198th STATION HOSPITAL



Source:  Imphal, The Hump and Beyond - U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War

198th Station Hospital Dacca

The 198th Station Hospital, in Dacca, India, now Dhaka, Bangladesh, served two airbases.  The bases had grown to the point that they were overlapping. The 198th Station Hospital was located adjacent to the base at Tezgaon.  Tezgaon handled both Air Transport Command and some Combat Cargo Group activity.  Today the base that was Tezgaon is now Tezgon, now usually spelled Tejgaon.  It is now a Bangladesh Air Force base.  (There was some sort of battle there in 1971 when Bangladesh separated from Pakistan.)  The other base, to the north, was Kurmitola, which is now Bangladesh's international airport.

The 198th Station Hospital had a staff of 9 medical officers, 1 supply officer, nine nurses (officers), some unknown number of Red Cross nurses, plus 63 enlisted personnel.  Large numbers of local employees were hired for unskilled jobs in grounds, kitchen help, and the like.  There is still a hospital on or near this site, on Minto Road, Ramna section of Dacca.  I suspect the 198th was turned over to local government following the war.  During the war there were also British hospitals nearby.

The commanding officer was my father, Lt. Col. Francis A. Fagone, who arrived in late 1944, staying until sometime in 1946.  My father was 45 years old when he arrived there Earlier in the war he was with the First Division ("The Big Red 1"), and was preparing to ship overseas.  He was all packed and ready to go when they changed his orders.  He could never understand why he was singled out, and literally pulled out of line.  I think it was because they knew the 1st was headed to North Africa and Italy to fight Italians, and that they may not have wanted an Italian-born, Italian speaking officer stationed there.

My father talked about planes crashing on take-off and landing "all the time."  One article in the Ethell/Downey "Flying the Hump" book estimates weekly crashes between the two before mentioned bases.  He treated more burned airmen than he wanted to remember.  Dad only flew once in his life, from Tezgaon to Calcutta and back.

One story I remember was about a young aircrew member who was badly burned over his entire body except the soles of his feet.  He was still alive, and lucid, when he asked if he'd still be able to have kids when he got back home.  Dad lied and told him there was nothing to worry about.  The young man died within the hour.

I think the major hospitals in CBI were the General Hospitals, including the 20th General Hospital, located somewhere in Assam, which was made up of people from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.  Next down the line were the station hospitals, like my father's, perhaps there were 15-20, which were the base and local hospitals.  Then there were smaller field hospitals, and portable surgical units.

Submitted by Frank Fagone, son of Dr. Frank Fagone, Commanding officer 198th Station Hospital in Dacca.


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