Medical Depots and Symbols

During World War 1, the Medical Department organized a number of ’Medical Supply Depots’, located within the continental United States. In 1939, the only Depot still active, was the St. Louis Medical Depot. Three Medical Supply Sections were also kept, be it under a different organization, run by a General Depot (under The Quartermaster General), while the Medical Supply Section itself remained under the control of The Surgeon General. Between the wars, most of the Medical Supply Sections handled procurement, distribution, and shipment, but this was to change after World War 2 broke out, when the War Department started its reorganization. In 1940, before the big reorganization and expansion program, there were 7 QM Depots and 5 General Depots. In August 1942 Medical Department Procurement Offices were established in New York and St. Louis; in September 1943, all purchases were now centralized by a single agency, the ‘Army Medical Purchasing Office’ (AMPO) in New York City. During WW2, additional requirements, purchases, and requisitions demanded an increase of available Depots as well as Medical Supply Sections (located within the General Depots). New Depots were to be established in the general vicinity of Ports of Embarkation or near important manufacturing centers, and additional storage capacity created.

In 1943, most General Depots, including the Medical Depots were now designated ‘Army Service Forces Depots’ (ASF). Each Army Service Forces Installation or specific Depot which either makes direct shipments overseas through Ports of Embarkation or Intransit Depots, or receives shipments from overseas areas is identified by a two-letter symbol, commonly called ‘Depot Symbol’.

Maneuvering a captured German tractor through muddy terrain at Medical Depot M-402 (open storage facility).

The list which follows covers Medical Depots:

Binghamton, New York MED Depot BZ Established 1943
Chicago, Illinois MED Depot CG Established 1940
Denver, Colorado MED Depot DN Established 1942
Kansas City, Missouri MED Depot KC Established 1942
Los Angeles, California MED Depot LS Established 1942
Louisville, Kentucky MED Depot LU Established 1943
St. Louis, Missouri MED Depot SL Established 1917
Savannah, Georgia MED Depot SG Established 1941
San Francisco, California MED Depot SZ Established 1942
Toledo, Ohio MED Depot TL Established 1941

Following list indicates Medical Supply Sections (located in General or ASF Depots):

Atlanta General-ASF Depot, Georgia AT Established 1941
Chicago General Depot, Illinois CG Established 1940
Columbus General-ASF Depot, Ohio CO Established before 1939
New Cumberland General-ASF Depot, Pennsylvania NC Established before 1939
New Orleans General Depot, Louisiana NL Established 1941
New York General Depot, New York NW Established 1943
Ogden General Depot, Utah OG Established 1941
San Antonio General-ASF Depot, Texas SA Established 1942
San Francisco General Depot, California SZ Established 1942
Schenectady General-ASF Depot, New York SC Established before 1939
Seattle General-ASF Depot, Washington ST Established 1941

Supplies being shipped from the ZI to the Communications Zone (ComZ) in the European Theater of Operations, were received, stored, and distributed by the ‘Medical Depots’ (or by the Medical Supply Sections, located in a General Depot). Every Field Army maintained at least one ’Army Medical Supply Depot’ which was run by a ‘Medical Depot Company’ (consisting of a Headquarters Detachment, a Maintenance Platoon, and three Storage and Issue Platoons). Medical Depots exclusively used an “M” prefix, while General Depots (which might have Medical Supply Sections), carried a “G” prefix. Those Medical Depots carrying a letter “T” suffix, designated a major Red Ball Express Terminal (such as M-406T).

Map showing major Medical Depots in the European Theater of Operations.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 13th November 2019 at 20:04.
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