|The Army's Mobile Army Surgical Hospital units in Korea went a long way toward saving the lives
of thousands of American military personnel in the Korean War. Below is information associated with the
8076th MASH, as well as the 45th Surgical Hospital.
History of the 8076th Army Unit & 45th Surgical Hospital
Initial Report, Headquarters, MASH 8076th
History of the 8076th Army Unit Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
(19 July 1950 - 31 January 1953)
45th Surgical Hospital, Mobile Army
(1 February 1953 - July 1953)
45th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
12 March 1953
Activated Yokohama, 19 July 1950
General Order No. 162, dated 19 July 1950, Headquarters, Eighth United States Army activated the unit as a 60
Personnel including twelve (12) Nurses and eighty-nine (89) Enlisted Men were drawn from hospitals all over
Japan. One (1) MSC and one (1) Warrant Officer transferred out of hospitals in Japan. Ten (10) Medical Officers
and other MSC Officers were flown from the states.
Organization was assisted in equipping itself at 155th Station Hospital in Yokohama. Personnel originally
were assigned to 155th and thus from there to 8076th MASH, APO 707 which was later changed to APO 301.
Personnel for Unit D, 8076th MASH, began arriving at 155th on 17th and were processed and equipment issued
through period of 19 July. On 19th of July equipment was loaded on trucks and pulled over to Pier 2, Yokohama
for combat loading on Sgt. USNS George D. Keathley for shipment to Japan.
Major Kryder E. Van Buskirk – Commanding Officer
Captain George O’Day – Chief Surgery & Ex.
Captain Elizabeth Johnson – Chief Nurse
Lt. Richard E. Eddleman – Supply Officer
Lt. Octavian Buta – Detachment Commander
Boarded the USNS George D. Keathley on the 20th of July. Personnel all in excellent physical condition.
Trucks and equipment were loaded on board.
Sailed at 0800 on the morning of the 21st. During the following days of 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th the
personnel were briefed by the Commanding Officer on what to expect. Daily inspections of the ship were made, and
a tentative plan on the job assignment was made. All personnel were screened and interviewed. SOP’s set up, and
a general overall plan for operations and movement was established. During this time the overall administration
operations of the hospital were taking place.
We arrived in Pusan on the 25th of July under the command of Major Kryder E. VanBuskirk. At midnight that
night they departed by train for Kumchon and arrived there on the morning of the second day. They remained there
only a few hours and departed for Taegu, only to stay there for only five days. At 0330 hours on the 1st of
August they left Taegu for Miryang to the south. They began setting up at 1730 and worked all night getting
tents etc, ready. Guerilla attacked the supply truck that night. The hospital had no operation tables and many
other essential items had to be improvised, however the hospital became first time operational that day with
Sgt. Reed (Mess Sgt) as the first patient.
They remained in Miryang for two months until the 4th of October, during which time they were the main
hospital of the MASH category which was supporting the Pusan Perimeter, furnishing forward hospital support for
every division in Korea with the exception of the 25th division. During this period of time, 5,674 patients were
admitted to this hospital and in one instance 608 patients were admitted in one (24) hour period. Again at this
time the supply truck was attacked by guerilla.
It was during this period that the amphibious landing was made at Inchon and accordingly the tide of battle
was turned and the Eighth Army troops began to advance north and the MASH moved north to Taegu on 4 October, and
remained there for one week before moving to Taejon on 11 October. It remained in Taejon only two days and moved
north to Suwon on the 12th of October where it remained for only eight days, when it moved to Kumchon on the
21st of October. It remained in Kumchon for only a week and moved on the 28th of October to Haeju and there
again for only eight days until 5 November.
From the time after Hiryang when the landing was made at Inchon until Haeju things seemed to be going quite
well for the U.N. troops and it was about this time that the famous statement that the boys would be home for
Christmas was made. This was made without considering that the Chinese would enter, which they did on 27
November (Major Van Buskirk was promoted to LtCol 5 November 1950). About this time the hospital began to work
in earnest again and the hospital moved again to Kumchon on 7 November staying two weeks until 22 November when
it moved to Kunuri for perhaps what was the most tragic episode in its history.
It was then that the coldest weather ever encountered in Korea was met with temperatures as low as 23 and 30
degrees below zero with copious amount of snow. Because of the complete surprise of the Chinese intervention,
and the unusually cold weather, there were men who were fighting in nothing more than fatigues and field
jackets, so along with numerous battle casualties there were literally hundreds of men froze to death. During
the six days they were in Kunuri there were 1,836 admissions to the hospital and on one day 661 admitted.
At this time there were only 12 Medical Officers and 120 Enlisted Men. There were no such things as blowers
for heating, and the entire hospital was in tents. Routinely there were 13 and 14 persons in each squad tent.
The patients were arriving in such a large number that literally there was no place to put them inside the
hospital tents, and when the ambulances would arrive they would just have to leave the patients lying in the
snow, where unfortunately some froze to death before they could even be brought into the hospital tents. However
being brought inside was no assurance against freezing because the temperature in the tents was so low that
patients froze there, their resistance being lowered as a result of injuries.
It was at this time that one of the most difficult decisions any Medical Officer ever had to make was made.
The influx of casualties was such that the unit was unable to care for all of them. Therefore some of the more
seriously injured patients were given sufficient medication to prevent suffering and then they were put aside to
die while the hospital’s attention was focused on those casualties who could be saved.
After being in Kunuri for only six days, the order to "bug out" was given on the 28th of November, and
accordingly the hospital loaded up and moved out at 1600 hours. Because of the pressing nature of the tactical
situation then, not all of the patients were able to be evacuated simply because there were not enough
ambulances to carry them out, and as a result about 40 of the patients, one of the doctors and several of the
corpsmen were left behind to somewhat uncertain fate since the Chinese were advancing with such speed that all
of the roads and highways were clogged with retreating U.N. personnel and equipment. Fortunately, help was
gotten to rescue the stranded patients with the doctor and corpsmen, so none of the personnel were killed or
It was on the "bug out" from Kunuri (four hours before CCF) that the MASH experienced its nearest disaster.
Orders had been given Lt. Col. VanBuskirk to withdraw to Pyong-yang, the north Korean Capitol by a certain
route. However on reaching the fork in the road where the convoy was supposed to go left, Col. VanBuskirk
decided that the route was unsafe and instead took the right fork, which is quite fortunate because all the
troops and convoys which took the left fork were trapped in a road block with almost 100% of them either being
killed or taken prisoners.
The unit arrived at Pyong-yang at 0200 and took over 1,000 patients from the 171 evacuation hospital which
had been forced to retreat. It continued to treat casualties plus take care of the evacuation of all those
casualties left by that unit. Most of those evacuations were by air and the situation was so acute that planes
that normally carried 35 or 40 patients were taking loads of 50 and 60.
The hospital remained at Pyong-yang for four days only before it was again forced to retreat southward to
Kaesong, the old site of the truce talks. At Kaesong they stayed only a week leaving there at 1530 on the 10th
of December, again "bugging out", this time to Suwon for the second time.
At this time the retreat of the U.N. forces was so rushed that the roads were lined actually bumper to bumper
with vehicles and the orders were that if any vehicle broke down, it was to be pulled to the side of the road,
the motor destroyed, and the vehicle burned.
The tales of personal bravery, heroism, self-preservation and sheer guts at that time, are a true credit to
the Army. There was one soldier who was captured by Chinese, who did nothing more than take his boots and later
released him in his bare feet. The weather at that time was sub zero and the ground covered with snow. This
soldier walked barefooted trying to reach our lines until his feet froze so that he was unable to walk further.
He was forced to sit out in the open for three weeks with no food, no shelter except for his uniform and no
water except for what he could obtain from eating snow. He was found at the end of this three week period
weighing approximately 65 pound and with both feet gangrenous and black, necessitating amputation of both legs.
He was one of many who passed through this hospital.
The first Christmas and New Years Day were spent in Suwon while the front stabilized a bit, but again the
U.N. forces were forced to retreat and this time the hospital withdraw still further south to Taejon, setting up
only to have a breakdown again for a few hours and go to Sanju on an overnight move arriving 6 January.
At present most of you have no comprehension of what a move is like because we are so well established here
that it seems inconceivable that the hospital could actually move, but at that time the hospital was set up to
break down the tents, pack up the supplies, load them on trucks and be ready to pull out within six hours. There
were no chances for each man to build up a little empire such as we have now, because there was no place to
carry the excess gear. Between 4 October and 31 January the hospital moved on an average of once a week, and on
one move the hospital was broken down and ready to pull out in one hour and fifteen minutes. The corpsmen and
officers who were not driving vehicles, rode on top of the trucks after the gear had been packed.
The month of January was spent in Sangju as U.N. regrouped its forces and began the long slow drive back up
the peninsula. At Sangju, the hospital was pitched in the river bed and guarded by heavy tanks.
On 1 February 1951 the hospital moved north to Chungju where it stayed for a month before moving to Wonju on
4 March. It was at Wonju that U.N. troops took over a Chinese aid station when the Chinese retreated, and found
approximately 79 of our own UN soldiers that had been held at POWs. The unit moved to Hongchon 5 April.
At this time the MASH was functioning as a truly Mobile Hospital and as a truly Surgical Hospital and as a
result it was never more than 10 miles and often as close as five miles behind the front, and as the fighting
moved forward the MASH was right behind it.
At Hongsh’on in the latter part of April the Communists began their second counter offensive, and again the
MASH had to "bug out", this time on 25 April which happened to be the 9th month anniversary of the MASH’s
arrival in Korea. At that time the hospital was only eight miles behind the MLR and knowing that the Communists
were advancing we had been quite anxious about it and when we would have to move. However, we were assured by
Army we would hold fast our positions on the evening of the 25th, and about 0100 of 26 April, Corps advised unit
would have to "bug out." All personnel were assembled, the hospital taken down and patients evacuated. By 0730
the hospital was enroute to Chungju for the second time.
This organization was placed in reserve at this time some 60 or 75 miles behind the front and sat up in a
school building in Chungju which was later occupied by the 11th Evacuation Hospital.
Being in reserve was short lived though, and two weeks later the unit was moved forward to Suwon for the
third time. During the history of the MASH all was not grim all the time but occasional humorous things happened
which made life quite livable and did much to blend the MASH into a well-functioning integrated unit with one of
the highest esprit de corps of any outfit in Korea. One of those incidents happened in Suwon, and although it
was anything but funny at the time it later served as a wonderful basis for reminiscing. This was the night of
the big rain, one night after several days of almost continuous rain when the mud was almost up to the top of
your boots. In addition to the rain there was a terrific windstorm which effectively blew down almost every tent
on the compound, pulling out the tent stakes as if they were matches. Everyone was routed out by the tents
falling down on top of them and in the middle of the night with the rain pouring down in sheets everyone was
outside trying to drive in new tent stakes; there was so much mud this was impossible so in the end all the
trucks from the motor pool were called out and tents were held up by the trucks until the mud dried out
sufficiently to permit tent stakes to be used again.
It was at Suwon that the 8076th was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation which reads as follows:
The MOBILE ARMY SURGICAL HOSPITAL, 8076th ARMY UNIT is cited for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the
performance of outstanding services in Korea in support of combat operations during the period from 25 July
1950 to 11 May 1951. During this period the MOBILE ARMY SURGICAL HOSPITAL, 8076TH ARMY UNIT functioned in
close support of front line units rendering outstanding medical services. Its primary mission was to perform
as a sixty-bed surgical hospital, however, in many instances the unit assumed the additional responsibilities
of an evacuation hospital without loss of operational efficiency. Between 2 August and 5 October at Miryang,
the unit furnished forward hospital support for all front line troops except the 25th Infantry Division,
admitting 5,674 patients and in one twenty-four hour period handled 244 surgical procedures. On another
occasion this unit processed 608 patients in one day. A total of 15,000 patients were cared for during the
nine months this unit has been in operation, and the medical service rendered to the United Nations Forces was
one of the highest caliber. Under all types of conditions, this hospital has displayed outstanding initiative
and aggressive action in performing its many missions.
Although the hospital was required to operate in no less than thirteen different areas in close medical
support of front line units, its effectiveness and efficiency has excelled the high standards set by the Army
Medical Service. The MOBILE ARMY SURGICAL HOSPITAL, 8076th ARMY UNIT displayed such outstanding devotion and
superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar
missions. The efficiency, effectiveness, and versatility shown by the members of the unit in the performance
of their assigned missions reflect great credit on themselves, the Army Medical Service, and the military
service of the United States.
BY COMMAND OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL VAN FLEET
The Unit moved from Suwon north to Chunchon on 29 May 1951 and shortly after arriving there, Lt. Col. Van
Buskirk rotated to the States and the new commanding officer was Major John Mothershead, later Lt. Col.
Mothershead. At the time of arrival in Chunchon, there was only a small airstrip. There was no rail
transportation available, and no bridges on the road between Chunchon and Seoul so after a heavy rain, supply
trucks were frequently held up for several days until the streams went down enough to permit the trucks to ford
While at Chunchon the peace talks were started and accordingly the tactical situation diminished sufficiently
that the unit had very few patients with the exception of one night when approximately 200 Chinese patients were
sent within the period of about an hour, UN forces having overrun a Chinese clearing station. Among them was a
Chinese Nurse who remained with the unit for approximately a month taking care of the numerous prisoner patients
during that time.
On 17 September 1951 the unit moved forward to Hwachon. The stay at Chunchon was the longest which had been
accomplished in any one location, and by that time all of the original members of the outfit had rotated to the
states, so this move was accomplished with less finesse and ease than the other moves, and in fact had to be
made in a period of two days.
During the last quarter of 1951 the unit remained at Hwachon and as described above continued to function in
a most efficient manner. From the period of 17 September 1951 to 31 December 1951 the unit took care of 3,986
patients, 98% of them being battle casualties. Rotation and transfers to other areas in the Far East Command
made heavy indentations on the experienced personnel. Adequate replacements commenced o arrive during the latter
part of November and December to the extent that the enlisted strength went from a figure of 196 in November to
223 by the end of December. During the last quarter of 1951 the unit was in direct support of the 1st Cavalry
Division and the 7th Infantry Division until mid-November, when the front lines were moved north approximately
nine miles and extended to our left and right flanks for an average of twenty miles. ROKA Divisions commenced to
replace American Divisions which reflected in the patient status to the extent that about one half were ROKA
patients for the last half of December.
Due to the peace negotiations the entire front was comparatively quiet with the start of the New Year which
created a situation that found the unit for the first time in its history doing work comparable to that of an
evacuation hospital. Which including running a rather large out-patient service, giving consultations,
performing laboratory work for nearby units and in general rendering a more diversified medical service. However
the primary mission as always was to give surgical support to combat divisions. During the month of January
through April the hospital supported the 7th Division, 2nd, 3rd, and 25th and some elements of the II ROKA Corps
who commenced to move in the area to the north. The unit participated in one campaign during this period, the
second Korean winter, 28 November 1951 to 30 April 1952 inclusive. In January of 1952, 1,178 patients were
processed with only 323 battle casualties. In February 1952, 1,132 patients were processed with 208 of them as
battle casualties. In March, 986 patients were admitted and 239 of them were battle casualties. In April 963
patients were processed with 223 of those as battle casualties.
With the passing of winter and a comparative quiet front, a general improvement program was ordered by Lt.
Col. Maurice R. Connolly that actually started in July 1952. For the first sustained period in the history of
the unit personal conveniences and material comforts became of paramount importance. Prior to this everyone was
too occupied in work, keeping warm and moving to be very concerned about the inadequacy of latrines and
quarters, the suitability of the EM and Officers clubs etc. In conjunction with the improvement program a
training program was also put into effect for the first time in the history of the unit. Even paper work,
reports and red tape in general commenced to increase to an extent that at times even the expression "police
action" seemed like a vague term as applied to the general situation where the 8076th was concerned. Rotation
continued to have its effect as reflected in the decrease of EM strength of 223 in December to 194 in April. The
Officers and Nurse strength remained constant the majority of the time.
During May and June American Divisions to the north w4ere shifted to other sections of the front and replaced
entire with divisions of the II ROKA Corps which included the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, 9th and Capital ROKA
divisions. Other than receiving patients from American divisions in reserve and as a result of vehicle accidents
most admissions were ROKA soldiers. In May 762 patients were admitted with 246 of them battle casualties. In
June there were 846 with 229 as battle casualties. In July there were 642 patients with 149 battle casualties.
The summer was highlighted by a formal presentation, complete with band and formation on the 30th of July
1952, from General Paik Nam Kwon Commanding General of the II ROKA Corps commending the organization for its
support of ROKA divisions.
August 1952 was an uneventful month with a total admission of only 432 of which 214 were battle casualties.
Such factors as R&R quotas, trips to Seoul, picnics and social activities gradually became of more importance,
although dirt and generally undesirable living conditions were a constant problem.
Improvements of the area were expedited with the advent of winter which included new tentage and floors for
the hospital proper and pre-fab wall lining. The EM mess tent was replaced, a complete new holding ward was
framed and set up, the Officers and Nurses quarters were completely replaced, and EM quarters were replaced as
required. Pre-fab structures replaced supply housing, Officers and EM club, theater and chapel, shower unit and
motor pool. The PX, barbershop and post office were put into one tent with new floor, counters and shelves.
August and September found many older personnel leaving. By 15 September the enlisted strength had decreased
to 129 and new personnel were commencing to arrive weekly. The training program was stepped to counteract this
in the form of on the job training, classroom instruction and field training.
September found admissions only 362 with 221 of these battle casualties. October admissions went to 486 with
284 battle casualties. In November only 322 patients were admitted of which 189 were battle casualties. December
ended 1952 with 278 admissions of which 108 were battle casualties.
On the 4th of November Lt. Col. Maurice R. Connolly was evacuated with hemorrhagic fever to the ZI and
Captain Charles E. Hannan assumed Command. Major Irvine O. Jordan was transferred from the 121st Evacuation
Hospital on the 9th of November and assumed command on that date. Major Harry Grossman was transferred from the
8063rd MASH on the 2nd of December and relieved Major Jordan of command on that date.
On the 2nd of December the 8193rd AU, Helicopter Detachment was reorganized as the 50th Medical Detachment,
Helicopter Ambulance with an authorized strength of 7 Officers and 21 EM. This change attached them to the
hospital for administration and logistical support. Their strength to date was only 4 officers and 4 EM.
On 7 February 1953 Lt. Col. Charles F. Hollingsworth was assigned and assumed command. On 1 February the
8076th MASH AU was redesignated to the 4th MASHosp per General Order No. 69 Hdq. (EUSAK) dtd 10 Jan 1953 to
operate under TO&E 8-571, which authorizes 16 male officers including 3 administrative officers, 12 female
officers and 93 enlisted men. The redesignation entailed a considerable amount of administrative work which was
effected completely by 20 February. On 24 February practice moves by all hospital sections were made a part of
the regular training program. The results were most gratifying in that during the week ending 28 February the
hospital proper had moves by sections and the longest time taken by any one department was an hour and fifteen
minutes to completely load, unload and set up to receive patients. As a result of this it was estimated that in
spite of the long stagnant period experienced, the hospital proper could set up and receive patients in five
The 45th Surgical Hospital was operational for the entire month of March. Our mission was to provide
medical support for the divisions of the II ROK Corps. In addition, hospitalization and out-patient treatment
was given to American divisions in reserve.
Evacuation of patients and casualties was effected by units of the 584th Medical Ambulance Company and the
50th Medical Detachment, Helicopter Group.
On April 3, 1953 the hospital made its first move in several months from Hwachon to Munsan-Ni for the
purpose of participating in Operation Little Switch, the first prisoner exchange. The function of the hospital
was to receive and give first medical attention to the returned sick and wounded United Nations prisoners of
war. By afternoon of April 4, 1953 the hospital was set up and ready to receive patients.
In an effort to provide a maximum comfort for the patients, metal folding type beds with mattresses were
used and were made up with new linen and two new blankets. On each bedside stand were a set of new pajamas, a
bathrobe, towel, and slippers. The patients were able to get a meal, a coke, coffee, malted milks, frappes,
Since there were no cases requiring surgery among the 213 returned prisoners, the average time spent in the
hospital was relatively short… only forty minutes.
The medical operations for the rest of the month consisted of sick call for our own and adjacent units.
After Operation Little Switch was carried out, the physical plan of the hospital had to be altered in order
to carry out the needs of an efficient Surgical Hospital. The ease with which the succeeding great number of
casualti4es was handled proved the change to be adequate and practical. Many of the casualties were Turkish
Armed Forces Personnel and there was some difficulty overcoming the language barrier.
The hospital continued operations at Munsan-ni until June 21, 1953 when it moved to a new area at P’Aiu-Ri,
Korea. At no time during the move was the hospital non-operational. Casualties for the period from American
Divisions, the Turkish Army Brigade, and other United Nations troops.
During the initial days of the month much time was spent in adding conveniences and luxuries to the area. A
shower unit and laundry were set up. The EM club and Red Cross tent provided recreational facilities during
On July 9, 1953 we were alerted to move and on July 10 the move was effected. The hospital was operational
near Toknon-Ni, North Korea from July 10, 1953 thru July 27 supporting 7th Infantry Division troops during the
pushes against Pork Chop Hill. On July 34 this unit received a letter of commendation (dated 18 July 1953)
from Major General Arthur G. Trudeau, Commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, for its outstanding
At Toknon-Ni we were rather cramped for space, therefore few conveniences or recreational facilities were
available. Morale remained high, however, due primarily to the excellent food prepared by our new mess
sergeant, Sergeant Loving.
With the signing of the truce on July 27, 1953, we were ordered to move back to our former location at
P’Aiu-Ri to ready ourselves for our part in the long awaited Operation Big Switch.
Initial Report - Headquarters
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
8076th Army Unit
14 January 1951
SUBJECT: Annual Report of Medical Department Activities,
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, 8076th Army Unit
THRU: The Surgeon
8th US Army Korea (EUSAK)
TO: The Surgeon General
Department of the Army
Washington 25, D.C.
1. Principal Medical Activities of the Command
The principal medical activities of this command have been: to furnish surgical and medical support to
the combat division, principally in the care of non-transportable casualties so seriously wounded that
further evacuation to the rear would jeopardize their recovery; to coordinate evacuation of all casualties
from division areas to installations in the rear, and treat slightly wounded cases who can be returned to
duty within ten days, tactical situation permitting. Casualties here receive emergency as well as highly
specialized treatment. They are given skilled pre-operative, operative and post-operative care. When
transportable these are evacuated to rear installations.
2. Organization and Equipment
- This hospital was activated per General Orders No. 161, Hq 8th US Army, APO 343, dated 19 July
1950, under T/O&E 8-571, dated 28 October 1948, and expanded per General Orders No, 180, Hq 8th US Army
Korea, APO 301, dated 24 November 1950. Due to the wide variation in the tactical situation encountered in
this theatre, the missions of this unit have varied widely. This unit has been operational 152 days and had
9,008 admissions. It was first operational at Miryang, Korea, from 2 August 1950 to 5 October 1950. During
this 65 day period, 5,674 patients passed through the hospital. 244 surgical patients on one occasion and
192 on another were admitted during a 24 hour period. The greatest number of dispositions in one 24 hour
period was 608. It was fortunate that the unit during its busiest time at Miryang had selected a woolen mill
to set up in, for its expansion was unlimited. Storage warehouses were used as wards and as the patient load
increased, new wards were opened up in vacant warehouses. At one time this unit had a census of 427
patients. At the beginning of operations, the unit was organized into a Headquarters Section, a Professional
Service and Administrative Service. The Professional Service consisted of operating, Ward, Pharmacy,
Laboratory and X-ray Sections. The Administrative Services consisted of Detachment Headquarters, Supply,
Mess, Registrar and Motor Sections. On 15 October 1950, per paragraph 211, Hq 2nd Infantry Division, one
lieutenant, Dental Corps, and one dental technician, enlisted man, was attached to the command.
On this date a Dental Section was added to Professional Service. This arrangement while caring for but
surgical cases worked well; but as the situation changed and the mission of the hospital, in addition to
being primarily surgical, became one of an evacuation hospital, minor changes were made which it is believed
helped the unit to function more smoothly. The Headquarters Section and the Detachment Headquarters were
consolidated thereby pooling the resources of three clerks. Four Enlisted Men were originally in the
Registrar Section; two more were assigned because of the heavy patient load. An Evacuation Section
consisting of one Medical Corps officer, one Medical Service Corps officer and one NCO was established as a
subdivision of the Registrar Section. This provided for a smooth coordination of patients designated for
evacuation from the Holding wards to the evacuating medium (i.e. ambulance, train and/or air).
The need for local security, which because of the tactical situation and locations in some areas rendered it
impossible for other units nearby to supply local security made it necessary to add a Guard Section
consisting of ten Enlisted Men. By making this a permanent section disruption of night and day personnel
shifts was avoided making for a smoother functioning unit.
From 28 October 1950 through 31 December 1950, the unit moved six times. Local buildings were utilized in
all instances and supplemented with tents as necessary. Because of the problem of weatherproofing, heating,
and lighting these buildings, a separate Utilities Section of seven Enlisted Men was set up, which greatly
facilitated housekeeping. It is believed a trained electrician and carpenter would be a definite addition
and facilitate greatly the lighting and housekeeping problem encountered.
Equipment as basically supplied this unit was entirely adequate for function of the operating section and
ward sections, however, when casualties were exceptionally heavy there was a shortage of oxygen flow meters,
suction apparati and anesthesia machines, but as the need for this additional equipment arose it was
promptly supplied through 8th Army Medical Supply channels.
The following recommendations are submitted for the Orthopedic Set as it is supplied. The table portable,
field orthopedic, has been satisfactory with the exception of one factor. It is impossible to apply a body
jacket or a Minerva jacket to spinal injuries in hyperextension while the patient is under general
anesthesia. Two modifications of the table could be made very easily – one the addition of the Goldthwaite
irons and their end pieces to the present table for the application of jackets in the hyperextended supine
position and the use of a canvas strap with fixation at the chest symphisis to apply jackets in the prone
position. Minerva jackets can be applied with the same apparatus by the use of the Goldthwaite irons. There
is too much equipment available in the orthopedic line of some types and too little of other types in the
field. The use of plates, screws, Lohman clamps, twist drills, etc. is of questionable value at the field
levels and under field conditions but these and others are included in the field fracture and amputation
sets. Conversely [sic] there is very little Kirschner wire and Steinman equipment available and in the
Korean Theater up to this time there has been almost none of this available. It is felt that these should be
heavily stocked in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. These are unquestionably emergency treatment items
and are of more value than equipment provided for definitive surgical procedures. The stock of wire suture
material is largely confined to heavier gauges. This should be available down to the level of No. 36 wire.
It is well known that wire suture material is inert in the presence of sepsis and the use of it in closing
the lateral borders of wounds to decrease their size, when it is known that sepsis will follow, would be of
value. Then too, the use of finer gauges of wire in the Bonnel technique of tendon repair presents itself in
cases incurred under clean circumstances and recently enough to be repaired, such as one finds in mess and
utility personnel of nearby units.
The 250,000 BTU gasoline space heaters as supplied to this organization have been invaluable, however much
difficulty has been experienced in keeping them operational. The chief difficulty with the blower type unit
heater being the frailness and lack of stability of the gasoline engines which require almost constant
maintenance to keep them in adjustment and in functioning condition. These blower motors can be only
regarded as gadgets rather than as functional pieces of equipment. At present this organization has
converted one of these units which became so unserviceable that it is powered by an electric motor. This
modification has proved much more dependable and satisfactory than the units supplied.
- Attached Units
This unit has always been supplied with at least one ambulance platoon and sometimes with two depending on
the tactical situation.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the helicopters stationed at the hospital who brought seriously wounded
patients from inaccessible areas and evacuated seriously wounded casualties from forward medical
installations, thereby providing a quick, smooth, comfortable evacuation from forward areas to the hospital
with a minimum of shock and delay.
3. Physical and Mental Health of the Command
In general, the physical and mental health of this command has been excellent, of all disease encountered
in the past six months, those of infectious origin have predominated. Included below are diseases and
incidence of such in this command during the past six months.
Poliomyelitis – a rapidly fatal case of bulbar polio was observed. That patient was evacuated to a
hospital ship where, despite treatment in a respirator, he died six hours later.
Hepatitis – There have been five cases at sporadic intervals. All were evacuated to Japan. Two have
returned to duty.
Dysentery – Dysentery, presumably bacterial, was of moderate incidence during the summer months. All cases
responded quickly to the newer antibiotic agents (aureomycin and chloramphenicol). The source of infection
could not be localized, but mess, water and latrine sanitation in hospital area were definitely excluded.
Upper Respiratory Infections – There have been two mild outbreaks of nasal pharyngitis, acute catarrhal,
in this command. There has been no pneumonia, either viral or bacterial.
Tuberculosis – One case of suspected TB of kidney, manifested by persistent hematuria, dysuria, and
irregularity of one calyx on retrograde urography was studied and evacuated. No instance of pulmonary TB
has been seen.
Venereal Disease – Gonorrhea five cases and chancroid two cases have been noted. No suspected luetic
lesions have been observed.
Malaria – There has been no malaria observed in this command. All have received by roster weekly
prophylactic doses of chloroquin during the malaria seasons.
No Cholera, Tetanus, protozoan, or metazoan diseases have been observed.
- Organic Disease
One case of hypertensive cardio-vascular disease in a forty-five year old Enlisted member of the command
was observed and evacuated.
- Accidents and Injuries
Burns – There have been three cases of burns, all due to gasoline explosions. One case of 1st and 2nd
degree burns involving 10% of body surface required evacuation, others were treated on duty status.
Injuries – Four fractures due to injuries have occurred, two of sufficient severity to require evacuation.
Others were treated on duty status. There was one case of severance of radial artery with concurrent
dislocation of radio-carpal joint, treated here and evacuated for physiotherapy. He has subsequently
returned to duty. One nurse developed torticollis and was evacuated.
There has been no head exhaustion or frostbite. There have been no casualties as a result of enemy action.
- Psychiatric Disease
Two psychiatric casualties have been evacuated from the theater with diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia,
and severe anxiety state, in general the mental health of this command has been excellent, and morale has
The officers, nurses and enlisted personnel have been housed in local buildings within the hospital
compound when these were available. Sectional and squad tents have been used at other times. Ventilation and
heating have always been good to excellent. General cleanliness of the quarters has been well maintained.
During the summer months mosquito and fly control was good. DDT spraying was carried out effectively
throughout the hospital area with the occasional assistance of a sanitation team from a nearby unit. The
usual "fly attractive" areas such as the mess, the latrines, and garbage disposal pits, were kept fly free
by the usual general measures: frequent changes of pits and latrines, scrubbing of latrine boxes with
disinfectant solutions, and mess cleanliness. Rodents presented no problem. Frequent aerosol bomb spraying
of the operating room was carried out during the summer months, and mosquito netting was placed so as to
cover the entrance to the operating room, as well as to the patient wards. Insect repellent as well as DDT
powder was available to all patients. Tissues removed at surgery, as well as old dressings were burned and
buried. Water supply has at all times been within easy reach of the hospital’s water truck. The hospital
utilities section has made shower baths available to the unit whenever possible. Occasionally the shower
points of nearby larger units have been available. Hospital laundry has been handled very efficiently by the
Quartermaster laundries of nearby divisional units. While at Miryang, their facilities were not available
and local labor was hired to do the hospital laundry. The hospital supplies and equipment were necessary
sanitary measures have been quite adequate.
5. Incidence of Infectious Diseases Observed in Hospitalized Cases
- Venereal Diseases
Chancroid, gonorrhea, luetic chancre, and lympho-gtrauloma venereum were the most frequently observed
infectious illnesses. All diagnoses were clinical, save for smears in suspected gonorrhea and chancroid, as
this installation has no facilities for serological diseases. Whenever possible, persons with venereal
diseases were returned to duty, but often they had to be evacuated because their unit had left the area.
Gonorrhea was treated with either 300,000 or 600,000 units of procaine penicillin with good effect. Patients
with suspected primary syphilis were started on a course of procaine penicillin, 600,000 units daily x 10,
and then returned to duty with instruction to report to their unit dispensary to complete the treatment.
Chancroid was treated with streptomycin 0.7 gms twice a day for five days, initially, but later in the year,
good results were obtained with aureomycin 0.7 gms twice a day for five days, initially, but later in the
year, good results were obtained with aureomycin 2 to 4 gms daily for five to ten days. The same treatment
was used in lymphogranuloma venereum.
Dysentery was the next most frequent type of infectious disease. No laboratory confirmation as to type was
obtained. The majority were presumed to be bacillary, and most of these responded to Aureomycin or
chloroimycetin therapy, usually being ready for duty in two to five days.
Malaria was observed frequently in August and September. A few cases were found in December, but these
occurred among members of the Philippine 10th BCT, and were thought to be acute recurrence of chronic
malaria acquired before arrival in Korea. All cases became clinically well with chloroquin, the most
frequent dosage schedule used being 1.0 gm stat, with 0.5 gms three times daily for three days thereafter.
Encephalitis of unknown type, but thought to be Japanese B was seen often in August and September. All had
positive spinal fluid findings, usually showing 100 to 1200 cells per cu. Mm., with lymphocytes and
neutrophils varying in predominance from case to case. All cases were acutely and severely ill at the time
of evacuation, but no patients died before leaving the unit. Only three cases of poliomyelitis were
observed, two of whom expired because of respiratory failure.
Hepatitis as evidenced by icterus was seen frequently, and all such cases were quickly evacuated for
- Respiratory Infections
Respiratory Infections of various types were seen with increasing frequency during late November and
December. The most serious of these were pneumonitis, of unknown type, seen most commonly among Philippine
troops and Thailanders. These patients were evacuated due to the tactical situation before the results of
Aureomycin therapy could be evaluated. For incidence and control of infectious diseases in the command, see
paragraphs three and four.
6. Outstanding Clinical Experiences, Improvements in Medical Practice
This unit was located in an area where casualties were extremely heavy, and for a time we received all
surgical casualties from the 2nd Infantry Division, 24th Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 5th
Regiment, 1st Marine Brigade, and ROK forces. In less than a two months period, three hundred (300)
laporatomies were performed in this institution. About fifteen (15) ruptured urethras, numerous injuries to
extremities, chest and head were encountered. TBM [Technical Bulletin Medical, TB MED] 147, and its
forerunner, the "ETO Manual of Therapy," was familiar to all surgeons, and was used as a basis for all
treatments, however, from experiences during this period, it is believed some points can be emphasized which
can be of future help to the trained surgeon uninitiated in war surgery. For all wounds or injury other than
enumerated below TBM 147 very adequately covers the basic procedures.
A bold, ample para median incision provides better exposure and is much less time consuming than a
transverse incision and is in nearly all cases the incision of choice. The surgeon then quickly assays the
amount of work to be performed. The first step should be gentle but rapid exploration of the small bowel
from Treitz to cecum, with complete evisceration of the small bowel. This maneuver affords thorough
inspection of the small bowel for perforations; inspection of the mesentery for bleeders, which if present
are promptly secured; direct vision of all colic gutters, and easy and thorough inspection of the
posterior abdomen. Intestinal perforations are marked and clamped to prevent further contamination of the
abdomen, and the remainder of the abdomen surveyed. The viscera are now replaced and the survey completed
and the necessary operative procedures are now performed. While it is realized that evisceration is a
shocking procedure the operating time and the more thorough exploration afforded, well overweighs the
Severely lacerated livers were encountered accompanied in several cases by marked hemorrhage. Fibrin
foam has been the only one of the foams available at this installation. Its use in these cases has in
general been disappointing. Best results have been obtained using deep mattress sutures with generous fat
grafts beneath the loops to prevent the sutures from lacerating the liver substance. In several cases
rather large hepatic ducts were torn by the missiles, and rather than trust entirely a Penrose drain, a
latex tube of 26 F with side perforations was placed along the damaged area or actually incorporated into
the bed of the furrow before securing the mattress sutures. The tube, along with the Penrose drain, was
then delivered to the outside through a stab wound in the right flank. Over 350 CC of bile drainage has
been obtained from these tubes in a 24 hour period.
Combined thoraco-abdominal wounds were handled in the main by aspiring the blood from the chest by
catheter and suction prior to closure of the defect in the diaphragm. The case was then handled primarily
as a chest case. We were very much impressed by the very small number of wounds of the chest which
required open thoracotomy. The majority responded well to repeated aspirations of blood, maintenance of
normal chest physiology in so far as possible, blood transfusions, oxygen and general supportive measures.
When catheter drainage of the thorax with underwater seal was indicated, the use of large catheters cannot
be stressed too strongly, as smaller ones tend to become blocked and require too much attention to keep
them functioning properly.
Wounds of the GU Tract
Perforated urinary bladders and vesico-rectal fistulas were treated in accordance with TBM 147. There
is nothing outlined in this bulletin as to the care of uretheral wounds. Approximately 15 complete
ruptured urethras were observed. These were almost always associated with perineal and pelvic injuries.
While it is realized that the procedure as suggested here cannot be properly evaluated until the final end
results are appraised, it is believed, that difficult secondary reconstructive surgery has been minimized,
in that a patent splinted channel has been maintained from the bladder through the urethral meatus in all
cases. If a catheter could be passed to the bladder and a free flow of urine obtained, the catheter,
usually a 20 F or 22 F 5cc Foley, was left indwelling and no further treatment was believed indicated. If,
however, a catheter could not be passed the defect was explored, and a primary reconstruction was
accomplished over a splinting catheter. Urinary flow was diverted from the anastomosed area by one of two
methods, depending on the location of the defect. If the rupture was in the bulb or anterior, an external
perineal urethrostomy was done with bladder drainage accomplished by a 26 F 5cc Foley meatus. If the
lesion was proximal to the bulb, a splinting catheter was passed to the bladder, a suprapubic cystostomy
accomplished, the defect repaired, and the pelvic diaphragm and perineal muscles repaired as well as
Traumatic lesions of the upper G U tract included many contused kidneys, lacerated kidneys, and one
case in which the ureter was severed in the upper third. As with lesions of the lower tract, there was
almost always coexistent pathology. In general, where possible, operative procedure was delayed and serial
urinalyses were done to determine the progression or regression of the hematuria. If the hematuria organ
decreased, and the patient was adequately supported, as one could be certain the kidney was the only organ
involved, no operative intervention was attempted. Cases not responding to the treatment as outlined
above, were explored, usually transperitoneally, as there was usually associated abdominal pathology.
Resection of a badly shattered lower pole of one kidney was carried out in one case. Two lacerated
parenchymal lesions of renal tissue extending into the pelvis were repaired and nephrostomy tube inserted.
The severed ureter was treated by insertion of a splint tube down the ureter, and a nephrostomy on the
same side. A pyelostomy probably would have been preferable, but the procedure was further complicated
because the subject had an intrarenal pelvis. At the same procedure three perforations o the small
intestine were also repaired. Only three nephrectomies were performed during the entire period of this
It is regrettable that due to the rush and pressure upon this unit more detailed studies could not be
carried out on these casualties. It is also unfortunate that the results of the work done here cannot be
further observed. The salient points learned from this experience can only restate that which has so often
been stated. Before any operative procedure is attempted, the patient must be adequately treated for
shock, only those measures essentially necessary be done, speed and gentleness throughout all procedures
must be strictly observed.
This organization as any other has encountered personnel problems. The personnel strength has been
increased by General Orders 180, HQ EUSAK, and it is felt that the proper number of personnel, including
medical officers, nurses and enlisted men, is now sufficient to carry out the assigned tasks of this
hospital. Under T/O&E 8-571, the following breakdown of personnel is supplied: 14 Medical Corps Officers, 2
Medical Service Corps Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, 12 Army Nurse Corps Officers and 97 Enlisted Men. By
issuance of General Orders 180, HQ, EUSAK, the following revision was made: 15 Medical Corps Officers, 5
Medical Service Corps Officers, 17 Army Nurse Corps Officers and 121 Enlisted Men. Attached for
administration, duty, rations and quarters was always an ambulance platoon from either the 567th Medical
Ambulance Company (Sep) or 584th Medical Ambulance Company (Sep). This was always provided by Medical
Section, EUSAK, in order that proper evacuation be accomplished.
With the constant moving up and down the peninsula, administration at times has been hindered, but on the
whole, taking into consideration the difficulties of distribution and mail, breakage and occasional loss of
equipment, and the shortage of AR’s, SR’s and other governing materials, the organization has been able to
keep up its administration in a very satisfactory manner.
During the majority of the time, the personnel of the hospital have been working. Because of the steady
influx of work, "on the job training" has been the source of knowledge acquired by personnel. It is believed
that "doing" plus an occasional helping suggestion is the best way of learning under field conditions.
During the periods of time when the hospital was not abnormally busy, inventories, policing and
improvements of all kinds were and still are generally in order.
Supply problems experienced during the period of this report have been relatively small. During the
period of time this unit was located at Miryang, Korea, all medical supplies were procured from the 6th
Medical Depot in Pusan. Usually a representative of the supply section was dispatched to Pusan with a
requitions to be filled and returned either by hospital or by vehicle, however, from time to time when
emergencies occurred medical items were flown in by liaison plane and helicopter.
On moving North a constant flow of supplies was provided by the advance platoons of the 6th Medical
Depot. The use of helicopter transport proved invaluable during periods of action resulting in large numbers
of seriously wounded casualties, when as many as 100 units of whole blood were used in an 8 hour period and
reserve blood supplies were depleted.
Blanket and litter exchange proved to be somewhat of a problem at various times due to shortages in the
theatre, however, the hospital trains at present are furnishing an adequate exchange. Exchange of blankets
and litters on patients evacuated by air has caused some concern, since no exchange has been provided. The
exchange of blankets at Kunu-ri during the latter part of November proved quite a problem due to the extreme
cold weather requiring up to six blankets per patient, the exceptionally high census, and fact that all
patients were evacuated by air. Since the supply run to Pyongyang required at least a full day, the shortage
was alleviated by airlifts arranged through the 8th Army Surgeon’s office.
Quartermaster, Signal, Ordnance, Engineer logistical support has been adequately provided by the 2nd
Infantry division and the 24th Infantry Division, as well as the various Army technical supply units.
(signed) K.E. VanBuskirk
Lt. Col, MC