Top Right
Navigation
Background Top Right

77th Evacuation Hospital
Unit History

img
"Medicine under Canvas" - A War Journal of the 77th Evacuation Hospital. 2008 Reprint by The University of Kansas School of Medicine of the original Journal published by The Sosland Press, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, in 1949.

| Introduction | Organization | Activation & Training | Preparation for Overseas Movement | Atlantic Crossing |
| United Kingdom | North Africa | Sicily | United Kingdom | France | Belgium | Germany | The End | Roster |

Introduction:

In the summer of 1940, the US Army Surgeon General proposed to the Dean of the Medical School, University of Kansas, the organization of a professional team consisting of Doctors and Nurses for setup of an affiliated Evacuation Hospital unit. The staff and faculty of the Medical Staff accepted the proposal and selected Dr. James B. Weaver to head the surgical section and Dr. Edward H. Hashinger to head the medical section respectively, with the latter serving as the unit Director.  

The 77th Evacuation Hospital was officially activated 17 May 1942 at Ft. Leonard Wood, Rolla, Missouri, and was to see action in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe during World War 2. Enlisted personnel were supplied by the 42d Evacuation Hospital (activated 1 June 1941). The new unit embarked for England 5 August 1942 after thorough training in the Zone of Interior.

| Top |

Organization:

The 77th Evac Hosp with a bed capacity of 750 constituted a channel through which passed many casualties from the combat zone on their way to the Army Hospitals of the Communications Zone. The early T/O 8-580, dated 2 July 1942, authorized a total strength of 318 Enlisted Men, 52 Nurses, 1 Hospital Dietitian, and 47 Medical Corps Officers. Quite a number of Enlisted personnel were assigned to administrative services, such as Headquarters, Registrar & Detachment of Patients, Personnel Section, Receiving Section, Evacuation Section, Mess Section, and Supply & Utilities Section. Others served with the professional services, including Medical Service, Surgical Service, Laboratory Service, Roentgenological Service, and the Dental Service.    
The purpose of the organization was to:

  • To provide facilities for major medical and surgical procedures in treatment of casualties as near to the  front as practicable
  • To provide definitive treatment to patients as early as practicable
  • To relieve combat troops of the burden of prolonged care for casualties
  • To provide facilities for concentration of evacuees so that mass evacuation by rail, motor, aircraft, or water transport could be undertaken quickly and economically
  • To prepare serious or critical cases for further evacuation
  • To remove from the chain of evacuation those casualties fit for duty
img
Enlisted personnel during training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Rolla, Missouri, some of the men take a break. Picture taken June-July 1942.

Properly trained, an Evacuation Hospital would be able to establish the installation in 4 to 6 hours and dismantle and move it from 8 to 10 hours after being cleared of patients. Dismantling and moving would normally proceed in the following sequence: basic unit (less messes and headquarters), secondary wards, evacuation wards, administrative offices, headquarters, personnel quarters, messes, sanitary installations. It was recommended to move by rail (such movements required 2/3 of a train) or if impossible by motor convoy (184 truck tons required for equipment only).

| Top |

Activation & Training:

When the roll of Officers was completed, a first attempt at preliminary training was made by means of medical lectures, followed by attending more lectures and courses provided at Ft. Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Kansas (Command & General Staff School –ed). Meanwhile a group of 144 EM was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Rolla, Missouri (Engineer Replacement Training Center and Division Camp –ed), in July of 1941 to activate the 42d Evac Hosp where they followed a training program with Captain Richard S. Fraser as Commanding Officer. In addition to their current unit duties, the men were assigned to the different departments of the Station Hospital to practice their skills. Some of them were further sent on Detached Service to Army Specialist Schools during the remainder of 1941 and early 1942.
Early spring of 1942 brought rumors of more active duty and on 10 May 1942 the process of activation of the 77th Evacuation Hospital was initiated by the transfer of Captain Richard S. Fraser and Captain Martin F. Anderson, and 106 Enlisted Men from the 42d Evacuation Hospital. Officers and Nurses to be assigned to the newborn Hospital left the Medical School at the University of Kansas and prepared to join the 77th EH. On 17 May 1942, a group of 35 Officers reported at Ft. Leonard Wood. After arrival and initiation of the unit training program, Lt. Colonel Edward H. Hashinger assumed command until arrival of the official CO, Colonel Burgh S. Burnet on 4 June 1942. On 15 June 1942, the main body of ANC personnel joined the new unit headed by First Lieutenant Bessie Walker, who was appointed Principal Chief Nurse

Several contingents of EM arrived from Cp. Grant, Rockford, Illinois (Medical Replacement Training Center –ed), and Cp. Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Arkansas (Infantry Replacement Training Center –ed), increasing the total of Enlisted personnel to 284. A team of Second United States Army Inspectors visited the unit and although the organizational equipment was far from complete, they were satisfied by the unit’s fitness for field duty. Anyway, the 77th was alerted at 2400 hours, 24 July 1942, and started preparations for a move. Last minute arrivals included 1 Officer and 6 EM, all of whom arrived within the last forty-eight hours prior to the unit’s departure of Ft. Leonard Wood. 

img
Personnel of the 77th Evacuation Hospital at work to set up a 'model' hospital'...

| Top |

Preparation for Overseas Movement:

Prior to the departure of the main body, 3 advance parties left Ft. Leonard Wood. First Lieutenant Robert L. Newman was sent to the New York P/E to supervise assembly and loading of the organizational equipment. A second detail under First Lieutenant Glenn C. Franklin with 4 Enlisted Men went to the Indiantown Gap Staging Area, Pennsylvania (Military Reservation and Training Center –ed), to make arrangements for quarters and rations for the main body. Another small group under Sergeant Virgil L. Mayes, assisted by 4 EM loaded the unit vehicles onto railcars at the Ft. Leonard Wood railhead and traveled with them to the Staten Island terminal.
On the evening of 30 July, all baggage and personal equipment was loaded and the following morning a truck convoy arrived to take the group to the train. Around 0900, the train departed after having been loaded with little confusion. As it got under way, the personnel roster was again checked, and it found everyone duly accounted for. The train trip finally took an end after three long days and trucks drove the personnel to the camp and staging area where they were assigned living quarters upon arrival. After messing, the staging began. Officers made last minute purchases of woolen clothing at the PX, Nurses were issued clothing to complete their blue uniform, and Enlisted Men turned in their cotton khaki uniforms for wool ODs. More EM from Camps Barkeley, Abilene, Texas (Medical Replacement Training Center and Armored Division Camp –ed) and Grant brought the total to the prescribed strength of 318.  
New M-1 steel helmets and liners were issued, personal baggage was stenciled with the shipment number, 9190-0 (the unit’s coded designation) and the entire outfit received typhus immunization shots. Photographs were taken for the ID documents. During the days and nights passed at the staging area no communication with the outside world was allowed. The organization’s official address became APO 1289, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y. After 4 days of concentrated preparation at “The Gap”, 6-wheeled 2 ½-ton trucks were boarded for another run to the railway station and on to New Jersey. Arriving at dark, the unit waited for a ferry on the Jersey side of the Hudson River that would bring them to one of the oceangoing vessels waiting in their berths. At the pier, Enlisted Men were waiting in line for a roster check, while the Nurses who had arrived earlier were rummaging through crates of clothing and shoes. 9 Nurses were already on board having been assigned to the 77th from Ft.  Eustis, Lee Hall, Virginia (Antiaircraft Artillery Replacement Training Center –ed) and Camp Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia (Division Camp –ed) and were already settled in their stateroom quarters.

Stations in Zone of Interior – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri – 17 May 1942 > 31 July 1942
Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pennsylvania – 1 August 1942 > 5 August 1942

| Top |

Atlantic Crossing:

The ship to board was the British troopship “Orcades” (built in 1937, former Orient Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. Ocean liner converted to troopship, and sunk by U-172 on her way from Capetown, South Africa, to the United Kingdom, 10 October 1942 –ed). Among the more than 5,000 troops aboard were a Medical Regiment, several Field Artillery Battalions, an Armored unit, an Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, the 77th Evacuation Hospital, and a few smaller units. During the voyage a blackout system was in effect necessitating the closing of the portholes for 15 hours out of 24. Enlisted Men slept everywhere in hammocks, in tiers, installed in crowded compartments in the hold. Officers received the best accommodations. Sanitation presented some problems and it was always necessary to stand in line. Washing and shaving facilities were extremely crowded and one had to queue for a seawater shower. It was difficult to adjust to the British food and moreover messing facilities were very poor so that following distribution, food had to be carried back to the men’s compartments in mess kits.

After leaving on 5 August 1942, the convoy steamed into Halifax harbor on 7 August, and after having been joined by several other ships, left the following morning. During the first days, Navy blimps and Catalina flying boats patroled the waters but as their range was exceeded by the convoy’s progress, they gradually disappeared. The ship’s sickbay was taken over by 77th personnel who were assigned to take care of the usual medical cases. A few days out of Halifax, several ships bound for Iceland left the convoy. The weather then took a turn for the worse and faces turned greener – each day, fewer people appeared for meals. The convoy passed through particularly dangerous waters during the last part of the voyage and all personnel were therefore ordered to sleep in their clothing. As the convoy started entering the Irish Sea, the weather calmed down, and the first sight of the hills of Ireland appeared through the mist. British Spitfires flew over the ships which now began their own journey; some put in at Glasgow, and others continued toward Liverpool. The evening of 17 August 1942, the “Orcades” and two other troopships were being tied up at Prince’s Landing Stage, Liverpool. By 2200 hours all necessary arrangements had been completed and debarkation could begin …

| Top |

United Kingdom:

After marching to the Liverpool Lime Street Railway Station, British trains took the unit through the Midlands, the outskirts of London, up to Salisbury Plain. The next day the train reached Tidworth in the afternoon, where Officers and Enlisted Men marched about one mile north of town to an open area known as Tidworth Park. The Nurses had been taken by bus to Salisbury where they were billeted in the American Hospital. Meanwhile, a working party, consisting of Captain Max S. Allen and 8 EM had remained at the ship to supervise unloading of the organization’s baggage, including footlockers, bed rolls, barracks bags, field kitchen ranges, boxes of records and crates of office equipment. After five days of hard work, the unloaded equipment had been secured on British boxcars, and started its journey to Tidworth where it arrived one week after the main party.

img
Picture illustrating the type of living quarters used by the Nurses while stationed at Everleigh Manor, England. Picture probably taken in January 1944.

Huge brick barracks, once occupied by the British Army, were taken over by the United States First Infantry Division which had just arrived, having gone through “The Gap” too, about four days ahead of the 77th Evac. Officers and Enlisted Men were now scattered in British tents, issued only two British blankets, and had to undergo poor living conditions, with cool weather, chilled and damp nights, and lots of rainfall, although it was August. The tents leaked, the coal-burning stoves were antiquated, water for washing and shaving was cold, and warm water for showers was warm for only a short period each day. Latrines were of the honey-bucket type and without paper. The situation turned for the worse when more American units arrived, including the 38th Evacuation Hospital (activated 16 April 1942, affiliated to Charlotte Memorial Hospital, Charlotte, North Carolina, embarked for England 5 August 1942 –ed) and the 48th Surgical Hospital (activated 10 February 1941, embarked for England 2 August 1942 –ed). As British personnel operated the kitchens, the food was merely a repeat of the routine on the ship. Finally, the entire mess system was taken over by US personnel, improving the palatability of the daily meals considerably. Getting accustomed to British ways, habits, and customs was not easy. Luckily the food and snacks served at some NAAFI places and pubs furnished some diversion from the standard foodstuffs served in camp. Individual laundry had to be done in helmets and in cold water and dried at night. A dispensary was opened for the entire camp but medical supplies at the time were very meager.

Stations in England – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Tidworth Park, Wiltshire – 18 August 1942 > 3 September 1942
Frenchay Hospital, Gloucestershire – 7 September 1942 > 26 October 1942

Camouflage, blackout, and passive defense regulations brought many new experiences and trenches had to be dug for protection against possible enemy air attacks. Apart from the daily activities, calisthenics, close-order drill, road marches and races were held almost each day. Forty-eight hours passes were issued for visits to London, Bournemouth, and Southampton. ANC personnel meanwhile led quite a pleasant existence at the American Hospital in Salisbury (which occupied a 22-building complex near the city since September 1941, also designated the “Harvard Unit” –ed) quartered in one wing of the hospital complex with other American Nurses and living in comfortable conditions with radio, recreation room, and snack kitchen.

On 4 September 1942, a detail of 75 Officers and a group of Enlisted personnel traveled by train to Frenchay Hospital, near Bristol, to take over a new Hospital Plant that was still under construction. The buildings were cleaned, the necessary British equipment installed, and within a few days the remainder of the Officers and EM, and all the Nurses arrived. This caused quite a boost in morale, and after American rations became available, the situation on the whole was excellent in comparison to Tidworth.
Within a short time the 77th Evacuation Hospital was ready for operations and the first patients were received from US troops in the surrounding area and from the 2d General Hospital (activated 31 January 1942, affiliated to Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y., embarked for England 1 July 1942 –ed) at Oxford. Both Officers and Enlisted Technicians followed medical and surgical technique courses; some went to attend lectures at various Hospitals and Medical Schools in England, and handling of the British equipment (the only one available at the time) was taught. Gradually the organization began to function more smoothly and attendance to local dances, pubs, and theaters increased, leading to many acquaintances and friendships with the citizens of Bristol and the outlying villages in the area. For recreation and sports, a baseball diamond and a football field were laid out with the locals always turning out in force to see these strange American games played. Collecting the Hospital’s necessary items of equipment caused quite a few problems. Approximately 80 to 90% of it had been procured, assembled, and labeled for shipping to England. On arrival in the UK, the equipment had been stored in a Medical Supply Depot where it was to be held until the unit was ready to use it. Unfortunately another Hospital needed the equipment before the 77th did. Only 30% remained for the 77th Evac and securing what was missing proved a formidable task. After attempting to locate the necessary items, close to 90% finally became available, yet some essential items were still missing, and it was now a case of either substituting some parts by makeshift improvisations or try and purchase them on the open market …

During the latter half of October 1942, rumors of a big move buzzed about camp. Meanwhile more supplies poured in, extra winter clothing was issued, and gas-protective ointment distributed. The Nurses received pup tents. Two War Correspondents (New York Times + New York Herald-Tribune) were attached to the organization, and instructions issued to properly crate and mark all the equipment for a possible move overseas. A temporary reorganization was introduced with personnel being divided into A and B groups, each capable of operating as a separate evacuation unit with Surgeons, Nurses, Technicians, and clerical personnel. To add to the individual barrack bags, musettes, and others, C-rations, D-bars, fruit juice, corned beef, cheese, sardines, cigarettes, and chewing gum were issued. On 26 October, personnel from the 2d Evacuation Hospital (activated 22 January 1942, affiliated to St. Luke’s Hospital, New York, N.Y., embarked for England 4 September 1942 –ed) arrived to take over the remaining patients and the plant.

Group A left on the evening of 27 October while group B was scheduled to go on 29 October 1942. Only 2 men were left behind, being ill and in hospital at the time of departure.              

| Top |

North Africa:

img
Partial view of 77th Evacuation Hospital personnel at work in the unit's installation often designated the "Oran Mud Flats". Some described it as living in a cold hog-wallow, others called the soft red mud the "Oran Ooze". Picture taken in December 1942-January 1943.

The train ride to Liverpool was uneventful and tiresome, the large part of it occurring during blackout hours. Group A arrived near Prince’s Landing Stage on the afternoon of 29 October and immediately boarded USAT “Uruguay”. The second group reached the dock on the afternoon of 30 October and boarded USAT “Brazil (sister ship of the “Uruguay”). Both ships sailed at 1400, 31 October 1942, and the following morning found them anchored in the Firth of Clyde, near Gourock, Scotland. Former South American passenger ships, each of the ships could accommodate roughly 5,000 troops and offered more comfort in quarters when compared to the British transports. Food was of excellent quality and quantity, although only served twice a day. At 2100 hours, 1 November 1942, the completed convoy sailed out of the harbor heading for the Atlantic, and as the ships’ course turned more southward, warm tradewinds brought their passengers out to the open decks.

Since no official information had yet been given out, the organization still ignored their destination. On 4 November, however, Officers were briefed and a copy of the booklet, “A Guide to North Africa” was given to everyone. The “Brazil” and “Uruguay”, among others, were bound for Oran, Algeria, and maps of the city were soon brought out to show and discuss the location where the 77th Evac Hosp was to operate. British and American Officers (some of whom had lived in or visited North Africa before) gave orientation lectures and briefed the personnel on tropical diseases and the current political situation. Later, Atabrine for the prevention of malaria was distributed together with water purification tablets, dust goggles, and anti-gas eye protection shields. British currency was exchanged for American notes.

On 8 November 1942 the news that North Africa had been invaded by a combined Anglo-American force (Operation “Torch” –ed) came over the radio and was broadcast through the ships via the PA system. The first convoy, part of Center Task Force, included medical personnel from the 400-bed 48th Surgical Hospital and the 750-bed 38th Evacuation Hospital which participated in the D-Day assault. The second convoy (expected to land on D+3) included medical support troops belonging to the 77th Evacuation Hospital and the 51st Medical Battalion. It now moved directly through the Straits of Gibraltar, passing Tangier, Spanish Morocco, continuing into the calm waters of the blue Mediterranean Sea. As the enemy submarine danger became greater, the speed of the convoy increased. There was some relief when half of the convoy peeled off heading for Oran, Algeria. But since the harbor was blocked by sunken ships, it became necessary to put in at Mers-el-Kébir (3 miles west of Oran), where the ships anchored for the night. The date was 11 November 1942.
Upon arrival at the pier, Officers and Enlisted Men on the USAT “Brazil” were ordered to disembark immediately while the Nurses were instructed to remain aboard ship for further orders. They were later picked up by motor launches and taken to Oran to wait for the other Nurses from the “Uruguay”.  On 11 November, the day following the surrender of Oran the 38th Evac Hosp moved further inland where heavy fighting was taking place, with the Hôpital Civil being taken over by personnel of the 77th the following day. The units on site were supplemented from 21 November onward by the 9th Evacuation Hospital (activated 24 August 1942, affiliated to Roosevelt Hospital, New York, N.Y., embarked for England 26 September 1942, arrived in North Africa, 21 November 1942 –ed) and the 1st Battalion, 16th Medical Regiment (also arrived in North Africa 21 November 1942 –ed). After a long march in the sun (over 12 miles) from ship to the city of Oran, the outfit arrived at their location nearing the point of collapse. The time was about 1800 hours. The Hôpital Civil was in a sorrow state; part of the buildings taken over by the hospital contained only a few beds and patients were lying everywhere, on litters, on the floor, in filthy blankets, or on piles of discarded clothing. Cases of dysentery, pneumonia, and contagious diseases were lying beside wounded military personnel. The two remaining French doctors had done what they could, assisted by 6 Surgeons and Nurses pertaining to the 38th Evac Hosp but lack of equipment had precluded any serious care. The streets around the buildings fared not better as the stench of unwashed bodies, scattered garbage, sewage, and other unidentified odors permeated the air. What a first impression of North Africa! The same evening volunteers set to work and the next morning, Officers, Nurses and Enlisted Men were tasked with distributing the limited supplies and instruments they had brought along in their packs. Food was pooled and after discovering a gas burner a kind of stew was prepared for the patients. Many of the Surgeons carried their own instruments and with some borrowed from the 38th Evac and the 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Infantry Division (arrived in North Africa 8 November 1942 –ed), enough were assembled to start surgery. Conditions remained chaotic defying any description; patients were dirty, their wounds entirely neglected or inadequately cared for, and they had had no food for three days. Among them were 116 Allied military patients, PWs brought in by the French during the early phase of the invasion. While gradually taking over more buildings, reorganizing the patient flow, as well as trying to improve work conditions, most of the personnel slept wherever there was space available, in crowded conditions and much personal discomfort. After having taken over the hospital, new cases started coming in as the word spread that a hospital was now in operation. One of the most unpleasant situations that the outfit inherited was the Hôpital Civil morgue which contained 7 or 8 bodies in various stages of decay, which were finally disposed off by some volunteers. French nuns and some civilians continued to share some of the hospital’s buildings and facilities while caring for their own patients.

img
Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men stand in line for chow during a stop along the train route from Oran to Constantine, Algeria. Picture taken during the unit's move to a change of station, 15 - 18 January 1943.

Before eventually American food started coming in, everyone, including the patients, had to subsist on C-rations and British Fourteen-in-One rations. Inexperience in cooking dehydrated foods resulted in many messes, but the technique was gradually mastered and variety in the methods of preparation helped alleviate the daily monotony of the food (further supplemented by purchase and bartering at the local markets). One of the first brass to come in and visit the Hospital was Brigadier General Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, Jr. (1887–1944, eldest son of the 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, and assistant CG of the 1st Infantry Division –ed) and he was to return a few days later for awarding Purple Hearts to all the wounded “Big Red One” patients. The unit’s organizational equipment had arrived on a freighter shortly after the personnel had landed, but it had been erroneously transported to Arzew (25 miles east of Oran), then finally to Mers-el-Kébir, and only reached the hospital five days after its opening. 5 trucks, 2 jeeps, and 2 water trailers had also arrived on another ship. During unloading at the docks, many small items and even a water trailer got spirited away, but in the end the numerous crates and boxes containing urgently needed supplies were unloaded at the Hôpital Civil and the other material stored in part of the bakery building. As much of the necessary equipment and material were now available, the interior of the buildings could be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed, with the hospital installation gradually taking on a new appearance. Patients could now sleep under better conditions (on folding cots provided with blankets) and could be washed (washbasins, soap, towels becoming available) and properly dressed (two boxes of pajamas were found). Even a few clean white sheets were added for comfort. On 22 November, the harbor area and city were raided by the Luftwaffe; luckily, only a negligible amount of damage was done. The French and native staff of the hospital continued to care for their own patients in the other buildings. Several French women, mostly members of the French Red Cross, volunteered their services and were assigned duties in the wards.

On 24 November, the personnel of the 7th Station Hospital (activated 10 February 1941, embarked for Northern Ireland 26 September 1942, arrived in North Africa 22 November 1942 –ed) arrived to relieve the 77th and take over the Hôpital Civil. The organization was to move under tentage and open at another location (flat open terrain outside the city) on 1 December 1942. The field selected had been an old vineyard, and was surveyed by an advance party but while the ground was hard and dry during their visit, the rains which began on 25 November quickly turned the place into a red sea of mud (commonly designated the “Oran Ooze”). Conditions were awful, and after having been temporarily quartered in ward tents, EM were told to move into individual pup tents. Morale fell to an extreme low level and the supply section had to bring in some straw so that everyone had an opportunity to sleep dry and separate his bed from the mud. Blackout regulations were ignored and men could light fires at night which allowed them to dry out their shoes and socks before going to bed (a pup tent resident by the name A. Mudder even produced a sort of poem in the Stars and Stripes, called “Mud, Mud, Mud”). In order to put the larger tents to use for regular patient care, Officers and Nurses were quartered in small wall tents. Compared to the Enlisted personnel, they almost lived in luxury, yet they also had to bathe, shave, and wash in their helmets, with some hot water obtained from the mess area. Drainage because of the lower terrain (versus the area occupied by the hospital proper) was a real problem and frequent stormy weather ruined tentage and blew away material and anything that was loose. The very first ward tent erected served as a hospital for ill personnel belonging to the unit, and gradually more tents were set up and opened with the unit beginning to practice its first medicine under canvas. The hospital now acted in the capacity of a Station Hospital for its own personnel and any other troops in the area and the census gradually increased. On 14 December 1942, a British Hospital Ship coming in from Algiers brought 233 patients (including 20 psychiatric cases); on 21 December 1942, the British Troopship “Strathallan” was hit by a torpedo from U-562, 40 miles north of Oran suffering a loss of 11. Of the 5,111 survivors, 151 were sent to the 77th for treatment. During operation, it was discovered that contents of the crates often consisted of WW1 equipment, such as weakened and rotten canvas tentage, outdated Sibley stoves, lack of spark arrestors, malfunctioning autoclaves, cumbersome and oversized steel cabinets, missing shock-proof X-ray apparatus cables. Improvisation was the only way to remedy the situation and whatever could be mended or repaired was. The numerous revisions and changes did however add to the workload, and the rain, mud, cold weather, and trying circumstances associated with operating a hospital in the field unfortunately affected the high professional standards of the organization. Christmas Eve was preceded by several days of severe rain and cold weather, and without any special food (except wine) Christmas Day was miserable, filled with homesickness and depression, following six weeks of difficulties and problems. Luckily, the special food prepared on New Year’s Day compensated the above, with roast turkey – dressing – giblet gravy – cranberry sauce – potatoes – celery – apple pie – white bread – and coffee being served in generous proportions.

Shortly after 1 January 1943, as the number of patients decreased, the EM were finally moved into some of the empty ward tents. A recreation tent was set up and a German radio bought in Oran. With less hospital work, drill and road marches were organized and truck sightseeing trips made to other places. The improvement in mail delivery raised morale. On 7 January, the unit was alerted to prepare for movement. Preparations were made and since it was desirable to get as much of the equipment ready as possible, all personnel moved into ward tents, fed from a single mess, and ate from their mess kits. This released all the Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men’s tentage and cots for packing. About 10 January 1943, 1 Officer was detached to the 51st Medical Battalion, Separate (arrived in North Africa 11 November 1942 –ed) to travel in their motor convoy as an advance party to arrange for a bivouac for the main body. Orders finally arrived and plans were made to entrain at Oran Railway Station at 2200 hours, 14 January 1943. The train however was delayed until approximately 0300 the next day. It arrived and looked like a nightmare, with a dilapidated engine, battered and filthy wooden coaches, cars without windows, torn upholstering, no shades, and full of neglect. After having been dispersed over the various coaches, the train pulled out of the station passing slowly through the Oran suburbs on 16 January. Frequent stops were held, the only occasion to barter with locals, stand in line for chow, and enjoy a sanitary stop. Scenery and landscape changed, and with each day passing by, the passengers became dirtier, stiffer, colder, bored, and more tired than the preceding day. After three days and two nights, the train passed through the outskirts of Constantine, and the weary travelers detrained at the city’s station to be immediately assembled and hustled into the streets by the Officers of the advance party. Officers and Nurses were loaded onto British Army trucks and taken to the bivouac area where a few ward tents had been pitched while the EM began to march through the blacked-out city. Upon arrival they were ordered to pitch their pup tents. After a rather short night, breakfast was served, and men were sent back to the station to unload rations and barrack bags. Wood was scrounged for the kitchen and straw to make the beds more comfortable; rocks were dug out; slit latrines built and screened; and tents correctly repitched. Showers were available in nearby French barracks with water turned on for only thirty seconds.
The bivouac area was shared with the 51st Medical Battalion, soon to be joined by the 9th Evacuation Hospital and the 48th Surgical Hospital, as well as elements of the 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group (arrived in North Africa 11 November 1942 –ed).
On 18 January 1943, the advance party led by an Officer left to select another site for the hospital near Tébessa, southeast of Constantine. On 20 January, the main body had been packed in British personnel carriers (25 men per vehicle). The motor convoy passed the airfield at Youks-les-Bains, entering some woods containing camouflaged combat and service units, part of II Corps, waiting to be thrust into battle. Tents and messes had been set up among pine trees and wooded slopes and camouflaged with tree limbs and bushes, hence the designation of the bivouac as “Pine Ridge”. The 77th remained idle for quite some time, while the 9th Evac and the 48th Surg moved out to set up elsewhere. After the Germans had broken through Kasserine Pass (only 20 miles east of the bivouac), orders came through that the hospital was to open as rapidly as possible to take the overflow of patients from the other medical units. During the first night, only ambulatory cases were sent up from the 9th Evacuation Hospital, but on the following morning this unit was gone. The 9th and 77th Evacuation Hospitals were located about 10 miles southeast of Tébessa, far to the rear, while the 48th Surgical Hospital was operating a 200-bed unit at Thala, Tunisia, and another at Fériana, also in Tunisia, more than 50 miles away from the original II Corps combat lines of 14 February 1943.          
Wild rumor mongers had a field day, some stories were however true, and coupled with the increased thunder of artillery fire in the distance, enhanced the general excitement, and when trucks of combat troops streaked past the hospital’s installation on their way to the rear, orders came in to pack and move on the double. With 150 patients still on hand, trucks were borrowed from other units, and before daylight the next day, an advance group had already left to establish a new camp some sixty miles to the rear in the vicinity of La Meskiana, Algeria (it was there that the organization gained the service of Miss Natalie Gould, ARC –ed). Ambulances rounded up the patients and Nurses and started for the new location. By 18 February the last trucks pulled out of the area. Reaching La Meskiana at 1530 the personnel had already erected the mess tent and the kitchen when they received new orders to move further back through La Meskiana and to select a site at the edge of a wooded area. Everybody then worked all night to provide the patients, waiting in the ambulances, with breakfast before dawn the next morning. Officers, Nurses, and Technicians often worked for as long as seventy-two hours in a stretch with only brief naps causing enormous strain on the personnel. About midnight it had started to snow and a bitterly cold wind was blowing. The result of the German breakthrough brought about the dispersal of the Medical Collecting and Clearing Companies over hundreds of miles of rough and largely roadless country. By 20 February both the 9th and 77th Evac were fortunately back in operation, at new sites on the road to Constantine, and the 48th Surgical shifted further north to Montesquieu, Algeria. The II Corps’ next mission was to attack in the Gafsa-Maknassy area in support of the British Eighth Army’s drive up the coast. Although Colonel Richard T. Arnest (Surgeon II Corps –ed) requested 1 (one) 400-bed Field Hospital and 1 (one) 400-bed Evacuation Hospital, and more ambulances, he only received some ambulances. The only medical reinforcements consisted of five teams of the 3d Auxiliary Surgical Group (arrived in North Africa 16 February 1943 –ed) flown in without Nurses on 18 March (eleven teams of the 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group were already operational with II Corps –ed). In the interval between recovery of the ground lost in the Kasserine withdrawal and the launching of the II Corps offensive, hospital installations were once more moved forward to the Tébessa area. This took place on 27 March.

img
Picture illustrating some personnel of the 77th Evacuation Hospital while stationed in Algeria, in North Africa. The photo may have been taken during spring of 1943.

After the German surrender (approximately 275,000 PWs were taken –ed), the use and disposition of mobile hospitals was drastically modified and many lessons drawn from the recent operations. The 77th Evac Hosp closed on 12 April 1943 for operations after receiving orders that the unit was to move on 14 April.
Consequently, the 77th Evacuation Hospital was instructed to set up in a field about 2 miles east of Morris, near Bône, Algeria, where it was assigned to the Eastern Base Section (EBS), the forward element of the North African Communications Zone. The unit used its new site advantageously where it possessed air, rail, and water outlets, though its ambulance run of 85 to 110 miles over rough roads affected the transportation of seriously wounded patients. The installation was set up rapidly and after a few days, the 77th was joined by the 51st Medical Battalion and a Motor Ambulance Company. Less than hundred yards away was a PW enclosure, and 500 yards to the east was a large ammo dump. First patients arrived on 16 April, and although three other hospitals – the 9th Evacuation (arrived in North Africa 21 November 1942 –ed), the 11th Evacuation (activated 10 February 1941, embarked for North Africa 2 November 1942, arrived in North Africa 18 November 1942 –ed), and the 15th Evacuation (activated 1 June 1941, embarked for North Africa 7 February 1943, arrived in North Africa 21 February 1943 –ed) were stationed much nearer to the front, the 11th and the 15th EH were experiencing their first field operations and consequently required more time to get organized. Further combat losses cost more lives and casualties and many of the latter poured back through the chain of evacuation to the 77th Evac which increased the patient census considerably. Many of them needed blood transfusions badly, and the unit’s Officers and EM had to be used as donors once more. In only 45 days of active operation the hospital treated 4,577 patients! The hospital remained open until 25 June 1943, with a very low census rarely reaching 10 admissions per day during June. On 16 May 1943, a Victory Parade was staged in Bône with representative groups from nearly all the units in the area taking part, with Nurses of the 77th marching in formation (the only women to participate in the parade).
Mosquito control had to be introduced and mosquito nets were issued to each member of the command and all hospital beds were equipped with them. In addition, each personnel member was instructed to take 2 Atabrine tablets two days a week (in spite of the measures several members developed malaria). Because of flies and warm weather, dysentery cases were numerous, necessitating additional sanitary measures. A collapsible water storage tank was constructed and a shower unit installed.

img
Some Officers endure a cold spell while bivouacking on "Pine Ridge" in the vicinity of Tébessa, Algeria, in January 1943. During the day when the sun was out it was comfortably warm, on cloudy days it was always cold and windy, and at night fires and extra clothing were needed to protect from the cold. 

King George VI visited Bône 17 June 1943 and took the opportunity to inspect British and American units in the area, and Allied troops lined both sides of the nearby highway for several miles south of Bône, standing at attention for the royal convoy. Rumors were again circulating since the hospital had been alerted for a possible move, with orders received as early as 15 June. Although the 77th Evac closed at Morris on 25 June, the unit remained in the area for another 2 months!
On 29 June 1943, a detachment commanded by Major Martin F. Anderson left in a motor convoy traveling over hot and dusty roads under repair by German and Italian PWs to the war torn city and harbor of Bizerte, Tunisia, where they began their detached service with the US Navy (the main reason being that the 77th EH was relatively inactive and could spare some personnel –ed). After 1 July the details of this special assignment became clear. A medical team consisting of at least 1 (one) Officer and 4 (four) Enlisted Men was to be assigned to each of seven LSTs (LST 325 – 313 – 308 – 315 – 344 – 338 – 337 –ed); 9 (nine) more men were to accompany Medical Officers of the 91st Evacuation Hospital (activated as 6th Surgical Hospital 1 August 1940, redesignated and reorganized as 91st Evacuation Hospital 31 August 1942, embarked for North Africa 12 December 1942, arrived in North Africa 24 December 1942 –ed) on other LSTs (LST 340 – 4 – 380 – 2 – 371 – 307 – 381 – 369 –ed); 2 (two) Officers and 8 (eight) more Enlisted medical personnel were to serve at the Naval Base at Bizerte; and 2 (two) Officers and 10 (ten) EM were to equip and operate a 100-bed hospital and assist at the Naval Hospital at La Goulette, Tunis, Tunisia, with returning casualties. On 2 July all designated Officers and Enlisted personnel entrucked for La Goulette where they boarded the assigned ships. Between 2 and 8 July, inspections took place, loading plans were made, operative procedures and care of casualties organized, and supplies stocked. Medical Officers were also given assignments to battle stations about the LSTs. On 8 July 1943, the convoy of 45 ships sailed out of the Bay of Tunis setting course for the island of Malta. On 9 July 1943, it was confirmed that this force was bound for Sicily to participate in the assault landing against Gela. In total three convoys were organized, sailing again on 15 July, with the final trip taking place on 21 July. The entire detachment returned to Bizerte, Tunisia, on 27 July and was relieved by the Navy and returned to Morris, Algeria, on 29 July 1943.

img
Wiring. An Enlisted Man with the 77th Evacuation Hospital connects the unit's communications network. The maze of wire interconnects the various tents in the camp.

Colonel Burgh S. Burnet, MC, was relieved of command on 20 August 1943 to become the Atlantic Base Surgeon (ABS), and was temporarily replaced by Lt. Colonel James B. Weaver, MC.

Stations in North Africa – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Oran, Algeria – 12 November 1942 > 1 December 1942
Constantine, Algeria + Tébessa, Algeria + La Meskiana, Algeria
Bône, Algeria – 16 April 1943 > 25 June 1943 (stayed 2 more months, not operational)

Official Campaign Credits – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Algeria-French Morocco
Tunisia

img
II Corps in North Africa. >From L to R: Colonel Richard T. Arnest (Surgeon, II Army Corps) and Lt. Colonel William H. Amspacher (Deputy Surgeon, II Army Corps).

| Top |

Sicily:

img
Partial views of the Operating Rooms of the 77th Evacuation Hospital, while stationed in Algeria, North Africa.

On 28 August 1943, the orders that had been awaited almost daily since June arrived and plans were made for a move to Sicily. The transfer was to take place in two movements; the personnel would go by Hospital Ship, and the equipment by freighter. On the morning of 2 September, the personnel entrucked for the harbor of Bône, Algeria, and with their personal baggage boarded HMHS “Amarapoora”. The quarters designed for ambulatory patients were assigned to the Enlisted personnel while those intended for litter patients were divided among the Officers and Nurses of the 77th. Shortly after boarding, an order went out from the skipper to surrender all guns, knives, or other ‘personal’ weapons in accordance with Geneva Convention requirements. All the items were carefully tagged and set ashore for retrieval later. A first stop was held at Bizerte where the vessel remained at anchor overnight. On 4 September 1943, the Hospital Ship pulled away to set sail for Sicily; it reached Palermo, Sicily, the next day.
Due to the bomb damage it was impossible to reach a pier; consequently an LCT pulled alongside the “Amarapoora” to take the passengers on board for the short run to the docks. Ambulances and trucks transported the personnel and their baggage through the city to the courtyard of the University of Palermo Hospital and Medical School, where the 59th Evacuation Hospital (activated 6 April 1942, affiliated to San Francisco Hospital, San Francisco, California, embarked for North Africa 12 December 1942, arrived in North Africa 24 December 1942 –ed) was stationed. All personnel were quartered in the buildings and furnished with either folding cots or steel hospital beds. The food prepared by their hosts, the 59th Evac, proved much better than whatever the 77th had so far experienced in Africa. Duties were still light enough to allow sufficient off-duty hours to visit Palermo and enjoy sightseeing and shopping.

On 8 September 1943, the formal announcement of Italy’s surrender (actual date 3 September –ed) to the Allies came through and the city of Palermo turned out en masse to celebrate. On 20 September, Captain Oscar J. Milnor and his detachment of 6 Enlisted Men arrived in Palermo harbor with the organization’s equipment. Within a few days, most of the equipment had been unloaded and transported to a site 5 miles west of Licata on the southern shore of Sicily. On 22 September 1943, Colonel Samuel L. Cooke, MC, arrived and assumed command of the 77th Evacuation Hospital.

img
ANC personnel of the 77th Evacuation Hospital march in the "Victory Parade", Bône, Algeria. The celebration took place 16 May 1943.

Major Tony G. Dillon took an advance party to Licata on 25 September to start building living quarters at the new location. Officers and Nurses boarded a train which had quite some trouble in battling its way up the mountainous parts of the island. About midway across the train carrying the Officers passed the EM’s train as it sat on a siding, waiting to go again. Although having departed several hours before the other train, the engines were in such a poor state of repair that it almost proved impossible to reach the summit of the many grades. The Officers and Nurses arrived at Licata about 2200 hours on 25 September, but the Enlisted Men’s train did not arrive until 0430 on 26 September. The 175th Engineer General Service Regiment (activated 26 May 1942, embarked for North Africa 2 November 1942, arrived in North Africa 11 November 1942, arrived in Sicily 1 August 1943 –ed) had already graded roadways and cleaned the immediate surroundings of mines and trees. After unloading once more and unpacking the equipment and supplies the unit was functioning on 27 September 1943, and 211 patients were admitted. The 77th Evacuation Hospital replaced the 15th Evacuation Hospital (activated 1 June 1941, embarked for North Africa 7 February 1943, arrived in North Africa 21 February 1943 –ed) which was withdrawn for service in Italy. Since water was of poor quality and lacking it became necessary to install a 5,000-gallon collapsible water tank. After Engineers had cleared the mines in the immediate neighborhood, a path was constructed to go bathing in the Mediterranean, an activity that soon became quite popular. The weather was mild until mid-October when high winds blowing in from the sea began to take a heavy toll on canvas. Pins and tents were torn loose and were difficult to replace in the hard and rocky soil. After a few preliminary showers, heavy rains began to pour down in torrents turning the entire hospital area into a quagmire. All attempts to keep access roads and walks passable remained fruitless and even truckloads of crushed rock and gravel could not help. Fortunately admissions had begun to decrease with new cases being received in daylight hours, which left a minimum of night work for everyone. When rumors were confirmed that the 1st Infantry Division was to move it almost became impossible to keep any of their men in the hospital who could walk. Their destination was to be England and pressure was brought to bear on ward Surgeons by the Division’s line Officers to try and get their men dismissed as soon as possible. Recreation was handled by the unit itself with parties in the neighboring area, trips to the Roman ruins in Agrigento, and fishing trips with local fishermen.
About 14 October it was learned that the Hospital was to be returned to England and Lt. Colonel Edward J. Hashinger was therefore sent to the United Kingdom. Orders were received to start packing, and in spite of the awful weather conditions and the mud, the personnel were ordered to turn in all overshoes since they wouldn’t be needed in England, much to the consternation of the unit members. But orders were orders and the men continued wading about with wet feet in ankle deep mud without serious protection. The organization closed on 26 October and by 28 October, packing had been completed and all personnel boarded the same trains that had brought them to Licata. Destination proved to be a large staging area near Mondello Beach, filled with pyramidal tents, where everyone was processed and held ready for shipment out of Sicily. The bulk of the organizational equipment had been shipped to the Quartermaster Depot in Palermo, and only personal baggage including some housekeeping articles as kitchen equipment, office records, and some professional instruments had been retained. Everything of this had been marked with a new code, 6210-E (replacing the old one issued at Ft. Leonard Wood). The rain continued intermittently and the grayish-brown mud from Licata was now gradually being replaced by the yellowish-red mud of Mondello. When the weather permitted, walks were organized in the mountains near the camp, and after a few days of relative freedom which lots of passes, the entire staging area was placed under strict security. During their stay the 77th Evac received a call for help from the 59th Evacuation Hospital who were receiving large numbers of casualties from the fighting in Italy, and several Nurses were sent on detached service (DS) to that hospital. A mild epidemic of diphtheria broke out in the camp but within a relatively short time the situation was under control. Delay in shipping was mainly due to the fact that the convoy which was to carry the entire movement had been hit by enemy aircraft off Bizerte, Tunisia, and the loading plan had to be revamped. After several days of waiting and many changes in schedules, loading time was set for 10 November! One hour before dawn, the men were up and instructed to police the entire area. After packing the barrack bags, field packs, and musettes, came the inevitable period of waiting. At approximately 0800 hours on the morning of 10 November 1943, the necessary trucks arrived and all personnel and baggage were loaded and taken to the dock area of Palermo harbor. Long lines then formed, roster calls were started, and finally everyone started up the gangplank to board the USAT “John Ericsson”.

Stations in Sicily – 77th Evacuation Hospital
University of Palermo, Sicily – 6 September 1943 > 25 September 1943 (not operational)
Licata, Sicily – 27 September 1943 > 28 October 1943
Staging Mondello Beach, Sicily

Official Campaign Credit – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Sicily

The convoy consisting of several crowded troopships with adequate escort vessels sailed from Palermo shortly after midnight of 11 November 1943. Near Gibraltar, some enemy planes were sighted and antiaircraft guns from the escort vessels opened up driving the marauders away without any damage to the convoy. The ships passed the Straits and three days later the Azores were in sight. Shortly after boarding, medical teams were formed with some Enlisted personnel pertaining to the 9th Medical Battalion, 9th Infantry Division and the 77th who received primary duty in the ship’s dispensary. The majority of cases during the voyage were malaria or hepatitis or both, including some respiratory and intestinal infections. As the convoy moved into the North Atlantic, the weather became colder and the seas less docile, thus increasing seasickness. As a result a number of empty chairs appeared in the Officers and Nurses’ mess and shorter lines in the Enlisted Men’s mess gave mute evidence of the situation. The remainder of the trip was uneventful except for the storm that developed in the Irish Sea which prevented the convoy from entering the narrow lane between the minefields in the Mersey River estuary. The next day, it was about 1730 in the late afternoon, the first units were lined up on deck with the necessary hand luggage and individual gear and ready to descend the gangplank and board the nearby waiting trucks. On 25 November 1943 the 77th Evac landed at exactly the same spot, Prince’s Landing Stage, Liverpool, where it had landed some fifteen months earlier… and was back in the United Kingdom.                  

img
Sicily July 1943. Evacuation of casualties from the inland fighting in Sicily. Wounded are being loaded on landing craft for evacuation from shore to ship.

| Top |

United Kingdom:

After leaving the ship, all personnel marched the short distance to the train. After boarding, American Red Cross attendants came through the train with doughnuts and hot coffee, chewing gum, cigarettes, and copies of the “Stars and Stripes”. At about 0900 hours in the morning the train departed reaching Ludgershall Station, England, at 0900 the morning of 26 November 1943. Lt. Colonel E. J. Hashinger was waiting on the platform to welcome the unit, and after loading all the baggage onto the waiting trucks, the motor convoy started its trip for Everleigh Manor, where a semi-permanent hospital had been built by the British under Reverse Lend Lease agreements. Nissen-type huts, including wards and living quarters were dispersed over the flat land of the estate, interconnected by cement walks and enclosed passage ways. No hospital equipment had been installed yet and only a number of beds had been set up to accommodate Officers and men. The Nurses were assigned their own space in the smaller buildings (four to each building). Breakfast was ready and proved most welcome.
After having been briefed on everything relating to England, the war, the British way of life, and gone through their first inspection (the European Theater of Operations was often designated “Theater of Inspections” –ed), the organization received its first orders to prepare the hospital for operations. Hospital equipment, chiefly of the British type, was stored on site, but before anything could be unpacked and installed, the new ward buildings which had never been occupied since their construction had to be thoroughly cleared and cleaned, and it was only after working ten to sixteen hours each day, that the task was finally completed. By 27 December 1943, the receiving was opened and the first patients arrived. Toward the end of the cleaning and pre-operating period, it had been announced that a Station Hospital would arrive soon to operate the plant. As the Hospital census increased and more wards were put to use the hospital work became more routine with daily admissions remaining small and cases predominantly medical in nature (little surgery). Only a total of 646 patients were received by the unit during its stay at Everleigh.

img
Personnel of the 77th Evacuation Hospital awaiting transportation at the Mondello Beach staging area, near Palermo, Sicily. Picture taken end October 1943 prior to the unit's return to the United Kingdom.

The 77th lost several men by transfer to other units, reclassification by illness, and other causes, and the reception of 33 replacements was necessary to complete the Enlisted Men’s quota. The outfit lost its Executive Officer, Lt. Colonel Edward J. Hashinger, MC, who (after 16 months of service overseas) returned to the Zone of Interior on the rotation plan. The personnel of the 318th Station Hospital gradually took over operation after a short period of orientation and on 24 January 1944, the 77th Evac left Everleigh, entrucking and entraining for Gloucester.

An entirely new sort of life began for the unit, as there were no single barrack facilities available plans had been made to billet the men in private homes in Gloucester. American personnel shared their PX rations and excess food with their new British friends and in return were frequently invited to tea or dinner. The Enlisted Men were fed at a mess at Reservoir Camp, a British military training camp at the edge of town, while the Officers and Nurses’ mess was set up in Wesley Hall, a community center building of one of the local churches. The small amount of unit equipment was temporarily stored at Compton Hall, another building in the industrial district.
After a few days, a training program was begun, and each day after breakfast, assembly was sounded and groups of personnel marched through the city’s streets to the drill field at the edge of town. Close order drill, gas mask exercises, road marches, were all part of the new program, and after lunch, lectures and pictures followed that occupied the greater part of the afternoon. As there was no organized recreation program, movies, pubs, and Service Clubs were well attended, and mess halls often used for recreation. During the 77th’s stay at Gloucester, 6 Nurses went to Bristol to the 298th General Hospital (activated 27 June 1942, affiliated to University of Michigan, Ann Harbor, Michigan, embarked for England 20 October 1942 –ed) for a special course in the treatment of burns; 2 other Nurses received a special training in NP nursing at the 312th Station Hospital and another Nurse went to the 30th Station Hospital to follow some other courses and lectures. Two more Nurses attended administration courses at the ANC School at Shrivenham. The lack of medical activity, the wet and cold climate, the dull routine of the various training programs, and the dispersal of the personnel, soon began to wear down on the morale and esprit de corps of the entire unit. The men felt discouraged at being of no real use and wanted to become more active. During this time, Colonel Samuel L. Cooke, MC, who had been in command of the 77th since September 1943, was relieved to assume duties with the 58th General Hospital (activated 15 January 1943, affiliated to Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, embarked for England 8 October 1943 –ed). The following day, Colonel Dean M. Walker, MC, arrived and assumed command.  

About 15 March 1944, several things happened which improved the morale of the men. The weather improved and funny enough from the townspeople came the first rumors of an imminent movement of the unit to Tunbridge Wells, in southern England. The official announcement did indeed follow, and on 9 March the first advance detail was sent out, with a second detail following on 24 March. On 1 April 1944, the remainder of the 77th departed by train for Tunbridge Wells. The new location proved to be a grass slope at Langton Green, at the edge of the village of Rusthall about 1½ miles from Tunbridge Wells, Kent. By the time the organization arrived on site, a great amount of work had been done. The living quarters tents were set up, stoves installed, fuel made available, wiring strung between the tents, washrooms readied (with hot and cold water), latrines dug, mess halls built, and cinder paths installed. Such luxuries had been unheard of by the 77th in a tented hospital, and were viewed with surprise, satisfaction, and skepticism. During the ensuing four weeks, the organization’s personnel continued the work with building access roads, grading and surfacing the roadways, piping water into the kitchens, and installing hydrants near the ward tents. Fences were erected and painted, and landscaping added the necessary setting.
Soon the new Hospital was being inspected by the local medical hierarchy of American and British Armies, including Colonel Robert  E. Thomas (Southern Base Section, United Kingdom); Major General Paul R. Hawley (Surgeon ETO); Brigadier General Ewart G. Plank (CG ADSEC); and Major General Oswald W. McSheehy (RAMC), with the hospital installation becoming known as the ‘showplace’ of field-type Hospitals.
Several worthwhile improvements in the hospital’s utility and flexibility were made such as a complete set of packing crates that, when unpacked, could be set on end or stacked one on another, shelves put in place, and the open sides covered with muslin curtains to form linen cabinets, medicine cupboards, bedpan and urinals lockers, and other storage units. The same furniture could further serve as packing crates for cots, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, enamelware, and supplies of instruments and medications. Improvisation did it! Each crate was marked with the unit’s proper code device and the number of the ward to which it belonged as well as its contents. The precious time and effort spent in devising this standardized packing method proved to be of the utmost value in later operations.

Stations in England – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Everleigh Manor, Wiltshire – 27 December 1943 > 24 January 1944
Gloucester, Gloucestershire – 25 January 1944 > 1 April 1944
Tunbridge Wells, Kent – 27 April 1944 > 27 May 1944

By 27 April 1944, the hospital installations were opened for patients and during the following months 419 cases were admitted. Apart from the medical cases, the majority, chiefly coming from units stationed in the surrounding are, the surgical cases were largely non-traumatic diseases or minor injuries. Only a few severely wounded were received, mostly connected from air battles or emergency landing incidents (many burn cases), or were transferred by ambulance to the 77th from British hospitals on the channel coast in the vicinity of Canterbury. Because of the light load of hospital work, it was possible to rotate the personnel on duty. Training and recreation filled the time during the liberal off-duty hours. Morale ran high in almost all quarters in spite of the lack of actual professional work, unit members swarmed the countryside, games were organized, parties held, ceremonies attended, and the immediate prospect of the coming Allied Invasion of the continent furnished a definite goal, with the prospect that a victorious end to the war in Europe, would enable everyone to return home soon.

On 10 May, the unit was put on a forty-eight hour alert by ADSEC. On 27 May 1944, the 77th Evac was officially closed and all patients were turned over to the 6th Field Hospital, newly arrived from the States (the unit had previously served in Alaska and on Kiska Island, and arrived without a Nurse complement –ed). The unit was then issued its new code numbers, 31999 and 32000. Suspense and anticipation relating to the forthcoming invasion gradually heightened and the size and frequency of heavy and medium bombers filling the skies increased day by day leaving no doubt that this was indeed the softening-up process in preparation for the assault against Fortress Europe! The forty-eight hour alert basis now took a more real meaning. On 15 June, the organization witnessed its first “buzz bombs” (German V-1 rockets), and in the following days several of these missiles had fallen and exploded within only a mile of the 77th, leaving few windows in the houses of the surrounding area intact and blowing away large numbers of roof tiles. When antiaircraft artillery joined in to fight these flying bombs, a shower of small flak fragments often fell on tented roofs like hail, ripping some tentage. Fortunately no one was ever hurt. Toward the end of June, 2 War Correspondents of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star were attached to the unit for rations and transportation. On 28 June 1944, the entire unit entrucked for Tunbridge Station and boarded trains with destination Eastleigh, from where the Officers and Enlisted Men continued by motor convoy to Area C-5, and the Nurses to Area C-22, both staging areas about 15 miles from Southampton. Life at the staging areas was dull, with reading, card playing, and watching movies, the only way to keep busy. Luckily the food was good. Impregnated clothing was issued, anti-seasickness pills as well as small paper vomit bags distributed, and water purification tablets given out. English money, of which there was little left in the unit, was turned in for Allied “Invasion” currency.                                    

| Top |

France:

img
Aerial view of the 77th Evacuation Hospital, near Sainte-Mère-Eglise, Normandy, France, where it opened for operations 18 July 1944. The Hospital was made up of 95 pyramidal, 71 ward, 8 small wall, 7 storage, 6 squad and 2 large wall tents.

After a week behind a barbed wire enclosure at the staging area, the unit went by way of a motor convoy to the edge of the dock area of Southampton. During a two-and-a-half hour wait, coffee and doughnuts were served from a Red Cross Clubmobile and a Special Service unit passed along paperbacks and other reading material for the channel crossing. Finally, the personnel were marched through the busy streets up the gangplank of the British “Empire Lance”. The sun was shining and this felt like ‘the’ day. Quarters on board were clean and consisted of large compartments and steel bunks, without furnishings, but entirely adequate and comfortable for the short crossing to France.
On 7 July 1944, it was approximately 1500 hours, the ship arrived off Utah Beach. LCVP and other landing barges scooted back and forth between shore and ship seeming to ignore the hospital group waiting to disembark. Finally they too were ordered into the landing craft after having been divided into two separate groups. After a short walk between beach and dunes, the Beachmaster brought the unit to the assembly point from where they were marched to their bivouac area. The 77th Evac had arrived in France …
The unit was instructed to bivouac for the night in Transit Area B, Utah Beach, at St. Germain-de-Vareville, while the Nurses and advance party were sent ahead by truck, with the remainder of the personnel led by Colonel Dean M. Walker, CO, following on foot. The march was about 7 miles, but after only about three miles it started raining. After the men got thoroughly soaked, the rain suddenly stopped, and the sunshine returned just as the group reached a well-paved road. A constant stream of vehicles passed the column as empty ones returned to the beach dumps to pick up ammunition, gas, and rations for the front. The bivouac area was located in an apple orchard bordered by hedgerows. Foxholes had been dug by earlier units passing through but since there were no latrines, it was decided to improvise some construction to accommodate the Nurses. The men of the advance detail had heated water for coffee and a K-ration meal was quickly consumed, and pup tents pitched.
In the early morning hours a friendly artillery barrage was heard in the distance but all were already up early anyway and packing was completed long before noon. Without advance notice, a group of 3 surgical teams were ordered out on DS to assist the 67th Evacuation Hospital (landed 16 June 1944 –ed), with Officers and Nurses leaving immediately, followed by the Enlisted Men. The 400-bed 67th Evac Hosp which had been working constantly badly needed assistance and within a few days a number of ward Officers and Nurses were temporarily attached to help treat the operative backlog (200 surgical cases). The attached 77th teams worked for long hours, operating on an average of 25 patients during each 12-hour shift. Finally the 67th stopped admissions in preparation for going into bivouac and on 19 July all attached personnel returned to their own units. More 77th teams were sent on DS to other units, including the 128th Evacuation Hospital (landed 10 June 1944 –ed), the 96th Evacuation Hospital (landed 16 June 1944 –ed), and also the 44th Evacuation Hospital (landed 19 June 1944 –ed).

2 Ambulance Platoons from the 563d Motor Ambulance Company, commanded by First Lieutenant George Lahey, had arrived and provided extra transportation to move the remainder of the personnel (those not on DS –ed) to a new bivouac west of Ste-Mère-Eglise. Here a new camp was set up in three adjoining fields; with Enlisted Men and transport vehicles in one field, Officers, Nurses, messes, supply, and headquarters in another, and the ambulance platoons in the third. Scrounging became a large-scale activity in an effort to secure material to increase the general comfort of quarters and installations. A nearby field had in the meantime been selected for the hospital site and while waiting for the organizational equipment to arrive, the men had to fill in the numerous bomb craters, the foxholes, clear the debris of war such as abandoned ammo cases, ration boxes, discarded clothing and individual equipment of both American and German origin. In one corner was the former site of a Battalion Aid Station as evidenced by dirty dressings, empty EMT books, bloody sponges, and a boot with part of a leg and foot still in it. After all this had been duly cleaned up, latrines were dug and hospital roads made out so that work could start. First Lieutenant Earl L. Hoard, MC, had been left at Tunbridge Wells with the equipment but had to wait until 3 July to catch a boat to cross the channel to Normandy. Unfortunately the ship went to the wrong beach, Omaha, where it arrived 5 July 1944; the ship was only authorized to sail to Utah Beach on 15 July, where unloading was started at 1730 that same evening and completed about 0730 the next morning. The misdirected equipment was hauled from the beach and transported to Ste-Mère-Eglise, and thirty-six hours after the first truckload arrived, the 77th was completely established and ready to receive patients. The date was 18 July 1944. When completely set up the 77th Evac used 189 tents: 71 ward tents – 95 pyramid tents – 7 storage tents – 6 squad tents – 8 small wall tents – 2 large wall tents – plus a large number of individual pup tents. In pitching these tents, the EM had driven 6,786 long pins and 7, 246 short tent pins. Because of the proximity to the combat zone, the major portion of patients consisted of recent wounded evacuated directly from the Collecting and Clearing Stations. During their stay in the vicinity of Ste-Mère-Eglise, the personnel were organized into groups, one for each 12-hour shift, working from 0800 to 2000 hours, as all departments functioned completely during the entire 24 hours. The preliminary job in the receiving tent was handled by Captain Oren D. Boyce and Captain Walter J. Olszewski who examined each patient carefully and determined accurately the ward to which the wounded man was to be taken. 4 operating tables and 2 tables for the treatment of fractures were in constant use, and 3 more tables were used 18 to 24 hours a day for minor surgery. One person acted as triage and liaison Officer, assigning the patients to the 2 operating Surgeons of the team. The severity of the wounds varied greatly, although the majority were seriously wounded; indeed, most of the wounds were caused by mortar and artillery fire, the latter predominating. A separate tent for neurosurgery was installed, connecting with the OR, and here the specialized Surgeon performed feats of surgical skill that resulted in the saving of many lives. 6 specialists belonged to the 1st Auxiliary Surgical Group, temporarily attached to the 77th. Three other Surgeons and one Nurse also performed an excellent job, belonging to a maxillo-facial team of the 1st Aux Surg Team. The x-ray section functioned unceasingly as well as the shock department which responded promptly with the indicated necessary treatment to be administered to the numerous patients. Large amounts of IV medication were administered during the first 20-day period including 56 gallons of plasma – 30 gallons of whole blood – and 72 gallons of glucose and saline solutions. Seriously ill and severely wounded patients were taken to nearby airstrips for emergency evacuation to England, less serious casualties were sent to the Omaha and Utah Beaches to be returned across the channel by ship, convalescent patients were transferred to General Hospitals farther back in the Cotentin Peninsula and cured patients returned to their units for duty. Total patient census was 3,234 including 181 German prisoners and 27 French civilians, resulting in 1,775 operations. Supplies were used in large quantities, necessitating frequent replacements by truck convoys making daily trips to the available dumps. A special mess section was kept open 24 hours a day, offering snacks and meals to the night shift and any arriving or departing ambulance driver. During this period, details whitewashed stones along access roads and installed white markers made out of bandage material (stretched from stake to stake) to help litter bearers and personnel who had to walk about the hospital area at night. Because of the large water consumption, a 5,000 gallon canvas water storage tank was elevated about twelve feet off the ground to provide a constant supply of water under pressure to the ward tents, operating rooms, and kitchens. As there was an absolute necessity to obtain more litter bearers, a group of men was temporarily attached from the 25th General Hospital (activated 10 June 1943, affiliated to Cincinnati General Hospital & University, Cincinnati, Ohio, embarked for England 23 December 1943 –ed), which was still awaiting the arrival of its organizational equipment). One of the farthest tents in the area was reserved for the morgue; the CO called it “Purple Heart” corner.

img
After stringing bandages around the tent pins, work details whitewash rocks and stones to aid night duty personnel. Picture of the 77th Evacuation Hospital taken in July 1944 while stationed in France.

After the battle for St-Lô was over, ADSEC ordered the 77th Evacuation Hospital to move to the vicinity of the town. The advance party left on 8 August and when the motor convoy arrived the following day, loading was accomplished in a minimum of time, with everyone departing around 1530 hours. The trip was short and on their way to the new location, the personnel were struck by the number of French refugees returning to their liberated homes in any available means of transportation. Upon reaching St-Lô, they were confronted by the mass of destruction and rubble in town, as not a single house appeared untouched. Engineer bulldozers had produced a passable road through the main street which smelled of death and destruction. The new site was 1½ mile south of the town across the road from the racetrack where a FUSA Medical Supply Depot was situated. The camp was situated in the paddocks on a gently sloping field divided by a number of concrete fences. The hospital section was placed on the higher part of the area, while down the slope in an apple orchard the tents for the Officers were pitched, with those of the Nurses in another field further back. The Enlisted Men’s tents were placed back of the rear part of the Hospital. Since the field had not yet been cleared of mines and explosives, Engineers were called in to perform the task. Some dead Germans were found and well-constructed foxholes and positions were dispersed especially in the orchards, dug wide and deep, and covered with logs and earth over the tops. Dead animals were covered with dirt, and fences pushed down to allow the building of access roads.

Stations in France – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Ste-Mère-Eglise, Lower Normandy – 18 July 1944 > 7 August 1944
St- Lô, Lower Normandy – 9 August 12944 > 17 August 1944
Chartres, Eure-et-Loir – 25 August 1944 > 5 September 1944
Clermont-en-Argonne, Lorraine – 14 September 1944 > 6 October 1944  

The hospital’s mission for this setup was triage. The 77th would be responsible for reception and triage of First United States Army casualties, and this meant that they would proceed with examination and classification of the wounded as they were admitted, with assignment and evacuation to the proper department. The aim was to relieve other Army installations of the burden of lightly wounded casualties and funnel incoming patients; to determine each patient’s destination; and to segregate those who were unfit for immediate traveling. Those slightly ill or wounded and able to return to duty within a short time were held at the 77th Evac or sent to another nearby medical facility in Normandy. Patients with self-inflicted wounds or venereal disease were sent to special hospitals. After opening on 9 August 1944, the unit received 1,450 patients in less than 12 hours. In the 6 days that the hospital was in operation a total of 6,304 casualties were handled in triage alone, and during the same period, 599 patients were admitted to the hospital for treatment. The final number of patients would increase to 6,903. The litter bearers were mostly convalescing combat exhaustion cases from the 90th Quartermaster Battalion. After an eight-hour shift these men had blisters on their hands and were tired and aching from the heavy work. Red Cross aides brought the patients cigarettes, and chewing gum, and prepared or helped writing V-mail letters making them feel more comfortable and better. Because of the swamps in the area and the ripe fruit, mosquitoes and bees were a constant nuisance. Mosquito bars were therefore erected over the cots to protect the patients, the insects however were a constant pest descending upon the hospital and invading mess tents and kitchens. 4 Officers and 25 Nurses were detached to the 77th from the 50th General Hospital (activated 4 September 1942, affiliated to Seattle College, Seattle, Washington, embarked for England 29 December 1943 –ed), but as they arrived after the period of greatest activity, they were soon returned to their own unit. On 16 August, the 7th Field Hospital (landed 2 July 1944 –ed) came in to take over the work, and the same day orders were received for a move to Le Mans, France, with the advance group already leaving for the new site in the afternoon. At roughly the same time, ADSEC instructed elements of the 12th Field Hospital (landed 26 June 1944 –ed) and the 93d Medical Gas Treatment Battalion (landed 15 July 1944 –ed) to open an air evacuation facility for the Third United States Army at an airstrip near Avranches.  

The sun was shining bright and warm as the motor convoy pulled out of St-Lô, passing blown bridges, numerous craters, gaps in the hedgerows, and telephone and electric wires hanging loose from their poles, necessitating quite a number of detours. The last two sections reached the new location about fifteen miles north of Le Mans which seemed untouched by the war. The selected meadows sloped gently to a long line of poplar trees and beyond the latter lay a flat field with an orchard at the end. The hospital site had already been staked out on the slope and the tents for the Enlisted personnel were pitched beyond the trees to the rear of the site. Breakfast was ready with hot coffee and pancakes waiting so that installation of the hospital tents could be started right away. In the midst of the work orders were received not to set up the hospital but to bivouac in the area! First and Third United States Armies were already moving toward the Seine River and Paris, and the new site had already become part of the rear echelon only hours after being the front line. The war was progressing fast, and until at least a temporary stabilization of the front could be achieved, the 77th and other similar units were granted a period of rest. As the Army Hospitals were leapfrogging one another in rapid succession, their capacity was adequate for the mission on hand. As the Allies overran the rest of France, Holding Units opened and closed with frequency; they advanced successively to Le Mans, Chartres, Orléans, and Rheims, always trying to stay within a practicable ambulance haul of the rearmost hospitals. 
As soon as the orders to ‘bivouac’ were known, some relaxation began at once, with passes issued to visit Le Mans. In the neighboring fields various units bivouacked, and numerous vehicles could be seen. Thousands of Allied soldiers worked on their equipment, maintained their vehicles, or lounged in the shade. Stacks of rations, ammo, and hundreds of gasoline cans were lined along the hedgerows and under the trees. At the hospital’s bivouac site, short walks were permitted without pass. The farmers living in the neighborhood soon learned how welcome their products were with the military and brought eggs, tomatoes, plums, and apples in abundance. Trading took place with cigarettes, chewing gum, chocolate, candy, or soap being exchanged for fresh eggs and fruit. American GIs were wined and dined by the local population, and in return the French soon learned of the generosity of the Americans. Civilians were encouraged to assist to the services conducted by Chaplains James E. McEvoy and Walter R. Floyd. Movies were shown, parties organized, and relaxation was the word.

img
Enlisted personnel of the 77th Evacuation Hospital load a litter patient into an ambulance for evacuation.

On 23 August 1944, orders were received for the unit to move on to Chartres. An advance party left under the supervision of three Officers and was soon followed the next day by a proper motor convoy traveling in three sections which all arrived between the afternoon and evening of 24 August. The new site, located about 12 miles northeast of Chartres, lay about a hundred yards from the main highway on a secondary road. In spite of the muddy field, the pyramidal tents for quarters and many of the ward tents had been erected by evening. By afternoon of the following day, 25 August, the hospital was completely set up and ready to receive patients. Engineers were called upon to improve the access roads. Patients began to arrive almost immediately after opening. Following the liberation of Paris on 26 August, the 77th received several hundred patients from German hospitals there; for the most part British and American airmen who had been shot down over France. After capture, the wounded were sent to Luftwaffe hospitals in the French capital, and a number of them had been there since 1943. They were all very thin and malnourished and stated that the medical treatment they had received had been fairly good, although there was a marked shortage of adequate medical supplies and many drugs. Some items were definitely inferior to American supplies, and consequently they had received much poorer treatment than the enemy had received in American hospitals. Subsequently, Allied patients leaving the hospital and on their way to England or the Zone of Interior, appeared to be an entirely different group of men from those who had arrived from Paris a short time before.
Since large numbers of enemy prisoners were captured as Allied forces advanced rapidly, an increased number of admissions of PW patients followed, and as prisoner wards soon filled up additional space had to be made available. 140 folding cots were set up in long rows, housed in extra tents, and within only forty-eight hours the new PW ward was filled. In order to handle this additional flow of patients a special ‘crew’ had to be recruited from sections of the Hospital where the men would be least missed. Major Wayne C. Bartlett, MC, assumed charge of the PW ward during the day, and Lt. Colonel Mervin J. Rumold, MC, during the night, in addition to their other duties. Captain Leslie B. Williams assumed responsibility for the records and the other paperwork. Privates First Class Adolph Wild and Arndt A. Fiechtner, both barbers, were assigned to the ward, and as they spoke German fluently, they did an excellent job. During this period, the overall census was well over 1,000 patients, while the organization was in fact equipped to treat and feed 750 patients only, causing some difficulties which had to be overcome with extra shifts and more equipment. Among the patients were also a number of French civilians.

img
Two Enlisted Men of the 77th Evacuation Hospital stand in front of the EENT (Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat) Clinic tent.

On 5 September 1944, the 77th was ordered to close although there were still a number of patients who had not been evacuated. They were loaded in two ambulances accompanied by a Medical Officer and transported to the airstrip at Etampes in good condition from where they were then evacuated by air.
The “Red Ball Highway” ran past the 77th Evacuation Hospital. Armored columns belonging to FUSA and TUSA were moving ahead at such a rapid pace that normal supply channels were unable to keep up with them. As a final resort to keep the flow of supplies going, freight convoys were organized, using “priority” roadways driving fast night and day to service and supply the combat troops. Convoys consisting of hundreds of trucks loaded with gasoline, rations, and ammo, drove past the hospital at all hours of the day and night.
An advance detail led by three Officers left the evening to reconnoiter a site in the Sainte-Menehould area. The first group of trucks moved early the next morning; the second left just after lunch, and included the Nurses complement; and the third and last group departed the following morning. The trucks were of the 12-ton semi-trailer type, the first of this kind to be used for a move. After the advance party arrived at the new site, they were instructed to look for another location near Verdun, in the vicinity of Clermont-en-Argonne. The site was selected and preparations made for the arrival of the different convoys. The first group arrived on the evening of 6 September; the second group got stuck in heavy traffic and bad weather and did not arrive until the following day having had to bivouac on the outskirts of Meaux. The third convoy was delayed by the late arrival of the necessary trucks, and lost a trailer and a number of men around Paris, who only returned five days later. The new site was situated in a valley surrounded by two densely wooded hills of the Argonne Forest. One of the main highways to the frontline area ran along the edge of the camp and along the side of the hill opposite was a railroad. The new site was about fifteen miles from Verdun and near the village of Clermont-en-Argonne. Although almost ready since 6 September, the hospital did not officially open until 14 September 1944. In total, the 77th was open for 23 days at Clermont, admitting only 1,155 patients. A few German PW patients were received, until one day when over 100 were admitted. The latter came from a German Hospital Train which had been captured. The ‘theater’ tent was taken over once again to serve as a ward for the prisoners. Another group of incoming patients were foreign laborers imported by the Germans to work in the coal mining district, with among them many Poles and Russians. They were not only exhausted and starving, but moreover, had not received any proper medical care with many of them suffering from TBC in a far advanced stage. Inevitably several of them died after reaching the hospital. US Army Hospital Trains passed up and down the railroad on the way to and from Verdun. On several occasions one of the trains stopped for an hour or so while some of the crewmen came down to the hospital for urgent medical or dental work. In the woods across the road from the 77th was a Sanatorium for children with tuberculosis. Most of the patients came from Paris and told of the scarcity of the food during the German occupation, so several of the Nurses prepared parcels with food containing candy and chewing gum and delivered them to the Sanatorium. Later, those children who were well enough to walk were brought to the hospital grounds, where Mass was held for them by one of the Chaplains, after which they toured the hospital area. As there was little work during this period, many passes were obtained and numerous trips organized to such places as Verdun, Epernay, Rheims, Châlons-sur-Marne, and even Paris. Lots of statues, memorials, and chapels in the region dated from the Great War. The trips to Paris were most welcome, but soon prices started to rise and the normal GI could no longer afford them. Not far from Verdun, the Army had captured a German Medical Supply Dump, and a number of Medical Officers obtained a few surgical instruments. German supplies, although of inferior quality, were also brought back and were useful in the treatment of the PW patients.
During the latter part of the stay at Clermont-en-Argonne, the weather became cold and scarcely a day passed without rain. A small amount of coal and wood was scrounged and fires allowed in two recreation tents. The number of people attending breakfast decreased considerably, as the sun was not up yet that early in the morning, and getting out of a warm bed into the cold for just some powdered eggs and coffee was not a paying proposition. After a German Ration Dump had been captured, some of the food turned up at the unit’s messes, and to the general surprise, sardines and cheese tasted good. In addition, several issues of fresh eggs and oranges were obtained, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, purchased from farmers in the neighborhood.
After a while, everyone was worn out with the trips and the resting and most of all thoroughly disgusted with the mud. The prospect of spending the coming winter under tentage in the mud of the swampy hospital site was not pleasant, and it was with some relief that orders were finally received for a move into Belgium. As usual rumors changed hourly: first, the hospital was to move into buildings; then into tents; the move was to Liège; later it changed to Aachen, in Germany; then back to Liège, in Belgium; again into buildings. As it turned out, it was only after the advance party had reached ADSEC Headquarters that anyone knew where the 77th was to go… The advance detail, under supervision of Major Morris S. Harless, Captain John F. McGowan, Captain Paul E. Bennett, and Captain Robert L. Newman, left early on the morning of 7 October 1944.          

| Top |

Belgium:

img
View of the "Ecole Normale de l'Etat" housing the 77th Evacuation Hospital, Verviers, Belgium. Picture taken in October-November 1944.

Fifty trucks arrived at the site at 0830 in the morning of 7 October; were loaded, and left in two sections, one at 1040 and the other at 1200 hours. They both arrived in the evening. Another convoy of 40 trucks arrived at Clermont in the evening and left on the morning of 8 October. The convoys took different routes, going through Namur, Arlon, and Bastogne, following the Meuse River, finally reaching Verviers, Belgium, where they were to set up in the “Ecole Normale de l’Etat”, a large brick building located on top of a hill overlooking town. The four-story building had been used by the German Wehrmacht as a kind of Induction Center for foreign conscripts. Apart from the number of stairways and a small elevator, it seemed very well adapted to accommodate the hospital. After the Germans had left, the place had been empty for a while, to be later briefly used by advancing US troops. Dirt and debris had meanwhile accumulated in every room, desks and tables were stacked everywhere, windows were opaque with dust and grime, and much cleaning needed to be done before moving in. The burden of setting up the unit’s equipment, cleaning the building and grounds proved much more work than the personnel could accomplish in the short time allowed prior to opening of the hospital, consequently Belgian civilians were hired to help. It was necessary to prepare and construct some better access roads to the hospital building, and erect a number of pyramid tents to house the Enlisted Men. Officers had been billeted in civilian homes. On the afternoon of 11 October, the installation was nearly completed, the EM were established in their tents, the Nurses on the building’s fourth floor, and Officers had moved to their billets, when planes were heard buzzing overhead – time was approximately 1500 hours – suddenly machine gun fire erupted, then an explosion was heard, followed by another, and then the tinkling of broken and falling glass. The first plane flew directly over the hospital with machine guns blazing; the second aircraft dropped two 500-lb bombs that lit the urology ward tent; the other two planes dropped four more bombs and these hit the town near the Railway Station. All four planes made two more sweeps, strafing the town, and then flew off. After the smoke and dust cleared, people ran to the School building. Technician 3d Grade Donald J. McKenny bled from one ear, the result of severe concussion, Technician 4th Grade Arthur L. Fincannon, Jr. received a sliver of metal in the back, and Sergeant William H. Hagan, II, was hit in the left arm. First Lieutenant Helen E. Bailey received a wound in the back of the neck from shrapnel. The following personnel received minor wounds mainly caused by flying glass and bomb fragments and were treated in the dispensary: Lieutenant Violet R. Mahan; Lieutenant Clio E. Shirley; Staff Sergeant Roland B. Stotter; Corporal William I. Alford; Technician 5th Grade Earl J. Lair; Technician 5th Grade Harlan H. Woody; Private First Class Roy Curtis; Private First Class Othello D. Kugler; Private First Class George W. Phillipi; Private Carl G. Culver; Private Lawrence D. Looper; and Private Joseph T. Schmidt. They were all presented Purple Heart Medals at an appropriate ceremony held on 13 October (some sources reported that this was an enemy raid, others that American aircraft erroneously bombed the School building –ed). Cleaning and repairs went forward rapidly, the biggest problem being replacing the glass (in the end many windows were closed with plywood panels). Finally the Hospital opened at midnight on 13 October 1944, as originally planned.       

The mission of the 77th Evac was that of a Holding Unit with patients being received from all Field and Evacuation Hospitals of the First US Army. Evacuation from the hospital was mainly by Hospital Train which then went to Paris to disembark the many wounded to the General Hospitals located in and around the French capital. Patients who were expected to be ready for duty within a short period were instead evacuated to General Hospitals in Liège, Belgium. Operations by the 77th in fact became a combination of triage, holding, and evacuation. On 22 October the first V-1 buzz bombs started coming over but the difference with England was that here the bombs were aimed at Liège and Brussels, with quite a few dropping short off their target and landing in Verviers. Sweating out the buzz bombs became a 24-hour task.
As the rain and the cold weather continued, it became obvious that the Enlisted Men were not going to be comfortable in their tents. Three school buildings nearer the center of town were taken over for quarters for the EM, with the men moving in by late October. Movies were shown almost every night, Belgian friends were visited and invited, books and magazines supplied by Special Services, and dances organized by the Civil Affairs Detachment. A group of buildings were taken over by the US Army in Verviers and converted into the “Jayhawk Rest Camp” where First United States Army personnel were sent for some rest and recreation. With so many soldiers in town, Verviers was put on limits to personnel of the 77th Evac on 29 October and they were now permitted to visit the town where they lived for nearly a month. As there were many stores in town, and with Christmas approaching, shopping visits became the order of the day when work permitted. On 2 November 1944, one of several acts of sabotage was committed at the Hospital to be followed by more. A small fire was discovered in the motor pool, a guard was fired upon, electricity was cut off, power lines were damaged and interrupted at some points between Liège and Verviers, the control switch for the air alert siren was turned off. It was feared that some of the acts were caused by German sympathizers, after all the German border was not far away. During the 77th’s stay at Verviers, a number of inspections took place. The group included people like Lieutenant General John C. H. Lee (CG ASF ETO); Brigadier General Ewart G. Plank (CG ADSEC ComZ); Colonel Charles H. Beasley (Surgeon, ADSEC) and Major Swizler (Chief Nurse ADSEC ComZ).    

img
Verviers, Belgium, 1 January 1945. Picture showing the deep crater resulting from the Luftwaffe raid that took place early on New Year's Day. This followed the earlier air raid of 11 October 1944 which caused a number of casualties and a lot of damage to the 77th Evacuation Hospital installations.

From the many offensive battles and enemy counterattacks came a large number of casualties, and for the first time there were an overwhelming proportion of cases suffering from “trench foot”. Although the unit had prepared beds for about 1,000 patients, this was entirely inadequate. All the Hospital’s floor space had to be utilized, the patients being left on litters, as most of them remained only overnight and were evacuated the following day. The hallway in the front basement was set up as a litter ward with several other small rooms utilized in the same manner, even the chapel and the ARC rooms were used, and on one occasion the Officers and Nurses’ recreation rooms were filled with wounded. The cases of “trench foot” became more acute as winter progressed and the fact that so few of the patients were able to walk because of their condition created additional problems in feeding and nursing. The mess section was kept very busy and had more meals to serve than ever before. The hospital personnel numbered about 400, civilian employees were 200, the Sanitary Company litter bearers about 100, and the patients varied between 400 and 1,400. Estimates were difficult to make but it was certain that the large influx of patients far exceeded the hospital’s normal capacity. As a result, two ward tents were pitched at the side of the building for German PW patients, and later 4 more tents were erected on one of the tennis courts in the School’s garden. On one occasion the patient census rose to 1,451. 11 November 1944 brought “Armistice Day” (the third spent overseas –ed) which resulted in more “buzz bombs”, more “trench foot”, more casualties, and more work! Thanksgiving was observed only with Church services and the traditional turkey dinner. Just after Thanksgiving several V-1s hit the rail yards in Liège and as a result Hospital Trains could no longer get through. For several days no evacuation was possible until the trains could be rerouted on another line. In the last weeks of November large quantities of mail arrived from the States, followed by a first batch of Christmas packages. During the quieter days, many of the Nurses visited the Quartermaster Sales Stores at Eupen, Belgium, where they purchased the new dress which had been authorized for Nurses.

Stations in Belgium – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Verviers, Liège Province – 13 October 1944 > 31 December 1944
La Louvière, Hainaut Province – 9 January 1945 > 21 March 1945

On 16 December 1944, the enemy broke through the Allies lines in the Belgian Ardennes. Increasing “buzz bombs” flew over town, and the same evening there was an air raid and Verviers was bombed. It was not before the next morning that two patients were brought in and told of the German offensive. By the time the Hospital staff realized that something serious was going on at the front, they found out that the “Jayhawk Rest Center” had been alerted about midnight and that all the soldiers had left for the front within the hour. During this new battle, the personnel of the 77th worked harder than ever and in addition to the large number of incoming patients, the hospital was continually harassed by the bombing, the strafing, the shelling and V-1 weapons that dropped all about. During 17 December fog and clouds cleared for a while and dogfights could be observed over the hospital building. On 8 January 1945, one of the V-1s hit the 76th General Hospital in Liège, killing 24 patients and staff and injuring 20, and this recent news did not add to the sense of security of the personnel. More patients came in the following days, adding stories of retreat, positions overrun, confusion, losses of men and equipment, temporary stands, and then further withdrawals … it seemed that the powerful German forces were more than the Allies could cope with and that they had been forced to pull out and retreat. Because of the enemy advance several of the forward hospitals were closed and forced to withdraw. The 67th Evacuation Hospital had to pull out of their advanced position and went into bivouac near Liège. Teams of the 3d Auxiliary Surgical Group had to retreat too. Verviers suffered three air raids the night of 17 December. As more wounded were received the hospital was filled and an important operative backlog developed. Shifts were extended to 18 hours a day and the medical service had to lend quite a few Officers to the surgical service where they served in the shock section and as anesthetists. Meanwhile the 9th Field Hospital was receiving nearly all the casualties from the northern flank, so for a period of time, which lasted about a week, the bulk of the work fell on the 77th. 18 December was no better and a continuous stream of patients were admitted throughout the afternoon and evening. Fortunately, a number of Medical Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Technicians were received from hospitals that were bivouacking or had few patients. They came from the 32d General Hospital (activated 15 January 1943, affiliated to University of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, embarked for England 5 September 1943 –ed), the 12th Field Hospital, the 67th Evacuation Hospital, and the 25th General Hospital. Verviers had become an important road junction, and a bottleneck through which thousands of British and American troops were being fed into the northern flank. The enemy reacted quickly. On the night of 19 December, enemy planes dropped flares over town, picked their targets, and began bombing. It was one of the heaviest raids experienced by the town during the entire battle. The patient census meanwhile increased dramatically. During 20 December the town experienced a large number of airbursts caused by enemy artillery shells arriving regularly at five-minute intervals. Around about 0430 in the morning, one of the shells exploded lower and closer to the hospital, breaking several windows. Everyone who was not required for work, helped evacuate the patients to the shelters. After a few more shells, the hospital building was hit near the fourth floor (top of the building). Within a matter of seconds several Officers and EM were on the way and found the bathroom at the corner of the building almost completely demolished. The only fatality of that explosion was a patient, Anne K. Cullen, ARC worker, who was killed when a shell struck the bathroom where she was at the moment. Her body was found under the wreckage and notwithstanding all the help she died about an hour later. Some other Nurses were hit by flying glass but the remainder escaped injury. A few Officers, patients in the Hospital suffered some bruises and cuts. The damage to the building was considerable. However, little equipment was destroyed. 21, 22, and 23 December were more of the same with patients pouring in, in a never-ending stream! Just when every person was needed for work, a number of men were lost through hospitalization and transfer. Toward end December, the 77th received a number of enemy patients dressed in GI clothing. They had apparently been dropped behind American lines and eventually captured by the Military Police, but as they had been wounded, it was necessary to treat their injuries while they were awaiting trial. Christmas Day 1944, became for many Allied soldiers the most unpleasant Christmas. The day began with the hospital building being strafed as Midnight Mass was being held in the theater tent, fortunately no one was hurt. ARC workers and Nurses had made heroic efforts to instill some of the Christmas and Peace spirit into the different wards. Every ward had a small tree decorated with bits of white cotton and colored paper. Streamers and other decorations had been provided by the Red Cross and while the attempt was probably well appreciated, it only served to heighten homesickness. After distributing Christmas gifts to the patients, Christmas dinner was served. After dinner, the backlog of German patients was cleaned up. The weather cleared and Allied bombers and fighters were out in great force during the day, but at night the Luftwaffe did sneak in, be it with only a few aircraft. On 27 December, tragedy struck once more. The 9th Field Hospital had set up in a school building nearer the center of town, about one mile from the 77th. That day a German jet bomber came over and dropped a bomb which hit directly on the 9th Field Hospital. Fortunately, the majority of the patients had been evacuated, but nevertheless, 14 people were killed, most of them patients, and nearly 50 were injured. Both the dead and the wounded were rushed to the 77th Evac. A second bomb struck the town hitting one of the ambulances that was evacuating some patients from the 77th to the railroad. One of the patients was killed instantly, another severely wounded (he died soon afterward), but the driver and orderly remained untouched.

img
Scene illustrating a typical wash day at the 77th Evacuation Hospital.

As soon as it was learned that the Allies had gained the initiative and the Bulge front began to shrink, rumors came in that the 77th might have to move again. The 46th Field Hospital was expected to move into the building occupied by the organization. After two false moves, final orders came through, indicating that the 77th Evac was to move out. Early in the morning of 1 January 1945, a German plane dropped a bomb which hit the guard shelter at the receiving entrance. Fortunately the Corporal in charge was away unlocking some gates and was temporarily absent when the bomb exploded. It did however leave an enormous crater about 30 feet in diameter blowing large pieces of concrete over the top of the building in the front and going through the mess tent roof, breaking tables, blasting windows, and other furniture.

Reconnaissance parties were sent out to find a new location for the unit. The first two were unable to find a suitable place, but the third was successful, despite being strafed twice while on the road. The advance party then left on 3 January, followed by the main group the next day. The Nurses traveled in ambulances for the first time, while the Officers rode in the trucks. Most of the Enlisted personnel rode in 2½-ton trucks, with some sitting on top of the equipment. Final destination was La Louvière, Belgium. The contrast between Verviers and the new location was remarkable. There were no US troops stationed in La Louvière and for two weeks the 77th had the town almost to themselves. The EM were quartered in the “Ecole Moyenne Industrielle” and the Officers housed in the “Ecole Moyenne des Filles”. Lights in the town were on and the population appeared secure in their knowledge that Liberation was a fact and that the Germans would never return! The whole impression was now that it looked like the 77th had left the war far behind them, and although work was still necessary, the period took on the aspects of a mass furlough. The friendliness of the civilians quickly surpassed that of the people of Verviers. Three schools had been selected to be converted into a hospital and living quarters. The hospital was set up in “St. Joseph’s Secondary School”. The organization officially opened on 9 January 1945, when the first Hospital Train from Liège arrived. The census for that evening rapidly numbered 392. Thereafter, three more Hospital Trains followed and in addition to this there was a constant stream of admissions from nearby units. Meanwhile personnel transfers and losses continued to take place. The increased demand for Infantry Replacements also affected the 77th, and the unit lost 5 Enlisted Men as a result of transfer to combat units. In February 1945, 9 Enlisted Men received field commissions as Second Lieutenant in the Medical Administrative Corps and left the hospital. Few of the losses were compensated by new assignments. Some Officers were transferred to other medical units, others were evacuated because of illness, some were returned to the ZI on rotation or were granted emergency leave to the States, and many other personnel were sent on DS to other units.  

On 23 February 1945, two surgical teams were formed and ordered to join Ninth United States Army Surgeon’s Headquarters. First and Ninth US Armies were now rapidly advancing into Germany and Third US Army spearheads were racing to reach the Rhine River. The teams requested by the Ninth US Army Surgeon were soon to find out their new mission. The first surgical team commanded by Major Thomas G. Duckett assisted by 1 Medical Officer, 2 Nurses, and 2 Surgical Technicians was sent to the 100th Evacuation Hospital in Terwinselen, Holland, which was established in a large school building with the personnel quartered in tents. After finishing their mission, the hospital and the attached team moved to Suchteln, Germany, where they were very busy for a number of days. They then transferred to another location, near Rheinburg, Germany, to prepare for “Operation Varsity” by setting up the hospital to support the coming Rhine crossing operation. The team eventually returned to the 77th on 24 March. The second surgical team under Captain Raymond W. Postlethwait, supplemented by 1 Medical Officer, 2 Nurses, and 2 Surgical Technicians, was detached to the 108th Evacuation Hospital at Vaals, Holland to help care for casualties pertaining to the 29th – 30th and the 84th Infantry Divisions. On 2 March, they were transferred, together with another surgical team from the 5th Auxiliary Surgical Group to Herzogenrath, Germany to supplement the personnel of the 114th Evacuation Hospital which had just come over from the United States. On 23 March, the 108th Evac moved to a new site near Geldern, Germany, and set up in tents. This team reported back to the 77th on 29 March 1945. In the meantime another group consisting of 6 Officers was sent to help with triage work at the 12th Field Hospital.

On 14 March, orders were received and a reconnaissance party left to select a new hospital site in München-Gladbach, Germany. The advance party under Lt. Colonel Mervin J. Rumold soon reached the selected site and were followed a few days by a larger group arriving with new tentage. On 22 March 1945, the main body of the 77th Evac left La Louvière, Belgium, and arrived in München-Gladbach, Germany. The unit was now in enemy country…    

| Top |

Germany:

img
Partial view of the 77th Evacuation Hospital taken from an abandoned Flak tower, near München-Gladbach, Germany. Picture taken in March 1945.

The site selected for the erection of the 77th Evac was a large flat field 150 yards wide and 500 yards long. It was on a crest a little higher than the surrounding area with an unrestricted view over the valley. As usual the Engineers were called in soon after the advance party arrived, and before the main group came to München-Gladbach, well-drained roads had been scraped out and gravel deposited. The hospital was to set up under canvas, and after having staked out the entire area, a first row of tents was erected. Officers were quartered in two rows of pyramidal tents, then came the hospital area proper divided into four sections consisting of medical wards, medical headquarters, Nurses’ ward, and isolation ward, while another section provided space for the ARC people, the receiving department, the pharmacy and laboratory, evacuation, supply and storage, the x-ray department, the generators, and the patients’ mess. The last two sections included the surgical wards, surgical headquarters, minor surgery, and the operating rooms section. At the southern end of the medical rows, stood the Nurses’ tents, including mess tent, and recreation tent, with next to it, the supply section, the Enlisted Men’s mess, the theater tent, followed by the EM’s quarters and a general recreation area.
The new canvas was most welcome and erecting the tents went rapidly. After the tents had been pitched, signs were erected, new ones made and painted, white streamers tied to the tent pins, and rocks and stones whitewashed to line the roads. Dimly lighted signs were even placed at the main entrance and the receiving tent to guide any drivers on arrival. For the first time lights were installed in the EM’s quarters. The theater tent was reinforced with large boards used as scaffolding to brace it in case of stormy weather, and the recreation tents equipped with tables and chairs. It must be said that much of the material was obtained in the town from the factories with permission from the Military Government. Gravel, cement, stones, bricks, and boards were removed and brought to the hospital site. Electric wire and cable was retrieved from a bombed factory.

Stations in Germany – 77th Evacuation Hospital
München-Gladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia – 25 March 1945 > 19 June 1945

The 77th was now completely set up and awaiting the arrival of its first patients. The 17th Airborne Division and 6th British Airborne Division parachutists jumped east of the Rhine River, near Wesel on 24 March, and with regard to medical support for the operation, the hospital officially opened on 25 March 1945, receiving its first patient the very same day. The following days, more patients were received. From 26 March to 7 April 1945, an average of about 400-500 patients were received daily, and once more the unit was on a 24-hour working schedule. During the 16-day period of greatest activity, a total of 7,143 wounded were admitted. Admissions then changed as fewer and fewer Allied casualties were brought in, and more and more German PW patients were received. This looked very encouraging. There certainly was reason for growing optimism; at the beginning of April, the enemy defense had begun to disintegrate, and the Allies rushed ahead, rapidly advancing across Germany. The Ruhr Pocket was isolated and captured, the Soviets continued to advance on Berlin, and the “Stars and Stripes” carried announcements of fabulous gains. On 25 April, Soviet troops and American patrols linked on the Elbe River, near Torgau. Large cities were captured by the Allies. On 1 May, German Forces in Italy would surrender, Berlin would fall into Soviet hands on 2 May, followed by a German capitulation in Northwest Germany, Holland and Denmark on 4 May, and in Norway on 7 May, and the overall German unconditional surrender would be signed on 7 May. Finally, on 8 May 1945, the war would be officially over – Victory in Europe was a hard fact!

img
Partial view illustrating one of the many German PW transient enclosures built in Germany. The 77th Evacuation Hospital (and other medical units) requisitioned German prisoners, including medical and sanitary personnel to aid with construction of medical facilities and take over the medical care of German prisoner patients.

Increased numbers of enemy patients poured into the hospital many of them with but little medical treatment. Many wounds had become infected and irreparable damage done. Treatment of these prisoners required more time and attention, not only because of the medical complications that had developed in their wounds, but also because of their poor nutritional state. The colored Medical Sanitary Company which had worked hard during their stay with the 77th were ordered to another location and were replaced by the 8040th Medical Sanitary Company mainly consisting of Italians, captured during the North African campaign. This particular group of ex-PWs had been trained in England and were sent to the organization to act as litter bearers and to perform a number of tasks which required no complicated training. In the latter part of April it became obvious that there were to be many more PW patients to be treated and additional facilities were needed for their care. Prisoner of war transient enclosures were being set up in several nearby locations and along the Rhine River, not far from the hospital site and word was received that the 77th was expected to take patients from these enclosures. As there were few Allied casualties, all the wards, except four, were used for prisoners, but even this proved inadequate. The nearby PW cage finally held 160,000 prisoners, although many captured German personnel were sent to camps in France and Belgium for reconstruction labor. Because of the lack of civilian hospital facilities, thousands of enemy PW patients had to pass through American hospitals for treatment. The 9th Field Hospital was functioning at the PW cage in Rheinburg but was unable to cope with the large flow of patients (numerous elements of the 9th – 50th – 61st – 62d – 78th and 83d Field Hospitals were tasked with supporting the PW enclosures and recent PW Hospital Centers with German Medical and Sanitary personnel working under general supervision of American Medical Officers –ed). On 28 April, the 77th received orders to prepare to receive 2,000 enemy patients, and because of their limited capacity, a partially demolished factory was taken over to house 1,200 patients. The Italians (co-belligerents after their surrender –ed) and German PW labor were tasked with cleaning the buildings, and installed excess litters, folding cots, and blankets. From the numerous vacant and abandoned houses, tables, chairs, cabinets, dishes, and other necessary utensils were obtained; meanwhile another section was being constructed for more incoming prisoner patients. After the framework had been established and the hospital unit started functioning, a requisition for extra personnel was sent to the PW cage at Rheinburg and a complete staff of German medical personnel obtained. They gradually took over from the American Medical Officers and Nurses and were eventually allowed to assume complete charge of the unit, under supervision of American Officers. As more captured equipment was received from German Supply Dumps and seized factories, a small building was completely equipped to serve as kitchen. Showers were installed, laundry was functioning, and a mess constructed. To the German patients who had lived in miserable conditions in the PW enclosures, the hospital controlled by the 77th Evac, but almost run by the Germans, was paradise, and numerous prisoners begged to be kept as work details after they had recovered. The highest admission per day was 692 prisoner patients. During the month the PW hospital functioned under the supervision of the 77th Evac a total of 6,083 enemy patients were admitted, and 72 deaths registered. As the flow of prisoners continued, the unit was instructed to find a building and prepare it to receive 1,500 additional prisoner patients (from 1 May to 15 June 1945, PW admissions to American hospitals were about eight times those of US patients –ed). The Stadthalle in Rheydt was selected and made available and after a large amount of work and cleaning, the new place designated as the “77th’s Annex” opened after ten days of hard work, assisted by personnel from the 197th General and the 228th General Hospitals and extra labor furnished by a German medical detachment of 19 Medical Officers and 213 Enlisted Men from the Rheinburg PW cage. The annex run by the 77th operated for a period of 27 days admitting 3,049 enemy patients, of which 1,598 were returned to the enclosures after recovery, 21 died, 31 were transferred to the main hospital unit in München-Gladbach, and 1,399 were turned over to the British when they took over the hospital. The last promotions and commissions were confirmed during the unit’s stay in München-Gladbach, Germany, taking place in April, May, and June 1945 (two ANC Officers were later promoted to First Lieutenant in Mailly-le-Camp, France –ed).

img
One of the annexes built by the 77th Evacuation Hospital in an empty German factory, near the hospital site. It was one of the 'separate' medical facilities set up to treat enemy PW patients. German medical personnel gradually took over these places but remained under supervision of American Officers. The picture shows a  kitchen and chow line for prisoners and was probably taken during April-May 1945.

| Top |

The End:

The Information and Education program (I & E) introduced by Major Morris S. Harless began functioning fully, with weekly orientation lectures, and ETO news bulletins presentations given by Captain John G. Shellito and PTO weekly news presented by First Lieutenant Stewart P. Barden. After the Point System for Discharge and the Classification for Readjustment and Redeployment of units were announced, these became the main topics at the 77th. Practically every original member of the unit had above 90 points (85 points was the minimum target), many more had reached over 100 points. Classification was a different matter however; the units were to be inspected and eventually placed in a specific category (4 of them), but as shipping resources were limited, they would be utilized to speed up transportation of men and material to the Pacific Theater to hasten the end of the war with Japan. Rumors abounded and in order to keep the personnel busy, more lectures and recreation were provided. When 17 May 1945 came, a big Birthday Party was organized to celebrate the activation of the 77th Evacuation Hospital in 1942. This was the third anniversary spent overseas. Drinks were free and a special dinner was served only interrupted by the many speeches. Sports and games became popular after constructing a baseball diamond, setting up a basket ball court, volleyball courts, a badmington court, and several horseshoe pitching ranges. In addition swimming and lawn tennis facilities were secured and this too provided many hours of excellent recreation. All the activities led to a number of actual athletic contests which took place during the day, with lunches provided and dinners served by the participating units. Passes and furloughs were granted and trips organized to other countries such as England, France, Belgium, and inside Germany. One of the plush places was the French Riviera Recreation Area which became very popular with all military personnel.

Official Campaign Credits – 77th Evacuation Hospital
Normandy
Northern France
Central Europe

Increased transfers of low point Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men, and their replacement by high-pointers soon gave weight to the rumor that the 77th might eventually be on its way home… The first group of homeward bound personnel involved men with 102 or more points. After being selected, they were ordered to turn in their equipment and prepare for return to the Zone of Interior. The group, consisting of 59 men were practically all members of the original unit, the real backbone of the 77th Evac.
On 19 June 1945 the hospital closed for operations, turning over the remaining Prisoner of War patients to a British Hospital unit. The unit was then instructed to entrain for a staging area near Mailly-le-Camp, a village located approximately 17 miles west of Vitry-le-François, France. The area held a number of base camps with troops being processed for either return to the ZI or on their way to the Pacific. The 77th was ordered to act in the capacity of a General Hospital and provide medical care for three of the camps nearby. The selected field had been marked out by the advance detail under the direction of Captain Robert L. Newman. As there was no definite time set for the opening, works proceeded at a gradual pace. The personnel went to great lengths to make the tents more comfortable salvaging lumber to build floors, racks, and other luxuries for their prolonged stay, starting 27 June 1945.
A group of 16 high-point Officers left for home on 8 July 1945, in the frame of the “Green Project”. A second group consisting of 102 Enlisted Men followed on 12 July 1945, and a third group of 38 Enlisted Men were ordered to the Port of Embarkation on 16 July 1945. During March, April, May, and June replacements came into the unit in increasing numbers, and by September 1945, the last members of the original 77th Evacuation Hospital left Europe and were ordered home for a well-deserved Discharge. At this time, Major Hugo B. Paul was Acting XO of the unit.               

 Total Admissions – European Theater of Operations (incomplete)
Ste-Mère-Eglise, France – 3,234 Patients
St. Lô, France – 6,794 Patients
Chartres, France – 2,978 Patients
Clermont-en-Argonne, France – 1,155 Patients
Verviers, Belgium – 20,925 Patients

Individual Awards – 77th Evacuation Hospital Personnel
Colonel Dean M. Walker (MC) – Bronze Star Medal + French Croix de Guerre w/ silver star
Lt. Colonel James B. Weaver (MC) – Legion of Merit
Lt. Colonel Howard E. Snyder (MC) – Legion of Merit
Major Wayne C. Bartlett (MC) – Bronze Star Medal
Captain (Catholic Chaplain) James E. McEvoy (ChC) – Bronze Star Medal
Captain John F. Bowser (MC) – Bronze Star Medal
Captain Cornelius A. Mahoney (MC) – Silver Star
First Lieutenant Ellsworth A. Frederick (MC) – Bronze Star Medal
Second Lieutenant Marion A. Cross (HD) – Bronze Star Medal
Second Lieutenant Earl L. Hoard (MC) – Bronze Star Medal
Technical Sergeant Chauncey M. Felt (MD) – Bronze Star Medal
Staff Sergeant Ormand F. Cook (MD) – Bronze Star Medal
Technician 3d Grade Keith M. Gibbs (MD) – Bronze Star Medal
Technician 3d Grade Robert J. Gerlach (MD) – Bronze Star Medal
Miss Natalie Gould (ARC) – Bronze Star Medal

Awards – 77th Evacuation Hospital
« Meritorious Unit Commendation »

General Orders No. 30 Department of the Army, Washington 25, DC, 22 April 1948

By direction of the Secretary of the United States Army, under the provisions of paragraph 14, AR 260-15, the Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to the following unit of the Army of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services during the period indicated. The citation reads as follows:

The 77th Evacuation Hospital is commended for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services in the European Theater from 29 March 1944 to 30 April 1945. This unit rendered medical care of exceptional quality to the sick and wounded during the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes Offensive, and Central Europe campaigns. Personnel of this Hospital worked long and untiringly to care for and treat an unusually large number of patients during its operations in Europe. The consistent high standard of efficiency, military discipline, and esprit de corps, exemplified a superior degree of leadership and teamwork in the performance of duty and reflect great credit on the 77th Evacuation Hospital, the Medical Department, and the Army of the United States.

   

By order of the Secretary of the Army:

 
  Signed; Omar N. Bradley, Chief of Staff, United States Army

1944 Statistics – 77th Evacuation Hospital (incomplete)
Surgical Service – 25,408 Admissions
Triage – 5,659 Patients
Operations – 9,967 Patients
Deaths – 94 Patients
Anesthetics – 6,510 Patients
Plasma – 1,997 Units
Whole Blood – 678 Units
IV Fluids – 1,155 Solutions
X-Rays – 6,026 Examinations
Dental Clinic – 3,587 Settings
Medical Service – 6, 232 Admissions
Triage – 645 Patients
Upper Respiratory Infections – 1,090 Cases
Pneumonia – 174 Cases
Malaria – 371 Cases
Laboratory – 12,921 Tests
Pharmacy – over 12,000 Prescriptions
Operations – 193 Individual Operations Performed
Linen Spent & Sterilized – 154,000 Hand Towels, 77,200 Bath Towels, 100,000 White Sheets,
3,860 Pillow Cases, 9,650 Wool Blankets, 4,825 Operating Gowns, 150 Pairs of Surgical Gloves
Supplies Issued to Patients – 48,200 Pairs of Pajamas, 3,860 Bathrobes, 9,000 Pairs of Drawers,
9,550 Undershirts, 4,500 Pairs of Socks, 1,500 Complete OD Uniforms,
Mileage – 149,950 Miles
Gasoline – 187,200 Gallons
Signs – 1,400 Units
Electric Wire – 12 Miles

| Top |

Roster (incomplete):

Aberl, Robert M. (Tec 3)
Abernathy, Ruth D. (1st Lt)
Abrigo, Tilden C. (Sgt)
Agee, William J. (Pfc)
Alford, William I. (Tec 4)
Allen, Allton T. (S/Sgt)
Allen, Max S. (Maj)
Alley, Crosby W. (1st Lt)
Anderson, Frank H. (Tec 4)
Anderson, Martin F. (Maj)
Arbuckle, Millard F. (Col)
Arnold, Ralph A. (Capt)
Ashley, George L. (Capt)
Bailey, Clyde L. (Pvt)
Bailey, Helen E. (1st Lt)
Barbee, James (Cpl)
Barden, Stuart I. (Capt)
Barnhardt, Baxter P. (Tec 5)
Barreuther, Edward F. (Tec 4)
Bartlett, Wayne C. (Maj)
Bauer, Warren F. (Tec 3)
Bave, Grace G. (2d Lt)
Bayle, John D. (1st Lt)
Beck, Leo M. (Tec 5)
Belonge, John C. (Pvt)
Belote, Arthur F. (Tec 5)
Benefiel, Lloyd J. (Tec 5)
Benifield, Harry W. (Tec 4)
Bennett, Paul E. (Capt)
Berezny, Michael (Pfc)
Besser, Isidore (Pfc)
Bethune, Lamon W. (S/Sgt)
Birely, Morris F. (Capt)
Blaser, George W. H. Jr (Cpl)
Blau, Gerald J. (Pfc)
Block, Robert W. (Tec 3)
Bortz, Mary C. (1st Lt)
Bowers, Marvin L. (1st Lt)
Bowser John (Capt)
Boyce, Oren D. (Capt)
Bradley, Jack Jr (Capt)
Brenner, Irving (Pvt)
Brewer, Hughie J. (Pvt)
Brickman, Jacob (Capt)
Bridges, Otha R. (Cpl)
Bright, Emory H. (Sgt)
Bright, Theodore R. (Pfc)
Brown, Angus D. (Pvt)
Brown, Earl J. (Pfc)
Brown, Elwin M. (Pfc)
Brown, Harwin J. (Capt)
Brownd, Chester N. (Tec 5)
Buchholz, Robert M. (Tec 3)
Burch Patt M. (Tec 5)
Burdine, Ira P. (Capt)
Burkett, James A. (Tec 5)
Burks, Moton J. (Pvt)
Burnet, Burgh S. (Col)
Bustle, Roy L. (Pvt)
Butts, James N. (Pfc)
Camp, Charles E. (Tec 4)
Cantrell, Roy V. (Pfc)
Carey, Robert H. (Pvt)
Carmichael, Francis A. (Capt)
Carver, Eugene (Tec 5)
Carver, John C. (Pfc)
Chadwick, Herbert M. (Tec 3)
Challacombe, James H. (Tec 5)
Chaloupka, Glenn A. (T/Sgt)
Chappell, Walter W. (Tec 5)
Christian, Clarence G. (Tec 3)
Christmas, Charles (Tec 5)
Clark, Clifford C. (S/Sgt)
Clark, James E. (Pfc)
Clarkston, Floyd A. (Tec 4)
Clason, John W. (2d Lt)
Clute, Howard E. (Tec 5)
Cocosa, Michael E. (Tec 5)
Coffee, Lincoln B. (Sgt)
Coffman, Earl E. (Tec 5)
Cogburn, Lawrence A. Jr (Tec 4)
Coker, Jessie D. (Pfc)
Colbert, Bernard (Sgt)
Collins, Rupert M. (Pfc)
Cook, Ormand F. (2d Lt)
Cooke, Samuel L. (Col)
Cooper, Frank (Pvt)
Cover, James E. (2d Lt)
Cox, James L. (Tec 5)
Cox, Reid L. (2d Lt)
Cranford, Hubert W. (Tec 5)
Crawford, Orville (Tec 5)
Crawford, Wayland E. (Pfc)
Crean, J. S. (Pvt)
Critchfield, Lenore M. (2d Lt)
Cross, Dean L. (Pfc)
Cross, Marion A. (1st Lt)
Cross, Roberta F. (2d Lt)
Crosten, Doyle B. (Pfc)
Crowe, James H. (Sgt)
Cullen, Matthew A. (Pfc)
Culver, Carl G. (Pvt)
Curphey, Esther A. (1st Lt)
Curtiss, Henry D. (Tec 3)
Czarny, Thomas J. (Pfc)
Dail, Forrest (Pvt)
Dambach, Clara M. (2d Lt)
D’Amico, Giovanni (Tec 4)
Dark, Letha M. (1st Lt)
Davis, Charles Jr (Cpl)
Davis, Freeman (Pvt)
Davis, James M. (Pfc)
Davis, Raymond H. (Pfc)
Davis, William L. (T/Sgt)
Deay, Noah D. (Pfc)
Dee, Franklin T. (Tec 4)
Delp, Mahlon H. (Lt Col)
De Mar, Philip J. (Capt)
Denaro, Frank (Tec 5)
De Rue, Eugene H. (Sgt)
Despa, Victor (2d Lt)
Dickerson, Merle V. (Tec 4)
Dillon, Tony G. (Maj)
Diner, Alex
Douthit, Lloyd B. (Tec 3)
Dowding, Robert V. (Tec 5)
Downs, Dorothy D. (1st Lt)
Druce, Sidney (Capt)
Dry, Charles J. (Tec 3)
Dubeau, Eugene H. (Pvt)
Duckett, Thomas G. (Maj)
Dukes, Howard D. (Capt)
Duncan, George R. (Pfc)
Duncan, Orville D. (Tec 5)
Dzurny, John M. (Tec 3)
Early, Joseph F. (T/Sgt)
Edwards, Herbert H. (Pfc)
Eisentaedt, Louise (ARC)
Eldridge, Herbert A. (Sgt)
Elliott, Floyd C. (Tec 4)
Elliott, Genadah L. (Sgt)
Elliott, Mary J. (1st Lt)
Eno, Pierre T. (Tec 5)
England, R. J. (Sgt)
Erb, Paul R. (Tec 4)
Esson, Clifford L. (Pfc)
Everson, Clifford G. (Tec 4)
Ewing, James E. (Pvt)
Ewing, Mary A. (1st Lt)
Falk, Noble R. (Pvt)
Felt, Chauncey M. (T/Sgt)
Fidel, Alfred J. (Tec 5)
Fiechtner, Arndt A. (Pfc)
Fincannon, Arthur L. Sr (Tec 4)
Fish, Charles D. (Tec 5)
Fisher, Charles B. (Sgt)
Fisher, James B. (Capt)
Fitzgerald, Gladys R. (1st Lt)
Flanders, Joseph R. (Tec 5)
Floyd, Walter R. (Capt)
Forsythe, Robert W. (Capt)
Foster, John S. (Pvt)
Fox, James H. (Cpl)
Franklin, Glenn C. (Capt)
Fraser, Richard S. (Capt)
Frederick, Ellsworth A. (Capt)
Frederick, Ralph A. (Pvt)
Fritzsche, Herbert M. (T/Sgt)
Frydendall, Beulah H. A. (1st Lt)
Frye, William R. (Sgt)
Gabbard, John W. (Tec 4)
Gale, Norman A. (Capt)
Gales, Lonnie F. (Pvt)
Garmus, Stanley J. (Pvt)
Garruto, Henry G. (Pfc)
Gautschi, William I. (Capt)
Gerlach, Robert J. (Tec 3)
Gevock, Gerald E. J. (Pfc)
Gibbs, Keith H. (2d Lt)
Gibson, David E. (Tec 5)
Gillette, Dorothy L. (1st Lt)
Gilliland, Louise 1st Lt)
Girty, Arthur J. (Sgt)
Gogel, Mary A. (1st Lt)
Gooch, Eugene T. (Cpl)
Goodale, Dorothy L. (1st Lt)
Gould, Nathalie (ARC)
Gratias, Gordon W. (Tec 4)
Greco, John T. (2d Lt)
Greene, Frank B. (Pfc)
Greenlief, Henry E. (Pvt)
Greenspun, David S. (Capt)
Griggs, Grady H. (Pfc)
Grimes, David R. (Tec 4)
Grosjean, Wendell A. (Maj)

img
Nurses of the 77th Evacuation Hospital enjoy a short break after lunch.

Grossman, Lester I. (Tec 4)
Gulledge, John R. (Tec 4)
Gum, Wilbur H. (Tec 5)
Haas, Leonard J. (1st Lt)
Hagins, Elizabeth J.
Haire, George M. (Tec 5)
Hall, Virginia
Haloski, Walter V. (Sgt)
Hamilton, Tom R. (Capt)
Hanneke, Arthur A. (Tec 5)
Hanson, Florence V. (1st Lt)
Harden, George A. (Tec 4)
Harless, Morris S. (Maj)
Harman, Lloyd (Tec 5)
Harper, James W. (Tec 5)
Harper, Saul P. (Tec 5)
Harrell, Horace C. (Tec 5)
Harrington, Paul R. (Maj)
Harris, Leslie T. (Pvt)
Hart, Marjorie N. (1st Lt)
Hartman, Lloyd (Tec 4)
Hashinger, Edward J. (Lt Col)
Hayes, Joseph O. (Pfc)
Head, Homer (Capt)
Hedger, Ashpy (Cpl)
Hendrix, Roy (Pvt)
Heine, Marie A. (1st Lt)
Heinen, Rodney W. (T/Sgt)
Hensel, Carl W. (Cpl)
Hideout, John (Capt)
Hitchcock, George J. (Sgt)
Hoard, Earl L. (1st Lt)
Hoch, Lillian M. (1st Lt)
Hofele, Robert M. (Tec 5)
Holt, Frances R. (1st Lt)
Homan, Earl J. (Tec 4)
Honeycutt, John P. (Cpl)
Hoover, Harry M. (Tec 5)
Hoskins, Martin L. (Tec 4)
Hostacky, John A. (Pfc)
Hour, Frances
Howard, James C. (Tec 4)
Howard, Mary E. (2d Lt)
Hubbard, Kenneth C. (Tec 5)
Hudson, Leslie R. (Pvt)
Huff, Martin A. Jr (Tec 4)
Inglis, Chester R. (Pfc)
Jackson, Ellis F. (Tec 3)
Jakeway, Virgil D. (S/Sgt)
Jamar, André (Interpreter)
James, Ralph C. (Pvt)
Jarvis, George A. (Tec 4)
Jenkins, James H. (Pfc)
Jenks, Mallie G. (Cpl)
Jensen, Edward (Pfc)
Jensen, Leo J. (Tec 4)
Jernigan, John F. (Pfc)
Jerome, Rollin V. (Tec 4)
Johnson, Charles E. (Tec 5)
Johnson, Leon P. (Tec 5)
Johnson, Russell T. (Tec 5)
Jones, Broadway (Pfc)
Jones, Carl R. (Pvt)
Jones, Ollie F. (Pfc)
Kaloustain, Mesrob K. (Pfc)
Kammerer, John (Tec 5)
Katzen, Raymond (Capt)
Kaufmann, Lisbeth C. (1st Lt)
Keeney, Edward J. (1st Lt)
Kemp, Virgil L. (Cpl)
Kempster, Mary E. (1st Lt)
Kendall, Alvin E. (F/Sgt)
Kennedy, Leo B. (Pfc)
Kent, Henry H. (Pvt)
Keough, Thelma M. (1st Lt)
Kerns, Smith G. (Pvt)
Kesselring, Jason B. (S/Sgt)
Kesterson, Harlan Y. (Tec 5)
King, William J. B. (Tec 5)
Kinlaw, Cary W. (Pfc)
Kirk, Lannie (Pvt)
Klein, Howard G. (Tec 5)
Klepfel, Fred L. (Cpl)
Knuibas, Anna M. (1st Lt)
Kocsis, John S. (Pvt)
Koenn, Daniel C. (Tec 4)
Kohlwaies, Kenneth J. (Tec 5)
Kohut, Joseph A. (Tec 4)
Kolb, Robert W. (Tec 4)
Korsak, Victor L. (2d Lt)
Kowal, John (Tec 4)
Kowalski, Zygmont (Tec 5)
Kraus, Walter F. L. (Pfc)
Kuhn, William F. (Maj)
Kunze, William F. Jr (Tec 5)
Lackey, Arthur D. (Pfc)
Laing, Raymond P. (Tec 5)
Lair, Earl J. (Tec 4)
Lake, Frances L. (2d Lt)
Lalich, Joseph J. (Capt)
Lambert, Ed W. (S/Sgt)
Lamm, Bert D. (Pvt)
Lane, Richard (Tec 5)
Lasalandra, Vincent (Tec 5)
Lathrop, Verner O. (Tec 5)
Laufhutte, John J. (Pvt)
Law, George R. (Tec 4)
Lay, Lilburn H. (Tec 3)
Leach, Sarah C. (1st Lt)
Lentz, Odele (Interpreter)
Leonard, Joseph W. (Pvt)
Lester, Edmund G. (Cpl)
Lettau, Bernard J. (Tec 4)
Lewis, Arthur D. (Pfc)
Linton, Hyman E. (Pvt)
Lipschultz, David (Pfc)
Lipson, Abe (Pvt)
Locklear, Donnie (Tec 4)
Lockwood, Mervin G. (Tec 4)
Logan, Richard B. (Tec 4)
Long, Thomas S. (1st Lt)
Lowery, Lacey (Pvt)
Lowery, William J
Lucas, Garfield (Pfc)
Mace, Erma K. (1st Lt)
Magyary, William J. (Tec 5)
Mahan, Violet R. (1st Lt)
Mahoney, Cornelius A. (Capt)
Major, Charles C. (Tec 4)
Malin, John P. (M/Sgt)
Mandry, Joseph H. (Tec 5)
Maney, Lawrence J. (Tec 5)
Mansell, Timothy B. (2d Lt)
Martello, Joseph B. (Tec 5)
Martin, Harold (Pvt)
Marzoa, Edward (Pfc)
Mascia, Frank J. (Sgt)
Mason, Walter L. Jr (2d Lt)
Master, Earl J. (Tec 5)
Maurice, Phillip M. (T/Sgt)
Maye, James E. (2d Lt)
Mayes, Virgil L. (Sgt)
McClafferty, Vincent D. (Pfc)
McClamrock, Roy R. (Pvt)
McClanahan, Ralph V. (Pfc)
McConchie, James E. (Capt)
McConnell, Kenneth F. (Tec 3)
Mc Dermott, John J. (T/Sgt)
McDonald, James A. (Pvt)
McDonald, Sidney (Pfc)
McEvoy, James E. (Capt) Catholic Chaplain
McFarland, Ford H. (Tec 4)
McGowan, John F. (Capt)
McGrogan, Elizabeth C. (1st Lt)
McIntosh, Helen A. (1st Lt)
McIntosh, Virginia R. (1st Lt)
McKenny, Donald J. (Tec 3)
McKenzie, David W. (Pvt)
McQuiddy, Maurice M. (T/Sgt)
Meadows, James K. (Tec 4)
Mease, James B. (Tec 4)
Meek, Frank N. (Tec 5)
Meeker, George J. (Tec 3)
Menees, Robert E. (Capt)
Michael, Kenneth L. (Tec 4)
Miguez, Marcel (Pvt)
Millman, Louis J. (Capt)
Milnor, Oscar J. (1st Lt)
Mize, John L. (Tec 5)
Moats, Paul (Pfc)
Modrall, Earl C. (S/Sgt)
Mooneyham, T. J. (Pvt)
Moore, Robert N. (Tec 3)
Morin, Leo A. (Pvt)
Moyer, Walter E. (S/Sgt)
Myers, Lewis W. (Pfc)
Nahrendorf, Hermina M. (1st Lt)
Neis, Harold M. (Tec 5)
Nelson, Oscar E. (Tec 5)
Neumann, Margaret L. (2d Lt)
Newhauser, Irwin E.
Newman, Joseph B. (Pvt)
Newman, Robert L. (Capt)
Nick, George G. (Sgt)
Nicksch, Donald W (2d Lt)
Nicolello, Patrick F. (Tec 5)
Nordlund, John V. (Tec 5)
Novicki, Frederick J. (Pfc)
Oakes, Thomas C. (Tec 4)
O’Donnell, John E. (Maj)
Olszewski, Walter J. (Capt)
Olwell, Edward A. (S/Sgt)
O’Meara, Francis Jr (Pfc)
O’Neil, Thomas J. (Sgt)
Orletsky, Walter (Pfc)

img
Signpost indicating the 77th Evacuation Hospital.

Orth, Evelyn M. (1st Lt)
Packer, Jack M. (Tec 5)
Paik, Marie (1st Lt)
Palmer, Clarence E. (Capt)
Panciocco, Gaspare G. (Tec 5)
Parker, Edwin C. (Tec 4)
Parker, Roy L. (Pvt)
Parnell, James T. (Pvt)
Parrish, Sam E. (Tec 5)
Parsons, Harry R. (Cpl)
Partin, James L. (F/Sgt)
Paul, Hugo B. (Maj)
Pead, Raymond O. (Pfc)
Peetz, Russell O. (Tec 5)
Penko, John W. (Tec 4)
Pennell, John O. (Pvt)
Pennington, George (Pvt)
Perdew, John W. (Pfc)
Perdue, Gladys C. (1st Lt)
Peterson, Elvira L. (1st Lt)
Peterson, George K. (2d Lt)
Pilch, Stanley J. (Tec 5)
Pinto, Anthony P. (Tec 5)
Pitt, Franklyn S. (Tec 5)
Pittman, Lacy M. (Tec 5)
Porter, Carl E. (1st Lt)
Postlethwait, Raymond W. (Capt)
Piest, Ernest M. (Pvt)
Provost, Chester E. (Pfc)
Pruett, Linwood V. (Tec 5)
Rabe, Melvin A. (Capt)
Ramaley, Benjamin D. (2d Lt)
Ramsay, Mae I. (1st Lt)
Ranney, Gordon W. (Pfc)
Ransom, Mary L. (ARC)
Rasmussen, Harold W. (Tec 5)
Ray, Daniel F. (Pfc)
Reed, Arpha E. (Pvt)
Reese, Eva M. (1st Lt)
Rhyne, Thomas H. (Pvt)
Rice, Woodrow W. (Cpl)
Richardson, Thurman J. (S/Sgt)
Ridout, John (Capt) Protestant Chaplain
Roberson, Willis B. (Pvt)
Robertson, Dillard (Pfc)
Rodriguez, Gladys J. (2d Lt)
Rogers, James D. (Pvt)
Rohr, Irene (1st Lt)
Rolseth, Ralph (Tec 5)
Romer, Einer (Capt) Protestant Chaplain
Roof, Welty W. (Pvt)
Rosen, Charles (Tec 5)
Rountree, William S. (Tec 5)
Rue, Elmer E. (Tec 4)
Rumold, Mervin J.(Lt Col)
Russ, John E. (Tec 3)
Russell, Thomas H. (Tec 5)
Ryan, Edward E. (M/Sgt)
Rye, Walter R. I. (Sgt)
Sale, James L. (T/Sgt)
Sallen, John A. (Tec 4)
Salter, William T. (Tec 4)
Scaturo, Louis (Pfc)
Schaffernegger, Eugene (Pfc)
Schloredt, Frederick L. (Tec 3)
Schmelz, Leo E. (Pvt)
Schmidt, Joseph T. (Pfc)
Schmidt, Melvin
Schuler, Elaine P. (1st Lt)
Schultz, Harold I. (Tec 5)
Schwartz, Marvin (Pfc)
Scott, James T. (Tec 5)
Scully, Edward T. (Tec 4)
Seabolt, Elmer L. (Tec 5)
Seelen, Herbert W. (Cpl)
Seitz, Homer D. (Pfc)
Seymour, Louise E. (1st Lt)
Shaffer, Edwin W. (Tec 5)
Shaw, George S. (Pfc)
Shearman, Murvin D. (Tec 5)
Shellito, John G. (Capt)
Shelor, Rufus H. (Cpl)
Sherrill, Harold E. (Tec 5)
Sherwood, Ira A. (Pvt)
Sherwood, William H. (Cpl)
Shirley, Clio E. (1st Lt)
Shultz, Harold D. (Tec 5)
Sindt, Clarence O. (Tec 4)
Sipple, Esther J. (1st Lt)
Sisti, Vito J. (Pvt)
Sittig, Nancy J. (1st Lt)
Skoda, Joseph L. (Cpl)
Slaughter, Alvis C. (Pvt)
Smith, Dorcas F. (2d Lt)
Smith, Edgar E. (Capt)
Smith, Frank J. (Tec 5)
Smith, Helen M. (2d Lt)
Smith, Henry (S/Sgt)
Smith, Kenneth E. (Tec 4)
Smith, Otha S. (Pvt)
Smith, Tom (Tec 5)
Smith, Wilton M. (Cpl)
Smolar, Lester (Tec 4)
Smolik, Louis E. (Tec 5)
Snyder, Anthony J. (Pfc)
Snyder, Edith J. (1st Lt)
Snyder, Howard E. (Col)
Snyder, John H. (Pfc)
Snyder, Maurice (Lt Col)
Soderberg, Nathaniel B. (Capt)
Sofin, Rosalie (1st Lt)
Sokup, John M. (Pfc)
Spak, George (Cpl)
Stachowiak, Edward
Stackpool, William T. (Tec 4)
Starr, Vernon C. (Tec 4)
Steffens, Albert C. (Captain) Catholic Chaplain
Stein, Robert D. (Tec 5)
Steiner, Doris L. (1st Lt)
Stell, Earnest H. (Pfc)
Sternbergh, Mary G. (ARC)
St. John, Margaret E. (1st Lt)
Stogner, Collie K. (Pvt)
Stotter Roland B. (2d Lt)
Streckfuss, Melvin G. (T/Sgt)
Strobl, Harold E. (Pfc)
Swift, Kate L. (2d Lt)
Sydenstricker, Dorothy V. (1st Lt)
Tackett, Paul M. (WOJG)
Talley, Elroy (Tec 5)
Tanner, Ben R. (Tec 4)
Thom, Walter J. (Tec 5)
Thomas, Ben H. (Tec 5)
Thompson, Alvin B. (Pvt)
Thompson, Hoyt E.
Thompson, Randall O. (2d Lt)
Thompson, William E. (Pfc)
Thuss, Virginia L. (2d Lt)
Toney, Fay (Tec 4)
Trapani, Salvatore (Tec 5)
Trokel, Michael (Pfc)
Tucker, John G. (Capt)
Turnbull, Henry (Tec 3)
Turner, Ivy J. (Pvt)
Uzas, Joseph A. (Cpl)
Van Baalen, Stanford (Tec 5)
Van Gordon, Amos C. (Pfc)
Vasconcellos, Albert (Pvt)
Venis, Nihil K. (Capt)
Vicario, Charles W. (Tec 4)
Voorhees, Gordon S. (Capt)
Wagenlander, Gus W. (Cpl)
Walker, Bessie (Capt)
Walker, Dean M. (Col)
Wallace, Jessie L. (1st Lt)
Waller, Harry C. (Sgt)
Walsh, William J. (2d Lt)
Ward, Kermit M. (Pfc)
Watterson, John W. (Pfc)
Way, Chung G. (Tec 5)
Weaver, James B. (Col)
Weber, Gordon G. (Tec 3)
Weisbender, Irene M. (1st Lt)
West, Grace G. (2d Lt)
Wheatley, Carl V. (Pvt)
Wherley, Enid M. (1st Lt)
White, David A. (Pvt)
Whitely, Jesse L. (Pfc)
Wiggens, Beverly R. (1st Lt)
Wild, Adolph (Pfc)
Wilkerson, Luther W. (Pfc)
Wilkeson, Forrest L. (Pfc)
Williams, Ira M. (Tec 3)
Williams, Leslie B. (Capt)
Williamson, Fletcher C. (Tec 5)
Wolff, Rudolph G. (Tec 4)
Woodard, John W. (Tec 5)
Woodworth, Harry D. (Cpl)
Woody, Harlan H. (Tec 5)
Woody, Jack D. (Sgt)
Wooten, Johnnie J. (Tec 5)
Wright, Edwin S. (Maj)
Wright, Roy T. (Pvt)
Wunderlich, Marvin, H. (Pvt)
Wurst, Joseph S. (Tec 5)
Yee, Jong F. (Tec 4)
Young, Donulus F. (Sgt)
Zeman, Josephine R. (1st Lt)
Ziesemer, Nelson W. (M/Sgt)
Zimmers, Arthur F. (F/Sgt)
Ziroff, Mary E. (1st Lt)

img
Surgery Consultants. From L to R: Colonel Edward D. Churchill (Surgery Consultant, Surgeon NATOUSA), Colonel Frank B. Berry (Surgery Consultant, Surgeon Seventh United States Army), Colonel James H. Forsee (CO 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group), Lt. Colonel Howard E. Snyder (Surgery Consultant, Surgeon Fifth United States Army).

Special note: Dr. Howard E. Snyder, a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, received a commission with the rank of Major and was assigned to the thoracic surgery section of the 77th Evacuation Hospital in May 1942. While serving with his unit in North Africa, he was appointed as Consultant in Surgery to the Surgeon, II Corps, Colonel Richard T. Arnest, on 15 March 1943. Major H. E. Snyder landed in Sicily on 10 July 1943 with the 261st Amphibious Medical Battalion. On 20 September 1943, the Officer was on TD with Brigadier General Frederick A. Blesse’s Surgeon Office, NATOUSA, in Algiers. On 11 October 1943, he arrived in Naples, Italy, to be appointed Consultant in Surgery to the Surgeon, Fifth United States Army, in fact initiating the ‘consultant system’ that was to be widely introduced in US Field Armies in World War 2.

| Top |

The MRC Staff wish to express their sincere gratitude to their regular contributor, Lynn McNulty, for his precious donation “Medicine Under Canvas – A War Journal of the 77th Evacuation Hospital”. The book, originally published in 1949 by The Sosland Press, Inc., and based on the work of a group of former members of the Hospital, was reprinted by The University of Kansas School of Medicine, in 2008. This valuable gift enabled them to edit a concise Unit History of the 77th Evacuation Hospital in World War 2. The majority of the texts and the many photographs were taken from the book and are courtesy of the University of Kansas Medical School. The MRC Staff sincerely appreciate the invaluable assistance provided by the parties concerned.

| Top |




| Home | Contact Us | Site Map |

All material on this website, including the name and logo, unless otherwise stated is © Copyright 2006-2014 to WW2 US Medical Research Centre. Some Rights Reserved.
Bottom Left Background Bottom Right