22nd FIELD HOSPITAL



Ex-CBI Roundup
February 1954 Issue

The History of the 22nd Field Hospital

The 22nd Field Hospital was activated at Camp White, Ore., on Aug. 1, 1942. The original cadre under command of 1st LA. William K. Swann, Jr., and 22 enlisted men originated from Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Conn. To complete the T/O, officers and enlisted men were sent from all parts of the country. The EM had their basic and technical training principally at Camp Grant, 111.; Camp Barkley, Tex.; Camp Robinson, Ark., and Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colo. In January 1943 it became evident that the unit was to be composed partly of American Chinese. Officers of Chinese descent, and American officers who had had considerable experience in China, and large groups of American Chinese enlisted personnel were transferred to the organization. On Nov. 20, 1942, Lt. Col. Willis D. Butler assumed command of the organization, relieving 1st Lt. Swann. Following a short review of basic training, an advanced training program was instituted. This consisted of motor convoys, road marches, defenses against chemical warfare, field sanitation, emergency treatment of the sick and wounded on the field, setting up of hospital tents, advance course in ward nursing, etc. Eighteen American nurses were assigned and were placed on temporary duty at the Station Hospital, Camp White, Ore. They helped considerably in the training of the enlisted personnel in ward nursing and in treatment, by giving lectures and demonstrations 15 hours a week for six weeks. During the period from January to April medical and dental officers were placed on SD at the Station Hospital, X-ray, laboratory, dental, surgical and medical technicians were also given additional training at the station hospital to supplement their own previous technical training.


SPEAKING WITH his interpreter, Mr. Wong, is Colonel Robert H. Johnston,
commanding officer of the 22nd Field Hospital. U. S. Army photo, Oct. 1944.

In April 1943, the unit was alerted for overseas duty. On April 27, 1943, the entire unit boarded a train and traveled across the continent to Camp Kilmer, N.J. On May 10, the unit sailed aboard the New York 504, a large transport of approximately 7,000 officers and men. The 22nd Field hospital was immediately assigned the responsibility of treatment of sick and wounded on board ship. This constituted the handling of all dispensary cases, and treatment of cases in the hospital. Total capacity of hospital was 150 beds. Epidemics of gastro-enteritis, influenza and mumps kept the hospital well filled during the entire 42 days journey to India. Only emergency surgery was performed, consisting of 3 appendectomies, one lumbar sympathectomy, one open reduction of fracture of zygoma and various other minor surgical procedures. There were no fatalities on the journey. Innooulations for typus fever, yellow fever, cholera, typhoid fever and vaccinations for smallpox were completed. A Dental Clinic was also held for emergency work only.

On June 24, 1943, the unit arrived in Bombay, India. Several of the medical officers were immediately assigned as train surgeons on various troop trains to different parts of India. The main unit traveled across India and arrived in Ledo, Assam, on July 10, 1943. After the initial period of establishing camp, the unit's 18 nurses were placed on DS at the 73rd Evacuation Hospital. Their 25 drivers were sent out on various convoy duties. Six officers were placed on TD with the 20th General and 73rd Evacuation Hospitals. In rotation, 60-70 EM were on duty at the two hospitals, performing ward duty, X-ray, lab., surgical and medical duties. The officers were given an excellent introduction to the various tropical diseases such as malaria, relapsing fever, schistosomiasis, blackwater fever and filariasis. All of the officers attended the almost daily ward rounds at the two hospitals. All of our American-Chinese personnel were assigned to the two hospitals, acting as interpreters in the wards for Chinese patients. They gained considerable experience, improved their Mandarin and had their first contacts with Chinese patients. Five of the medical officers served as liaison officers in dispensaries for Chinese troops under General Hayden Boatner.

On August 4, 1943, Maj. Robert H. Johnston assumed command of the organization, relieving Lt. Col. Willis D. Butler.


OFFICERS AND EM of the 22nd Portable Surgical Hospital get together
after the Tengchung battle and await orders to move to another
combat area on the Salween front. U. S. Army photo, Nov. 1944.

In September, 15 officers and 177 enlisted men were flown into China and were quartered at the Field Artillery Training Center, Kunming. One officer and 40 enlisted men and 18 nurses were left in India on DS. Following the initial period of setting up camp, training was started again. This time training to function as three separate hospital units. All units received training in mule packing inasmuch as there was strong possibility that much movement in the future would be made by mule packs. Fifteen Chinese nurses, recently graduated from Nursing School in Chungking, were assigned to the unit and divided among the three hos-pitalization units.

In September the 1st Hospitalization Unit, under the command of Capt. Roland A. Slater, was assigned to the treatment and care of Chinese troops attached to the FATC. This meant the running of three dispensaries at widely separated areas, and the management of a hospital for the care of the more seriously ill. The outpatients department averaged 250 patients daily; the hospital averaged 50 patients daily. Considerable tertian and es-tivo-autumnal malaria, relapsing fever, amoebic and bacillary dysenteries, malnutrition and avitaminosis were encountered. Minor surgical conditions such as furuncles, carbuncles, infected scabetic lesions, foot and leg ulcers, hernias, appendectomies and hemmorrhoids were cared for. The 1st Hospitalization Unit and immediately started the establishment of a 100-bed hospital for the 2nd army and other Chinese troops located near Yunhsien. This area was notorious for the high incidence of malignant malaria. Reports indicated that 75 percent of the civilian population were infested.


ARMY NURSE Lt. Phyllis L. Gay (left) changes the dressing
of a soldier attached to the Chinese First Army. Vallerie Wagg
of the Chicago Tribune interviews her as she works. U. S. Army photo.

The 3rd Hospitalization Unit, under the command of Maj. Jacob J. Yee, was assigned to the 20th Group Army Headquarters in Mitu and started functioning in November 18, 1943, as a 100-bed hospital. A consultation dispensary was maintained to handle difficult diagnosis cases from the Chinese Army dispensaries. An average of 10-20 cases were seen daily in this manner. The hospital itself was considered a part of the "0th Rear Echelon Station Hospital of the Chinese Army". All administrative work such as admission of patients, feeding of patients, was handled by Chinese Army personnel. All professional work was performed by American personnel. Thus far, the hospital census averaged 40 per day. The type of cases admitted were the more seriously sick and wounded. All of the milder cases, by agreement with the other hospitals, were not admitted here. The type of cases encountered were principally fevers of undetermined origin, malaria, dysenteries, foot ulcers and various surgical conditions. Many operations were performed inasmuch as the unit had the only completely equipped surgical setup in the area.

In the middle of December 1943, the personnel of the 3rd Hospitalization Unit was subject to an epidemic of severe chills, fever, headaches and bone aches. More than 30 percent of the American personnel were infected. Only one case had a mascular erythema simulating typhus fever. The cases, after negative laboratory studies, were diagnosed as influenza. No new cases had appeared since the initial outbreak. There were no fatalities. A thorough delousing program was carried out among the patients. All American personnel received routine innoculations.


T/4 HAROLD G. KLEEMKEN, 22nd Field Hospital technician,
checks a specimen while an interested Chinese boy watches.
U. S. Army photo, Oct. 1944.

Equipment was based on T/E 8-510. However, when the organization was transferred from India, only certain equipment was prescribed as necessary equipment to be brought along. Consequently, their equipment was curtailed considerably. However, it had not affected the function of the unit to any great extent. Aside from medical supplies, their supplies stemmed entirely from American sources. Four jeeps and three 11/2-ton trucks were the only means of transportation, other than animal pack furnished by the Chinese Army. For our last movement both vehicles and drivers were furnished by the 6th Motor Regiment of the Chinese Army. The responsibility of evacuating patients rested with the Chinese Army. The 22nd's vehicles were being used primarily for communication and supplying of our hospitalization units in the various locations.

One of the main problems confronting the 22nd since the hospitalization units were set up in the field was the question of medical supplies for the treatment of Chinese soldiers. The Chinese government was supposed to supply the medicines to be used, but the actual amount of medical supplies secured from them was very scant. Therefore, the drugs used thus far were almost entirely from American sources. It would seem best that drugs, supplies and medical equipment used by any American units whether for (American or Chinese personnel be supplied directly by American medical depots. In the hospital setup, rules of admission and discharges of patients were arranged by Chinese administrative personnel. On many occasions, the rules worked to the detriment of the patient.

Due to the lack of housing facilities for personnel near the hospital in permanent buildings, most of the personnel were housed in tents surrounding the hospital. While lacking for comforts of permanent buildings, the setup was fairly satisfactory.

The water supply for each hospital unit was a shallow well approximately 15 feet deep. The supply had been adequate for all cooking and drinkmg purposes. Drinking water was boiled for 15 minutes before use.

For the two hospital units located in the Mitu area, nearby hot springs were used for bathing. For the hospital unit located in Yuhsein, building of a shower room had been started. Other than this, there was no bathing facilities except the nearby river which was too cold for use during the winter months.

The laundering of clothing of the enlisted personnel and officers had been done by the native women of the surrounding area.


MEN OF Headquarters Unit team in the Field Day held by the 22nd
on the 18-month anniversary of the hospital's service overseas.

Each hospital unit was well supplied with cooking facilities and trained personnel. Most of the food was bought in the surrounding markets. Ten days C rations and the B supplementary rations were drawn from the American SOS each month. The Chinese Army units supplied the 22nd with a ration of salt and a ration of 24 ounces of rice per person per day which was adequate.

Due to the high water level in the soil in the area, it had not been practical to dig deep pit latrines. Quartermaster boxes were set over half of an oil drum and the waste disposed of daily by the natives of the area. Deodorization was carried out by use of lime when available.

Attempts were always made to insure that the surrounding areas were adequately drained so that no stagnant water remained as breeding places for mosquitos. However, it was almost an endless problem in the area.

The 22nd Field Hospital provided medical support to the Chinese during the Salween Campaign for the inclusive dates of May 12, 1944 to January 28, 1945. The purpose of the campaign was to clear the Japanese from Western Yunnan Province and open lines of communication between China and India.


CHINESE PATIENTS of the 22nd Field Hospital watch American
personnel engage in a bamboo race during Field Day. U. S. Army photo.

The 1st Hospitalization Unit which was organized as a portable surgical hospital provided medical support for the 53rd Chinese Army during the period May 14 to September 14, 1944, while they were engaged in the Battle of Tengchung. This battle was a phase of the Salween Campaign. Medical supplies were very limited during this period. The few supplies received were packed in or air-dropped. Food was very scarce and men existed on rice and small amounts of C Rations for a number of days at a time. Six men of the unit were evacuated by litter because of illness, due mainly to the lack of food.

The 2nd Hospitalization Unit provided medical support for the 2nd Chinese Army during the period June 15 to August 1, 1944, while they were engaged in the Battle of Pingka, also a phase of the Salween Campaign.

During the Salween Campaign, the 3rd Hosipitalization Unit with Headquarters was set up in the rear, operating as an Evacuation Hospital.


INSPECTING THE 22nd Field Hospital while on a tour of western
front installations at Paoshan, China, is Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer,
commanding general of the China Theater. U. S. Army photo.

The 22nd Field Hospital was commended for outstanding performance of duty in action during the Salween Campaign by Brig. Gen. D. L. Heart, Deputy Chief of Staff, by command of Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer.

On Sept. 16, 1945, the activities of the 22nd Field Hospital at Chanyi, China, were taken over by the 70th Field Hospital.

On Sept. 20, 1945, movement orders were issued returning the 22nd to the United States. The unit left Chanyi on Sept. 29th by truck convoy, arriving at Luliang the same day to await air lift to Calcutta, India.

The unit departed Luliang by air on Oct. 3rd. Seven C-54 ATC transport planes were used for the movement. The unit was billeted at Camp Kanchrapara, India, awaiting shipment to the United States. On Nov. 3, 1945, the entire unit boarded the S. S. Marine Robin at Prince Ghat, Calcutta, arriving at Tacoma, Wash., on Nov. 30th.

The colorful career of the 22nd Field Hospital was drawn to a close on Dec. 1, 1946, when the unit was inactivated. -THE END.

An interesting fact about this history is that it was written by a man whose talents were not in the literary field. The C.O. of the 22nd, a Colonel, wrote the history. It is on file at the War Department's Kansas City Records Center, K.C., Mo


Please send additions / corrections to