95th STATION HOSPITAL



Ex-CBI Roundup
July 1951 Issue

History of the 95th Station Hospital

When the War Department sent out a letter on April 25, 1942, subject: Organization of Station Hospital (50 bed), it gave birth to a medical outfit which was not only to grow to fifteen times its baptismal size, but also to become a most successful overseas installation in CBI.

The foundling unit assembled and trained briefly at Fort Bliss, Texas, and in less than a month, the 42 enlisted men and 7 officers boarded the U.S.S. Mari-posa in the Charleston, S.C., harbor for a long ocean voyage.

After a 57-day trip, the ship docked at Karachi, India, and the soldiers got their first look at the "enchanting" Far East.

Re-outfitting and orientation to the Orient were accomplished at the new Malir Cantonment until departure by rail across India to Chabua. Here, on September 25, 1942, Major John B. Miles, first commanding officer of the 95th Station Hospital, assumed command of the small Army hospital already there, changing its name to the 95th Station Hospital. Previously a detachment headed by Capt. John D. Snider, with two nurses, four enlisted men, and one microscope, had treated patients at the Rangamuty Bungalow on the Stealkotee Tea Estate.


THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN in 1945, when the 95th played the Flying Tigers a game of softball.
Capt. Erneze (Lefty) Pope pitched for the 95th. The hospital buildings are in background.
Signal Corps photo.

Major Miles and his hardy group worked diligently with pioneer spirit to establish and operate the various functions of an Army hospital. In early 1943, the table of organizations was increased to that of a 100-bed station hospital and more personnel arrived to aid in the expansion. Patient increases however, was more rapid than T/O adequacy and a situation arose which typified 95th service in the "far end" of the world-namely that it was always undermanned and understocked for the job it had to do.

Thus, in northern Assam and later in China, the 95th detachment developed outstanding ability to conserve the material and manpower at its disposal and to make full use of local facilities and native help. Such institutions as Dhobi laundry, native Punkas (a swaying bamboo fan moved by ropes and pulleys), the British lorry, denture flasks fashioned from the hub of an airplane propeller, and many other improvisations will be remembered by all those on duty at Chabua.

After 13 months service in India as a station hospital for the Chabua area and as an evacuation hospital for Ledo and all of China, the unit was replaced by the newly arrived lllth Station Hospital. Having weathered monsoons, air raids, and indoctrination in the treatment and prevention of various tropical diseases, (and even an occasional visit to Shillong) the average GI of the 95th was rather happy to pull up stakes in this forward area of the land of Rudyard Kipling.


NURSES of the 95th station Hospital pose with General Cheves.

The next home for the 95th medicos was at Kunming, China, reached by plane over the Himalayan mountain range-one of the most picturesque, albeit dangerous, flights in the world. Again the outfit replaced and assimilated a small army medical unit already encamped about one mile from the headquarters of the famous 14th Air Force "Flying Tigers." Here, from the fall of 1943 until departure in the summer of 1945, the 95th Station Hospital served as the only large army hospital unit in China.

For a medical installation of the station hospital type, its mission was somewhat unusual. It functioned as a station hospital to treat the usual ailments arising in any troop concentration area and to care for battle casualties from the various fronts in China; it served as an evacuation hospital for patients required to be sent to other installations into India; and it operated a general hospital either to render as much definitive treatment as was possible in order to maintain a sufficient number of efficient duty personnel in the China theater, or to board patients directly to the Zone of the Interior for final disposition.

In accomplishing this three-fold assignment, acute shortages in medical department personnel and in necessary technical equipment presented hurdles to be cleared. Officers, nurses and enlisted men were required to learn and carry out duties in addition to those for which they were trained. Long hours of work, doub-ling-up on duties and diligent application to new tasks were the rule rather than the exception. Lt. Col. Robert D. Bickel, the young and vigorous C.O. of the 95th during the early China service, showed remarkable ability to adapt the outfit to changing and difficult situations.

The China theater problem of dependence on the world's longest supply line had its effect on the hospital. "Hump" priorities made it possible to fly in only the most vitally-needed medical supplies. The completion of the Stilwell Road augmented the total amount of supplies received, but a free flow was still not forthcoming. It was necessary to improvise material of all kinds. An alert Utilities Section devised and built equipment for X-Ray, Surgery, Mess, Physiotherapy, Wards, and the various clinics instead of waiting on shipments which might never arrive.

In January, 1944, the T/O was increased to accommodate two hundred and fifty patients and in October, 1944, the hospital was again reorganized and redesignated; this time as a 750-bed station hospital.


SECOND from left is Col. A. A. Leonidoff, C. O. of the 95th;
next is Maj. Chevelier, former Chief Nurse;
Maj. Gen. Chennault second from right. Others unidentified.


CHINESE internes, trained by U. S. Army Medics at the 95th.

During the early operation of the unit in China, Chinese civilian nurses staffed the wards until March, 1944, when the first nine American Army nurses flew in from India (All had previously served with the 95th in India). At the time of the highest patient census, the services of eight Sisters of Charity nurses were gained. The dramatic and heroic stories of these persons who escaped from Jap-controlled provinces in China would be a history in itself. They toiled mightily with "service" as their by-word and became an integral part of the 95th.

In accord with theater policy, natives were hired on a large scale to work as water-pumpers, mess attendants, orderlies and the like. Some of the coolies such as "Daniel Boone," "Likiotai," etc., and the professional men, Mr. Lee and Mr. Koh, were almost accepted as regular members of the detachment roster. Of special significance in the personnel catagory was the agreement between Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Lt. Gen. A. C. Wedemeyer, commanding general of the China theater, which set up a training program for especially selected newly graduated Chinese doctors. This one-year training cycle worked out very successfully as the internes were taught classes in medicine, surgery, laboratory, dentistry, X-Ray, sanitation, field service, etc., by hospital officers and enlisted men and were placed in the clinics for specified lengths of time. The internes were to serve eventually as Chinese Army Medical officers, instructors and supervisors.

During this period also, under the leadership of the 95th C.O., Col. A. A. Leonidoff (a dynamic and powerful officer who led the 95th to its highest prominence in the "consolidation period"), model medical dispensaries for civilians and for a Chinese army regiment were put into operation, inspections of a nearby Chinese army hospital were conducted, and Chinese soldiers, bound for training centers and combat areas, were examined. These various activities served to make the 95th the mecca for medical cooperation between the Chinese and American forces.


ORPHANAGE WHERE Ann Chisari lived (Jan. issue), near Kunming. Nurses of the 95th are shown
with Sisters who operated the mission. Orphans in foreground.


COOLIES drawing water at the 95th well.

Troops from the British, French, Chinese and almost every other allied army received treatment at the hospital and even Japanese prisoners were, on occasion tendered the best of medical care.

In addition to individual medal and commendation awards to various members of the hospital, in June, 1945, the outfit was awarded the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque for its "unique and outstanding record." It was only the second award of its kind presented in the China theater up to that time and the first medical installation to be so cited.

Oddly enough, on the very day following the award ceremony, the entire detachment had ample opportunity to demonstrate the qualities which had earned the plaque. A flash flood, caused by unusually heavy rains, swept away the crude dams in the nearby Yunnan hills and poured into the hospital encampment, overflowing the banks of the creek which ran snake-like through the area. Although much property damage resulted (probably a few billion CN!) it was noteworthy that every patient was evacuated without harm from the inundated wards, and that mess, ward, supply and clinic functions were rapidly resumed.


GENERAL Chennault and Capt. Erneze Pope.
Photo taken at time of 95th-Flying Tigers softball game.

By July, 1945, SOS bigwigs had decided that it was high time for the 95th to do some more pioneering, so troop-movement again was scheduled. For awhile it was not known whether the destination was to be Shanghai or Lui-chow, but the latter bomb-wrecked city was chosen.


MISSIONARY Sister dentist inspects teeth of orphans.
The orphanage was located near the 95th site at Kunming.

An advance party was flown to that spot to prepare for the arrival of the main body which was to move by rail and motor to Chanyi, Kweiyang, and finally to Luichow. The tremendous task of convoying the personnel and equipment for the thousand-mile jaunt over very rugged terrain, was admirably fulfilled under the inspired leadership of the popular Col. Charles D. Driscoll, then 95th commanding officer. When travel conditions made it necessary to leave the nurses and nursing sisters at Kunming with the "brand new from Stateside" 172nd General Hospital, these plucky females volunteered to hitch trailers onto the truck convoy so that they too could make the journey!

While the main body of the 95th was encamped at Kweiyang as part-time guests of the friendly 295th Station Hospital, Uncle Sam proceeded to unload the devastating atom bombs on the Japanese. Then ensued rapid enemy surrender and the war was at an end.

Col. Driscoll made earnest efforts to secure a 95th unit shipment home. Due to the point system, these efforts failed. Being unsuccessful in this atempt, the Colonel waited until every possibly eligible 95th soldier was safely embarked for home, and then sailed himself. -THE END


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