MEDICAL DEPARTMENT - 32d INFANTRY DIVISION
Orders to alert one combat team of this division were received on or about 15 September 1942 and the 126th Infantry Combat Team was alerted. This task force was loading boats when orders to send another combat team were received and the 128th Infantry Combat Team hurriedly packed, reported to Amberly and Archer Fields, and were flown to Port Moresby, New Guinea, by air. The 126th Combat Team followed on boats immediately, the entire movement being accomplished from 18 September - 1 October 1942. The Forward Echelon, Division Hq., flew up 2 October 1942, establishing forward headquarters near Bootless Inlet, New Guinea, in the vicinity of Tupuselei, with the 126th, while the 128th Combat Team marched to the Goldie River Area, established camp, and sent patrols up river to prevent any Japanese flank movement from that direction. These locations were preparatory and climatizing camps for the work planned, as on 8 October 1942 the 2d Bn., 126th Infantry with attached units, left The "Dust Bowl" for the other side of the Owen Stanley Range. On 13 October 1942 most of the 128th Combat Team divided into Battalion Combat Teams, was transported by air to Wanigela. The balance of the 126th Combat Team (two battalions) stayed at Tupuselei until 9 November 1942 when they, with Division Hq., were ferried to Pongani by transport plane and began the hike over the Hydrographer`s Range following the trail of their own 2d Bn., which had crossed the Owen Stanleys and was ahead of them.
It is a privilege and a pleasure to here commend the "Wairopi Patrol" and the 2d Bn., 126th Infantry, with attached units, for their display of fortitude in enduring the hardships imposed on them by the rugged terrain in one of the greatest marches ever accomplished by American Troops. The Australians said it couldn`t be done, but it was done, by this battalion combat team. The 2d Bn. Aid Station section, a collecting platoon of Company A, 107th Medical Bn., and the 19th Portable Hospital, comprised the medical units on this trek along unknown trails over, this magnificent but deadly series of mountain ranges, the Owen Stanleys. The medical problems encountered were almost insurmountable, those of evacuation and supply. The supply problem was solved by dropping supplies from airplanes on dropping grounds selected by the "Wairopi Patrol", which was in advance, notifying the transport services by use of ground panels and radio. The evacuation problem could not be solved in that manner, however, and those patients that were evacuated spent many days on the back trail, accompanied by native guides, or carried by native bearers. Most patients elected to go onward with their units, as the time and distance involved made no great difference, and too, they were with friends who could and did help them along.
The 1st and 3d Bn. Combat Teams of the 126th Infantry Combat Team reached Natunga on 13 November, 1942, finding an improvised hospital set up by the 2d Bn. Aid Station of their regiment. On 17 November, 1942 the rear elements of the 126th Combat Team reached Bofu on the other side of the Hydrographers Range, to find part of the 2d Bn. Aid Section and some litter patients. On 19 November the 126th Combat Team Hq. reached Inonda, and on 21 November the balance of the Combat Team caught up with the 2d Bn. at Soputa. On 22d November the 2d Bn., accompanied by their aid station, left Soputa and marched over the Gerua track
(NOTE: All Combat Teams or Task Forces mentioned in this report were less Artillery components.)
to the Buna Front an a set up, leaving the 3d Bn. Aid Station and the 17th Portable Hospital at Soputa to care for the 3d Bn., 126th Infantry Combat Team which was fighting on the Sanananda Track. The 1st Bn., 126th Infantry Combat Team with their aid station and the 23d Portable Hospital had proceeded through Dobadura, Warisota, Sinemi, to the front, some two miles distance north of Sinemi plantation, and had set up there, maintaining close liaison with the 128th Infantry Combat Team.
The 128th Infantry Combat Team spent several difficult weeks moving up the New Guinea coast from Wanigela to Pongani. Native canoes, landing barges, small boats, and almost anything that would float were used to transport troops and supplies forward. At Wanigela one platoon of Company C, 107th Medical Bn., attached to this combat team established and maintained a clearing station for approximately three weeks, finally moving by boat with the 1st Bn. to Emo Mission. The 2d Bn., 128th Combat Team went by boat from Wanigela to Mendaropu, and than, accompanied by the Division Hq., marched to Emo Mission-Oro Bay-Embogu, and then down native trails back from the coast to Horanda, thence to Dobadura. Here the first Japs were encountered and dispersed, the unit continuing over to the Gorua track by way of Ango, where they were joined 23 November on the Euna Front by the 2d Bn., 126th Combat Team. Division Hq. was left established at Dobadura. The
3d Bn., 128th Combat Team, with the 14th Portable hospital, marched inland from Wanigela to the Musa River, then down river to its mouth, taking ten days through the swamps to make the trip. From the Musa River. they were transported by boat to Mendaropu, where the 14th Portable Hospital established a hospital in a native mission. The 3d Bn. then marched with the 2d Bn. inland and parted from them in the vicinity of Dobadura, going on up through Warisota and Sinemi Plantation to the defenses established by the Japs around the air strips. The medical service for the 2d and 3d Bns on their march was furnished by 2 platoons of Company C, 107th Medical Bn. and their own aid stations. The collection station was set up at Sinemi until the 3d Bn. moved from Sinemi to Hariko on the coast, where they joined the 1st Bn. in the advance on Cape Endaiadere. The other portion of the collecting company followed the 2d Bn., 128th Combat Team to the Buna Front, furnishing medical service until the 126th Combat Team units came up, and than continuing evacuation of the battalion until 8 December when this portion of Company C was charged with evacuation from the Dobadura strips.
The 1st Bn., 128th Combat Team proceeded up the coast toward Cape Endaiadere from Emo Mission, through Oro Bay-Embogu-Cape Sudest, accompanied by the 14th and 22d Portable Hospitals. On 16 November at about 6:00 pm four boats, containing all of the equipment and records of the 22d Portable Hospital, and a portion of the equipment and records of the 1st Bn. Aid Station and the 14th Portable Hospital were strafed and bombed by Japanese Zeros, four men of the 22d Portable Hospital being killed, seven wounded, and all the boats sunk. The 14th Portable Hospital immediately sent out from Embogu every available means to render medical attention. Thirty two men, wounded survivors of this bombing, were picked up along a stretch of seven or eight miles of coast and evacuated to Embogu. On 20 November 1942 the 14th Portable Hospital moved up the coast from Embogu to join the 22d Portable Hospital at Hariko. On 24 November 1942 the 18th Portable Hospital joined the 128th Combat Team at Hariko and set up as an evacuation center
for treatment and evacuation at Hariko while the 14th Portable Hospital moved up behind the collecting station. Patients were evacuated during this movement by outrigger canoe and barges, under cover of darkness, and from the portable hospitals to the 128th Combat Team Clearing Station at Pongani. The clearing station had arrived at Pongani 10 November 1942 after previous attempts to land at the
air strip had failed because of the condition of the strip. On 24 November1942 the 128th Combat Team had established a position along the coastline against the Japanese defenses on Cape Endaiadere.
On l5 November 1942 the 127th Infantry Combat Team departed from Camp Cable, Queensland for New Guinea via Liberty Ship, accompanied by the balance of the 114th Engineer Bn., arriving at Port Moresby 26 November 1942. The entire combat team remained in the Port Moresby area until 7 December 1942 when movement to the Buna area by air began. From then until 28 December 1942 the air transport service, in addition to keeping up the supply to the other Combat Teams, transported the 127th Infantry Combat Team with the Engineers, to the front. The 114th Engineer Bn. completed their move to the front 28 December 1942. The 127th Combat Team completed relieving the 126th Combat Team on the Buna Front 31 December 1942, the first units of that combat team, the 127th, seeing action 10 December 1942. The medical service of the 127th Combat Team completed their relief 28 December 1942, the first medical units of the 126th Combat Team being relieved 15 December1942.
The period 4 December 1942 to 1 January 1943 was characterized by sharp engagements with the entrenched enemy, a series of short, sharp thrusts designed to obliterate resistance centers and strong points, a piece by piece breaking down of Japanese defenses necessitated by the terrain and the almost perfect defense system. The medical evacuation problem settled down to an adaptation of textbook methods, the familiar "funnel" chain of evacuation, with the 2d Platoon, 2d Field Hospital acting as the "neck" of the funnel in close proximity to the air strips at Dobadura, from which the sick and wounded were evacuated by air to the hospitals in the vicinity of Port Moresby. During this period Buna Village, the "Triangle", Cape Endaiadere, Strip point, all of the "Old Stripe" and most of the "New Strip" were reduced and captured, and preparations were almost complete for the capture of Buna Mission. The 18th Australian Brigade, assisted by tanks, achieved the capture of Cape Endaiadere and Strip Point, while the 126th Combat Team captured Buna Village, the 127th the "Triangle" and the 1st Bn., 126th with the left flank of the 128th Combat Team worked on the airstrips. On 2 January 1943 the 127th Combat Team took Buna Mission, the Australians and the 128th Combat Team had cleaned up Giropa Point and the air strips, and the battle was over. Mopping up took several days, then the 126th and 128th Combat Teams enjoyed a rest from combat, although building beach defenses. The 127th Combat Team continued removing Japs from New Guinea, advancing up the coast toward Sanananda, taking Siwori and Tarakena Villages and numerous other enemy strongholds. The 3d Bn., 128th Combat Team was relieved just prior to the final attack down the Sanananda track by the 163d Infantry Combat Team of the 41st Division on or about 7 January 1943, after having been in the fighting there since 24 November. They marched over and joined the rest of their regiment at Warisota for a well deserved rest.
The 126th Combat Team. returned to Port Moresby by air 20-22 January 1943, bringing hack approximately 740 out of the 2700 men who originally went over the range. They rested at Moresby for a short period, returning to the Australian mainland 7 February 1943 for rehabilitation, rejuvenation and rest.
The 128th Combat Team returned to Port Moresby by air 4--5 February 1943, and completed the return to the mainland by boat 18 February 1943 for their richly deserved rest period.
The 127th Combat Team, after the reduction of the Jap resistance at Sanananda, rested in the Buna Area, returned to Port Moresby, and reached Australia 28 February 1943.
All portable hospitals assigned to the combat teams returned with their
combat teams as did the medical battalion personnel who had been working as an integral part of each combat team.
All troops were required to take a malaria cure and were encamped in rest camps located on the sunny, sandy beaches of the "South Coast" where bathing in the Pacific surf could work, in conjunction with the sun, wonders in bringing the men back to good physical condition, and give them the peace and quiet so urgently needed after so long under fire. This cure was completed by 17 March and all units returned to Camp Cable, Queensland.
Medical units of the 32d Division dia their part in the Papuan Campaign. They marched with the infantry, were under fire with the infantry, and even fought with the infantry when their own lives were endangered. They labored unceasingly, performing major operations that redeemed countless lives, risking their own lives in doing, being bombed, strafed, machinegunned, sniped, killed and wounded. It was common for company aid men to go ahead of the lines to treat wounded soldiers caught by enemy fire while on patrol duty, and not uncommon that they were also wounded or killed. Litter bearers often volunteered to go ahead of the fox holes and bring in officers or men, not knowing whether they were dead or still alive. Battalion surgeons set up stations close to the enemy under fire, not because of a spirit of bravado, but because of their willingness and desire to be as close as possible to the boys who needed them, and an utter disregard for their own safety. The "Fightn Troops" no longer say "Pill roller" to the medical troops. Its "Doc". That is possibly the greatest of all.
A brief summary of the accomplishments of the medical units of the 32d Division will create the picture of what they did do. In tabulated, statistical form this summary is impressive, in a cold, impersonal manner, but each fact and each group of figures represents hardship, unrelenting toil to repair the ravage of enemy action or the jungle, and a tremendous morale factor in that all combat personnel knew their medical troops were therewith them, ready to serve, die if necessary, to see that all medical care possible would be given immediately to all requiring it.
The portable hospitals, consisting of four medical officers and twenty five enlisted men, the answer of medical authorities in Australia to supplement the regular Division Medical Service, exceeded expectations. Each hospital could be used whenever needed - as a surgical hospital, a treatment hospitals or an evacuation hospital along the route of evacuation. In fact, the tactical situation evolved itself into a problem of two main routes of evacuation from three fronts. This required the portable hospitals to be strung out along the line of evacuation, there being no need for more at the front and a definite need for medical stations along the line for treatment and first aid,
Here is what all hospitals did-
126th Infantry Combat Team:
23d Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 1st Field Hospital) attached to1st Bn., 126th Infantry Combat Team then to 2d Bn., 128th Infantry Combat Team.
On 19 November 1942 flew to near Sefai. Marched to Pongani in nine days, 80 miles, leaving over half their equipment behind. Then marched via Oro Bay to Hariko, reaching there 22 November and setting up in front of the village. On 4 December the unit moved from Hariko to behind the 1st Bn., 126th Infantry on the Dobadura-Buna trail just up from Sinemi plantation. Their last move
was made from this position up the trail to near the coast in the vicinity of Giropa point. On 4 January 1943 this station closed, the unit returned to Hariko, and from there to Dobadura, then Port Moresby with the l28thInfantry
4-5 February 1943.
Patients handled: 489. Battle Casualties: 160. Sick: 271. Injuries: 11. Australians: 47.
19th portable Hospital - (parent unit, 28th Surgical Hospital) attached to 2d Bn., 126th Infantry Combat Teem. Marched over Owen Stanley Range8 October-23 November 1942, furnishing medical service en route -- Port Moresby, Juare, Natunga, Inonda, Bofu and Soputa.
Active set ups: Juare, 31 October-4 November 1942.
Patients handled: Sick: 23. Injured: 5. Total: 28.
Ango, 24 November-3 December 1942.
Patients handled: Sick: 97. Battle Casualties: 91. Injuries, 5. Australians:4. Total: 197.
Gerua Track, 4 December-15 December 1942.
Patients handled: Sick: 122. Battle Casualties: 101. Injuries: 7. Total:230.
Warisota, 6 January-15 January 1943.
Patients handled: Sick: 6. Battle Casualties: 0. Injuries: 0. Total: 6.
17th Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 172d Station Hospital) attached to 3d Bn., 126th Infantry Combat Team.
Flew to Pongani, marched with 3d Bn., 126th Infantry from Pongani to Natunga, Bofu, Soputa, where they set up 25 November 1942 and operated as a combined portable hospital, clearing station and evacuation hospital from 26 November 1942 to 7 January 1943, when the 3d Bn. joined the rest of the regiment at Warisota and returned to Port Moresby 21 January 1943with the combat team.
Patients handled: Sick: 791. Battle Casualties: 150. Injuries: 4. Total:945.
128th Infantry Combat Team:
22d Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 10th Evacuation Hospital) assigned to 1st Bn., 128th Infantry Combat Team.
Active set ups: One half mile east of Hariko, 19 November-22 December1942.
Patients handled: Sick and Injured: 690. Battle Casualties: 365. Total:1055.
Cape Endaiadere: 23 December 1942-28 January 1943.
Patients handled: Sick end Injured: 306. Battle Casualties: 15. Totals:321.
18th Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 174th Station Hospital) first assigned to 2d Bn., 128th Infantry Combat Team, then assigned to 1st Bn., 126th Infantry, 7 January 1943.
Active set ups: Hariko, in conjunction with 22d Portable Hospital, 24November-14 December 1942. (Patients credited to 22d Portable Hospital).
Sinemi plantation, 15 December 1942-20 January 1943.
Patients handled: Sick: 572. Battle Casualties: 161. Injuries: 51. Total:784. Australians: Sick: 62. Battle Casualties: 292. Injuries: 5. Total:359. Grand Total: 1143.
This hospital acted as a treatment station along the line of evacuation from Hariko to Dobadura, furnishing treatment and nursing care to the patients who required it, changing dressings, administering plasma, drugs, hot food, etc. They undoubtedly saved many lives.
14th Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 135th Station Hospital) assigned to 3d Bn., 128th Infantry Combat Team.
Marched with 3d Bn., 128th Infantry from Wanigela to the mouth of the Musa River, then by boat to Mendaropu, then to the mouth of Embogu Creek. From there
the 14th Portable Hospital took over from the 22d at Hariko, then moved up the coast to about two miles from Cape Endaiadere, then moved to a coconut grove near Buna Mission.
Active set ups: Wanigela to mouth of Musa River - march casualties,
15-25 October 1942.
Mendaropu, 25 October to 9 November 1942.
Embogu Creek, 10 November to 19 November 1942.
Two miles from Cape Endaiadere, 5 December 1942 to 5 January 1943.
Coconut Grove, 6 January to 29 January 1943,
Total Casualties: American Australian
Sick 1014 41
Battle Casualties 238 150
Totals 1252 191
127th Infantry Combat Team:
3d Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 42d General Hospital) attached to the lst Bn., 127th Infantry Combat Team.
Arrived on the Buna Front 25 December 1942 and set up station in the vicinity of the "Triangle", in a nice location which they did not close until 6 February 1942 for return to Dobadura. At Dobadura this unit rana small fever hospital until 18 February 1942 when it returned to Port Moresby.
Patients handled: Sick and Injured: 253. Battle Casualties: 210. Total:463. (Approximate).
4th portable Hospital - (parent unit, 105th General Hospital) assigned to 2d Bn., 127th Infantry Combat Team.
Went into action 19 December 1942 along the Soputa-Buna road in medical support of their assigned Battalion. On or about 6 January the unit moved their station to the edge of Buna Village. On 18 January the hospital split, half remaining in Buna, and the other half establishing between Siwori Village and Tarakena, where they remained for seven days and then returned to Buna. About 26 January the unit closed its station, and returned to Australia with the 127th Infantry Combat Team, arriving at the rest area1 March 1943.
Patients handled: Sick: 622. Injured: 15. Battle Casualties: 169. Total:806.
5th portable Hospital - (parent unit, 105th General Hospital) attached to the 3d Bn., 127th Infantry Combat Team.
This was the first hospital unit of the 127th Combat Team to see action, setting up 15 December 1942 about two hundred yards ahead of the 126th Clearing Station on the by-pass to Buna Village.
Patients handled: Sick: 211. Injured: 4. Battle Casualties: 373. Total:588.
Attached to Division, Unassigned:
2d portable Hospital - (parent unit, 4th General Hospital)
This hospital was attached to the 32d Division on 4 December 1942 by VOCG, Advance Base to augment the division medical service in the chain of evacuation or be used wherever necessary. This unit made one set up, in a small village just south of Dobadura, to act as an adjunct to the2d platoon, 2d Field Hospital, caring for a great number of patients who could not be evacuated when the transport planes could not fly. This hospital closed on or about 7 February 1943, having handled a total of 921 patients- 313 Battle Casualties and 608 Sick or Injured, during the period 16 December to 3 February 1943.
9th Portable Hospital - (parent unit, 12th Station Hospital) attached to the 32d Division, unassigned, per VOCG Advance Base, 4 December 1942, with the same instructions as the 2d Portable Hospital. This hospital setup near Ango in the chain of evacuation from the Buna Front, functioning as the intermediate check station.
Patients handled: Sick: 319. Battle Casualties: 246. Total: 565.
2d platoon, 2d Field Hospital - (attached to the division per VOCG Advance Base to serve as the main evacuation hospital on the north side of the Owen Stanley Range).
From 30 November to 8 December 1942 their location was in a large flat area just south of Sinemi, but after a bombing by the enemy on 7 December the hospital was set up close to the air strips at Dobadura, and well camouflaged. This hospital capably fulfilled its duties as the evacuating point for casualties, the depot for medical supplies, and an aid station for countless auxiliary troops who had no medical personnel of their own and were completely dependent upon the 2d platoon, 2d Field Hospital for medical attention. Time after time this hospital was overloaded, filled with patients awaiting evacuation until it seemed room could not be found for more, but was. The Medical Supply Officer of this unit volunteered to act as the distributing agent for medical supplies for the front, and did so, in addition to his own duties, forwarding medical supplies by returning litter bearers, ammunition peeps, with rations, or anyway he could devise. The 2d Platoon, 2d Field Hospital, during the period 30 November 1942 - 20 February 1943 admitted and treated 190 American, 19 Australian Battle Casualties, 1303 American, 303 Australian Sick with 12 Americans, injured, in addition to feeding and housing 4228 American, 1936 Australians, battle casualties, sick and injured, who were evacuated straight through to Port Moresby, and not admitted to the 2d Field Hospital. Their morning sick call, 30 November - 25 December 1942 totaled 1534 Americans, 585 Australians, 129 natives, an average of over 83 a day.
All battalion aid stations, regimental aid stations, collecting companies and clearing platoons of the medical battalion performed exceptionally well in spite of the extreme difficulties of transporting their station equipment by their own personnel. Some of the larger units did have native bearers at times, which made the difference between having most of their equipment or just a small amount. Collecting Company A and the 1st platoon, Company D jointly operated the Clearing Stations of the 126th Infantry Combat Team, because they had less than 40% of their personnel and equipment with them. All collecting company litter bearers worked at least once a day in advance of Bn. Aid Stations, as the battalion sections were soon depleted as a result of enemy action and tropical diseases. It would be a long and monotonous account to catalogue the stations established by the battalion and regimental aid sections, also no accurate count was kept by these stations as to the number of patients treated.
The 126th Infantry Combat Team clearing station established three stations, one at Tupuselei, near Port Moresby - 26 September to 9 November 1942, one at Soputa, 24 November to 3 December 1942 and the last one at Gerua, behind Buna, 4 - 28 December 1942, when this clearing station was replaced by the station of the 3d platoon of Company D, 107th Medical Bn., a part of the 127th Infantry Combat Team. The total patients treated at these stations was 904, 432 Battle Casualties, 472 Sick and Injured. The 128th Combat Team Clearing Station, operated by the 2d platoon, Company D, 107th Medical Bn., established stations on the Goldie River in the Moresby area 28 September to 3 November 1942, at Pongani 11 November to 9 January 1943, at Hariko 10 January to 28 January 1943. A total of 874 patients were cared for by this platoon, 328 Battle Casualties and 546 Sick and Injured. Only4 of these patients died, with 567 being evacuated to Port Moresby via air. After 4 December 1942 the evacuation route was changed from Ponganito Dobadura, leaving this station away from the combat, caring for the quartermaster personnel and air port guards in their vicinity. Due to the scarcity of boats they could not be moved until 9 January 1943 when they located at Hariko and back in the chain of evacuation. The 127th Infantry Combat Team established a clearing station at Bootless
Bay, 26 November to 3 December 1945 and set up about one and one half miles below the 126th Combat Team Clearing Station; 28 December 1942. This station was kept in operation until 5 January 1943 when the unit moved to a spot near the coast between Buna Mission and Duropa Point. This station closed about 28 January 1943 when the unit returned to Dobadura to await transportation to Port Moresby, and then to Australia on 10 February 1943.This clearing station handled 1879 patients, 200 Battle Casualties, 1679Sick ant Injured, in the combat area.
The collecting companies were mainly used as litter bearers or to augment other medical units in operation. Company A with the 126th Combat Team did not establish a station, preferring to work with the clearing platoon as mentioned. Company C with the 128th Combat Team established a small hospital when other units were not present to do so. Company B with the 127tn Combat Team established a. station mainly for treatment of fever cases. One platoon of Company B did not get over to the front, but remained at Port Moresby, furnishing medical care for the casual troops and the supply echelon. A small section of the 126th Combat Team Clearing and Collecting personnel maintained a clearing station at Tupuselei throughout, also operating the ambulance service from the air strips to the hospitals in the vicinity of Port Moresby, and from these same hospitals so the hospital ships. Total patients in the rear area were 712, mostly fevers.
To refute the common idea that the medical service is not as hazardous as combat service these figures are presented. A total of 1161 medical personnel, assigned or attached to the 32d Division, were at one time or another furnishing medical services in the Buna Area. Two medical officers died - one of a heart attack, one of typhus fever (Japanese). Twenty nine enlisted men were killed in action, four died of sickness or wounds received in action, one is missing, 45 were wounded in action, no medical officer was unfortunate enough to be hit. Thirty six officers, 535 enlisted personnel were evacuated sick or injured, a great number of these after 7 January1943 when most of the action was over.
Of those killed and wounded in action, 5 were killed by one bomb while erecting a ward tent for a clearing station. That was the only mass extinction, the others were killed individually - while dressing wounds on the front, shot off the ends of litters while carrying wounded, trying to drag wounded back from exposed positions, volunteering to go out under enemy fire and litter back seriously wounded or dead. Some of such humanitarian acts were looked upon as being above and beyond the call of duty, one man, a Corporal Technician, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously, 9 officers and 30 men receiving awards of the Silver Star, one medical officer receiving the decoration twice. Others were given citations and recommended for decorations, which have not as yet been received.
The enemy gave Medical Department installations and personnel a rather severe going over during the Buna Campaign - deliberately. On 27 November 1942 the clearing station of the 126th Combat Team at Soputa was bombed and strafed by Zeros which came in over the tree tops, unloaded, caught an Australian casualty Clearing Station just to the rear, came back, made another run and left. Five men were decapitated, 2 wounded. On 7 December 1942, in two separate attacks, the Japs bombed and strafed the 14 tent set up of the 2d Platoon, 2d Field Hospital, killing 9 and wounding 30or more, some of the patients for the second time. Three bombers came over about 11:30 am, 18 bombers returned at 2:00 pm, blasting this plainly marked hospital installation with a great number of bombs. Three tents contained a multitude of holes, bomb craters were scattered through the area, 2 hits had. been made directly along side of one ward tent. Surgeons came from nearby medical units to help out,
working until 6:00 am next cay to care for the sick and wounded, principally surgical cases. Patients were cleared by air transport to Port Moresby the next day, the hospital moved to a new location nearer the air strips and hidden in the jungle. This unit had no more trouble, although several times the enemy came close with their bombs while searching for the airstrips in the general area.
The portable hospitals on the coast, notably the 14th and 22d, underwent numerous strafings and bombings. The Japs were trying to obstruct any progress up the coast and were machine gunning and dropping bombs on any sign of activity they noticed. The whole stretch of coast under our control received an almost daily going over, and boats were usually sunk. The 22d Portable Hospital had the misfortune to be in a boat in a four boat convoy off Cape Sudest which was attacked and all boats sunk. They lost all their equipment, issue and personal, four men were killed and seven wounded, the balance swam for their lives. Upon reaching shore, however, each officer and man immediately turned to the task of rendering aid to the other casualties of the convoy, working under fire, naked or almost so. For this courageous action all of the officers and four of the enlisted men have so far been awarded Silver Stars.
Actual figures and rates per 1000 per annum for the 32d Division and attached units as shown by the following tables are somewhat startling in respect to Fevers, including Malaria. An expectancy of from 900 to 1400 cases of fever per thousand troops each year is alarming to any commanding officer when considering the probable number of effectives left for combat purposes after any period under such or similar conditions. Any explanation as to the reason for such high expectancy figures will be withheld until all possible causes have been thoroughly examined and verified. At present it is known that the majority of these fevers were Malaria, but the exact percentage will not accurately be known until a survey, now in progress, is completed.
The Rate per 1000 per Annum of Killed in Action and Wounded in Action were low when the length of time in actual combat is considered. Other causes were not higher than average expectancy, particularly injuries, which were very low. The type of terrain fought over, the type of combat pursued, the difficulties of supply and evacuation encountered, when subject to analysis as casualty producers, did not exceed. usual expectancy except in fevers. Rigid control measures, coupled with the experience gained by all who participated, may produce a definite reduction of fever in the future.
There has been much favorable comment from the medical units actively supporting the combat troops upon the excellence of the medical supply from the rear at all times during the campaign. There were times, to be sure, when the entire requisition was not filled or other supplies were not delivered promptly, but all concerned knew the problems encountered and the difficulties overcome, and gave unsolicited praise. The 126th Infantry Combat Team left the Medical Administrative Officer of the collecting company attached to their combat team in Port Moresby to forward medical supplies to them. The Medical Administrative Officer with the 128th Infantry Combat Team Collecting Co. was to receive supplies by boat from Milne Bay. As the battle progressed most of the medical supplies were flown from Moresby, so the Medical Administrative Officer, left there with two men, became the division medical supply. The Hq. Det., Medical Bn., had been left in Australia and never arrived in New Guinea. Requisitions were radioed from front to rear each night, the supplies were collected and packed usually between 2 to 5 am and taken to the airport, to follow ammunition and rations on the days flight schedules of supply. The Medical Supply Officer procured and produced everything the medical units up forward asked for, within reason, and plenty not within reason. Gas stoves, kerosene stoves, heating units, canned heat, cooking stoves were constantly asked for and procured. Cots, tents, pails, containers, dressings, litters, plasma, sulpha drugs in powder, tablets, and ointment, narcotics, anesthetics, sterile operating sets and plaster bandages were all procured in quantities far exceeding the monthly maintenance allowances. The hospitals in the Moresby Area cooperated to the utmost, making and sterilizing dressings, operating sets, sponges, even depleting their own meager (sic) supplies to see that goods went to where needed most, the front. Medical supplies were dropped by parachute, landed from planes and boats. No conventional methods, these!!
At the front, medical supplies were forwarded at every opportunity, with the ammunition, with rations, by "peep", by native carriers, by our own troops. The Medical Supply Officers carried them themselves them necessary.
The following is a compiled total of the major items of medical supplies shipped to forward areas from Port Moresby by the Division Medical Supply Officer.
Evacuations of sick and wounded wasp as always, a matter of fitting the means at hand to the problem. Native bearers, native canoes, landing barges, small boats, "peeps" and air transport were the means employed .At the front men walked or were littered to the Battalion Aid Stations. From the aid stations they were carried by collecting company litter squads or walked to the portable hospitals or clearing stations. In the early stages of combat, when the troops were moving over the Owen Stanley and Hydrographers Ranges, or up the sea coast, the problem of evacuation beyond these portable hospitals and even collecting stations was extremely arduous, requiring much ingenuity. Patients were evacuated via returning supply boats, native outrigger canoes, or barges, down the coast. To load these boats, sick and wounded were taken by canoe from beaches to boats off shore about one half mile. The unloading procedure was much the same except boats and barges could be beached or unloaded in shallow water at the clearing station at Pongani without lightering. During the hours of light, enemy bombing and strafing was always on order for any water borne conveyance that strayed from the beaches into view of the Japanese positions on Cape Endaiadere. This required all evacuations to be accomplished in hours of darkness, the trip lasting most of the night, patients reaching the stations in the early hours of morning. After treatment at the hospital stations, cases requiring further evacuation were flown to Port Moresby from airstrips at Wanigela and Pongani, though several were sent by boat to Milne Bay. The constant strafing of trail and ocean traffic became so hazardous that. the engineers hacked a road through to Hariko from Sinemi Plantation, bypassing the Japanese positions on the Buna air strips. From that time on casualties were carried along the line of evacuation from all fronts by native bearers or returning supply "peeps" to the 2d Field Hospital near Dobadura. From Dobadura all requiring more hospitalization were transported by air to the Port Moresby hospitals. Often the 2d Field Hospital became overcrowded, due to unfavorable flying weather, but one good flying day would relieve the pressure easily. The highest total transported to the rear by air was approximately 280 on 8 December 1942, though several other days registered amounts around 200.
The medical service for a regimental task force as organized for the Papuan Campaign proved to be self-sufficient and adequate. This service was not always able to operate exactly as it should have, but this was due to circumstances beyond control, the tactical situation, and especially he geographical limitations present.
1. The medical service organized for each of the three regimental taskforces of the 32d Division was essentially the same. It consisted of the Regimental Medical Detachment, three portable surgical hospitals, a collecting company and a platoon of the clearing company of the Division Medical Battalion. The medical detachment consisted of three battalion aid stations and a regimental headquarters medical section. T he portable hospitals were organized out of a station or general hospital and attached to the division, one to each infantry battalion. The collecting company was broken down into three platoons of equal size, each one attached to an infantry battalion.
Also attached to the division during the Buna Campaign were the 2d Platoon of the 2d Field Hospital and the 2d and 9th Portable Surgical Hospitals. These units remained in the rear, near Dobadura, functioning as an evacuation hospital.
2. The battalion aid station functioned as close to the scene of action as possible. This distance varied from 200 to 1000 yards, usually about300 yards. They did operate as closely as 50 yards, but this is not recommended. The reason for the close proximity to the front line was to get the battle casualties as quickly as possible to an aid station, and the difficulty in evacuation due to the shortage of litter bearers and the type of terrain in which they worked.
3. Where possible and the terrain permitted the collecting platoon and the portable hospital functioned in close proximity to each other behind the battalion aid station. The distance between the battalion aid station and the portable hospital was usually twenty to thirty minutes litter carrying time. This distance was approximately from 800 yards to 1200 yards to the rear of battalion aid stations. The choice of a site for a portable hospital was limited. It had to be near a trail to the front line, and, in most every situation there was only one trail. Most of the terrain was low and swampy and flooded during the rains which frequently occurred. From experience it was found that 1500 yards behind the front line was out of range of small arms fire. This area was not bombed or strafed, unless by mistake, and artillery fire went overhead. Therefore any high ground 1500 yards or slightly more behind the lines proved best for portable hospital installations. This made for faster receipt of patients from the front and enabled the personnel to perform their life saving surgery in comparative safety. The only portable hospital shelled by enemy artillery fire was one set up five miles to the rear of the scene of action.
4. When possible the collecting platoon operated an aid station in the vicinity of the portable hospital. All sick and wounded coming down the trail came through the collecting platoon and were separated. Those needing immediate surgery were taken to the portable hospital and those not so seriously wounded and those too ill to remain in the area were sent down to the clearing station. The patients which might be returned to duty within two or three days remained at the collecting station for treatment until returned to duty.
5. The clearing station usually was located some two miles to the rear and all cases to be evacuated came through there. At the clearing station much surgery was also performed. All surgical cases passed on by the portable hospitals were operated there. If necessary surgical dressings were changed. Medical cases that might be returned to duty remained there for treatment. From there all cases were evacuated to the evacuation hospitals at Dobadura.
6. Circumstances intervened to modify any ideal operational scheme. Task Forces did not always move as one unit, in fact, the opposite is true of the 126th and the 128th Task Forces. The 126th Task Force had one battalion, the 2d, and one combat patrol of about 200 men, march over the Owen Stanley Range, a feat which at first was considered impossible. The dental officer, a detail of twelve men, and all the equipment of the clearing platoon of this task force were left at Pongani due to lack of native bearers to carry it over the Hydrographers Range. When finally the officers and men of the collecting company and the clearing platoon who did accompany the troops got together in the Buna Area, there were exactly four medical officers and thirty men left. These were then combined to operate a clearing station. Equipment was radioed for and received from Port Moresby by plane the following day. This clearing
station operated for two weeks on the Soputa-Sanananda track. From this location they were moved to the Urbana Front where they operated a clearing station below Gerua as mentioned before.
In the 128th Task Force a situation arose which prevented the operation of an ideal set up. The clearing platoon of this task force set up a clearing station at Pongani from which patients were evacuated by plane to Port Moresby. The task force moved up the coast to Hariko and on toward Cape Endaiadere, but no transportation was at hand to move the clearing station of this task force so this hospital unit remained at Pongani until the end of the campaign when transportation was finally made available and this clearing hospital moved to the vicinity of Hariko. This task force which operated on the Warren Front therefore had to have a medical setup to cope with the situation. On the Warren Front the 14th Portable Hospital did practically all surgery. The 22d Portable Hospital functioned as a clearing station in the absence of the clearing platoon. The 18th Portable Hospital was set up at the main junction of two trails and received all patients from the Warren Front and also from the 23d Portable Hospital which was attached to the 1st Bn,, 126th Infantry, and located on the Sinemi-Buna trail. This proved the adaptability of the Portable Hospital in combat.
7. Evacuation of litter cases was a problem and strenuous work. The litter bearers from the battalion aid station evacuated the litter cases from the jungle and field of battle to the aid station. This was often done under enemy fire. The courage and stamina of the aid men as litter bearers was admirable. From the battalion aid station the litter cases were evacuated by bearers from the collecting platoon to the collecting station and the portable hospital. From there, the litter cases were evacuated by natives to the clearing station. From the clearing station they again were evacuated by natives to the evacuation hospital at Dobadura. Those cases that could be transported by peep were taken when and where the trails permitted from the clearing station to Dobadura. However, the serious cases were always taken by litter bearers, as the corduroy peep trail was too rough. From Dobadura the patients were evacuated by transport plane to Port Moresby.
A great vote of thanks is owed the natives. Without them the problem of evacuation would have been tremendous. The natives preferred to build their own litters, made from balsam wood and split bamboo. These litters were very comfortable and much cooler than our own, although considerably heavier. Eight natives were assigned to one litter patient, two teams of four which relieved each other. They traveled rapidly, were sure footed and considerate of the patients. All in all evacuation turned out quite satisfactorily, although at times some difficulty was experienced in obtaining natives due to priorities of combat arms.
8. Medical Department No. 1 and 2 chests were useless equipment for battalion, regimental, and collecting aid stations. They were exceedingly heavy and could not be carried across the rugged terrain encountered, and as a result were left behind. A good share of the medication in the No.2 chest was not used. Litters were urgently needed in quantity at the front. The aid station litters were soon gone and replacements extremely difficult to get back up. Splints, arm and leg, were useful, but the aid stations got by very well when theirs were gone. Tentage was too bulky and heavyto handle so was rarely used in the battalion aid stations, although regimental aid stations erected some and aid stations in the rear used all considerednecessary.
Portable hospitals were not portable after their first set up in practically all cases. A tendency to acquire tentage, mess equipment, supplies, anda depletion of personnel as casualties made these hospitals immobile unless moved
by motor transport, or native carriers. The tentage allowed by the TBA of the portable hospital was not sufficient to allow operations of any sort under blackout. Heavy pyramidals and small wall tents, of regulation cloth were almost unbearable, but major surgery can be and was performed under these conditions. Too many items of medical supply were issued to the portable hospitals they did not require. A comparison is invited between the drugs used and the drugs authorized by TBA.
Mess equipment for all medical units was too heavy without adequate transport, the available amount of which under jungle conditions was hard to foretell. The Field Range, M-1937, was too heavy to handle for any distances without motor transport. The burners for this field range were useful and handled easily, but clogged with sand and mud frequently. Utensils were too bulky for efficient carrying. Many improvisions were made to supplement the mess equipment left behind in the early stages, and all sorts of stoves and "billy cans" were arranged. Gas stoves (Coleman), gas stoves (Australian issue), primus stoves, kerosene burners of all descriptions, even canned heat, were all used by medical units in their efforts to provide food and hot drinks for casualties and to sterilize instruments, and dressings. Five gallon oil cans served multiple purposes as pails, stew kettles, coffeepots, etc. Any sort of container easy to carry was requisitioned, borrowed, and promoted for use.
The field ranges for most units never were further forward than the forward peep heads. This denied the men at the front hot meals or drinks except by long hard carry from kitchen locations. There were many times men at the front did not receive any hot food for several meals, even days. One can of bully beef and one package of biscuits was a favorite ration for one man for a day.
9. The medical supply situation was acute at first. One combat team, going by water, took thirty days supply . The other, traveling by air, was allowed only three days supply. Upon arrival the two combat teams found that they had more medical supplies than Advance Base, so sent a rush wire to Australia and were shipped 1500 pounds of sulpha drugs, narcotics, and anti-malarial drugs. This merely relieved the situation for a short time, the incident repeating itself many times later when Advance Base had urgently needed items flown in. Supplies were picked up from hospitals in the Moresby Area, from Base Medical Supply, from MD Chests left in storage from units awaiting orders or transport to the front. Any possibility was not overlooked-- the front needed the supplies -- and got them. Cooperation from Advance Base at Port Moresby in this respect was excellent. On the whole, supplies came through in adequate amount at all times.
10. Failure to take along at least one half of the personnel of administrative sections of Division Headquarters to assist in and supervise preparation of combat reports, both personnel and medical, caused these essential reports to be late in compilation. True, estimates were prepared and submitted which served the purpose of keeping the commanding officer informed as to the approximate personnel still effective, the number of casualties, etc., but estimates at best were poor substitutes for the accuracy of figures obtained promptly when trained administrative personnel is present. Speaking only of medical records, clerks of medical detachments, clearing station and portable hospitals did not always know just where to forward their records, preferring to keep them rather than send them back to Australia by mail. Communications were slow, instructions from Australia reaching the front line units one and one half to two months after dispatch. The changing tactical situations, the
long marches with only radio communication, and the transferring of units from combat team to combat team created confusion as to just what to do with reports, so clerks held them, pending instructions from higherup. Records were destroyed by enemy action and records were lost. It is fortunate that other records could be used to rebuild those destroyed or missing, but this would have been much easier at the time instead of later. As medical personnel became depleted through sickness or enemy action, clerks were pressed into service to help with first aid and operations, depriving them of full time on administrative functions. Some units were widely separated and ran into difficulty collecting their records because of no established central control point. Portable hospitals were not issued any equipment whatsoever for any administrative functions, as a result their personnel matters were handled by persons unfamiliar with the unit, if at all, and supplies had to be issued and instructions given before medical records were available. In fact, the portable hospitals had been led to believe that they would not have to attend any administrative matters. Fortunately again, all kept a "Station Log" of all admissions, name, rank, serial number and diagnosis, for their own information. By this many missing records were restored. It was extremely fortunate all medical stations kept a record of their admissions and dispositions, whether it was called a "Register", "Station Log" or "Sick Blotter". Otherwise, it would have been impossible to restore the medical records destroyed by enemy action.
11. Definitive treatment was emphasized and conservative surgery practiced in the combat area. The primary purpose first of all was to save the individuals life; then to prepare him in as good a condition as possible for evacuation. The war wounds were cleaned as well as possible, hemorrhage controlled, and debridement of wounds usually done under general anesthesia. Occasionally where the wound was small and superficial a local anesthetic was used. Sulfa drugs, in almost every case sulfanilamide powder, was lightly packed into the wound. A sterile vaseline gauze dressing was then placed over the wound. In case of any bone involvement, plaster of paris molds were used for immobilization. This was also done in case of any extensive soft tissue injury. Primary closure was done only in superficial head wounds after a radical debridement had been done. This was the only instance where such primary closure was recommended. All other war wounds of the soft tissue were left open. Abdominal wounds, after exploration of the peritoneal cavity and repair of injury, were closed in the usual manner. Sucking wounds of the chest required immediate closure following debridement of the wound.
The greatest percentage of wounds were in the extremities. A radical debridement was done on the superficial and muscle wounds. The compound fractures were radically debrided, separated fragments of bone were removed, and the extremity immobilized in plaster molds. The use of splints or circular casts was disapproved. The guillotine amputation was recommended. These amputations were left wide open after saving as much skin as possible. A sulfanilamide dressing covered with vaseline gauze and a plaster shell for protection was advised and used.
12. The medical cases that occurred were in order of prevalence due to the following: Malaria, exhaustive states, gastro-enteritis, dengue fever, acute upper respiratory infections and typhus fever. There was little if any Leishmaniasis, Elephantitis, yaws, yellow fever, typhoid, choleraor plague reported among either the Australian or American troops.
13. The anesthesia of choice was intravenous Pentothal Sodium. Pentothal was extremely satisfactory, giving a prompt and adequate anesthesia with only rare instances of vomiting during recovery and none during induction. Pentothal
proved its worth in front line surgery. Open mask drop ether was used on abdominal surgery.
14. Blood plasma was used very extensively where indicated. It was given to battle casualties at battalion aid stations, to cases in shock and where considerable hemorrhage had occurred. It was used to a much greater extent at the portable hospitals, the clearing hospitals and the evacuation hospital. A great quantity of 5% and 10% glucose in normal saline was also used. There was never a shortage of these items. It is felt that in some cases the use of whole blood would have been of great value, particularly incases with massive hemorrhage.
15. The portable hospitals attached to this division during the Buna Campaign proved to be of tremendous value to the medical service given the division. It would be hard to give an exact estimate of the number of lives that were definitely saved by their emergency surgery and heroic work performed near the front lines. They have proven that they have a definite place with combat troops in this type of warfare. It must be remembered, however, that these units are not portable in that they are not able to move their equipment by their own personnel. A forty pound load is the total average per man that can be expected to be carried when marching over jungle tracks.
1. Medical Kits: These could be improved greatly by having a zipper around three sides so that they would open as a book. Now they open only at the top and invariably when the aid man has to treat a casualty, the things he needs are at the bottom and he has to unload the entire kit. With a zipper opening, the kit would open like a book and everything in the kit is available immediately.
2. Litters: The TBA allowance of litters, field, is a minimum allowance. Litters were an item always on shortage. In jungle warfare there is not an equal exchange of litters. The availability of litters depends on the availability of transportation. Each battalion aid station, regimental aid station, collecting company, portable hospital and clearing company should be issued canvas stretchers with hemmed sides on the basis of three to one of fifty per cent of the TBA allowances of litters, field. This would relieve the shortage of suitable litters where most needed, at the front, as canvas stretchers would not be suitable for transporting patients by air, and could be easily returned from rear installations in quantity.
3. M. D. Chests: These were left behind at the base. These chests; empty, weight approximately 50 pounds, and it was considered a waste of energy to carry that much useless weight over jungle tracks. It is recommended that a waterproof reinforced canvas container be issued in which to store the medical equipment and drugs for transportation.
4. Water Proofing: A definite lesson is taught by the Japanese in the science of waterproofing equipment. Equipment and drugs are put up in water and moisture proof containers. Lightness is emphasized. A great deal of their equipment is made of celluloid, wash pans, cups, dishes, urinals, water containers, food containers, plates, etc. These, where possible, telescope into each other and weigh very little. Many of their drugs are put up in light tin containers, sealed with wax. All bandages were wrapped in waxed paper. It is essential that we do the same, as many times rivers had to be forded, often causing total loss of drugs from getting wet. When a forty pound load is considered a maximum individual load to be taken over a jungle trail, it is essential to keep medical supplies as light as they can be made. Weight is a very important factor when traveling through jungle trails, most of the time knee deep in mud.
5. Tentage: The pyramidal tent is the tent of choice. It can be carried, is easily set up, and by extending the sides twelve patient scan easily be place& beneath each one. The ward tent has to be transported by vehicle and cannot be used beyond the point of such transportation. The aeroplane tent is too light and not durable.
6. Mess Equipment: Telescopic, light mess equipment for collecting companies, portable hospitals, and clearing stations that can be carried on the back of personnel, if necessary, is a necessity.
7. Medical Supply Officer: Medical Administrative Corps Officers with the collecting company of each combat team should be trained as medical supply officers for the combat team.
8. Medical Administrative Officers: A Medical Administrative Officer should be included in the Table of Organization, Medical Detachment, Infantry Regiment. Such an officer is urgently required to handle the load of medical administration added to the routine work of a regimental headquarters section by the attachment of the detachments from the medical battalion and the portable hospitals.
9. Administrative Work - Portable Hospital: Portable Hospital TBAs should include a portable typewriter and future directives should contain instructions as to the necessity for administrative work and what kind. All medical reports
necessary are a blotter and daily Admission and Disposition Sheet. The blotter can be the duplicate of the A & D Sheet.
10. Hydran Burners: Hydran burners, with thermos equipment sufficient to care for all members of the command should be issued all units for combat. The Field Range, M-1937, should not be operated under combat conditions unless mounted on vehicles. All troops should have two warm meals a day, one is a vital necessity.
11. Medical Supplies: Advance Medical Supply Depots should be stocked with medical supplies that are in predominant demand at the front, without regard to monthly maintenance standard, so that medical supply officers of combat troops can forward items urgently needed when needed.
12. Carpenters` Tools: A tool chest (carpenters) should be issued as a pert of the equipment for each collecting company and each portable hospital engaged in jungle warfare. Tools are badly needed for building of shelters, huts, lean-tos, roofed platforms, for fabricating tables, racks, litters, stools, and stands for the comfort of patients. With the proper tools, the natural American ingenuity can be exploited to the utmost.
13. Table of Organization: The Table of Organization, Medical Detachment, Infantry Regiment, should be changed to allow the following personnel with ratings as indicated,
One First Sergeant First Sergeant (in place of one Technical Sergeant)
One Supply Sergeant Staff sergeant (not now authorized)
Two Clerks, Record Technicians, Grade V (instead of one now authorized)
Each Battalion Section
One Clerk, Record Technician, Grade V (not now authorized)
The rating of First Sergeant is recommended to be included due to the fact that the Technical Sergeant now authorized handles 126 men and has as many responsibilities as any First Sergeant now authorized in other organizations. There is not a supply sergeant authorized for medical detachments, yet some responsible enlisted man has to be detailed to act in that capacity in each detachment, to be responsible and care for the tremendous amount of organizational and personal equipment and medical supplies.
Additional record clerks are urgently needed to handle medical records. One man cannot do all the work for three separate battalion sections, as well as the consolidation and forwarding of reports, particularly in combat. In combat each man must do his assigned job or weaken the combined effort, therefore surgeons are loath to use technicians and aid men to help on records when their talents are required elsewhere, creating an unpleasant situation as regards medical records.
14. In combat, regimental medical detachments, collecting stations, clearing stations and portable hospitals should not be required to submit Weekly Statistical Report, M.. D. Form 86ab, or asked to fill in all spaces of the Report of Sick and Wounded, M. D. Form 51. In most instances these forms will be hurriedly prepared, and will be found inaccurate by clerks in the next echelon through which forwarded. The time factor involved, communications and transportation make it a poor policy to follow if reports are returned to units serving troops actually in combat for correction. Reports should be corrected by the rear echelons and a corrected copy furnished the submitting unit. To reduce administrative work, lighten supplies of paper and blank forms carried, and attempt to eliminate as many chances of error as possible, it is recommended that regimental medical detachments, collecting stations, clearing stations, and portable hospitals, while engaged in combat, be required to submit a daily Admission and
Disposition Sheet to the medical section of the higher headquarters of control. These Admission and Disposition Sheets should be accompanied by all duplicate EMTs for patients initially admitted at each station for that day and all original EMT`s for patients returned to duty that day from that particular unit. Weekly Statistical Reports can be figured easily and promptly from these Admission and Disposition Sheets, and the possibility of losing EMTs would be cut down radically. Hospital days of treatment can be accurately figured, and a clear picture of just what is occurring daily furnished the commanding officer. If these Admission and Disposition Sheets are made in duplicate, the duplicate copy will serve the purpose of a "Sick Blotter" or "Station Log" for each station. The only parts of the Report of Sick and Wounded necessary for units to fill out would be the spaces that call for information not contained in strength reports or on the Admission and Disposition Sheets, a saving of much time in figuring and checking. Any method to relieve front line medical personnel of any administration would be a definite step toward a better medical service.
The 32d Divisions part in the Papuan Campaign is over. One and all agree the medical service in the Papuan Campaign should be given a rating high among the best. That service is not over nor nearly so. The rehabilitation of troops engaged in the battle has begun, and efforts to bring the entire division to a high state of physical efficiency are continuous. Somewhat as a housewife, the work of the medical department is never done.
Lt. Col. Simon Warmenhoven, M.C.