This is the eleventh in a series of posts in which I’m transcribing a document that belonged to my father titled “History of the 81st Field Hospital.” It details the hospital’s preparations in the U.S. before deployment and operations in Germany during WWII. This field hospital eventually reached German concentration camp survivors. Read from the beginning here.
Packing and crating was completed ahead of schedule and from last week in July until embarkation date, 9 August, a training program was in effect, consisting of classes and swimming, volleyball and other supervised sports.
Unit Returns to United States
On 9 August, the unit boarded USN Transport General George O Squier, bound for Manila, Philippine Islands. Only detail for the unit was dispensary assignment.
In the wake of continual suspense and excitement, beginning with loosing of the first atomic bomb on Japan, the entry of Russia into the war against Japan, and semi-official reports and rumors of peace, Japan finally surrendered unconditionally on 15 August and there was great jubilation aboard ship.
Even more enthusiastically received was official notification that the ship’s destination was changed and we were bound for the United States, our port, Norfolk, Virginia.
Administrative detail to facilitate possible furloughs, discharges, or other plans for the organization were completed on board ship and we docked at Norfolk on 20 August, proceeding to Camp Patrick Henry for further orders.
Groups were sent to appropriate reception stations from Camp Patrick Henry on 21 August with orders to reassemble as a unit at Camp Sibert, Alabama. Temporary duty was extended for a period of 15-days and the unit began reassembling 12 October. Those eligible for discharge were not returned from reception stations. The remainder of the unit completed assembling 23 October.
Move to Crile General Hospital
In mid-October movement orders were received directing that the 81st Field Hospital proceed to Crile General Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. Further instructions directed that the remaining nurses and those enlisted men with an ASR Score above 59 be separated from the unit.
On 1 November 1945 the unit entrained at Camp Sibert, Alabama, and proceeded to Cril [sic] General Hospital. The operation had been well-planned and was accomplished with singular smoothness.
Upon arrival at Crile, the personnel of the 81st, with the exception of the Headquarters Section, were assigned to on-the-job training assignments in virtually all departments of the splendid general hospital. The experience of our men, abetted by the genuine consideration manifested by the administrators of Crile General Hospital, rendered the merger of personnel effective and harmonious.
A separate 81st Field Hospital Headquarters was set up by Major Moring and his staff. All administrative matters pertaining to the 81st were handled by this headquarters.
On 14 November 1945, Major Moring received orders transferring him to Wakeman General Hospital, Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Captain Naif L Simon, next ranking officer in the unit, assumed command 20 November 1945. However, the following day, Major Moring’s orders were rescinded and he resumed command of the 81st.