THE MEDICS’ WAR

UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE KOREAN WAR

THE MEDICS’ WAR

by
Albert E. Cowdrey

CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY UNITED STATES ARMY WASHINGTON, D. C., 1990

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Cowdrey, Albert E. The medics’ war. (United States Army in the Korean War; 4th v.) "CHM pub 20–5"—T.p. verso, Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Korean war, 1950–1953—Medical care-united States. 2. United States. Army–Medical care—History. I. Center of Military History. II. Title. III. Series. [DNLM: 1. Military Medicine—history—Korea. 2. Military Personnel—history—Korea. DS 921.3 C874m] DS918.U5246 [DS921.25] 951.9’042 s 86-25950 [951.9'042]

UNITEDSTATESARMYINTHE KOREANWAR
David F. Trask, General Editor

Advisory Committee
(As of 1 August 1985)

Charles P. Roland University of Kentucky Roger A. Beaumont Texas A&M University Jamie W. Moore The Citadel Donald W. Smythe, S.J. John Carroll University Brig. Gen. Richard L. Reynard U.S. Army War College Maj. Gen. Edward J. Huycke Deputy Surgeon General, U.S.A. James O’Neill National Archives and Records Administration

Archer Jones North Dakota State University Colonel Robert A. Doughty U.S. Military Academy John H. Hatcher OfIice of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Information Management Cal. Louis D. E Frasche U.S. Army Command and General Staff College L. Eugene Hedberg American Enterprise Institute for Public Research Maj. Gen. Carl H. McNair, Jr. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command

U.S. Army Center of Military History
Brig. Gen. William A. Stofft, Chief of Military History
Chief Historian Chief, Histories Division Editor in Chief David F. Trask Lt. Col. Richard 0. Perry John W. Elsberg

. . .

to Those Who Served

Foreword
This is the fourth volume published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History in its United States Army in the Korean War series. Once termed a police action, the Korean War was fought by massed armies on a constricted field of operations. Its battles were as intense as those of any other war this century. The Medics’ War views this conflict from an uncommon angle. It documents the efforts of American Army doctors, nurses, and enlisted medics to save life and repair the damages wrought by wounds and disease. Though the charges of biological warfare made at the time are shown to have no foundation, the disease-ridden environment of wartime Korea aided the side with the best medical care. The real MASH clearly emerges in this study, along with the variety of technical innovations produced by the conflict that have advanced medical science. The perspective of The Medics’ War is an enlightening one, showing that the compassionate treatment of both United Nations and enemy wounded preserved human values in the midst of bitter, unforgiving strife. Civilian and military readers alike will gain from it a deeper understanding of the processes, destructive and reconstructive, that together made up the human experience of the Korean War. Washington, D.C. 24 March 1986 WILLIAM A. STOFFT Brigadier General, USA Chief of Military History

ix

The Author
Albert E. Cowdrey was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and received his education from the schools of that city and from Tulane and Johns Hopkins Universities. He served in the Army as an enlisted man during the years 1957–59. After teaching at Tulane University and at Louisiana State University in New Orleans he entered the government historical programs, working for the Corps of Engineers historical office and, since 1978, for the U.S. Army Center of Military History. His continuing interest in southern history brought him the Herbert Feis Award of the American Historical Association, in 1984, for his book This Land, This South. He has written widely on medical and military history, in American and British journals. The Medics War was written while he was chief of the Medical History Branch at the Center of Military History.

Preface
The medical history of war casts light not only upon the suffering of those who tight but upon the dedication of those who save. Though the association between slaying and saving is paradoxical, it exists and helps to shape the nature of modern warfare—and of modern medicine as well. Often the effort to forestall or to repair war’s damages by preventing disease and managing trauma has served to advance medical science. During the past century, conquest of the ancient camp diseases has changed the definition of what is militarily possible. The kind of struggle fought on the Western Front during World War I would have been impossible in times past, when large immobile bodies of troops would have spawned devastating epidemics. In World War II Americans, aided by further medical progress, were able to fight for years in the most varied disease environments. In turn, that struggle introduced to the world a variety of innovations, including the mass production and use of penicillin and DDT. During the same period, improvements in surgery and the introduction of a systematic program to supply whole blood steadily reduced the death rate among the wounded in military hospitals. In the roster of wars that have contributed to medical progress, the Korean conflict holds a place of importance. Major innovations included the MASH (mobile army surgical hospital); widespread use of the helicopter for medical evacuation; improved forward vascular surgery; and advances in the handling and treatment of neurosurgical injuries. Indeed, modern emergency medicine would be hard to imagine without the pioneer work done on the Korean battlefields. By their courage and skill American medics in Korea were able to save and restore the lives of many soldiers and marines who otherwise would have succumbed to the fighting, the omnipresent diseases, and the harsh field conditions. While researching and writing The Medics’ War, I benefited from the support and expertise of many people. The bibliographical essay gives credit to the writers of earlier published works. My thanks are due especially to the archivists and librarians of the Washington area, notably to Hannah M. Zeidlick, Charles Ellsworth, Geraldine K. Judkins and Mary J. Sawyer of the U.S. Army Center of Military History; to Norman M. Covert at Fort Detrick; to Dorothy Hanks at the National Library of Medicine; and to Victoria S. Washington and Fred W. Pernell at the National Archives and Records Administration. Mr. Pernell, in particular, deserves a campaign ribbon for his unwearied help to myself and later to my editor. Fellow historians displayed their usual professional generosity, providing perceptive comments on my efforts and constructive suggestions for improvexi

ment. John Duffy, now professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, offered valuable guidance in many phases of the writing–notably by allowing me to audit his course in medical history when I first began to study this difficult specialty–and also critically reviewed the manuscript. J. Kenneth MacDonald, historian of the Central Intelligence Agency, made materials available to me from his agency’s files. Richard J. Sommers of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, was most helpful. Robert J. T. Joy, M.D., of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences played a special role in the making of the book. He was a mine of information on the history of military medicine; encouraged me to assemble my notes on germ warfare for an article in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, which he edits; and, as a member of the panel on this book, provided a lengthy and useful critique. My colleagues at the Center of Military History contributed beyond my ability to offer adequate thanks. Mary C. Gillett placed her formidable scholarly knowledge of medico-military topics at my disposal. The ongoing works of Graham A. Cosmas and Mary Ellen Condon-Rall on the medical history of World War II yielded valuable insights into the immediate background of the Korean struggle. Young Gil Chang–since tragically deceased–saved me from errors not only by his historical insight but also by his grasp of the language and culture of his native land. Billy G. Mossman read the manuscript with a critical eye and offered constructive suggestions. Unfailing encouragement and support came from two successive chiefs of the Histories Division, Col. James W. Dunn and Lt. Col. Richard 0. Perry, and from Chief Historian David F. Trask. Stephen E. Everett reviewed for accuracy the material on Army units. Linda M. Cajka skillfully designed the maps, charts, and paperback cover, and also prepared the photographs. Finally, my editor, Joanne M. Brignolo, was extraordinarily diligent both in clearing the knotty language from the text and in amplifying the footnotes to provide maximum information to the critical reader. It is, however, due to all these valued associates and mentors to say that any errors remaining in the book are entirely my own. War and healing meet in many places, in the field and prison camp, in the hospital and laboratory. I hope that those who study either, or merely enjoy reading about them, will find some matters of interest in the contribution that follows. Washington, D.C. 24 March 1986 ALBERT E. COWDREY

xii

Contents
PROLOGUE: 1. BETWEEN THE UNEXPECTED THE WARS . . . WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Great Unraveling . . . . The ASTPs . . . . . . . . The Drive To Professionalize Reorganizing the Department The Unification Drive . . . . The Personnel Problem Revisited

7 8
11 14 16 22 28 36 38 44 50 51 58 63 69 71 79 86 88 93 98 98 105 112 116 119 127 132 133 135 137 139 145

2. JAPAN AND KOREA AFTER V-J DAY Public Health and Welfare . . . . Care of the Troops . . . . . . . The Occupation ofKorea . . . . . American Policy and Korean Ills Americans in Korea . . . , . . . Japan Under the Later Occupation 3. THE MEDICAL SERVICE IN Medics in Retreat . . . The Pusan Perimeter . . The Other Side of the Line The Medical System Takes Enter the Helicopter . .
RETREAT . . . . . . . . . . . . Form . . . . .

. . . . . .

, . . . .

. . . . .

4. THE MEDICAL SERVICE IN THE ATTACK A4edical Support for the Invasion . . . Medics in the Breakout . . . . . , . The Advance to the Yalu . , . . . . , The Forces of General Winter . . , . . “An Entirely New War” . . . . . 1 , The New Shape ofArmy A4edicine . . .
5. BEHINDTHE LINES

. . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .

Sources ofSupply Getting Supplies to the Troops Water, Blankets, and Litters . Personnel . . . . . . . . . Preventive Medicine . . , .

. . . . . . . . . .

...
Xl11

Chapter

Page

Hospitalization and Evacuation .............. The Blood Program ................... The Growth of Psychiatric Support ............. Dental Care ...................... .................. Professional Services 6. FIELD AND BUNKER ................... On the Battlefield ................... .................. The Third Horseman Into the Bunkers .................... Life on the Line .................... How Good Was the Field Medical Service? 7. STATIC WARFARE ............ From Battle Line to Hospital .............. Life on the Line ................... Men in Armor ............. ........... Back to the Battle Germ Warfare .................... The Opening Barrage ................. Charge and Countercharge ............... 8. MEDICAL SUPPORT BEHIND A STABLE FRONT Organization of the Rear Areas .............. ANewArmy ..................... Training ....................... Supply ........................ The Blood Program ................... .................. Preventive Medicine Dental Care ...................... ................. Of Professional Interest The Flow of the Wounded ................ 9. DEFINITIVE CARE .................... Evacuation: The First Leg ................ The Hospitals of Japan ................. .......... ........... On the Wards ......... 1.. The WayHome ........ Zone-ofInterior Hospitals ................ ................... Selected Hospitals
10. VICTIMS OF WAR .................... U.N. Prisoners: The First Phase ............. ..........

149 154
155

156 158
160

......... .......

161 173 177 182 187
197

....... .......

200 207 210 213 217 222 224
228

......

228 229 234 238 243 245 250 253 257
261

262 270 276 289 291 294
299

Communist Prisoners: The First Phase The Riots and After ..................

300 306 314

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Chapter

Page

The Refugee Problem . . . . . . . Korean Soldiers and Laborers . . . .
.... 11. THE END OF THE FIGHTING ........ The Medical Picture ........... On the Line .... Operation LITTLE SWITCH ...... Operation BIGSWITCH After the Battle .......... Civil Assistance Revisited ...... The Korean Experience .......

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

321 329
. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

335 335 340 345 351 355 359 362 365 375 379

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL

NOTE

................. .................

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS INDEX
..........................

Tables
No.

1. Medical Department Oflicer Strength, December 1947 . . . . 2. Distribution of Army Nurses, June 1948 . . . . . . . . . . 3. Results of the Moral Suasion Campaign, June 1949 . . . . . 4. Board-Certified Regular Army Medical Oflicers, March 1950 . 5. Comparative Case Rates of Major Diseases During the Occupation 6. Anticipated Deficit in Medical Officers, Eighth Army, 1949 . . 7. Medical Personnel in Japan, June 1950 . . . . . . . . . . 8. Nondivisional Medical Units in Korea, August 1950 . . . . . 9. Battle Casualty Data, April 195 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

13 19 32 34 41 67 68 99 195

Charts
1. Medical Evacuation, September 1950 . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Organization of the Korean Civil Assistance Program, June 1952 3. Organization of the United Nations Civil Assistance Command, Korea, November 1952 . . . . . . : . . . . . . . . . 4. Organization of the Medical Section, United States Army Forces, Far East, December 1953 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 326 326 336

Maps
1. The Enemy Advances, June-July 1950 ...... 2. The Pusan Perimeter, August 1950 ........
. . . . . .

72 80

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A’o.

Page

3. The U.N. Advances, September-November 1950 ........ 4. Land Lost and Regained, January-May 195 1 .. ... . 5. The Central Korean Battleground, September 195 l-July 1953 1 1 1 6. Japan and Korea ..................... 7. The Pusan-Koje Area .................... 8. Refugee Movements, June 1950-July I95 1 ........... 9. Korea Redivided, July 1953 .................

110 169 212 265 313 322 352

Illustrations
American Evacuees From Korea Arriving in Japan ......... Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Bliss ................. Draftees Undergoing Physicals ................. Brig. Gen. Crawford F. Sams .................. Brig. Gen. Guy B. Denit ................... Sanitary Inspector Taking Water Samples ............ Korean Civilians Welcoming U.S. Occupation Troops ....... Smallpox Ward in the Seoul Communicable Disease Hospital .... American Nurse Instructing Korean Nurses ........... South Korean Casualties Awaiting Evacuation to the Rear ..... Tagging an American Casualty at a Forward Aid Station ...... Ambulance Driver Covering the Red Cross With Mud ....... Unloading Wounded Soldiers at a Battalion Aid Station Col. Chauncey E. Dove11 and the Eighth Army Medical Staff 1 1 1 1 1 South Korean Casualties Receiving Medical Attention ....... Surgeons at Work in Taegu .................. Field Psychiatry ....................... Loading a Casualty on a Marine Corps Helicopter ......... Korean Civilian Hospital at Inchon ............... 4th Field Hospital in Ascom City ................ A Medic in the Breakout Unloading Casualties From’s DUKW 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Enemy Soldier Receiving First Aid ............... Corpsman Treating Daughter ofa North Korean Officer ...... The Effects of Frostbite ..................... Hospital Train Evacuation From Pyongyang ........... Maj. Gen. Silas B. Hays .................... Winter Supplies ....................... Army Nurses of the 12 1 st Evacuation Hospital .......... Battalion Aidman Vaccinating South Korean Troops ........ U.N. Patients in a Pusan Hospital Ward ............. Facilities at the 3d Station Hospital in Pusan ........... Loading Blood in a Helicopter Pod ............... 5 17 31 37 45 46 52 55 57 71 73 76 78 81 89 91 92 94 103 104 105 107 109 113 117 125 134 138 144 147 152 153 155

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Page

........... Dental Prosthetic Section Making Dentures ............ Medic Treating Wounded Chinese Soldier ........... Litterbearer Coming to the Aid of a Casualty Capt. Hubert D. Gaddis Piloting a Helicopter ........... Norwegian MASH Surgeon Amputating an Arm .......... ....... Neurosurgical Team at the 12 1st Evacuation Hospital Primitive Stretchers Used by Chinese Medics ........... ............... Bunker-Type Forward Aid Station Evacuation by Tank During the October 1951 Fighting ....... ....................... Road-Rail Bus Quartermaster Shower Point .................. ................ Maj. Gen. George E. Armstrong Aidmen Helping Casualties of a Patrol Mission .......... .............. Forward Aid Station Near Old Baldy Evacuation by Litter Toboggan ................. ............. Nurse at the Italian Red Cross Hospital Artificial Kidney Machine ................... Typical MASH Operating Room ................ Infantry Soldiers in Armored Vests ............... ......... Holding Ward in a Regimental Collecting Station ............. Armored Personnel Carrier Evacuation ......... Preparing a Casualty for Evacuation by Tramway .............. Communist Charge of Germ Warfare ................ Maj. Gen. William E. Shambora A Contingent of Medical Officers ................ Medical Equipment Maintenance Technicians at Work ....... Checking the 6th Army Medical Depot Narcotics Supply ...... .............. Medics Administering Blood Plasma Dusting for Mosquitoes .................... Forward Dentistry ...................... Interior of a Jamesway Tent .................. ............... Military and Civilian Consultants ....... Men at Work in a Surgical Research Team Laboratory Litterbearers Carrying Casualties to a Hospital Train ........ Casualties on a Hospital Train Headed South ........... ........ Caring for Casualties on Board the USS Co~soh~ion .................... USS Repose at Inchon ............. Air Force Flight Nurse Aiding Evacuee Unloading an Ambulance Bus at Tokyo Army Hospital ....... .................... Tokyo Army Hospital Osaka Army Hospital ..................... ................ Joe DiMaggio and Lefty O’Doul ............. Fracture Ward at Tokyo Army Hospital Turning a Paraplegic in a Stryker Frame .............

157 162 164 166 171 172 174 178 180 181 184 188 198 199 201 204 206 209 211 214 216 217 223 225 232 236 241 244 246 251 252 253 255 256 258 260 264 266 267 271 273 280 281 283

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