3d General HospitalUnit History

3d General Hospital Officers Group, Camp Rucker, Ozark, Alabama – Photo taken, before departing the ZI for active service overseas.

3d General Hospital Officers Group, Camp Rucker, Ozark, Alabama – Photo taken, before departing the ZI for active service overseas.

Introduction & Activation:

The 3d General Hospital was officially activated at Camp Rucker, Ozark, Alabama 1 September 1942 (Division Camp; acreage 58,999; troop capacity 3,280 Officers and 39,461 Enlisted Men –ed).

In August of 1940, the Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York City was authorized to organize an affiliated unit to serve as the professional nucleus of the 3d General Hospital, to operate as a 1000-bed General Hospital in the Communications Zone, as set forth in TM 8-260 (War Department, Technical Manual, Fixed Hospitals of the Medical Department (General and Station Hospitals) –ed). The unit was to be set up in accordance with T/O 8-550 (War Department, Table of Organization, General Hospital –ed), which provided for a complement of 54 Officers of the Medical, Surgical, Dental, Medical Administrative, Quartermaster, Sanitary Corps, and the Corps of Chaplains. Provision was also made for 105 ANC Officers, 500 Enlisted Men, 3 Dietitians, and 3 Physio-Therapists. In addition, 5 American Red Cross workers were assigned to the organization (the Mount Sinai Hospital already sent medical units overseas in World War I; of the 24 Physicians and 65 Nurses serving during the Great War, the majority were from Mount Sinai. The Group was instrumental in finalizing the conversion of a 15th century monastery in Vauclaire, Dordogne, France, into a 500-bed hospital that at one point housed 2,800 patients –ed).

Organization – General Hospital
T/O 8-550 dated 1 April 1942 > 56 Officers + 105 Nurses + 1 Warrant Officer + 500 Enlisted Men
T/O 8-550 dated 3 July 1944 > 55 Officers + 83 Nurses + 1 Warrant Officer + 450 Enlisted Men

Following its activation, a new cadre joined the 3d General Hospital at Cp. Rucker, Alabama. It consisted of 9 Officers and 35 Enlisted Men transferred from the 48th General Hospital, as per Letter, Headquarters, Fourth Service Command, Services of Supply, 320.2-Medical-RS, dated 5 August 1942. The group consisted of:

First Lieutenant Colman F. Dunne, ChC, O-475951
First Lieutenant Ellington E. Wheeless, ChC, O-475099
Second Lieutenant Thomas K. Ballard, Jr., MAC, O-1533252
Second Lieutenant Bayard A. Miller, MAC, O-308604
Second Lieutenant Russell W. Price, MAC, O-1533425
Second Lieutenant James W. Polkinghorn, MAC, O-1533424
Second Lieutenant Edward A. Steck, MAC, O-1533454
Second Lieutenant Robert O. Yobs, QMC, O-1576839
Second Lieutenant Walter R. Zimmerman, Jr., MAC, O-1533055 

and 35 other ranks, all Enlisted Men, from Private to Technical Sergeant.

Sample of the “Camp Rucker Reporter”, a news bulletin edited and published by the staff of Camp Rucker. This particular issue is dated 11 February 1944.

Sample of the “Camp Rucker Reporter”, a news bulletin edited and published by the staff of Camp Rucker. This particular issue is dated 11 February 1944.

Two (2) more Officers were detailed from the 48th Gen Hosp to the 3d General Hospital in addition to their current duties, effective 1 September 1942. They were:

Colonel Henry W. Meisch, MC, O-11461 (detailed as Commanding Officer of the 3d Gen Hosp)
Captain Robert D. Schilling (detailed as Adjutant of the 3d Gen Hosp)
Both officers meanwhile carried on similar duties wih their current unit, the 48th Gen Hosp.

The above Officers were eventually joined the same day by:

Major Lester R. Tuchman, MC, O-403002 (from Fort Knox, Louisville, Kentucky)
Captain Samuel H. Klein, MC, O-398269 (from Fort Knox, Louisville, Kentucky)
First Lieutenant Vernon A. Weinstein, MC, O-473338 (from Stark General Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina)
First Lieutenant Gerson J. Lesnick, MC, O-476786 (from Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia)

The first detachment of ANC Officers assigned to the 3d Gen Hosp arrived at the post 3 September 1942 after a long trip via Montgomery, Alabama. The contingent was under command of Second Lieutenant Margaret G. Blake, ANC; the other members were:

Second Lieutenant Ruth O. Barthal, ANC, N-744482
Second Lieutenant Dorothy E. Beaty, ANC, N-744526
Second Lieutenant Grace M. Behrenberg, ANC, N-744481
Second Lieutenant Nannette Berkwits, ANC, N-744483
Second Lieutenant Muriel J. Berry, ANC, N-744484
Second Lieutenant Madeline F. Caldwell, ANC, N-744486
Second Lieutenant Gertrude J. Cohen, ANC, N-744487
Second Lieutenant Margaret Deutsch, ANC, N-744431
Second Lieutenant Mildred Feldman, ANC, N-744489
Second Lieutenant Ellen M. Fuller, ANC, N-744490
Second Lieutenant Lupe G. Gentile, ANC, N-744491
Second Lieutenant Margaret E. Haefner, ANC, N-744492
Second Lieutenant Hilda E. Hilliard, ANC, N-744432
Second Lieutenant Ruth M. Holland, ANC, N-744493
Second Lieutenant Elizabeth A. Klein, ANC, N-744433
Second Lieutenant Helen Kleinwechter, ANC, N-744494
Second Lieutenant Elizabeth Lemerich, ANC, N-744495
Second Lieutenant Tora Lundberg, ANC, N-744434
Second Lieutenant Selma Owen, ANC, N-744498
Second Lieutenant Frances M. Seiders, ANC, N-744435
Second Lieutenant Marguerite Self, ANC, N-744499
Second Lieutenant Mary A. Terry, ANC, N-744500
Second Lieutenant Catherine A. Vance, ANC, N-744436
Second Lieutenant Edith Weisel, ANC, N-744501
Second Lieutenant Norma A. Wilson, ANC, N-744503

Sample of Training Schedule for Officers and Nurses, Period 21 > 27 September 1942.

Sample of Training Schedule for Officers and Nurses, Period 21 > 27 September 1942.

An additional 38 Medical, Surgical, and Dental Officers were present for duty when Lieutenant Colonel George Hollander Donnelly, MC, O-17811 assumed command on 5 September 1942 (as per Paragraph 10, Special Order No. 230, War Department, dated 26 August 1942 –ed). The new organization was assigned two cantonment barracks for Officers, another two for the Nurses, and seven for the Enlisted personnel. Together with other buildings of similar construction for messing, supply, and recreation, these housing facilities proved adequate. Until all facilities were to become available, the new organization messed with the 5th Evacuation Hospital and shared headquarters with the 48th General Hospital.
The period between 3 and 6 September served for orientation and preparation. This included registration at Camp Rucker Headquarters, innoculations against typhoid, tetanus, and smallpox vaccination. Every new member of the organization was properly photographed for identification.
On Saturday, 6 September 1942, another small group of Officers arrived, having previously been on active service with other units. They included:

Major Edgar M. Bick, MC, O-289811 (from Fort Monmouth, Red Bank, New Jersey)
Captain Henry Doubilet, MC, O-439406 (from Camp Croft, Spartanburg, South Carolina)
Captain Isidore S. Schapiro, MC, O-441327 (from Camp Croft, Spartanburg, South Carolina)
First Lieutenant Albert R. Sheppard, DC, O-416547 (from Fort Monmouth, Red Bank, New Jersey)

The unit’s staff was headed by the following Officers:

Lieutenant Colonel George H. Donnelly, MC, O-17811 – Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Herman Lande, MC, O-411100 – Executive Officer + Chief Medical Service
Lieutenant Colonel Percy Klingenstein, MC, O-403983 – Chief Surgical Service

Training:

A Training Program was started 7 September 1942 for Officers and Nurses in accordance with MTP 8-10, War Department, dated 29 July 1942, and designed for a 60-day period. The first month of training was entirely devoted to lectures and demonstrations of administrative procedures applicable to a General Hospital functioning in the Zone of Communications. At the same time, physical condition was emphasized with graded physical training including drills, marches, hikes, calisthenics, and sports. During the second half of the training schedule the program was supplemented by a professional refresher course for the MC Officers covering those fields of medicine of special military importance. During this period the Nurses were assigned to a half day duty at the Camp Rucker Station Hospital in order to gain practical experience in Army administrative procedures. The formal program for Officers and Nurses was completed 5 November 1942. For the next 5 months of stay at Cp. Rucker, Ozark, Alabama, some of the male Officers were assigned professional duties, but the majority acted as observers at the Post Station Hospital. Eight (8) of these Officers were temporarily assigned for professional studies at Army Schools (for a duration of 6 to 12 weeks) but unfortunately only 6 of them were able to complete their courses before the unit left Camp Rucker. Training started with daily calisthenics and drill at 0800 hours, followed by lectures and training films, up to lunch which started at 1200. Classes resumed again at 1300 hours with lectures and courses, sometimes ending with a march or a hike, and came to an end at 1700 hours. When marches were organized, the starting point was usually 0800 hours, with a small lunch break from 1145 to 1245, after which the march proceeded further until 1530 hours, time at which trucks at a fixed RV-point were waiting to bring everyone back to camp.
On basis of this experience, the training program proved to be inadequate in certain important aspects, and many Officers were ill prepared for problems related to military surgery overseas! Furthermore, although it was 10½ months from the time of activation until the MC Officers began to function in a professional capacity, it was impossible to provide for training of more than 8 Officers in such special subjects as Tropical Medicine and Orthopedic, Maxillo-Facial, Chest, and Neuro-Surgery. It also became evident that more training in the operation of field installations should have been planned for even a supposedly fixed installation such as a numbered General Hospital.

Officers’ morning drill, conducted by 2d Lieutenant Thomas K. Ballard, Jr., MAC, O-1533252, who was not only the Detachment Commander (primary duty), but also the Unit Supply Officer, the Gas Officer, as well as the Billeting Officer.

Officers’ morning drill, conducted by 2d Lieutenant Thomas K. Ballard, Jr., MAC, O-1533252, who was not only the Detachment Commander (primary duty), but also the Unit Supply Officer, the Gas Officer, as well as the Billeting Officer.

The first large group of Enlisted Men, approximately numbering 250, arrived directly from Induction Centers on 21 November 1942. The remainder joined Camp Rucker on 1 December 1942, and a Mobilization Training Program, based on MTP 8-1, War Department, dated 18 February 1942, designed for a 10-week period was instituted. After 2 weeks of basic training for all EM, men were selected for Administrative, Automotive, Cooks and Bakers, and Surgical and Medical Technicians Schools. Subsequently, prospective Technicians were chosen from those taking the special courses for training as Medical, Surgical, Dental, Laboratory, and X-Ray specialists by the professional Officers of the organization. Due regard was given to their continued training, including physical conditioning and necessary individual security measures. In addition, 75 Technicians training at various named General Hospitals were assigned as specialists to the 3d General.

Throughout the entire training period the unit was confronted with a lack of adequate hospital facilities for the training of both Officers and Enlisted Men. The 1000-bed Post Station Hospital was indeed the only medical installation available for training of the 10 different hospital units stationed at Camp Rucker in this period. With few exceptions the Medical and Surgical Officers served only as observers and adequate practical training could only be provided for about one half of the Technical specialists! Following the period of basic training all the Nurses served in their professional capacity at the Camp Rucker Station Hospital.

Not only did the lack of hospital equipment badly influence training; but other reasons would soon affect the organization. By 1 January 1943, 640 EM were on duty with the 3d General Hospital. However, soon after, the organization was seriously affected by the Army Directive to discharge all men over 38 who could be of service in essential national industry. Nearly 150 men were made eligible for discharge and of this number 141 signified their intention to apply for Honorable Discharge. Before the 3d left Cp. Rucker, Alabama, 128 of these men were effectively discharged! Moreover, the unit was ordered to leave behind a cadre of 30 men and was truly confronted with a shortage of personnel when it was alerted for early overseas movement 30 March 1943, the final readiness date for equipment being set for 12 April 1943 and for all personnel 16 April. All leaves and furloughs were immediately cancelled, and all those men ho had been on DS with other units, were ordered back to the organization. Requisitions for classified Enlisted personnel to bring the organization to its authorized T/O strength were made but the men could not be obtained before the date of departure and therefore 40 EM were selected from other medical units a mere two days before leaving Cp. Rucker. With few exceptions these replacements were unsatisfactory. The 52 ANC Officers requisitioned to bring the nursing staff to T/O strength all arrived within 48 hours of departure from Cp. Rucker (although they all had to be processed before leaving for their overseas assignment). A showdown inspection took place, followed by a briefing on SOP for Preparation for Overseas Movement. Several pertinent training films were shown to emphasize the importance of military discipline and secrecy. Last minute preparations included the stenciling of luggage shipment numbers which had only been received on 8 April – designation: 1254RR.

Training Schedule. Before the hike: Lieutenant Colonel George H. Donnelly, MC, O-17811, Commanding Officer, talks with some of his fellow Officers.

Training Schedule. Before the hike: Lieutenant Colonel George H. Donnelly, MC, O-17811, Commanding Officer, talks with some of his fellow Officers.

Preparation for Overseas Movement:

On 12 April 1943 the organization’s equipment was shipped to the New York Port of Embarkation and on 18 April the personnel left in two groups arriving at Camp Shanks Staging Area, Orangeburg, New York (one of 3 Staging Areas for NYPOE; acreage 2,200; troop capacity 48,875 Officers and Enlisted Men –ed). All the personnel, the necessary supplies and personal luggage were collected and sent to the pier, after which the necessary processing of personnel including immunization (typhus shots) were duly completed within 48 hours. Any clothing that didn’t look good was turned in for salvage and exchanged. As part of the procedure the entire unit had their gas masks inspected and subsequently tested in the gas chamber. Some thought they had some clue as to the overseas destination since devices such as protection against dust, sunglare, and the like were distributed.  Relaxation and recreation while being processed at the staging area, were extremely limited as the camp was in fact restricted. Finally restrictions were lifted and roughly 50% of the 3d were granted the eagerly awaited 12-hour passes which dissipated some of the tension among the men.

With Special Order No. 93, Headquarters Camp Rucker, Alabama, dated 17 April 1943 and based on telephonic instructions received from Headquarters, Fourth Service Command, Atlanta, Georgia, dated 16 April 1943, the 3d General Hospital consisting of 56 Officers – 116 Nurses – 1 Warrant Officer – and 500 Enlisted Men were to depart the Post by rail so as to arrive at Cp. Shanks, Orangeburg, New York by 1600 hours, 19 April 1943 for a permanent change of station. Train No. 1 was under command of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Karelitz, MC, O-417781, while Major Leon Ginzburg, MC, O-404716 commanded Train No. 2. The Nurses’ group included 3 Physical Therapy Aides, 2 Hospital Dietitians, and 5 American Red Cross workers. The trains finally reached their destination after 2100 hours!

US Army troops take place in British LCA landing barges for the short run to the shores of North Africa. This photo was taken during “Operation Torch”, 8 November 1942, during the Allied landings in French Morocco (Western TF) and Algeria (Center & Eastern TF).

US Army troops take place in British LCA landing barges for the short run to the shores of North Africa. This photo was taken during “Operation Torch”, 8 November 1942, during the Allied landings in French Morocco (Western TF) and Algeria (Center & Eastern TF).

On 3 May 1943, the 3d General Hospital advance party (consisting of 23 Officers supplemented by 11 Enlisted Men –ed) boarded the French troopship “Louis A. Pasteur” followed by the main body 24 hours later, which left at 1715 hours for the port area. Once inside the pier, Red Cross volunteers distributed cigarettes, donuts, coffee, and chocolate and some words of encouragement to the staff and personnel waiting to use the gangplank. The SS “Louis A. Pasteur” (built in 1938 and completed in 1939; the outbreak of the war delayed deployment of the ship and she was laid up in Saint-Nazaire in France; in 1940 she was commissioned to carry 200 tons of gold reserves from Brest, France to Halifax, Nova Scotia; following the fall of France, she was requisitioned by the British and used as a troop transport, carrying over 300,000 Allied troops during the war –ed) sailed from New York harbor on 5 May 1943 at 0800 hours. The converted passenger liner had accomodations for 1,100 passengers but carried 5,500 soldiers on board. The Enlisted Men were at least 600 in excess of the maximum number that should be carried and this overcrowding resulted in unsanitary conditions of the latrines, living quarters, and messing facilities. Colonel George H. Donnelly, CO, 3d General Hospital, assumed the responsibility of senior Medical Officer and the ship’s medical facilities (4 troop hospitals and 2 dispensaries) were operated by a group of Officers, Nurses, and selected Enlisted Men of the unit. During the overseas journey 61 soldiers were treated on board and 669 as outpatients. After the second day out at sea, the most common syndrome presented was a patient with a green-yellow pallor, acute anorexia, nausea, and vomiting, quickly associated with seasickness. As was to be expected in view of the overcrowded quarters, many soldiers were treated for respiratory infections. For the first 3 or 4 days most of these infections took the form of naso-pharyngitis but towards the end of the sea voyage a number of cases of pneumonia also developed, together with such contagious diseases as mumps and measles. There is no doubt that if the trip had lasted several more days, the unit would have been confronted with a widespread outbreak of severe respiratory ailments, as a marked increase in the virulence of the infections was observed. In spite of the unsanitary latrine conditions and the inadequate facilities for cleaning mess gear, there were few cases of gastro-enteritis. During the trip the Officers administered 2,700 typhus, typhoid, and tetanus vaccinations.
Due to her size and speed the “Louis A. Pasteur” sailed unescorted and alone and after an uneventful voyage docked at Casablanca, French Morocco, on 12 May 1943, this date coinciding with the close of the Tunisian Campaign in North Africa.

North Africa:

The 3d General Hospital was part of the units selected for the hospital build-up in North Africa. These medical units were set up in the Bizerte-Tunis area, the logical base to support the planned Invasion of Sicily (“Operation Husky” scheduled for 10 July 1943 –ed). The hospital build-up in the northeastern part of Tunisia went forward as rapidly as the debris of war could be cleared. On 11 May 1943, the largest hospital/medical convoy to reach the Mediterranean arrived in Oran, Algeria. The medical units involved 5 x 500-bed Station Hospitals, 7 x 250-bed Station Hospitals, 1 x 400-bed Field Hospital, and 1 x 400-bed Evacuation Hospital. One day later, the 3d General Hospital debarked at Casablanca, French Morocco. On 23 May 1943, 3 additional 500-bed Station Hospitals arrived at Oran, Algeria, bringing the total increment of beds to more than 7,500.

Partial view of Piermont Pier. Located on the west bank of the Hudson River, this was the principal embarking point of GIs heading for the European Theater. The soldiers were usually marched from nearby Camp Shanks, Orangeburg (Staging Area for NY POE) to the end of the pier where ships were waiting to take them overseas. After the war, over half a million men returned home, setting foot back in the US across the same pier. This is also the pier from where the SS “Pasteur” troop ship left for overseas.

Partial view of Piermont Pier. Located on the west bank of the Hudson River, this was the principal embarking point of GIs heading for the European Theater. The soldiers were usually marched from nearby Camp Shanks, Orangeburg (Staging Area for NY POE) to the end of the pier where ships were waiting to take them overseas. After the war, over half a million men returned home, setting foot back in the US across the same pier. This is also the pier from where the SS “Pasteur” troop ship left for overseas.

Upon arrival in French Morocco, Officers and Enlisted Men of the 3d General were transported to Camp Don B. Passage (named after the first US soldier killed in the Invasion –ed), a combined Replacement and Staging Area located in the desert some 3½ miles southeast of Casablanca surrounded by a barbed wire enclosure, for staging. One of the first duties assigned to the Officers of the command was to become Patrol Officers in Casablanca. The job entailed going into town at 0800 and report to the Provost Marshal’s office where the assignments were given.These Officers patrolled the city streets as “auxiliary” members of the MP detachment to ensure the good conduct of military personnel. The 3d was also tasked with providing labor details for work at the Shell dump. The Nurses went to a local school; the “Lycée Lyautey” and the “Ecole Foucauld”. The facilities in the area assigned to the Officers and EM were inadequate, both from the point of view of housing (pyramidal tents with makeshift wooden floors and crude sleeping cots) and sanitation. The camp site was surrounded by Arab villages and cultivated fields, covered with human and animal excrements which provided a fertile breeding source for flies (high diarrhea and dysentery rates were to plague military personnel in the summer of 1943, as screening for mess halls, kitchens, and latrines were not in adequate supply, and Halazone tablets were not always available in sufficient numbers –ed). The nature of the subsoil interfered with drainage and pools of water consequently accumulated throughout the camp area from which anopheles larvae were recovered in large numbers. Some of the installations were manned by locals with no sense of sanitation, the windows of the mess were unscreened, and toilet facilities were primitive, a real sanitation crusade was begun and war declared against mosquitoes, flies, and ants. Infectious diarrhea was as high as 15%, with almost 50% to 80% of the other troops in the area affected as well. The unit’s Nurses were less fortunate and suffered almost 60% from infectious diarrhea. Fortunately only 2 cases of malaria were detected.
During the fourth week at Cp. Don B. Passage, all personnel, including the Nurses, were moved to a new bivouac area with improved housing and sanitary conditions. Water shortages and limited shower facilities however continued to affect daily living conditions and morale. The new site included a number of semi-permanent buildings which were utilized as mess halls, kitchens, wash and shower rooms, for utilities and supply, and for recreation.

While still in the staging area, Officers devoted much of their time to visit nearby medical installations, such as the 6th General (Casablanca), the 59th Evacuation (outside Casablanca) and the 45th General Hospitals (Rabat). The Nurses, Dietitians, Physio-Therapists, and ARC Workers were sent on TD to General and Station Hospitals in the vicinity. As a whole, Officers and Nurses were given no specified duties or responsibilities. The Enlisted Men not needed for administrative and housekeeping duties were assigned to heavy labor duties at the docks, to assist in unloading and transportation of supplies. The extended stay in the Casablanca staging area served no helpful purpose. On the contrary, the morale of the 3d General Hospital personnel was adversely affected. There was no professional activity, and trained personnel were used as unskilled labor. Restaurants and other recreational facilities were lacking. The directed training program was planned for field troops and had no direct application to medical personnel. On 30 May 1943, the 3d was informed by verbal orders that the unit would be transferred to Mateur, Tunisia. On 31 May the hospital equipment arrived in Casablanca harbor and its removal to local warehouses began. On 14 June 1943, movement orders were received to move the organization by rail (3 trains) and organic transportation on 1, 2, and 3 July.

Picture of the SS “Louis A. Pasteur” which carried the 3d General Hospital overseas. She left New York POE on 5 May 1943 at 0800 hours with over 5,000 soldiers on board.

Picture of the SS “Louis A. Pasteur” which carried the 3d General Hospital overseas. She left New York POE on 5 May 1943 at 0800 hours with over 5,000 soldiers on board.

An advance party consisting of 15 Officers, 10 Nurses, and 100 Enlisted Men left Casablanca 25 June by motor convoy reaching Mateur 1 July 1943. As planned, the first train loaded with equipment left 1 July, the second with equipment 2 July, and the remaining personnel on 3 July. All Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted personnel reached destination 10 July 1943, with the last equipment arriving the following day. During the long and often interrupted journey, traveling in the old French “40 & 8s”, many trains were crossed on the way carrying Afrika Korps PWs, who traded their insignia and medal ribbons for cigarettes without losing any confidence as to the ultimate German victory. Hospital trains were also encountered, evacuating mixed groups of Allied and enemy casualties for further treatment in fixed hospital installations behind the front. The latter part of the train journey went through a zone still rife with the debris of war, wrecked vehicles, destroyed and damaged buildings, air raid shelters, shell craters, medical installations correctly identified with the necessary Geneva Convention symbols, and as reports had warned the party that Bizerte harbor was regularly bombed by the Luftwaffe, instructions were given to continue traveling in complete darkness. Mateur, Tunisia, was finally reached in the early morning of 10 July. Upon arrival the staff was informed that the invasion of Sicily had started and that the Hospital was supposed to open soon as a batch of 500 patients was to be expected within only a few days.

Selection of the hospital sites had begun as soon as the advance echelon of EBS (Eastern Base Section –ed) Headquarters had been established, at Mateur, Tunisia, on 12 May 1943. The largest concentration of hospitals was stationed around Bizerte, where the first unit became operational 16 June 1943.

The 3d General was established at Mateur on 15 July 1943, where it took over the quarters (former French military barracks originally constructed for use as a French Navy Hospital supplemented by pyramidal tents and prefabricated huts –ed) and installations vacated by the 9th Evacuation Hospital, which moved on to Ferryville, Tunisia. Following the French surrender, the buildings had also been used as barracks by the Germans and Italians. Twenty-six (26) 40-bed wards, administrative offices, operating rooms, laboratory, x-ray, physio-therapy, ARC, kitchens and messing installations as well as essential supplies were housed in these buildings. With the exception of the field Officers and the Nurses on night duty, all duty personnel were quartered in tents. An expansion unit was established occupying 64 ward tents (capacity 1,000 patients –ed) before it was closed on 20 October. During the later part of December 1943 another 24 ward tents were erected in the main area to meet a threatening shortage of hospital beds in the Eastern Base Section. A Convalescent Hospital and holding stations for air evacuation, as well as the necessary airfield, had been set up in the area.
Water supply and sewage disposal caused numerous problems, as the installation suffered many power breakdowns (water pumps) and the obsolete sewage system required frequent repairs. It was essential that the necessary repairs and maintenance took place since the 3d was the only American General Hospital in Tunisia at the time and the Sicily campaign had already begun! The Hospital’s FIRST patient was officially admitted on 16 July 1943 – only 6 days after arrival of the duty personnel and 5 days after the arrival of the equipment.

Station Tunisia – 3d General Hospital
Mateur – 15 July 1943 > 22 April 1944 (1000 beds)

Casablanca, French Morocco, November-DEcember 1942. US armor patrol the streets of Casablanca.

Casablanca, French Morocco, November-December 1942. US armor patrol the streets of Casablanca.

The unit was confronted with the problem of completing the installation of the equipment and preparing the expansion unit for occupancy and at the same time caring for an increasing number of patients. Delayed arrival of organizational equipment, lack of certain essential instruments, and inadequate engineering facilities, including intermittent shortages of water, seriously hampered operations. By 27 July 1943, 1,255 patients were on the wards of which 382 were treated in the expansion unit. A large number of transient patients awaiting air evacuation transportation, who might not be evacuated for 36 to 48 hours were held by the unit and received the necessary medical and surgical care, although not officially registered as patients. The latter would soon reach over 1,500.
Based on all the above-mentioned activities, the organization in fact functioned as a Field – Evacuation – and a General Hospital. Because of the high patient census, 930 beds in the buildings were quickly occupied and within 10 days of operation the expansion unit was also rapidly filled. As the Sicilian Campaign ended, the hospital census reached its maximum of 1,877 patients. Over 5,000 cases, exclusive of transient air evacuees, had been admitted to the 3d General Hospital within a period of only five weeks. Approximately 80% of these were evacuated from Sicily, and of these 60% were battle casualties with a large proportion of orthopedic conditions. It should be noted that malaria constituted over 80% of the total number of admissions.
Social and recreational activities were restricted since the hospital site was located 40 miles from the nearest city offering any recreational opportunities. Because of the lack of transportation and the isolation of the hospital area, much recreation could not be satisfactorily met.

During most of the operation period in Tunisia, the Hospital functioned as a 2000-bed unit and one neuro-surgical team from the 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group consisting of 3 Medical Officers assisted by 21 Nurses from the 3d Auxiliary Surgical Group were temporarily attached to the 3d General. It is difficult to conceive the Hospital’s function on a 2000-bed basis without the extra services of Italian Prisoners of War. Two hundred (200) Italian PWs were assigned while the expansion unit was in operation. With the surrender of Italy, their status changed to co-belligerents, with the prisoners being re-organized into the 7593d Medical Sanitary Company (Italian) comprising 30 Officers and 114 Enlisted Men for attachment to the 3d General. For several months 13 French civilians were employed as clerks, messengers, interpreters, and nursing aides, but the use of the willing and skilful ex-Italian PWs made it possible to dispense with their services. Thirty (30) native Arabs were used for unskilled labor details although their services were generally unsatisfactory (they were quickly replaced with Italians).

Operating conditions would be of a different character during the Italian Campaign. Foremost was the establishment of other General Hospitals (64th + 37th + 33d + 24th + 12th General Hospitals –ed) in the area (Bizerte) where the 3d was set up. It also became obvious that after one or two heavy rain storms in September an extensive engineering program would be required if the organization’s expansion unit were to be continued during the rainy season! Because of the gradual increase in the number of beds in the EBS, it was decided that such an extensive project was not warranted and therefore the expansion unit closed on 20 October 1943, reducing the bed capacity to 930 patients. This decision restricted admission of patients and by the above date, there were less than 700 on the wards. The census would eventually range between 800 and 900 patients until 18 December, when it started increasing, approximating a daily census of 1,000 patients. In order to proceed more rapidly with the disposition of patients, a 10-day training program was initiated for convalescent cases designed for their rehabilitation and return to duty (late January 1944 PBS instructed the General Hospitals to start a Convalescent and Rehabilitation section –ed). This proved especially valuable in estimating the progress and prognosis in cases of trench foot (150 patients treated –ed). It should be noted that during the months November, December 1943, and January 1944, the 3d received a constant flow of casualties suffering from trench foot.

Picture illustrating German and Italian Prisoners of War, following the fall of Tunis 12 May 1943. Over 230,000 enemy personnel were captured.

Picture illustrating German and Italian Prisoners of War, following the fall of Tunis 12 May 1943. Over 230,000 enemy personnel were captured.

Italy:

On 7 January 1944, the 3d General received orders assigning them to the Peninsular Base Section (PBS). Soon after the 3d General Hospital was established in the EBS and following the transfer of patients, the Hospital census dropped to between 300 and 600 patients, with most of them awaiting evacuation. The Eastern Base Section Surgeon meanwhile authorized the Hospital to cut its capacity to 500 patients and close the tented expansion unit. The census thus sagged to 300.

On 19 April the organization received final movement orders to proceed to Naples, Italy, with full readiness date being set at 1 May 1944. The evacuation of patients was begun on 20 April and completed with evacuation of the remaining 137 on 22 April. As from 22 April 1944, the 3d General Hospital suspended operations in a functional capacity, after a total of 12,054 patients (of which 20% were combat casualties –ed) had been received. By 25 April, the command was all packed, the equipment completely crated and stenciled with 1254RR, and everyone ready to go! On 27 April, loading details began transportation of the organic equipment and baggage to Bizerte harbor, where they were to be placed on the waiting ships.

The advance party consisting of 8 Officers supplemented by 104 EM embarked at Bizerte harbor 2 May 1944 on the British freighter “Ocean Gallant” (built in 1942 in the US for the British Ministry of War Transport –ed) which carried all organization vehicles and housekeeping equipment. The rest of the hospital equipment was loaded aboard the Liberty Ship “Lincoln Steffens” (Liberty ship no. 93, built in 1942 in the US –ed) which sailed in the same convoy (50 to 60 ships were involved) with destination Naples, Italy.
The unit’s main body traveled on 3 May 1944 aboard the Hospital Ship USAHS “Seminole” (initially used as a troopship in 1941-42, converted into a hospital ship in 1943 –ed) docking at Naples harbor the morning of 5 May 1944. The journey went past Sicily and on to Italy. The advance party reached Naples three days later than the main body, and by 12 May 1944 all equipment had been unloaded in the area assigned to the organization.

Picture of the British freighter “Ocean Gallant”that left Bizerte, Tunisia, on 2 May 1944, carrying the 3d General Hospital advance party together with all organic vehicles and housekeeping equipment. It reached Naples, Italy, on 8 May. This picture illustrates the launching of the ship 16 August 1942.

Picture of the British freighter “Ocean Gallant”that left Bizerte, Tunisia, on 2 May 1944, carrying the 3d General Hospital advance party together with all organic vehicles and housekeeping equipment. It reached Naples, Italy, on 8 May. This picture illustrates the launching of the ship 16 August 1942.

The new hospital site contained 38 camouflaged buildings, originally constructed as Italian Army barracks which had previously been occupied by the 43d Station Hospital, a 250-bed unit that had cared for a maximum of 600 patients. In order to increase the bed capacity prefab buildings had to be erected, while personnel was to be quartered in tents, and a tentative expansion unit of 500 extra beds was planned. There was an ample water supply, but it was contaminated so Lyster bags had to be used for drinking water. The sewage system was old and subject to frequent breaks and blockage constituting a potential sanitary hazard. As buildings were spread out over a distance of one half mile, they presented a serious problem with regard to protection of Government property.
The Hospital proper was situated 2 miles north of Caserta and 4 miles south of the Volturno River in a triangle between the villages of San Leucio – Briano – and Sala. The reason to set up near San Leucio was the establishment on an emergency basis of a medical facility for 6 to 8 weeks in the eventuality of a heavy casualty load in the projected Allied drive on Rome. Therefore, only part of the equipment was to be unpacked, including such items to supply generators, x-ray, and operating rooms. The 3d was ordered to be ready at 2300 hours, 11 May. It was expected that the Hospital would remain on site for a period lasting from six to eight weeks at most. Since the 43d Station had left behind some of their heavy equipment the unit was supposed to supplement this with the bare essentials, and keep the major part of the supplies crated for the contemplated move. Part of the equipment was finally unpacked the following day, roughly sorted and distributed, but the organization was informed by the Engineer Battalion on site that essential construction could not be completed before 22 May! However on 13 May 1944, the command was advised that they were to expect to provide for a first group of 150 patients the following day, and on 14 May 1944 the unit resumed operation with the admission of 300 patients and during the very first week of operation 740 admissions were registered. A great of deal of work was expected to bring the hospital buildings up to inspection standards, be it with some improvisations!

During the first week at San Leucio, 740 patients were registered although essential engineering (appropriate plumbing, new electricity, and prefab housing were required) was not yet finished at the end of this week. By the end of May 1944, 1,213 patients had been admitted and 910 were still under treatment. Over 95% of the cases were French soldiers attached to Fifth United States Army who had been evacuated by rail and motor from Clearing Stations and French Army Evacuation Hospitals (93% were battle casualties –ed). Turn-over was fairly successful and as soon as possible, those troops were sent back to duty, either to a French Convalescent Hospital, or to another French or Allied medical installation in North Africa.

Station Italy – 3d General Hospital
San Leucio – 14 May 1944 > 14 September 1944 (1000/1500 beds)

Partial view of the docks at Naples, Italy. The Liberty ship on the left is similar to the Liberty ship “Lincoln Steffens” that brought the main body of the 3d General Hospital to Italy, where they arrived the morning of 5 May 1944.

Partial view of the docks at Naples, Italy. The Liberty ship on the left is similar to the Liberty ship “Lincoln Steffens” that brought the main body of the 3d General Hospital to Italy, where they arrived the morning of 5 May 1944.

It had been anticipated that with the liberation and occupation of Rome on 4 June 1944 followed by the systematic advance of the Fifth US Army to the north there would be a sharp decrease in the rate of admissions. However on 3 June the Hospital was informed by the PBS Surgeon to set up a 500-bed expansion unit within the next 36 hours. For doing this, it was necessary to cut and clear a wheat field, draw sufficient crushed rock material for floors required for 32 tents, pitch 32 ward tents, install the necessary pipe connections to the water main for two large washrooms (still to be constructed), and to dig, construct, install, and house three large latrines, and draw and set up the necessary beds and allied equipment. To implement the above almost the entire Detachment was on duty and few were fortunate enough to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep. After 36 long hours of hard work, the expansion unit was ready for receiving 500 patients (in the end they never arrived).

On 7 June 1944, the patient census reached 1,114, 90% of them French or French Colonial Troops, but during the next two weeks there were only a few admissions. About midnight 19 June, the census dropped to 690. The current policy was to evacuate all French patients requiring more than 30 days hospitalization to North Africa. Two (2) French Liaison Officers were always present and as 2 of the ARC people spoke French fluently this too was of great help. The French patients were well treated, a good understanding was obtained, and recreation needs were well covered.

On 18 June, the 3d General was informed that the plan to alert the organization for movement to Rome on 19 June 1944 had been altered. Both Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ) and SOS-NATOUSA Headquarters were moving to Caserta, Italy and would require the buildings occupied by the 36th General Hospital and the 3d would be expected to take over between 500 and 700 patients evacuated from the 36th General. Consequently, 508 patients were admitted, bringing the patient census up to 1,190; the highest for this period. Of all patients under treatment 50% were now Americans. Further evacuation of French patients proceeded rapidly and by the end of June 70% were Americans, with the census slightly decreasing to 1,002 as of midnight 30 June 1944. However, The 3d continued to receive French casualties by air evacuation from places above Rome.
On 24 June the Commanding Officer was informed by the PBS Surgeon that the unit would begin evacuating all patients preparatory to moving. However, on 26 June the order was recalled. As the 64th General Hospital was to leave the area 500 patients were expected from that Hospital. At the end of the month it seemed clear that the 3d General Hospital could probably maintain an active service in the present area without battle casualties as it was the only US Army General Hospital operating in this immediate vicinity.

Official entrance to the 3d General Hospital at San Leucio, Italy. Photo taken 7 September 1944.

Official entrance to the 3d General Hospital at San Leucio, Italy. Photo taken 7 September 1944.

During the month of July 1944 the majority of the patients were surgical cases. Out of a total of 1,437 patients, 817 were American with the remainder being French or French Colonial Troops. The average census was 1,180 patients. While the French soldiers were promptly evacuated to North Africa, facilities were available for the evacuation of only 50 GIs to the ZI. With the increasing number of American casualties, disposition boards became once more an important function of the professional staff.
On 5 July orders were issued authorizing all members of the unit to wear a miniature bronze battle star for their participation in the recent Italian Campaign. More recreation and passes were allowed, Nurses obtained five days of DS to exotic places like Sorrento or Capri, and male Officers received a similar opportunity. One group of 25 selected EM were able to spend a week at a Fifth US Army Rest Camp.
On 7 July 1944 the organization was alerted for overseas movement, but no destination was indicated. In the meantime the 3d was authorized to submit the necessary requisitions to operate in the field as a 1500-bed General Hospital with a potential 750-bed expansion unit. On 22 July the unit was notified that the date for movement was delayed. At the same time the command was ordered to hold in readiness 15 Medical Officers and 30 Surgical Technicians for DS prior to movement. On 27 July 1944, the above selected personnel was attached for TD to the 10th Port of Embarkation. During the same month a number of personnel changes brought the organization to the authorized T/O strength. The new Officers were Captain Hjalmar V. Peterson, SnC; First Lieutenant Herman Richards, MAC; and First Lieutenant Walter F. Schildlo, MAC. In addition a new Officer replaced the Detachment Commander; this was Captain Rino Della Vedova, MAC. More ANC Officers and a few Enlisted Men brought the unit to approximately T/O strength.

Following the successful landing operations in Southern France (“Operation Dragoon”, 15 August 1944 –ed), 400 casualties were received from the Beachhead. Due to the influx of patients, no new cases were to be admitted from 23 August.
On 25 August 1944 the organization officially began operating as a 1500-bed General Hospital (although already announced 6 June 1944, this was never implemented –ed) under T/O & E 8-550, dated 3 July 1944 superseding T/O 8-550, dated 1 April 1942, with subsequent changes respectively dated 30 July 1942, 5 October 1942, 4 March 1944, and 16 May 1944, and T/E 8-550, dated 19 March 1944, including changes dated 4 December 1943 and 16 May 1944. Provisions were further made for the addition of 25 Army Nurse Corps Officers, 3 Dental Officers, 8 Medical Administrative Officers, 1 Corps of Chaplains Officer, 1 Sanitary Corps Officer, 1 Physio-Therapist, as well as 1 Corps of Engineers Officer, and 1 Branch Immaterial Officer. Under the new T/O the total number of Enlisted personnel now numbered 562. Provision was also made for attachment of 2 Quartermaster Corps Laundry Sections, 1 Finance Service Team, 1 Army Postal Service Unit, 1 Signal Corps Service Team, and a Military Police Guard Unit. The necessary promotions were also provided for. All Chiefs of Services were given the rank of full Colonel, 6 Officers were promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and 6 more Officers were promoted to Major.

Beginning 29 August 1944, the process of consolidating and closing unoccupied wards was initiated and it was hoped that by 2 or 3 September it would be possible to close down almost half of the wards and in this way expedite preparations for the anticipated movement… it can be said that at this time, the facilities provided for a 1500-bed hospital unit were barely adequate. Chief defects included the obsolete sewage system, the absence of a chlorinated water supply, the inadequate housing facilities as the prefabricated buildings were neither insulated nor waterproof, the difficulty for protecting Government property. Also the lack of evacuation facilities for patients boarded for disposition and return to the Zone of Interior caused many problems (waiting time sometimes reached 8 to 10 weeks –ed). Being set up in an isolated area, continued to handicap transportation and the limited recreational facilities.

Aerial view of the installations of the 3d General Hospital at San Leucio, Italy. The site comprised a number of buildings  and tentage housing the organization’s Headquarters, Medical and Surgical Wards, Receiving and Disposition Sections, the Officers’ tents, the Nurses’ tents, the Enlisted Men’s tents, the Detachment tents, the Post Exchange, and the Enlisted Men’s Club, as well as a number of separate villas occupied by the senior Officers. The hospital site was located some 2 miles north of Caserta and 4 miles south of the Volturno River.

Aerial view of the installations of the 3d General Hospital at San Leucio, Italy. The site comprised a number of buildings and tentage housing the organization’s Headquarters, Medical and Surgical Wards, Receiving and Disposition Sections, the Officers’ tents, the Nurses’ tents, the Enlisted Men’s tents, the Detachment tents, the Post Exchange, and the Enlisted Men’s Club, as well as a number of separate villas occupied by the senior Officers. The hospital site was located some 2 miles north of Caserta and 4 miles south of the Volturno River.

A pleasant innovation during the unit’s time in Italy was the issue of a ration of Coca-cola and beer, which was very much appreciated during the hot summer months. Officers were entitled to a ration of rye-whiskey.

Some Statistics 1944/1945 – 3d General Hospital
Admissions – May 1944 > 1213 Patients
Admissions – June 1944 > 1207 Patients
Admissions – July 1944 > 1437 Patients
Admissions – August 1944 > 625 Patents
Admissions – September 1944 > 736 Patients

On 1 September 1944 the command was notified by the Peninsular Base Section Surgeon, that it should discharge all patients and cease operating in its functional capacity as of 14 September. While 238 patients were evacuated to the ZI on 9 September, the remaining 138 were transferred to the 23d General Hospital on 10 September 1944. On 14 September, the administrative control of the Hospital passed from the PBS to that of the Seventh United States Army, operating in Southern France. Packing for movement was completed and the 3d General Hospital was instructed to prepare for movement on 3 days notice.

The 3d General had operated at San Leucio, Italy (Naples-Caserta area), for nearly 4 months during which time they treated 4,515 patients. What was originally planned as a 6-week temporary operation pending a move to Rome had developed into an active service, predominantly surgical, for a prolonged period in an installation unsuited for this purpose. However, the unit took full advantage of the limited facilities at its disposal and was even commended by the PBS Surgeon for its excellent performance of the duties assigned to it.
Before effectively moving, several important changes in Officer personnel took place. Major Solomon Silver, MC was transferred to the 34th Station Hospital (replaced by a Major Spivek), Major Edward J. Bassen, MC was transferred to the 52d Station Hospital (replaced by a Major Foster), and 2 Medical Administrative Corps Officers, First Lieutenants Brown and Nixon, joined the organization.

Southern France:

On 18 September, Colonel George H. Donnelly, Commanding Officer, MC, accompanied by Captain James W. Polkinghorn, MAC flew to France to determine what further plans had been made for the 3d. A highly desirable hospital had been selected at Lyon, France, but because of the rapid developing military situation was subsequently considered unsatisfactory.
On 21 September 1944 the final move was begun; an advance party consisting of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Karelitz, MC; First Lieutenant Alfred Richards, MC, and 100 Enlisted Men, carrying 35 tons of housekeeping equipment left the port of Naples, Italy on HMT “Batory” (British troopship and partly hospital ship –ed). This group debarked at Marseille harbor, Southern France 25 September and were immediately assigned to a Staging Area halfway between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence (distance between the port of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence was only 20 miles –ed). Except for the provision of potable water by haulage, this area was provided with no facilities, and with no transportation available, the advance party was able to accomplish little. Between 21-25 September 1944 loading of two cargo ships, SS “Empire Dextre” (built in 1941 in the UK for the British Ministry of War Transport –ed) and the “Robert Hooker” was completed. Each vessel was to be accompanied by a detail of 2 Officers supplemented by 25 EM. Captain Louis H. Zaritsky, MC and First Lieutenant Hailey, MC were in charge on the Empire Dextre, while Captain Edward E. Jamerin, MC and First Lieutenant McCallum, MC were on the Robert Hooker. On 24 September the organic vehicles and mess equipment were loaded on the USS “Lyon”, AP-71 (cargo transport built in 1939 in the US and acquired by the US Navy in 1942 –ed) on which the main body of Officers and EM sailed on 27 September. The Nurses of the organization left Naples aboard the USAHS “John L. Clem” (built in 1917 in the US, acquired by the US Army in 1941, and converted into a hospital ship in 1944 –ed) on the same day, and were accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Edward M. Bick, MC and Major Leon Ginzburg, MC. The USS “Lyon” entered Marseille harbor 29 September, with the Nurses aboard the Hospital Ship, two days later.

Picture of the Florence Central Dispensary offices operated by the Peninsular Base Section (PBS), Italy. Medical Dispensaries were established in the major cities liberated by the Fifth United States Army and treated military as well as civilian patients. Quite a number of outpatients came to the Dispensaries for relief and treatment.

Picture of the Florence Central Dispensary offices operated by the Peninsular Base Section (PBS), Italy. Medical Dispensaries were established in the major cities liberated by the Fifth United States Army and treated military as well as civilian patients. Quite a number of outpatients came to the Dispensaries for relief and treatment.

Following their landing at Marseille around 1400 hours, 29 September 1944, the main body of Officers was transported to their staging area approximately 15 miles away. The CO immediately reported to the Delta Base Surgeon’s office where he was informed that orders had been received to establish the 3d General Hospital in Marseille, and that the “Hôpital de la Charité” had been selected as the probable site. The following day, after a long conference with French and US officials, it was found that this hospital was no longer available. The end of the month therefore found the 3d encamped in a staging area, in fact a plateau at the top of a wooded hill without facilities and with no plans for its operation. The Officers were set up in ward tents, while the EM had to do with pup tents.

On 1 October 1944, the ANC Officers arrived and were transferred to the same staging area about a ½ mile north of the group of Officers and Enlisted Men, and quartered in pyramidal tents. Although the complete 3d General Hospital was now in Southern France no hospital site had as yet been found!
On 2 October, Colonel G. H. Donnelly, MC inspected the “Hôpital Psychiatrique de Montperrin” at Aix-en-Provence, initially used by the 36th General Hospital and then temporarily occupied by patients of the 43d General Hospital which was to be relinquished to the 3d General. It appeared that 1,400 to 1,500 patients could be cared for provided personnel was quartered elsewhere. Further investigation disclosed that in Aix, the “University Dormitory”, the “Hôtel Sextius”, the “Hôtel Roi René”, the “Restaurant Vendôme”, and some apartment buildings were occupied by US organizations, having been requisitioned by Seventh US Army and that these units were soon to leave the area. The “Aix-en-Provence University Dormitory” and the “Hôtel Sextius”, the latter with extensive thermal bath installations, including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, could house up to 500 patients. A few days were necessary to take over the greater part of the “Hôtel Roi René” temporarily occupied by Army Air Forces personnel. This last move provided the 3d General Hospital with its most luxurious accommodation of their overseas service. All these buildings were therefore requisitioned which made it possible to plan a 2000-bed hospital with a minimum of new construction and with adequate living quarters for all duty personnel. The difficulties of a divided command were appreciated, but all buildings were within 15 minutes walking distance of one another.
By 5 October 1944, weather conditions became intolerable with the staging area turning into a sea of mud inhibiting any efficicient work. Consequently a first move took the Officers and the Nurses to “Hôtel Sextius” on 6 October and the Enlisted personnel to the apartment buildings in the planned hospital area. As soon as the Delta Base Section Headquarters had approved Colonel G. Donnelly’s plan, unloading of the equipment was begun.

Picture of USS “Lyon” AP-71, the Navy attack personnel ship that carried the main body of Officers and Enlisted Men from Naples, Italy, to Marseille, Southern France, where they arrived 29 Septembber 1944. The Nurses left Naples 27 September traveling aboard the USAHS “John Clem”.

Picture of USS “Lyon” AP-71, the Navy attack personnel ship that carried the main body of Officers and Enlisted Men from Naples, Italy, to Marseille, Southern France, where they arrived 29 Septembber 1944. The Nurses left Naples 27 September traveling aboard the USAHS “John Clem”.

Station Southern France – 3d General Hospital
Aix-en-Provence – 9 October 1944 > spring 1945 (1500 beds)

At 0001 hours 9 October 1944 the organization resumed operations taking over 763 patients (all medical cases) from the 1500-bed 43d General Hospital (which continued to administer the PW Hospital at Les Milles as well as the captured German Lazarett at Draguignan, Southern France –ed). Within two days, all Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men were moved to their permanent quarters and a bed capacity of 900 was reported. More facilities were opened and by the end of October a 1836-bed capacity was available. Extensive engineering, construction and repair were necessary before everything could operate efficiently. As the available Engineers were only able to supply limited help 90% of the works were done by men assigned to the own command.
The 3d General Hospital was now ready to start operating Hospital Plant # 4400 and accept all types of cases, with some temporary high census of VD (up to 80 cases daily), and as many as 400 psycho-neurotic and 40 psychotic cases on the wards during October. Bed capacity had meanwhile increased from 900 to 1836.

During October 1944, the 3d General Hospital treated Staff Sergeant Audie L. Murphy, 18083707 (the most decorated GI in the US Army, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, 1925-1971 –ed).

Admissions – October 1944 > 2700 Patients
Admissions – November 1944 > 1899 Patients
Admissions – December 1944 > 1654 Patients
Admissions – January 1945 > 643 Patients

There were no changes in personnel strength during the month, except for a number of promotions involving Medical, Surgical, and Army Nurse Corps Officers. With the Hospital now functioning, 25% of the Officer personnel were required to remain available on the grounds for a period of 24 hours.
Several factors contributed to the high morale of the unit. First was the fact that all duty personnel was now comfortably quartered in buildings for the first time since being transferred overseas. Second in importance was that the setting up of the 3d General Hospital imposed arduous duties on all personnel, but great activity lessened any problem of morale. Third was that being located in a city for the first time with its possibility of diversion and recreation had a stimulating effect on the spirit of the whole organization.

Renovation works continued at the “Hôpital Psychiatrique” which finally attained the 2000-bed capacity by placing beds in the center aisles of the buildings in the main hospital area but also thereby creating a fire hazard. Plans were drawn and approved for a possible expansion unit set up in prefab buildings that would provide a total of 2250 beds and at the same time permit removal of beds from the aisles. Proving inadequate for quarters and uneconomical to run the “Hôtel Sextius” and “Hôtel Roi René” were closed and replaced with more prefabricated buildings, while half of the “University Dormitory” was eventually converted into quarters for Officers and Nurses.

Paragraph of the 14 November 1944 Report submitted by the 3d General Hospital Commanding Officer, after resuming operations in Southern France. This partial document is a positive evaluation of the CO and explains the high morale of the unit at the time.

Paragraph of the 14 November 1944 Report submitted by the 3d General Hospital Commanding Officer, after resuming operations in Southern France. This partial document is a positive evaluation by the organization’s CO and explains the high morale of the unit at the time.

The greater number of cases received in November were battle casualties, of which 65% were surgical, with the daily census rising to 2,200. Then Hospital Trains started coming in, up to 3 trains a week, which caused another increase in the census. With the extra influx of patients by Hospital Train the installation was serving like a Holding Hospital. During this period the organization was unfortunately handicapped by the lack of an Anesthetist, as the only one in the 3d, Major Briggs, MC, was serving on DS elsewhere. There was confusion with the administration as professional activities and supply were subject to approval by Communications Zone, MTOUSA Advance, while all other activities resorted under the jurisdiction of ETOUSA. As of midnight 20 November 1944, the 3d General Hospital passed under the full administrative control of Headquarters, Southern Line of Communications (SOLOC), ETOUSA. During November a wonderful “Thanksgiving” celebration was provided for the patients. A liberal issue of turkey made possible the serving of an excellent dinner, animated with a show presented by the command, colored GI entertainers, and French children.

On 15 December the 3d General was ordered by the Delta Base Section Surgeon Colonel Vinnie H. Jeffress, MC, (the Delta Base Section was comprised of camps and staging areas in 3 different sites; Arles, Calas, and Saint-Victoret –ed) to provide 150 beds for a new Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center, therefore increasing the capacity of the Hospital to 2400 beds. This conversion was completed by the end of January 1945.
During December 60% of all admissions were surgical, but it should be noted that most of these had already appeared before a disposition board and classified for return to the Zone of Interior, thus few required surgery. The Medical Service was mainly occupied by a varied group of cases, predominantly trench foot, hepatitis, psycho-neurosis, and respiratory infections, few of which required specific therapy. The unit therefore assumed its function of a Holding Hospital with little opportunity for the Medical and Surgical Officers to utilize their professional abilities. As there was no evacuation to the ZI before 19 January 1945, the bed status became frozen with over 1,200 patients awaiting evacuation and very few new hospital admissions. Finally 384 patients were returned to the United States on 19 January, followed by another batch of 259 on 23 January. The census dropped again to 1,270 cases, resulting in over 1000 vacant beds!

Daily News announcing the death of FDR (1882-1945) 12 April 1945, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of US Armed Forces.

Daily News announcing the death of FDR (1882-1945) 12 April 1945, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of US Armed Forces.

Although by late August the organization had switched over to the T/O & E 8-550 dated 3 July 1944, there were still shortages in personnel and unfilled requisitions. The 3d General was still short of 6 Officers, and the Nurses never reached more than 80% of their allotment, which was also true for the Enlisted personnel. Although replacements did come in, and untrained personnel joined the unit, this all placed an additional burden on the remaining members of the Hospital, who had to combine their duties in the care of patients with that of assisting in the installation of facilities necessary for the operation and expansion of the hospital plant, and directing and training the new men who had recently joined. During the period of occupancy of the new site in Aix-en-Provence, from 1 to 3 Medical Sanitary Companies (Italian) were attached to the unit, but these temporary additions did not compensate for the lack of trained Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men. The Italians attached to the unit were relieved after receiving orders directing them to Belgium. They were to be replaced by about 600 German PWs.

Officers Personnel Roster – 3d General Hospital (incomplete)
Colonel George H. Donnelly, MC, O-17811
Colonel Dennis D. Glucksman, DC, O-404846
Colonel Percy Klingenstein, MC, O-403983
Colonel Herman Lande, MC, O-411100
Colonel Henry W. Meisch, MC, O-11461
Lieutenant Colonel Edgar M. Bick, MC, O-289811
Lieutenant Colonel John Garlock, MC
Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Karelitz, MC, O-417781
Major Arthur H. Aufses, MC
Major Edward J. Bassen, MC, O-429519
Major Briggs, MC
Major Henry I. Cohen, DC, O-403000
Major Rabin B. Coleman, MC
Major Benjamin Eliesoph, MC
Major Foster, MC
Major Leon Ginzburg, MC, O-404716
Major Amiel Glass
Major Hyman Levy, ChC, O-439412
Major Abraham Penner, MC, O-402999
Major Abou D. Pollack, MC, O-403104
Major Herbert Pollack, MC, O-475732
Major Solomon Silver, MC, O-421798
Major Irving Somach, MC, O-438402
Major Spivek, MC
Major Leo Stone, MC
Major Moses Swick, MC
Major Lester R. Tuchman, MC, O-403002
Captain Harold A. Abel, MC, O-404203
Captain Benjamin I. Allen
Captain Ernest E. Arnheim, MC
Captain Ed Biskand, MC
Captain Robert Chapler, ChC
Captain Henry I. Cohen, DC, O-403000
Captain Simon Dack, MC, O-416841
Captain Alfred D. Dantes, MC
Captain Henry Doubilet, MC, O-439406
Captain Maurice Feresten, MC, O-438395
Captain Marvin G. Fried, DC, O-398194
Captain Alex Gold
Captain Joseph Goldman

Chow line at Calas Staging Area, Southern France. Enlisted Men rinse their mess gear in immersion heaters. This was the place where the 3d General Hospital Officers and Enlisted Men were staging end August 1945 prior to their return to the Zone of Interior.

Chow line at Calas Staging Area, Southern France. Enlisted Men rinse their mess gear in immersion heaters. This was the place where the 3d General Hospital Officers and Enlisted Men were staging end August 1945 prior to their return to the Zone of Interior.

Captain Benjamin Greenberg
Captain Hailey, MC
Captain Moses H. Holland, MC, O-330541
Captain Henry Horn, MC, O-320108
Captain Solomon Horowitz
Captain Edward E. Jamerin, MC, O-429233
Captain Saul W. Jarcho, MC
Captain Samuel H. Klein, MC, O-398269
Captain McCallum
Captain Hjalmar V. Peterson
Captain James W. Polkinghorn
Captain Al Rosen, DC
Daniel Samson
Captain Isidore S. Schapiro, MC, O-441327
Captain Milton Schwartz, DC, O-483602
Captain Gabriel P. Seley, QMC
Catain Scott I. Shapiro
Captain Samuel Silbert,MC
Captain Sidney M. Silverstone, MC, O-438629
Captain Morris F. Steinberg, MC, O-447581
Captain Henry Tavel, ChC
Captain Rino Della Vedova
Captain Robert I. Walter, MC, O-403156
Captain Edwin A. Weinstein, MC, O-403001
Captain Louis E. Zaretzki, MC, O-488584
First Lieutenant Brown
First Lieutenant Sidney Blumenthal, MC
First Lieutenant Lester L. Coleman
First Lieutenant Colman F. Dunne, ChC, O-475951
First Lieutenant Max Ellenberg, MC
First Lieutenant Lee R. Kulick, DC, O-404201
First Lieutenant Gerson J. Lesnick, MC, O-476786
First Lieutenant Jack H. Levy
First Lieutenant Bayard A. Miller, MAC, O-308604
First Lieutenant Ralph E. Moloshok, MC, O-438323
First Lieutenant Ed Nixon, DC
First Lieutenant Howard W. Perttula
First Lieutenant Ralph I. Peters
First Lieutenant Lewis Phillips
First Lieutenant James W. Polkinghorn, MAC, O-1533424
First Lieutenant Russell W. Price, MAC, O-1533425
First Lieutenant Robin M. Rankow
First Lieutenant Richards
First Lieutenant Walter F. Schidlo
First Lieutenant Alfred R. Shepard, DC, O-4126547
First Lieutenant Irving Solomon, MC, O-438403
First Lieutenant Louis R. Wasserman, MC, O-417083
First Lieutenant Edward L. Watts
First Lieutenant Vernon A. Weinstein, MC, O-473338
First Lieutenant Julius L. Weissberg, MC, O-419556
First Lieutenant Ellington E. Wheeless, ChC, O-475099
First Lieutenant Isadore Zipkin
First Lieutenant Nathan Zomback
Second Lieutenant Thomas K. Ballard, Jr., MAC, O-1533252
Second Lieutennt Robert S. Day
Second Lieutenant Edward A. Steck, MAC, O-1533454
Second Lieutenant Harry Turner, QMC
Second Lieutenant Robert O. Yobs, QMC, O-1576839
Second Lieutenant Walter R. Zimmerman, Jr., MAC, O-1533055
Warrant Officer, Junior Grade Norman Greenberg

ANC Officers (incomplete)
Captain Ruth O. Barthal, ANC, N-744482
Captain Nannette Berkwits, ANC, N-744483
Captain Ruth Chamberlain, ANC
First Lieutenant Dorothy E. Beaty, ANC, N-744526
First Lieutenant Grace W. Behrenberg, ANC, N-744481
First Lieutenant Hariett M. Bensley, ANC, N-744683
First Lieutenant Muriel J. Berry, ANC, N-744484
First Lieutenant Bissonnette, ANC
First Lieutenant Margaret G. Blake, ANC, N-744485
First Lieutenant Mary Blitzstein, ANC
First Lieutenant Dorothy Brown, ANC
First Lieutenant Madeline F. Caldwell, ANC, N-744486
First Lieutenant Isabelle V. Cedar, ANC, N-744684
First Lieutenant Gertrude J. Cohen, ANC, N-744487
First Lieutenant Crowley, ANC
First Lieutenant Mary Daugherty, ANC
First Lieutenant Margaret Deutsch, ANC, N-744431
First Lieutenant Eden, ANC
First Lieutenant Mildred Feldman, ANC, N-744489
First Lieutenant Ellen W. Fuller, ANC, N-744490
First Lieutenant Lupe G. Gentile, ANC, N-744491
First Lieutenant Margaret E. Haefner, ANC, N-744492
First Lieutenant Alice Heaney, ANC
First Lieutenant Hilda E. Hilliard, ANC, N-744432
First Lieutenant Louise E. Hoag, ANC, N-744504
First Lieutenant Ruth M. Holland, ANC, N-744493
First Lieutenant Horne, ANC
First Lieutenant Selma Johnson, ANC
First Lieutenant Elizabeth A. Klein, ANC, N-744433
First Lieutenant Helen Kleinwechter, ANC, N-744494
First Lieutenant Elizabeth Lemerich, ANC, N-744495
First Lieutenant Gertrude Lotwin, ANC
First Lieutenant Marie F. Lundberg, ANC, N-744686
First Lieutenant Tora Lundberg, ANC, N-744434
First Lieutenant Anita Martin, ANC
First Lieutenant Cathryn A. Molchan, ANC, N-744687
First Lieutenant Selma Owen, ANC, N-744498
First Lieutenant Pennington, ANC
First Lieutenant Eloise Sadler, ANC
First Lieutenant Frances M. Seiders, ANC, N-744435
First Lieutenant Marguerite Self, ANC, N-744499
First Lieutenant Muriel Spalinger, ANC
First Lieutenant Sylvia Swerling, ANC
First Lieutenant Mary A. Terry, ANC, N-744500
First Lieutenant Catherine A. Vance, ANC, N-744436
First Lieutenant Edith Weisel, ANC, N-744501
First Lieutenant Norma A. Wilson, ANC, N-744503

Picture of the USS “General M. B. Stewart”, AP-140, that carried the 3d General Hospital back to the United States.

Picture of the USS “General M. B. Stewart”, AP-140, that carried the 3d General Hospital back to the United States.

First Lieutenant Evelyn Wiser, ANC
First Lieutenant Wyrowsky, ANC
Second Lieutenant Catherine Badger, ANC
Second Lieutenant Elizabeth Balford, ANC
Second Lieutenant Hettie Bishop, ANC
Second Lieutenant Edith Brubaker, ANC
Second Lieutenant Doris Childs, ANC
Second Lieutenant Ruth Cummings, ANC
Second Lieutenant Dooley, ANC
Second Lieutenant Rita Frank, ANC
Second Lieutenant Betty Haines, ANC
Second Lieutenant Anne Hanley, ANC
Second Lieutenant Herricourt, ANC
Second Lieutenant Mary Hively, ANC
Second Lieutenant June Howxe, ANC
Second Lieutenant Sophia Kulas, ANC
Second Lieutenant Helen Marcy, ANC
Second Lieutenant Priscilla McCulley, ANC
Second Lieutenant Alice Mincavage, ANC
Second Lieutenant Margaret Perry, ANC
Second Lieutenant Rose Reininger, ANC
Second Lieutenant Genevieve Todd, ANC

Enlisted Men (incomplete)
First Sergeant Harld M. Hammon
Technical Sergeant John A. Barber
Technical Sergeant Earl K. Glover
Staff Sergeant Daniel A. Bauman
Staff Sergeant Lonnie H. Farris
Staff Sergeant August P. Fortugno
Staff Sergeant Louis Goldsmith, 32189547
Staff Sergeant Henry M. Meyer
Staff Sergeant Ralph L. Schwartz, 32080414
Sergeant Louis J. Brindel, 32118757
Sergeant Frank C. Bucciero
Sergeant Reed
Corporal Donald C. Glidden
Technician 5th Grade Raymond A. Allard
Technician 5th Grade Stanley Amrozowicz
Technician 5th Grade Carl G. Karges
Technician 5th Grade Jessie H. Nanney
Private First Class Alex Aidekman
Private First Class First Class Benney B. Bohonas
Private First Class Norah B. Breece
Private First Class Roy H. Call
Private First Class Nathan C. Crazde
Private First Class Carl M. DeMark, Jr.
Private First Class Horace R. Henley
Private First Class George Holland
Private First Class Earnest Holliday
Private First Class Feorge Peterson
Private First Class Paul L. Ragas, 34155892
Private First Class Gerald Wright
Private John Bogensberger
Private William Davis
Private Hershel T. Gately
Private Israel Glassman
Private John A. Rudden
Private James Sheridan
Private Wilson A. Walker

At an important meeting attended by the Commanding officers of the units stationed in the Delta Base Section, it was announced that the 3d General Hospital would be tasked with processing over 100,000 men destined for the CBI Theater. This caused a good deal of uneasiness among the command.

New York newspaper clipping dated 16 September 1945, announcing the return of the 3d General Hospital in the United States.

New York newspaper clipping dated 16 September 1945, announcing the return of the 3d General Hospital in the United States.

On 12 April 1945, the worst news ever received overseas was the announcement that FDR was dead. The flag was immediately placed half-mast, and that same night Jewish prayers were said by Chaplain Hyman Levy, ChC, followed by Memorial services the next Sunday. British units stationed around Aix-en-Province attended en masse. Services were held by Chaplain Robert Chapler, ChC (Protestant Chaplain), and Father Colman F. Dunne, ChC (Catholic Chaplain), in presence of Free French Air Force members representing the Training Center at Aix. Headquarters ETOUSA declared a 30-day period of mourning
Many transfers and personnel changes took place during April-May 1945, and with V-E Day, a general cease fire was announced. While the command was aware that there was still fighting to be done on the other side of the world, the French went beserk, and the locals were dancing in the streets to celebrate Victory!
To celebrate the organization’s second Anniversary, a unit publication “The Stethoscope” made its appearance. It was written by the Detachment and consisted of a 6-page mimeographed bulletin filled with news items, descriptions and gossip of the various Hospital Departments.

By the middle of May 1945 morale started to fluctuate with the rumors. Redeployment and Readjustment were introduced, accompanied by point scores, unit categories, essential and less-essential MOS numbers, etc. Then came a period during which the powerful forces of Redeployment started to cannibalize, transfer, and rebuild the various installations in and passing through the Delta Base Section on their way to the Pacific Theater. The Redeployment and Readjustment process caused an enormous turn over in personnel; 70% of the Officers and 60% of the Detachment were lost. New Officers were assigned to the unit, only to be transferred to other units within 24 and 48 hours.

Official US Army reports issued by the Delta Base Section (DBS under Brigadier General John P. Ratay, was the largest Assembly Area Command in France which included 5 General and 3 Station Hospitals representing a 13000-bed capacity, operating between Biarritz and Nice to serve transient GIs –ed) still confirmed location / operation of the 3d General Hospital in the “Hôtel Psychiatrique”, Aix-en-Province as late as 10 May 1945.

During the month of June, the CO was informed that the 3d General Hospital was to become a Category IV unit and as such was due to return to the Zone of Interior. When Colonel G. H. Donnelly received his orders, Colonel Herman Lande, MC, O-411100 assumed command of the unit. The 3d General received the DBS Plaque for the best Hospital installation in the Delta Base Section for the month of July.
The remaining personnel were awarded leaves to the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

During July-August 1945, over 3,000 patients were admitted to the Hospital. At this time the 3d functioned primarily as a Station Hospital, servicing the “Arles Staging Area”, Southern France. Among the many patients admitted, there were 400 Italians, of wich 120 suffered TB. These patients arrived without records and were mostly cared for by their ward men, Italians, who accompanied them.
August was also filled with the sound of more wedding bells. Between 8 and 15 August events took place rapidly, and with the dropping of both A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the war was over, and V-J Day was celebrated! It was now; “Three down, and Home to go!”

More rumors started to circulate that the unit would be in the Staging Area by the end of August and that the 228th General Hospital was to take over. Rumors indeed became a reality when on 27 August 1945, the 3d General Hospital ceased to operate and took on its last official mission to serve as a vehicle for transporting high-pointers back to the United States.
With the majority of the personnel now quartered in ward tents at the “Calas Staging Area” (except for some Officers who elected to remain at the “Hôtel Roi René”). The ward tents held 16 Officers for Captains and lower ranks; and 8 for Majors and up. The Nurses were meanwhile housed in prefab and one-story buildings in another camp.

The 3d was alerted on 1 September 1945 and restricted to the camp the following day. On 4 September, at 0300 in the morning, the men gulped a hasty breakfast, packed their last baggage in total darkness, and waited for transportation. The trucks arrived at approximately 0600 hours. At 0700 the unit’s convoy met the other trucks bringing personnel from the other units that were part of the shipment, and started rolling to the Marseille port area and the waiting transport SS “General Stewart”.
There were 3,200 men on board the ship when she sailed at 1600 hours that same afternoon. After an uneventful journey, except for a storm which upset many a stomach, the last days passed very quickly.
At about 0330 Saturday morning, 15 September 1945, those up on deck could distinguish the sky glow of New York. The SS “General Stewart” docked at pier 86, North River, at exactly 0700 and a band started playing typical American tunes. Nurses debarked first, followed by the male Officers, and the Enlisted personnel. After everyone was lined up, buses brought the Nurses and the Officers to Camp Kilmer while the Enlisted Men went by train.

The 3d General Hospital was formally inactivated on Sunday, 16 September 1945.

Countries Where Served – 3d General Hospital
Tunisia
Italy
Southern France 

Campaign Credits – 3d General Hospital
Rome-Arno

“Mount Sinai Alumnae News” December 1942 issue (Christmas period) with Camp Rucker Notes covering the Mount Sinai-affiliated 3d General Hospital which was serving at Camp Rucker, Alabama, at the time.

“Mount Sinai Alumnae News” December 1942 issue (Christmas period) with Camp Rucker Notes covering the Mount Sinai-affiliated 3d General Hospital which was serving at Camp Rucker, Alabama, at the time.


The original documents held by the MRC Staff are fairly complete and as such mostly cover the unit’s operations during World War Two. The authors are still looking for pictures illustrating the 3d General Hospital and would love to secure a complete Unit Personnel Roster, if available. Thank you.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 24th June 2018 at 11:17.
Read more: https://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/3d-general-hospital/