When heavy fighting erupted, the rifleman could dive into a foxhole, but when “Medic!” was screamed out, the medic had to go out into the hail of gunfire or shelling at the risk of his own life for others. Day and night they faced casualties, their own exhaustion, and broken men. Day in, day out, they were armed with the heartbreaking task of caring for broken bodies and shattered nerves, all while trying to be cheerful as their own emotions were packed solid in a bully full of tied up guts; all the time wondering when their own number would be up. The combat medic was one of the most dangerous jobs in the infantry, and in most cases the only protection he carried was his medical flag.
Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry: Japanese Dental Officers Field Kit, WWII
Photo used with the permission of rosefirerising, Flickr / PF Anderson, University of Michigan, and the UM Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. www.dent.umich.edu/sindecuse.
A medic of the 2nd Armored Division in Sicily dressing a wounded German
Soviet decency across the Dnieper River -1941.
Medical officers and technicians are at work in one of the operating rooms of the 71st Evacuation Hospital, located on the outskirts of the city [Manila?]. Room being used is part of the former Philippine government’s slaughter house.
C-46 air evacuation from Manila, Philippine Islands. Patients in bunks in a plane. Woman (nurse?) in uniform standing near bunks. Soldier writing at a desk.
From the collection of oral histories at The National WWII Museum, Barbara Pathe recounts some memorable moments during her service as a Red Cross staff member serving coffee and donuts to troops in World War II.
Registered Nurse Mary Barkei served with the Navy Nurse Corps during World War II. She was initially stationed in the United States, but in 1944 she received orders to go overseas with Naval Mobile Hospital No. 10. While sailing to her new post, she wrote to her mother, “Never as long as I live will I forget or regret this trip. Now after nearly a year and a half of so called Navy life, I may have a chance to do what I came in for.” Her mobile hospital was located on Banika, part of the Solomon Islands.
Despite its mobility, the hospital included eighteen surgical wards, twelve medical wards and a clinical laboratory. Naval Mobile Hospital No. 10 could treat 2,000 patients at a time, and only 15 of the 10,000 patients admitted between March 1944 and June 1945 died while at the hospital. Mary returned to the United States in October 1945.
Mary’s Navy Nursing Corps cap, with the same insignia as that worn by Navy men. Gift of Mary Barkei Marler, The National WWII Museum Inc., 2000.185.