Thursday, October 27, 2011

Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities Notification Feature Now Available!


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Dr. Edward Gabriele
Special Assistant to the Navy Surgeon General
for Ethics & Professional Integrity
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Navy Medicine Institute
for the Medical Humanities and Research Leadership
Editor, Journal of Healthcare, Science & the Humanities
Executive Research Integrity Officer
Bureau of Medicine & Surgery

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Archives: Nursing Service Scrapbook

Nursing Service Scrapbook
Organizational records
1 box, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Scrapbook compiled under CAPT Ruth Erickson, NC, USN, Chief, Nursing Services at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda. Includes photographs and brochures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Archives: Naval Examining Board Logbooks (UPDATED 2)

Naval Examining Board Logbooks
Organizational records
1 box, arranged, unrestricted, partial finding aid available

Three oversize bound volumes: Naval Examining Board Merit Roll 1842-1895; Naval Examining Board Merit Roll 1883-1910; and Medical Corps Admission and Promotion 1855 to September 1902. Names of the people taking the exam from 1861-1863, along with their results, were transcribed by intern Leanne Gradijan into a "Civil War Navy Medical Board Examinations" spreadsheet. This includes the 388 Navy Assistant Surgeon applicants in the Civil War. The examination was split into 10 written/oral parts including “General Aptitude,” “Literary and Scientific Acquirements,” “Anatomy and Physiology,” “Principles and Practice of Surgery,” “Principles and Practice of Medicine,” “Materia Medica,” “Chemistry,” “Obstetrics,” and “Medical Jurisprudence.” Applicants were also required to write essays on assigned topics.

A smaller fifth volume, transferred from the Stitt Library in 2011 includes the essays of exams from 1893 taken by Richard G. Brodrick, Frank C. Cook, James F. Leys, Edward L. M unson, Alfred B. Pusey, Charles E. Riggs, and Edward M. Shipp.

On the spreadsheet's second tab is a list of 462 Civil War Acting Assistant Surgeons (with respective duty stations). This information was taken directly from the Registers of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States for the years 1861-65. Due to the wartime shortage of physicians, these temporary physicians were placed on the fast-track to duty and were free from taking the examination. Additional information on these Acting Surgeons can be found in the volume entitled “Statements of Service of Acting Medical Officers, 1860-1870” located in the BUMED Record Group (# 52) at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Archives: Journal of the Commissioners of Navy Hospitals

Journal of the Commissioners of Navy Hospitals
Organizational records
1 box, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Bound volume fully titled "Journal of the Proceedings, Correspondence & Reports of the Board of Commissioners of Navy Hospitals Consisting of the Secretaries of the Navy, Treasury & War, As Constituted by Act of Congress Passed 26th of February 1812." Begins April 16, 1812 and ends June 23, 1834.

Archives: Naval Hospital Philadelphia General Register of Patients, 1879-1890

Naval Hospital Philadelphia General Register of Patients, 1879-1890
Organizational records
1 box, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Bound volume, listing patients by last name, from April 1, 1879 - September 29, 1890.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Picture of the day: Korean War Mobile dental unit


Mobile Dental Unit
1st MAR Div. FMF

Dedicated to the memory of dentalman Thomas A Christianson, U.S. Navy,
Killed in Action, 7 Nov. 1950. [Korean War].

Archives: Navy Hospital Collection - NH Orlando, Florida Vital Signs newsletter

Navy Hospital Collection - NH Orlando, Florida Vital Signs newsletter
Organizational records
3 boxes, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Naval Regional Medical Center, Orlando, Florida newsletter with information on promotions and awards, retirements, change of command, VIP visits and other items of interest to the local community. (This collection may be merged into the Naval Medical Publication Collection at a later date).

Archives: Navy Hospital Collection - W.K. Patton Historical Survey

Navy Hospital Collection - W.K. Patton Historical Survey
Institutional records
1 box, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Photocopy of typed unpublished manuscript with historical vignettes about US Naval Hospitals by W. Kenneth Patton. A Hospital Corpsman who was promoted to an officer during World War II, and in the 1940s served as the editor of the Hospital Corps Quarterly, Patton was the BUMED Historian in the 1960s-1970s.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class David Robert Ray

David Robert Ray was born on 14 February 1945 in McMinnville, TN. At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Second Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Corpsman with Battery D, 2nd Battalion at Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa on 19 March 1969. During the early morning hours an estimated battalion sized enemy force launched a determined assault against the battery's position and succeeded in effecting a penetration of the barbed-wire perimeter. The initial burst of enemy fire caused numerous casualties among the Marines who had immediately manned their howitzers during the rocket and mortar attack. Undaunted by the intense hostile fire, Petty Officer Ray moved from parapet to parapet, rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. Although seriously wounded himself while administering first aid to a Marine casualty, he refused medical aid and continued his lifesaving efforts. While he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded Marine, Petty Officer Ray was forced to battle two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing one and wounding the other. Rapidly losing his strength as a result of his severe wounds, he none the less managed to move through the hail of enemy fire to other casualties. Once again, Petty Officer Ray was faced with the intense fire of oncoming enemy troops and, despite the grave personal danger and insurmountable odds, succeeded in treating the wounded and holding off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition, at which time he sustained fatal wounds. Petty Officer Ray's final act of heroism was to protect the patient he was treating. He threw himself upon the wounded Marine, thus saving the man's life when an enemy grenade exploded nearby. Through his determined and preserving actions, courageous spirit, and loyalty to the welfare of his Marine comrades, he served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy. Petty Officer Ray's exemplary conduct, steadfast determination, and unwavering devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

David Ray is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, McMinnville, TN.

The USS David Ray (DD-971) was named in his honor.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Robert R. Ingram

Robert Ingram was born in Clearwater, FL. At the time of the action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Corpsman with Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, against elements of a North Vietnam aggressor (NVA) battalion in Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam on March 28, 1966. Petty Officer Ingram accompanied the point platoon as it aggressively engaged an outpost of an NVA battalion. As the battle moved off a ridge line, down a tree-covered slope, to a small rice paddy and a village beyond, a tree line suddenly exploded with an intense hail of automatic rifle fire from approximately 100 North Vietnamese regulars. In moments, the platoon was decimated. Oblivious to the danger, Petty Officer Ingram crawled across the battlefield to reach a downed
Marine. As he administered aid, a bullet went through the palm of his hand. Calls for "corpsman" echoed across the ridge. Bleeding, he edged across the fire-swept landscape, collecting ammunition from the dead and administering aid to the wounded. Receiving two more wounds, with the third wound being a life-threatening one, he looked for a way off the face of the ridge, but again he heard the call for help and again he resolutely answered. He gathered magazines, resupplied and encouraged those capable of returning fire, and rendered aid to the more severely wounded until he finally reached the right flank of the platoon. While dressing the head wound of another corpsman, he sustained his fourth bullet wound. From 1600 hours until almost sunset, Petty Officer Ingram pushed, pulled, cajoled, and doctored his Marines. Enduring the pain from his many wounds and disregarding the probability of his own death, Petty Officer Ingram's gallant actions saved many lives. By his indomitable fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unfaltering dedication to duty, Petty Officer Ingram reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

The Robert Ingram Naval Branch Health Clinic in Mayport, FL, was named in his honor in 2004.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne Maurice Caron

Wayne Maurice Caron was born on 2 November 1946 in Middleboro, MA. At the time of action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN, with the Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as platoon corpsman with Company K, during combat operations against enemy forces. While on a sweep through an open rice field Petty Officer Caron's unit started receiving enemy small-arms fire. Upon seeing two Marine casualties fall, he immediately ran forward to render first aid, but found that they were dead. At this time, the platoon was taken under intense small-arms and automatic-weapons fire, sustaining additional casualties. As he moved to the aid of his wounded comrades, Petty Officer Caron was hit in the arm by enemy fire. Although knocked to the ground, he regained his feet and continued to the injured Marines. He rendered medical assistance to the first Marine he reached, who was grievously wounded, and undoubtedly was instrumental in saving the man's life. Petty Officer Caron with unbelievable determination, Petty Officer Caron continued his attempt to reach the third Marine until he himself was killed then ran toward the second wounded Marine, but was again hit by enemy fire, this time in the leg.
Nonetheless, he crawled the remaining distance and provided medical aid for this severely wounded man. Petty Officer Caron started to make his way to yet another injured comrade, when he was again struck by enemy small-arms fire. Courageously and by an enemy rocket round. His inspiring valor, steadfast determination, and selfless dedication to duty in the face of extreme danger, Petty Officer Caron reflected the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Wayne Caron is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 51, Grave 2600). The Caron Clinic at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune and the USS Caron (DD-970) are named in his honor.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Donald E. Ballard

Donald Ballard was born on 5 December 1945 in Kansas City, MO. At the time of action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Corpsman with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces on 16 May 1968. During the afternoon hours, Company M was moving to join the remainder of the 3rd Battalion in Quang Tri Province. After treating and evacuating two heat casualties, Petty Officer Ballard was returning from the evacuation landing zone when the Company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army unit employing automatic weapons and mortars, and sustained numerous casualties. Observing a wounded Marine, he unhesitatingly moved across the fire-swept terrain to the injured man and swiftly rendered medical assistance to his comrade. Petty Officer Ballard then directed four Marines to carry the casualty to a position of relative safety. As the four men prepared to move the wounded Marine, an enemy soldier suddenly left his concealed position and, after hurling a hand grenade which landed near the casualty, commenced firing upon the small group of men. Instantly shouting a warning to the Marines, Petty Officer Ballard fearlessly threw himself upon the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast. When the grenade failed to detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and resolutely continued his determined efforts in treating other Marine casualties. Petty Officer Ballard's heroic actions and selfless concern for the welfare of his companions served to inspire all who observed him and prevented possible injury or death to his fellow Marines. By his courage, daring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Petty Officer Ballard reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Donald Ballard left the U.S. Navy in 1970. He joined the U.S. Army National Guard and retired as a colonel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hospital Corpsman John E. Kilmer

John E. Kilmer was born on 15 August 1930 in Highland Park, IL. At the time of action he was a Hospitalman, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces on 13 August 1952. With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, Hospitalman
Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from one position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of a stricken Marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire, he skillfully
administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, Hospitalman Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. By his exceptional fortitude, determined efforts, and unyielding devotion to duty, Hospitalman Kilmer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for another.”

John Kilmer is buried in San Jose Burial Park, San Antonio, TX (Lot 349, Block 9, Section 1, Grave 6).

Hospital Corpsman Francis C. Hammond

Francis C. Hammond was born on 9 November 1931 in Alexandria, VA. At the time of action he was a Hospitalman, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hospital Corpsman serving with the 1st Marine Division in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night of 26 to 27 March 1953. After reaching an intermediate objective during a counterattack against a heavily entrenched
and numerically superior hostile force occupying ground on a bitterly contested outpost far in advanced of the main line of resistance. Hospitalman Hammond's platoon was subjected to murderous barrage of hostile mortar and artillery fire, followed by a vicious assault by onrushing enemy troops. Resolutely advancing through the veritable curtain of fire to aid his stricken comrades, he moved among the stalwart garrison of Marines and, although critically wounded himself, valiantly continued to administer aid to the other wounded throughout an exhausting four hour period. When the unit was ordered to withdraw, he skillfully directed the evacuation of casualties and remained in the fire-swept area to assist the corpsman of the relieving unit until he was struck by a round of enemy mortar and fell, mortally wounded. By his exceptional
fortitude, inspiring initiative, self sacrificing efforts, and loyal devotion to duty, Hospitalman Hammond undoubtedly saved the lives of many Marines, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Francis Hammond is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 33, Lot 9011).

The Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, VA, and the USS Hammond (DE-1067) were named in his honor.

Hospital Corpsman Richard David Dewert

Richard David DeWert was born on 17 November 1931 in Taunton, MA. At the time of action he was a Hospitalman. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman, attached to a Marine infantry company, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 5 April 1951. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fire and suffered many casualties, DeWert rushed to the assistance of one of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken Marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fire-swept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of devastating enemy fire, he
bravely moved forward a third time and received another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded Marine had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and while rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire. By his courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of over-whelming odds, Hospitalman DeWert reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

DeWert is buried in Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA.

The DeWert Naval Ambulatory Care Center in Newport, RI, and the USS DeWert (FFG-45) were named in his honor.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette

William R. Charette was born on 29 March 1932 in Ludington, MI. At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class upon. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Medical Corpsman, serving with a Marine rifle company, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea during the early morning hours of 27 March 1953. Participating in a fierce encounter with a cleverly concealed and well-entrenched enemy force occupying positions on a vital and bitterly contested outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, Charette repeatedly and unhesitatingly moved about through a murderous barrage of hostile smallarms and mortar fire to render assistance to his wounded comrades. When an enemy grenade landed within a few feet
of a marine he was attending, he immediately threw himself upon the stricken man and absorbed the entire concussion of the deadly missile with his own body. Although sustaining painful facial wounds, and undergoing shock from the intensity of the blast which ripped the helmet and medical aid kit from his person, Charette resourcefully improvised emergency bandages by tearing off part of his clothing, and gallantly continued to administer medical aid to the wounded in his own unit and to those in adjacent platoon areas as well. Observing a seriously wounded comrade whose armored vest had been torned from his body by the blast of an exploding shell, he selflessly removed his own battle vest and placed it upon the helpless man although fully aware of the added jeopardy to himself. Moving to the side of another casualty who was suffering excruciating pain from a serious leg wound, Charette stood upright in the trench line and exposed himself to a deadly hail of enemy fire in order to lend more effective aid to the victim and to alleviate his anguish while being removed to a position of safety. By his indomitable courage and inspiring efforts in behalf of his wounded comrades, Charette was directly responsible for saving many lives. His personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Edward C. Benfold

Edward C. Benfold was born on 15 January 1931 in New York, NY. At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class. His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a hospital corpsman attached to a company in the 1st Marine Division during operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 5 September 1952. When his company was subjected to heavy artillery and mortar barrages,
followed by a determined assault during the hours of darkness by an enemy force estimated at battalion strength, Benfold resolutely moved from position to position in the face of intense fire, treating the wounded and lending words of encouragement. Leaving the protection of his sheltered position to treat the wounded when the platoon area in which he was working was attacked from both the front and the rear, he moved forward to an exposed ridge line where he observed two Marines in a large crater. As he approached the two men to determine their condition, an enemy soldier threw two grenades into the crater while two other enemy charged the position. Picking up a grenade in each hand, Benfold leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the onrushing hostile soldiers, pushing the grenades against their chests and killing both of the attackers. Mortally wounded while carrying out the heroic act, Benfold, by his great personal valor and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, was directly responsible for saving the lives of his two comrades. His exceptional courage reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for others.”

He is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, NJ (Distinguished Service Section, Grave 12). The Benfold Naval Branch Health Clinic, in Millington, TN and the USS Benfold (DDG-65) are named in his honor.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Archives: Navy Hospital Collection - BRMC La Maddalena (Italy) Logbooks

Navy Hospital Collection - BRMC La Maddalena (Italy) Logbooks
Organizational records
5 boxes, arranged, partially restricted (HIPAA), no finding aid

Handwritten logbooks of various aspects of work in an overseas medical clinic, including appointment books, x-rays taken, and equipment serviced.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remembering PhM1c John H.Willis: A Story of the Medal of Honor and One Wife's Loss

Mrs. Winfrey Willis, widow of John Harlan Willis, receives her husband's posthumous Medal of Honor from Secretary of Navy James Forrestal at a ceremony on 3 December 1945. Photo from BUMED Library and Archives.

For many in the Navy Medical Department, John Harlan Willis is just a name. For those men and women in the Navy Hospital Corps he is a fellow “doc” whose face can be seen on Medal of Honor walls at all Navy hospitals and clinics. He is the World War II hospital corpsman who saved the lives of wounded Marines before losing his own on the ash-sand Tartarus that
was Iwo Jima. Certainly, a life can never be replaced. And in the military a lost life can only be honored. For his remarkable gallantry on 28 February 1945, John Harlan Willis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

On 3 December 1945, at the Secretary of the Navy’s office in Washington, DC, the Willis family
was presented this Medal of Honor. Official Navy photographs of the ceremony show Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal presenting the Medal to John Willis’s young wife (Winfrey) and her 7-month old son (John Jr.). They are flanked by a visibly grieving woman (Winfrey’s aunt Mrs. H.A. Morel) and an elderly man (Willis’s grandfather Austin Harlan). It is a heartfelt scene that reveals the incredible weight that the Medal of Honor carries. As a symbol, the Medal ofHonor represents heroism and valor, but, also, in this particular case, the death and lost potential of a
23-year-old man. It is meaning and memory in the form of brass alloy and a blue ribbon of cotton. One does not wear or hold the Medal as much as they carry the profound burden it can symbolize.

In 1965, Mrs. Winfrey Willis agreed to loan the Medal of Honor and some of her husband’s personal effects, including his dog tags and uniform, to the Tennessee State Library for display at the Women’s Building at the state fairgrounds. In October of that year, tragedy
struck when a fire ravaged the fairgrounds destroying the PhM1c John H. Willis exhibit, including his Medal of Honor. It was a second loss for the Willis family, but one Mrs. Willis sought aimlessly to fix. She was given a replica Medal of Honor by the State of Tennessee Library.

Replacing Honor
CDR Christopher Reddin, a Nurse Corps officer stationed at the Navy Hospital Corps School Great Lakes, IL, knows the plight of Mrs. Willis like few people outside her family. In 2009, while trying to validate the authenticity of Hospital Corps School artifacts attributed to John
Willis, he learned of an 88-year old woman with emphysema living in Tennessee whose sole mission was to preserve her deceased husband’s legacy. CDR Reddin got her telephone number through the USS John H. Willis reunion group2, called and left a message. “A month later, while driving to the DMV, Mrs. Willis called me on my cell,” remembered Reddin. “She was difficult to understand because of the emphysema, but was very sharp. Her niece (Anita Childs) was also on the phone and able to fill in the gaps. They said they had been trying to get through local politicians for years to a get a replacement Medal of Honor after finding out the medal given to her by the State of Tennessee was not authentic.”

CDR Reddin marveled at Mrs. Willis’s spirit. “Her loss never diminished her ardent support of
the sailors and Marines, past and present. She appeared at over 40 [USS John] Willis reunions and served as the ship’s mother for over 30 years.”

CDR Reddin and his colleagues at Corps School, HMC Stephen Cavin, HMC Augustus Delarosa,
and HM2 Nathan Charboneau developed an effective strategy on how to proceed. Step 1: Authenticate Mrs. Willis and the story of the Medal. Step 2: Once her identity and story are authenticated, get the replacement Medal of Honor.

Mrs. Willis sent the team copies of her birth and wedding certificates, and a cornucopia of photographs, letters, and newspaper clippings relating to the Willis medal. These documents were then copied and sent to the State of Tennessee archivist Mrs. Darla Brock and the Assistant State Archivist Dr. Wayne Moore, who verified the story and supplied additional
documents about the fairground fire that destroyed the Willis medal. As Reddin relates, “They combed their archives for a month and found the article from The Columbia Herald that authenticated the loss. Then they actually put me in touch with Mrs. Barbara Wilson, Branch
Head, Navy Awards and Special Projects.”

Reddin and his team then drafted a letter on behalf of Mrs. Willis requesting an official replacement Medal of Honor. Mrs. Willis sent in the request and, in less than a years of quiet desperation—she was awarded an engraved replacement Medal of Honor and Medal of
Honor Flag.

Medal of Honor Ceremony, Redux
Distinguished honors are not simply given to recipients. They are awarded in the highest ceremonial fashion. On 17 October 2009, Mrs. Willis and her son John Willis Jr. were presented with the Medal and Flag at a ceremony in Ph1Mc Willis’s hometown of Columbia, TN, presided over by RADM Michael H. Mittelman, MSC, USN. Other distinguished guests on hand included representatives from the Navy Medical Department including CDR Reddin, LT Christopher
Barnes, HM1 Charles Schaefer, and HM2 Scott Gallagher; also present were Columbia Mayor Bill Gentner and staff, Chaplain Bob Adair, American Legion Post 19, and Post-19 Women’s Auxiliary.

In the ceremony, RADM Mittelman presented the Medal of Honor Flag to a tearyeyed Mrs.Willis and her son John Willis Jr. HM1 Schaefer presented the Medal of Honor to Mrs. Willis. Anyone in attendance could tell you that even after all these years the pain of her husband’s loss runs deep through the Willis family as it does through the peaceful town of
Columbia. And it is a burden that can never truly be lifted.

In his opening remarks, RADM Mittelman captured the moment best when he quoted President Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, a widowed mother who lost two sons in the Civil War. “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic he died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Article by Mr. Grog. Originally published in the November-December 2009 edition of The Grog Ration.

Pharmacist's Mate First Class John Harlan Willis

John Harlan Willis was born on 10 June 1921 in Columbia, TN. At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Corpsman serving with the Third Battalion, 27th Marines, fifth Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 28 February 1945. Constantly imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves studding Hill 362 in the enemy’s cross-island defenses, Willis resolutely administered first aid to the many Marines wounded during the furious close-in fighting until he himself was struck by shrapnel and was ordered back to the battle aid station. Without waiting for official medical release, he quickly returned to his company and, during a savage hand-to-hand enemy counterattack, daringly advanced to the extreme front lines under mortar and sniper fire to aid a Marine lying wounded in a shell hole. Completely unmindful of his own danger as the Japanese intensified their attack, promptly returning the first hostile grenade which landed in the shell hole while he was working and hurling back seven more in quick succession before the ninth one exploded
in his hand and instantly killed him. By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life, he inspired his companions, although terrifically outnumbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force. His exceptional fortitude and courage in performance of duty reflect the highest credit upon Willis and the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Willis is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Columbia, TN.

The USS Willis (DE-1027) was named in his honor.

Pharmacist's Mate Third Class Jack Williams, USNR

Jack Williams was born on 18 October 1924 in Harrison, AR. At the time of action he was a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Third Battalion, 28th Marines, Fifth Marine Division, during occupation of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Gallantly going forward on the front lines under intense enemy small-arms fire to assist a
Marine wounded in a fierce grenade battle, Williams dragged the man to a shallow depression and was knelling, using his own body as a screen from the sustained fire as he administered first aid, when struck in the abdomen and groin three times by hostile rifle fire. Momentarily stunned, he quickly recovered and completed his ministration before applying battle dressings to his own multiple wounds. Unmindful of his own urgent need for medical attention, he remained in the perilous fireswept area to care for another Marine casualty. Heroically completing his task despite pain and profuse bleeding, he then endeavored to make his way to the rear in search of adequate aid for himself when struck down by a Japanese sniper bullet which caused his collapse. Succumbing later as a result of his self-sacrificing service to others, Williams, by his courageous determination, unwavering fortitude and valiant performance of duty, served as an inspiring example of heroism, in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Williams is buried in Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, MO.

The USS Jack Williams (FFG-24) was named in his honor.

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class George Edward Wahlen

George Edward Wahlen was born on 8 August 1924 in Ogden, UT. At the time of action he was a Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on 3 March 1945. Painfully wounded in the bitter action on 26 February, Wahlen remained on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration of fire. Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various elements of his combat group as required. When an adjacent platoon suffered heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning to his own platoon. Wounded again on 2 March, he gallantly refused evacuation, moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across 600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stout-hearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter. By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical phases of this strategically important engagement. His heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

George Wahlen’s heroics are captured in Gary Toyn’s book The Quiet Hero: The Untold Medal of Honor Story of George E. Wahlen at the Battle for Iwo Jima (2005).

Wahlen died on 5 June 2009.

Francis Junior Pierce, Hospital Corpsman and G.I. Joe Action Figure

In 2005, G.I. Joe released an action figure modelled after Navy hospital corpsman and Medal of Honor recipient Francis J. Pierce. Today, he is one of just 33 G.I. Joe action figures to be modelled after real life persons. Others include George Washington, Douglas McArthur, and, of course, "Sgt. Slaughter."

Pharmacist's Mate First Class Francis Junior Pierce

Frances Junior Pierce was born on 7 December 1924 in Earlville, IA. At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, during the Iwo Jima campaign, 15 and 16 March 1945. Almost continuously under fire while carrying out the most dangerous volunteer assignments, Pierce gained valuable knowledge of the terrain and disposition of troops. Caught in heavy enemy rifle and machinegun fire which wounded a corpsman and two of the eight stretcher bearers to a forward station on 15 March, Pierce quickly took charge of the party, carried the newly wounded men to a sheltered position, and rendered first aid. After directing the evacuation of three of the casualties, he stood in the open to draw the enemy’s fire and, with his weapon blasting, enabled the litter bearers to reach cover. Turning his attention to the other two casualties, he was attempting to stop the profuse bleeding of one man when a Japanese fired from a cave less than 20 yards away and wounded his patient again. Risking his own life to save his patient, Pierce deliberately exposed himself to draw the attacker from the cave and destroyed him with the last of his ammunition. Then lifting the wounded man to his back, he advanced unarmed through the deadly rifle fire across 200 feet of open terrain. Despite exhaustion and in the face of warnings against such a suicidal mission, he again traversed the same fireswept path to rescue the remaining Marine. On the following morning, he led a combat patrol to the sniper nest and, while aiding a stricken Marine, was seriously wounded. Refusing aid for himself, he directed treatment for the casualty, at the same time maintaining protective fire for his comrades. Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Pierce inspired the entire battalion. His valor in the face of extreme peril sustains and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

After his time in the U.S. Navy, Frances Pierce served as a police chief in Grand Rapids, IA. He died on 21 December 1986 in Grand Rapids and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Grand Rapids, IA.

Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred Faulkner Lester

Fred Faulkner Lester was born on 29 April 1926 in Downer’s Grove, IL. At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with an Assault Rifle Platoon, attached to the First Marine Battalion, 22nd Marines, Sixth Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the
Ryukyu Chain, 8 June 1945. Quick to spot a wounded Marine lying in an open field beyond the front lines following the relentless assault against a strategic Japanese hill position, Lester unhesitatingly crawled toward the casualty under a concentrated barrage from hostile machine guns, rifles, and grenades. Torn by enemy rifle bullets as he inched forward, he stoically disregarded the mounting fury of Japanese fire and his own pain to pull the wounded man toward a covered position. Struck by enemy fire a second time before he reached cover, he exerted a tremendous effort and succeeded in pulling his comrade to safety where, too seriously wounded himself to administer aid, he instructed two of his squad in proper medical treatment of the rescued Marine. Realizing that his own wounds were fatal, he staunchly refused medical
attention for himself and, gathering his fast-waning strength with calm determination, coolly and expertly directed his men in the treatment of two other wounded Marines, succumbing shortly thereafter. Completely selfless in his concern for the welfare of his fighting comrades, Lester, by his indomitable spirit, outstanding valor, and competent direction of others, had saved the life of one who otherwise must have perished and had contributed to the safety of countless
others. Lester’s fortitude in the face of certain death sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Lester is buried in Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, IL.

The USS Fred Lester (DE-1022) was named in his honor.

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William David Halyburton, Jr.

William David Halyburton, Jr. was born on 2 August 1924 in Canton, NC. At the time of action, Halyburton was a Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 19 May
1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open, fireswept field where the company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the
wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for a second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides. Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life in service of his country.”

William Halyburton is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI (Section O, Grave 274).

The "William David Halyburton" Naval Hospital in Cherry Point, NC, and the ship USS William Halyburton (FFG-40) are named in his honor.

Hospital Apprentice First Class Robert Eugene Bush

Robert Eugene Bush was born on 4 October 1926 in Tacoma, WA. At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from one casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy’s murderous barrages. As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer lying wounded on the
skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack. In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life giving plasma. With the bottle held high in one hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy’s ranks until his ammunition was expended. Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for six of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the
loss of one eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man. With the hostile forces finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for him self until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station. His daring sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

After the war, Robert Bush returned to school and became a successful businessman and President of the Medal of Honor Society.

The Naval Hospital at 29 Palms, CA, and the Health Care Clinic in Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan were named in his honor. In the town of South Bend, WA, there is a statue which depicts Robert Bush’s heroics on Okinawa.

Mr. Bush died on 8 November 2005.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Curious Case of John Paul Jones, Post-Mortem

John Paul Jones at age 158 years. This is an official autopsy photograph taken of John Paul Jones in 1905. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy

Part II:
It only remained for the experts to conduct an autopsy. The internal organs, flooded with alcohol, were as well preserved as laboratory specimens. Pleural adhesions were present, particularly over the upper lobes. Jones once thought himself infested with tuberculosis,
yet examination showed no evidence of tubercular bacilli. The left lung showed a spot surrounded by fibrous tissue, a possible remnant of his bout with pneumonia. The cardiac muscle, still flexible after 113 years, showed no signs of pathology. The liver was contracted,
yellowish-brown in color, and the tissues were dense and compact. Several varieties of crystals
were interspersed in the hepatic cells. To the naked eye masses of tyrosin in the organ appeared as white opaque granules. Otherwise, the liver showed no abnormalities. The gall bladder seemed healthy and contained a pale yellowishbrown bile of a pasty consistency. The stomach was contracted, the spleen somewhat enlarged. The tissue of both organs, however, was
firm and free of lesions.

The kidneys, very well preserved, were sectioned and observed under the microscope. Clear evidence of interstitial nephritis or brightism existed. Dr. Capitan, one of the attending examiners, spoke more specifically in his report:

The vessels at several points had their walls thickened and invaded by sclerosis. A number
of glomerules were completely transformed into fibrous tissue and appeared in the form of
small spheres, strongly colored by the microscopic reactions. This verification was of the
highest importance. It gave the key to the various pathological symptoms presented by Paul Jones at the close of his life—emaciation, consumptive condition, and especially so much swelling, which from the feet gained completely the nether limbs, then the abdomen, where it even produced ascites (exudat intra abdominal). All these affections are often observed at the
close of chronic intestinal nephritis. It can, therefore, be said that we possess microscopic proof that Paul Jones died of a chronic renal affection, of which he had shown symptoms toward the close of his life.

Capitan’s colleague, Dr. Cornill, concluded his report of the microscopic examination by saying: “We believe that the case in point is interstitial nephritis with fibrous degeneracy of the glomerules of Malpighi, which agrees with the symptoms observed during life.”
A 1952 analysis of the autopsy report suggested that the renal disease may have had its origin both in Jones’ recurring fevers and a severe respiratory tract infection he suffered while traveling to Russia.

With positive identification, Ambassador Porter relayed his report to Washington and, shortly thereafter, President Theodore Roosevelt dispatched a naval squadron to France to escort the remains home.

On 6 July 1905, on the 158th anniversary of Jones’s birth, religious ceremonies were held in Paris. An honor guard placed the new oak casket upon a French artillery caisson and solemnly the procession moved through the Paris streets and down the Champs Elysees. Across the Seine, at the Esplanade des Invalides, French and American honor guards rendered the flagdraped
coffin the highest military honors. The magnitude of the occasion only served to contrast the
hasty and very private funeral that preceded the admiral’s burial 113 years before. The journey was not yet over.

After the transatlantic crossing and the speeches, the body was carried to the Naval Academy’s Bancroft Hall and placed behind a staircase upon two sawhorses. There it rested for seven years.

On 26 January 1913 the remains of John Paul Jones, rescued from the obscurity of a forgotten grave, were finally laid to rest in a crypt at the Academy chapel.

About the Author
Jan K. Herman is the Senior Historian of the Navy Medical Department. He is the author of numerous articles and several books. His most recent writings include Navy Medicine in Vietnam: Oral Histories from Dien Bien Phu to the Fall of Saigon (2009) and Frozen in Memory: U.S. Navy Medicine in thd Korean War (2006). Versions of Mr. Herman's article, "The Curious Case of John Paul Jones, Post-Mortem" have been published in U.S. Navy Medicine Magazine (April 1979) and later The Grog Ration (May-June 2009).

The Curious Case of John Paul Jones, Post-Mortem

One cannot underestimate the role French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1747-1792) played in the identification of John Paul Jones’s remains. The Houdon bust of Jones, sculpted from life, was arguably the most accurate portrayal of Jones. Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy.


This year marks the 232th anniversary of one of the most famous battles in American
naval history. On 23 September 1779, off Flamborough Head, England, the British warship, Serapis, struck her colors after a vicious and bloody moonlight encounter with the Bon
Homme Richard
. As the victorious skipper of the outclassed and outgunned Richard, John Paul Jones achieved his greatest triumph and ensured his reputation for the ages.

But if his immortal words “I have not yet begun to fight,” assured Captain Jones a hallowed place in the pantheon of American naval heroes, they by no means guaranteed his immediate
future. The Revolution ended in 1783 and the Continental Navy ceased to exist. America, the Scotsman’s adopted homeland, suddenly offered few challenges to one who drew vitality
and sustenance from the sea.

Jones spent the remaining years of his life in Europe, first trying to settle prize claims for his former crewmates and then as advisor and rear admiral in the Russian Navy under Catherine the Great. His health soon after began to fail. The cruel Russian winter took its toll and he contracted pneumonia, a disease that became chronic. Even before his Russian sojourn, he displayed evidence of bronchiolitis, a condition that may very well have approached clinical
asthma. Malaria had infected him years earlier in the West Indies and he was also subject to recurring attacks of that disease.

He returned to Paris in 1790, his voice weakened and his diminutive five feet seven inch frame wracked by frequent coughing fits. Two years later the once wiry seaman had already lost much of his appetite and began to show symptoms of jaundice. Jones’s limbs swelled and 18th century
medicine could do little to stem his overall physical decline.

Colonel Samuel Blackden, a North Carolina planter, described his last illness: “A few days before his death his legs began to swell, which proceeded upward to his body so that for two days before decease he could not button his waistcoat and had great difficulty in breathing. . . .”

On 18 July 1792, Jones succumbed to “dropsy of the heart” at age 45. Blackden recalled that “the body was put into a leaden coffin . . .that, in case the United States, which he so essentially served with so much honor, should claim his remains they might be more easily removed.”
Memories faded and time and neglect gradually erased the location of Jones’s unmarked grave. Yet there were those who had not forgotten. In 1845, Colonel John H. Sherburne began a campaign to return the hero’s remains to the United States. He wrote to the Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and requested that the body be brought home aboard a vessel of the Mediterranean Squadron.

Six years later preliminary arrangements were made, but those plans fell through when several of Jones’s Scottish relatives objected. Had they not intervened, a far more serious problem might well have put a premature end to the whole affair. Where was John Paul Jones buried?
Almost another 50 years passed before another individual, the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to France, Horace Porter, vowed to locate the grave. “I felt a deep sense of humiliation as an American citizen in realizing that our first and most fascinating naval hero
had been lying for more than a century in an unknown and forgotten grave and that no serious attempt had ever been made to recover his remains and give them appropriate sepulture in the land upon whose history he had shed so much luster.”

After painstaking research into the records, Porter narrowed the field to a long abandoned
Paris cemetery now covered by rows of squalid tenements. Exploratory excavations began on 3 February 1905. Fifty-six days later workmen finally unearthed a lead coffin which was opened in the presence of Ambassador Porter and other witnesses. Those present were amazed to find
that the body which had been wrapped in linen and packed with straw, had also been immersed in alcohol. The flesh appeared to be well preserved. Porter wrote: “The face presented quite a natural appearance. . .Upon placing [a likeness of Jones in profile] near the face, comparing the other features and contour of brow, appearance of the hair, high cheek-bones, prominently arched eye-orbits, and other points of resemblance— we instinctively exclaimed, ‘Paul
Jones’; and all those who were gathered about the coffin removed their hats, feeling that they werestanding in the presence of the illustrious dead—the object of the long search.”

Yet the Ambassador realized that he conjectured on the skimpiest of evidence. A more scientific analysis of the remains was necessary. Immediately, a team from the Paris School of Medicine began that investigation.

After removing the linen winding sheet, an anthropologist carefully measured the cranial features. The existence of a “from life” Houdon bust of Jones made comparison that much easier. Porter wrote: “Dr. Papillault, with his delicate instruments, made all the necessary anthropometric measurements of the head, features, length of body, etc., and found them so entirely exact as to be convinced . . .that the length of body, five feet seven inches, was the same as the height of the Admiral.”

Lieutenant Orlando Henderson Petty, MC, USNRF

Orlando Henderson Petty was born on 20 February 1874 in Cadiz, OH. At the time of action he was a lieutenant in the Medical Corps, USNR. His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism while serving with the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines, in France during the attack in the Boise de Belleau, 11 June 1918. While under heavy fire of high explosive and gas shells in the town of Lucy, where his dressing station was located, Lieutenant Petty attended to and evacuated the wounded under most trying conditions. Having been knocked to the ground by an exploding gas shell which tore his mask, Lieutenant Petty discarded the mask and courageously continued his work. His dressing station being hit and demolished, he personally helped carry Captain Williams, wounded, through the shellfire to a place of safety.”

After leaving naval service, Dr. Petty, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson Medical School, returned to Philadelphia and became a Professor of Metabolic Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1924, he wrote the seminal text Diabetes, Its Treatment by Insulin and Diet (1924).

Dr. Orlando Petty died in Philadelphia on 2 June 1932 and is buried in St. Timothy’s Churchyard, Roxborough, PA.

Oral History: Nancy Crosby, USS Haven hospital ship nurse

LTJG Nancy Crosby, NC, USN with LT Marion Pearson, MC, USNR

All photographs shown are part of the Nancy Crosby Collection, BUMED Library and Archives

USS Consolation, Inchon Harbor

Telephone interview with Nancy “Bing” Crosby, Navy nurse aboard USS Haven (AH-12 ) during the Korean War. Conducted by Mr. Jan K. Herman, Historian, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 26 December 2001.

Where are you from originally?
Baltimore, MD.

When did you decide you wanted to be a nurse?
When I was a little girl. My mother’s closest friend was a nurse and I guess she influenced me.

Where did you go to nursing school?
Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. Then the Navy sent me to the University of Pennsylvania for my baccalaureate, and then to Boston University for my masters. They treated me very well.

When did you join the Navy?
I joined in 1949.

What do you remember about that?
I was a little nervous. My parents never said they were against it at all. We were kind of a Navy family. We grew up with webbed feet. We spent our summers at the Magothy River off of Chesapeake Bay. I was very delighted because both of my brothers were in the Navy. One went to the Naval Academy, and my other brother served in submarines. I was the only one that had to go to war. Would you believe that? Two brothers in the Navy and I was the only one who went to war.

Where was your first assignment?
Bethesda, MD. Then I went to Beaufort, SC, about 2 years later, and then to the Haven.

How did you hear that the war had broken out in Korea?
I don’t remember much about it except that we were at war, Korea was near Japan, and North Korea had invaded South Korea. I heard they needed nurses because they were commissioning a hospital ship and they were looking for volunteers. I was delighted.

So you actually volunteered for service on the Haven?
Oh, yes. All the nurses were volunteers.

USS Consolation and Danish Hospital Ship Jutlandia

Who was your chief nurse?
Nell Harrington. She’s since died. She was a courageous little lady.

What do you remember about reporting to the Haven?
Oh, my, I was impressed. There was a big red cross on the side of it. It had a few rust spots because the men hadn’t finished all the painting. We painted it on the way over to Hawaii and Japan.

Where did you work on the ship?
I worked on the surgical wards because that’s where most of my naval experience had been. I also worked on the A deck for a while with patients with head injuries.

What do you remember about one of your patients, Sergeant Harry Smart?
I don’t remember him specifically because we were so busy then. We were working 18 hours a day. Patients were coming in so fast by helicopter and landing craft.

When did you get to Korea?
We were there in 1952 and ‘53. We went first to Pusan.

Do you remember CAPT Hamblett, the ship’s skipper?
Oh, Balloon Head?

Why do you call him that?
Because he had such a large head. First of all, he got himself a little car that he kept on the deck of the ship so that he would have transportation when he went ashore. He’d go out with the Korean women. He’d want to date us but after we dated him one time, we swore we’d never go again because he was kind of a lecherous fellow. He was bad news.

But he came up with this idea for the two pontoon floats.
Yes, he did.

Hospital Corpsmen carry a critically wounded patient aboard USS Haven

What do you remember about that?
I have pictures I took of those floats. They lashed them to the sides of the ship with great big cables. Then they practiced landing to ensure that the helicopters could land without too much wind influence on the side of the ship. It worked quite well.

Did you see the first flights land?
I don’t remember whether they were the first ones or not but we watched several of them come in. Then they brought the men up on stretchers, lifting them by litter hoist. It was marvelous.

Smaller copters lashed two stretchers, one on each side. Larger copters held several patients.

Bell HTL-4 aboard one of the Haven's pontoon landing floats, July 1952

And they could land more than one helicopter at a time?
Oh, sure. They could land them on each side of the ship where barges were lashed.

How many on each side?
One at a time on each side.

Were the pontoons decked with wood?
It was wood. They had painted large circles where the copters should land.

How long did you stay on the ship?
I was there pretty close to 20 months.

Were the floats then used while you were in Inchon?
Yes. Later, our helicopter landing pad was built on the afterdeck of the ship and barges were not needed.

I guess that was because you had to stay pretty far offshore because of the tides.
Oh, yes. They were 19- to 21-foot tides; they were impressive. The mud flats used to come out for miles.

You say you took pictures of the floats being used?
Oh, yes. I was impressed by their effectiveness.

How many do you have?
I have about six or eight slides showing the helicopters landing. I also have another one with Nell Harrington climbing into one. I also have slides of critically ill Marines being landed on our helicopter deck on the aft deck of the ship.

How did you get a picture of Ted Williams?
He was a patient on our ship. He was a Marine pilot during the Korean War and was on my ward. When he was getting better I asked him if he would mind if I took a couple of pictures. He was the most gracious fellow.

Marine pilot and Boston Red Sox star, Ted Williams, patient aboard USS Haven, March 1953. Glove courtesy of Haven's Welfare and Recreation Committee.

So he just went up on deck with a baseball glove and posed for you? Where did he get the glove?
Apparently, he kept it with him all the time. He was a neat guy.

Outside orphanage in South Korea.

Did any of the nurses ever get ashore to help Korean refugees?
We didn’t deal with Korean refugees until the battles quieted down. Some of the nurses volunteered to work at the orphanages. I never did that. But we used to get clothes from home for the children and we’d take the children on picnics and distribute the clothes. I have some pictures of that. Between battles we cared for Korean children. They were quickly evacuated when we again became busy. In appreciation, the children were brought to the ship to entertain us with Korean dances.

Do you know any of those nurses who may have worked in the orphanages?
I don’t know whether Pat Leisure did that or not. She worked in the operating room.

Did you treat any Korean patients?
Yes. Frequently, our Korean patients had worms. Because farmers periodically used human excreta for fertilizer, many of our Korean patients had worms. They really caused problems. Patients who had abdominal surgery sometimes needed a Levin tube. These were used to suction stomach contents. Worms frequently clogged the tubes and actually came up around the tube and were pulled from the nose.

"E" Medical Company, 6 miles from the front

LTJG Crosby aboard USS Haven.

Could you tell me the story of how you and Harry Smart found each other?
It was a delight because he went to a reunion up in North Carolina where he bumped into Frances Omori, the woman who wrote the book about the nurses in the Korean War. She told him that she had interviewed me and that she had my address. So she wrote me and asked if I would mind if she gave him my address. I wrote back to her and said I’d be pleased to talk with him. So he wrote the nicest letter and asked if he could someday come to see me. But we didn’t meet until about 2 years later. Just recently, he drove all the way down to Florida. He lives in Texas, but he was in North Carolina at the time. He drove all the way down just to see me. And we spent 5 hours here talking.

What was that meeting like for you?
Oh, it was very emotional at first. We hugged and cried. It was very warm and touching. I still get emotional when I talk about it. I don’t know where the feelings welled up from but they really were something. I was very, very moved. He made all those years in Korea worthwhile.

He was a Marine patient?
Yes. He says I saved his leg but I don’t remember. But, apparently, I did care for him on the ship. There were so many to care for.

He remembered you because he recalls they called you Bing. And that was your nickname.
Right. Crosby so they called me Bing.

Do you keep in touch?
We write letters and email. He’s a delight. I can’t believe he went to all that trouble to find me.

You were very important to him.
Apparently, I made a difference.

Do you ever think about that time back in Korea?
Yes, particularly when this war’s going on and when they talk about Vietnam. It makes me mad. You always hear about these wars but never hear about the Korean War until recently. And I believe that more of our men were lost in the Korean War than in the Vietnam War.

Surgery Tent, "E" Medical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Division, August 1952.

Papa-san smokes his pipe. Pusan, April 1952.

"E" Medical Company.

LTJG Virginia Brown, NC, USN, posing beside USS Haven then moored at Pusan, South Korea, March 1953.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Weedon E. Osborne, DC, USN

Weedon E. Osborne was born on 13 November 1892 in Chicago, IL. At the time of action he was a lieutenant (junior grade) in the Dental Corps, USN. His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism while attached to the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy and under fire during the advance of Bouresche, France, on 6 June 1918. In the hottest of the fighting when the Marines made their famous advance on Bouresche at the southern edge of Belleau Wood, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Osborne threw himself zealously into the work of rescuing the wounded. Extremely courageous in the performance of this perilous task, he was killed while carrying a wounded officer to a place of safety.”

Lieutenant Junior Grade Osborne was a graduate of Northwestern Dental School in 1915. He is buried in Belleau-Aisne Cemetery, France (Lot A, Section 3, Grave 39).

The USS Osborne (DD-295) is named in his honor.

Lieutenant Commander Alexander Gordon Lyle, DC, USN

Alexander Gordon Lyle, Jr. was born on 12 November 1889, Gloucester, MA. At the time of action he was a lieutenant commander in the Dental Corps, USN. His citation reads, “ For extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving with the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines. Under heavy shellfire, on 23 April 1918, on the French Front, Lieutenant Commander Lyle rushed to the assistance of Corp. Thomas Regan, who seriously wounded, and administered such effective surgical aid while bombardment was still continuing, as to save the life of Corporal Regan.”

Alexander Lyle was a graduate of the Baltimore College of Dentistry in 1912. Between the wars he served in a variety of posts including a stint with the Fourth Regiment, U.S. Marines in China. In March 1943 he was promoted to Dental Surgeon with the rank of rear admiral—the first Navy dental officer to attain the status of flag.

Rear Admiral Lyle died on 15 July 1955 in Portsmouth, RI. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 2, Lot 1114-1).

Hospital Apprentice First Class David E. Hayden

David E. Hayden was born on 2 October 1897 in Florence, TX. At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action in Thiaucourt, 15 September 1918, with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, United States Marines. During the advance, when Corporal Creed was mortally wounded while crossing an open field swept by machinegun fire, Hayden
unhesitatingly ran to his assistance and, finding him so severely wounded as to require immediate attention, disregarded his own personal safety to dress the wound under intense machinegun fire, and then carried the wounded man back to a place of safety.”

After the war, David Hayden left the Navy and became a U.S. Marshal. He died on 18 March 1974 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 35, Lot 1864).

Lieutenant Joel T. Boone, MC, USN

Joel Thompson Boone was born 29 August 1889 in St. Clair, PA. At the time of action he was a lieutenant in the Medical Corps, USN. His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while serving with the Sixth Regiment of the United States Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy at and in the vicinity of Vierzy, France, 18 July 1918. With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and mindful of the suffering
fallen, Surgeon Boone, leaving the shelter of a ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas, applied dressings and first aid to wounded Marines. This occurred southeast of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town. When the dressings and supplies had been exhausted he went through a heavy barrage of large caliber shells, both high explosive
and gas, to replenish these supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load and administered them in saving the lives of the wounded. A second trip under the same conditions and for the same purpose, was made by Surgeon Boone later that day.”

Dr. Boone had a long and varied career starting with his appointment as lieutenant, junior grade, USNR in 1914. He transferred to the regular Navy in 1915 where he advanced through the ranks retiring as a vice admiral in 1950. In his long and varied career, Vice Admiral Boone served in the White House Medical Unit during the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover Administrations. During World War II, Vice Admiral Boone served as a Senior Medical Officer at Naval Air Station San Diego, CA and commanding officer of Naval Hospital Seattle, WA. VADM Boone represented the Navy Medical Department at the surrender of Japan on board the battleship USS Missouri on 2 September 1945.

Vice Admiral Joel Boone died on 2 April 1974 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 11, Grave 137-2).

The USS Boone (FFG-28) and the Joel T. Boone Naval Branch Medical Clinic in Little Creek, VA, are named in his honor.

Pharmacist's Mate First Class John Henry Balch

John Henry Balch was born on 2 January 1896 in Edgerton, KS. At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, with the 6th Regiment, United States Marines, in action at Vierzy, on 19 July 1918. Balch unhesitatingly and fearlessly exposed himself to terrific machinegun and high-explosive fire to succor the wounded as they fell in the attack, leaving voluntarily and keeping up the work all day and late into the night unceasingly for 16 hours on a field torn by shell and machinegun fire. Also in the action at Somme-Py on 5 October 1918, he exhibited exceptional bravery in establishing an advanced dressing station under heavy shellfire.”

Following the war John Balch left the Navy and opened a men’s clothing store in Chicago, IL. During World War II, he returned to service as a lieutenant in the Navy Supply Corps and retired a commander in 1957. He died on 15 October 1980 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA (Section 2, Grave 1925)).

In 2005, Naval Medical Clinic in Quantico, VA, was renamed the "John Balch Clinic" in his honor.

Archives: Danner POW Collection

Danner POW Collection
Personal papers
2 boxes, arranged, unrestricted, no finding aid available

Dorothy Danner, NC, USNR (nee Dorothy Still, aka Dorothy Terrill) was a
POW in Los Banos Internment Camp, Philippines during World War II. The
collection consists of photographs, letters, photocopies and other
material related to her nursing career and subsequent captivity by the
Japanese. Includes Stateside material compiled by her mother. Danner was
awarded a Bronze Star for her care of the sick and wounded while a
prisoner. Later material includes recognition of service, an oral
history and reunions.

J. Willis Hurst (1920-2011), short-term Navy cardiologist

The NY Times has an obituary for Dr. J. Willis Hurst, who briefly served as a Navy doctor:


"His career was interrupted when he was drafted into the Navy in 1954 and assigned to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he became chief of cardiology before returning to Emory in 1955."
Oddly enough, Hurst had been drafted into the Army during World War II.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hospital Apprentice First Class William Zuiderveld

William Zuiderveld was born on 24 January 1888 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN. His citation reads, “ On board the USS Florida, Zuiderveld showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.”

William Zuiderveld retired as a Lieutenant in the Hospital Corps on 31 August 1945. He died on 5 February 1978 and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA (Section A-I, Grave 9b).

His Medal of Honor and uniform are on permanent display at The Michigan’s Own Military and Space Museum in Frankenmuth, MI.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Surgeon Cary Langhorne, MC, USN

Cary DeVall Langhorne was born 14 May 1873, Lynchburg, VA. Surgeon Langhorne earned his award in the Mexican Campaign. His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism in the battle engagement of Vera Cruz, 22 April 1914, Surgeon Langhorne carried a wounded man from the front of the Naval Academy while under heavy fire.” His award was issued on 4 December 1914.

Surgeon Langhorne was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. He was appointed
assistant surgeon in the Navy on 7 July 1898. He resigned his commission on 18 December 1916, and entered the Naval Reserves.

Dr. Langhorne died on 25 April 1948, at his farm in Upperville, VA and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 11, Grave 868).

Surgeon Middleton Elliott, MC, USN

Middleton Stuart Elliott, Jr. was born 16 October 1872 in Beaufort, SC. Surgeon Elliott received his award for the Mexican Campaign in 1914. His citation reads, “For distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Surgeon Elliott was eminent and conspicuous in the efficient establishment and operation of the base hospital, and in his cool judgment and courage in supervising first aid stations on the firing line and removing the
wounded.” The date of issue of the award was December 1915.

Dr. Elliott entered the U.S. Navy in 1896 as an assistant surgeon. He rose through the ranks and retired from active duty in 1936 as rear admiral. He died on 29 October 1952 in Los Angeles, CA, and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA (Section P Grave 2628).

In 2004, the elementary school at the Marine Corps Base Beaufort, SC, was named in his honor.

Hospital Apprentice Fred McGuire

Fred Henry McGuire was born on 7 November 1890 in Gordonville, MO. At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice, USN. His citations states, “While attached to the USS Pampang, McGuire was one of a shore party moving to capture Mundang, on the island of Basilan, Philippine Islands, on the morning of 24 September 1911. Ordered to take station within 100 yards of a group of nipa huts close to the trail, McGuire advanced and stood guard as the leader and his scout party first searched the surrounding deep grasses, then moved into the open area before the huts. Instantly enemy Moros opened point-blank fire on the exposed men and approximately 20 Moros charged the small group from inside the huts and from other concealed positions. McGuire, responding to the calls from help, was one of the first on the scene. After emptying his rifle into the attackers, he closed in with rifle, using it as a club to wage fierce battle until his comrades arrived on the field, when he rallied to the aid of his dying leader and other wounded. Although himself wounded, McGuire ministered tirelessly and efficiently to those who had been struck down, thereby saving the lives of two who otherwise might have succumbed to enemy-inflicted wounds.” McGuire’s award is dated 13 December 1911.

Fred McGuire retired from naval service in 1939 but was recalled to active duty to work at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Hospital Corps Division during World War II. He retired yet again in October 1945 as a Chief Pharmacist’s Mate. He died in 1955 and is buried at Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, MO (Section 29, Grave 332).