation.
|Germany, April-May 1945. Buildings housing the 67th Evacuation Hospital (exact location unknown).|
The following day 49 Enlisted Men were transferred to the 79th Infantry Division for re-deployment and these personnel were replaced by 45 low-point Enlisted Mem from the 90th Infantry Division.
The Hospital was officially closed for operation at 2400 hours, 17 November 1945. The unit had been alerted for re-deployment to the Zone of Interior. A total of 403 patients were evacuated to the 120th Station Hospital at Bayreuth, Germany and the 125th Evacuation Hospital at Passau, Germany on the following day.
On 18 November 1945 all remaining patients were evacuated and the Hospital personnel began processing the unit for return to the Zone of Interior. Supply and personnel proved to be the biggest problems. The unit's equipment was packed, crated and shipped to the various collecting points in France and Germany. All equipment was handled in this manner with the exception of the ordnance and MEE. Ordnance equipment was disposed of at Camp Philadelphia, Rheims, France at the time the unit was ready to depart for the staging area. The personnel were transferred around until only 89 Enlisted Men and 14 Officers of the original group remained. These changes necessitated a large amount of personnel records processing.
On 20 November, Lt. Colonel M.D. Buscemi departed for the Zone of Interior on an emergency leave and Major Carl Wahl assumed command.
Along with organic transportation, the unit furnished six 40 x 8 boxcars and one chair car for transportation to Camp Philadelphia (one of the City Camps, France –ed). The unit which was now comprised of 228 Enlisted Men, 37 Nurses, and 19 Officers, left Erlangen, Germany, at 1250 hours, 28 November 1945, and arrived at Camp Philadelphia, Rheims, France at 1600 hours, 30 November 1945. Upon arrival everyone prepared for embarkation at Marseille, Southern France.
On 1 December 1945, Major C. Wahl was called to the US by the Surgeon General's Office and was relieved as Commanding Officer of the 67th. Captain Lawrence Kaplan assumed command. On 14 December 1945, Captain L. Kaplan was relieved as Commanding Officer of the 67th and Captain Herman F. Ermshar took over. Captain H.F. Ermshar remained Commanding Officer until the unit's deactivation date.
From Camp Philadelphia the unit moved to Calas Staging Area at Marseille in 15 boxcars. The unit left Camp Philadelphia 14 December 1945, reaching Calas 16 December 1945.
After a final processing, the organization embarked on the “USS Monticello” at Marseille on 22 December 1945. After an uneventful crossing the personnel disembarked at the New York Port of Embarkation 1 January 1946, and were stationed at Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey, for deactivation.
The 67th Evacuation Hospital was officially deactivated on 2 January 1946 per General Order 4, dated 2 January 1946, Headquarters ASF, NYPE, with personnel all sent to their appropriate Separation Center for severance from the Service.
Individual Decorations & Awards
36 Good Conduct Medals awarded to Enlisted personnel (16 May 1944)
7 Bronze Stars Medals awarded to 3 Officers, 2 Nurses, and 2 Enlisted Men (4 January 1945)
1 Certificate of Merit awarded to the Chief Nurse for meritorious achievement
Unit Campaign Awards:
Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
Unit Special Award:
Meritorious Unit Service Plaque (for its outstanding service in the European Theater)