OFFICE OF THE BATTALION SURGEON
54TH REPLACEMENT BATTALION
GROUND FORCE REPLACEMENT COMMAND
E.T.0 APO 772 U.S.A.
15 June 1945
SUBJECT: Periodical Report, Medical Department activities.
TO : The Surgeon General, Washington, D.C.
(THRU TECHNICAL CHANNELS)
1. In compliance with Circular 58, paragraph 1, HEADQUARTERS, ETOUSA, dated 14 May 1945; the following report of Medical Department Activities is submitted.
The 54th Replacement Battalion was activated on 25 May 1943 at Camp Sutton, North Carolina, and assigned to the 12 Replacement Depot.
Thorough training in basic and advanced medical work, in addition to orientation on work peculiar to a Medical Section in a Replacement Depot was given all medical personnel.
With the change in TO & E from 20-46 to 12-46 each battalion was authorized a Medical Detachment of one (1) Medical Officer, one (1) Dental Officer, and nine (9) Enlisted Men.
Prior to embarkation, Lt. John G. Kroll, M.C., and Lt. Albert H. Kredo, D.C., were assigned to this Battalion.
On 7 January 1944, the 54th Replacement Battalion, consisting of Hq and Hq Detachment, 209th, 210th, 211th Replacement Companies embarked from New York Port of Embarkation, and landed in the United Kingdom on 19 January 1944, taking up permanent station in Glastonbury, England; assigned to the 9th Replacement Depot.
Initially, work in Glastonbury consisted of training and forming into packets, free Cavalry and Armored Force Replacements.
There were two camps in Glastonbury, each ½ mile from the center of town, and two camps in Street, approximately three miles away.
The central dispensary was located in the heart of Glastonbury, with Aid Stations in each campsite of the Street camps operated by medical personnel of the Training Detachments. Sick Call was conducted in Glastonbury at the main dispensary, and in each Street Camp site at specified times during the day, by the Battalion Surgeon.
A three (3) bed infirmary, later expanded to six (6) bed infirmary, was established at the central dispensary for local treatment of Nasopharyngitis, tonsillitis, and other diseases that could be treated locally.
The nearest medical installation was the 160th Station Hospital located in Bath, England, approximately 26 miles away.
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In Glastonbury, the static personnel were housed in requisitioned civilian billets, the central dispensary and Dental Clinic was located in a three-story building. Casual personnel in campsites in Glastonbury and Street were housed in Niessen Huts, supplemented by pyramidal tents.
Messing facilities were good, garbage and waste removal was done by civilian contract. Outhouses with quartermaster type boxes were used in Glastonbury, with civilian type latrines used in Street. Constant serial water examinations proved the water, obtained from civilian sources, to be potable. Shower facilities were provided at each campsite. Amount of hot water and space in shower rooms was ample.
Laundering was done for the most part individually, with Quartermaster Laundry facilities for more static personnel.
Venereal disease rates at all camp sites was extremely low, three (3) cases of Gonorrhea, New, being all that was contracted by the entire command, static and non-static, during the period from arrival to departure from this station. Prophylaxis stations, and both chemical and mechanical prophylactics were provided at each campsite. Venereal disease lectures and discussions were part of compulsory training for all casual personnel.
Training in basic first aid, use of first aid packet, sulfa drugs, and training in personal cleanliness, field sanitation, and personal decontamination, conducted by the Battalion Medical Section, were given all casual personnel during their course of training. Written or oral examinations on all medical subjects covered during the training period were conducted upon completion of the course. Units having unsatisfactory grades were retrained.
Standard training aids, field manuals, and charts were used in the training.
Medical service was given static and non-static personnel of each campsite, in addition to other units in the surrounding areas not having attached or assigned medical personnel.
Major difficulties encountered among non-static personnel was mental and physical adjustments to training during training periods.
With the change in issue from the Shoe, Service; to the Shoe, Service, Combat; many cases of dyshydrosis, hyperhydrosis, and cases of macerations of the feet were evident. Proper training in care of feet, and proper fitting and care of shoes alleviated the situation remarkably.
Routine medical examinations, inspections of mess halls, latrines, and shower rooms were conducted periodically.
All non-static personnel were given a physical examination upon arrival, and classified according to GFRC Chart #8 (See enclosed Copy). Cases requiring minor medical care or hospitalization were given prompt treatment and placed in proper physical category upon recovery.
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All Enlisted Men were given a physical inspection prior to leaving the command, and a letter concerning the prevalence of communicable diseases in this command at the time of departure, forwarded to the Commanding officer of the next station. (See attached copy).
Newly arrived troops having been exposed to a communicable disease were segregated from the rest of the command, and the proper preventative measures taken to prevent the spreading of the disease.
Dental service was given all static and non-static personnel of the command, and to other units in surrounding area, not having assigned dental personnel.
Organized and supervised athletics, a civilian theatre, a Red Cross Branch Club, and routine Special Service recreational facilities were available. Special sightseeing tours of historical places and points of interest in the vicinity were conducted by the Battalion Special Service Section on Sundays and Holidays, when there was no training scheduled.
Civilian and U.S. Army churches and chapels were available for members of all faiths.
On the 8th of August 1944, the 54th Replacement Battalion comprised of Hq and Hq Detachment and the 210th Replacement Company left Glastonbury, arriving at Tidworth, Wilts, England, approximately sixty (60) miles away. It was housed temporarily in a campsite 2 ½ miles west of Tidworth. Ten days later, the unit moved into Tidworth Barracks, a permanent, pre-war, military station.
Enlisted Men and Officers were billeted in British Army Barracks.
Shower and messing facilities were excellent.
Water supplied from civilian sources under Army supervision.
Work in Tidworth Barracks under the 9th Replacement Depot remained essentially the same.
Approximately three weeks after the arrival of the 54th Replacement Battalion to Tidworth Barracks, the 9th Replacement Depot departed from the station. An additional company, the 325th Replacement Company, was assigned to the Battalion, and command of the Tidworth Barracks was assumed.
There, the Battalion functioned as a Depot until the arrival of the 12 Replacement Depot on the 28th of August 1944, and the 54th Replacement Battalion was assigned to it.
The function of the Battalion as a whole during this period was the reconversion training of service troops to infantry.
Once more the major difficulty encountered medically was the mental and physical adjustment to training.
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Sick Call was abundant, and claims of “foot trouble” and “back trouble” constituted the major part of sick call which was conducted at 1900 hours daily except Sunday so as not to interfere with training.
Reclassification proceedings by the Depot Surgeon were held bi-monthly. Enlisted men to go before the board for reclassification had a record of disability compiled consisting of a report of physical examination by the Battalion Surgeon, supplemented by reports of hospital consultations.
The nearest medical installation was the Third Station Hospital, located in Tidworth.
Dental Services were given at a Central Dental Clinic, with Dental Officers of all Battalions in the Depot present. A Dental Prosthetic Laboratory was part of the clinic, and in the absence of the Depot Dental Surgeon, the 54th Replacement Battalion Dental Surgeon took charge of the Clinic.
Workshops for making and repairing spectacles, and for making arches and shoe corrections were also part of the medical set-up, and was instrumental in keeping down to a minimum the amount of time lost in waiting for spectacles, dental prosthetics, and arches.
The 526th Replacement Company was assigned to the Battalion, bringing to a total of three companies assigned to the Battalion.
Capt. John C. Kroll, Bn. Surgeon, was transferred to the 10th Replacement Depot on the 24th of October 1944, and on the 3rd of November 194, Capt. Hilbert A. Jabczynski, M.C. was assigned to the Battalion as Surgeon. During the interim, various Medical Officers, attached unassigned to the organization temporarily took charge of the dispensary.
The 54th Replacement Battalion Dispensary was the Central Dispensary for the entire Depot. A ten (10) bed infirmary was set up to treat quarters cases locally. A Medical Officer of the Day was present at the Battalion Dispensary nightly, and emergency cases from all of the other Battalions were treated day and night.
On the 4th of December 1944, the 523rd Replacement Company was assigned to the command, and the unit embarked for France on the 6th of December 1944. After a brief stay at Fontainebleau, the unit proceeded to a station twelve (12) miles from Marseilles, and assumed command of a site previously held by the 21st Replacement Battalion.
Functioning as a separate Battalion, work at this station was different from that previously done by the Battalion. It consisted of receiving shipments from the Zone of Interior, MTOUSA, and of Hospital Returnees. There was a constant changeover of non-static personnel, with average length of stay in the Battalion approximately four (4) days.
Personnel were housed in pyramidal tents. Messing facilities were adequate. Water was supplied by the 7559th Water Supply Company, and consumption was from Lister Bags. Civilian water supply was non-potable, and all precautions were taken to see to it that the water was not consumed.
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Latrines consisted of outhouses, with quartermaster type boxes.
The Dispensary was located in a portion of the Headquarters Building. Supplies were obtained from the 351st Medical Supply Depot. Nearest Medical Installation was the 638th Clearing Company, which was four (4) miles northeast of the Battalion campsite.
Sick call was average; complaints were of the average variety.
On the 3rd of March 1945, the Battalion moved to a new campsite, which is eighteen (18) miles from Marseilles.
Personnel are housed in winterized pyramidal tents. Water is supplied from surface sources. Serial water examination showed water to be non-potable, and a chlorinator was set up in the campsite.
Messing facilities are excellent and food storage is adequate. Mess personnel in competent, food supply is adequate. Garbage disposal is by civilian contract.
Latrines are fly-proofed enclosures, using Quartermaster type boxes. Latrines are sprayed twice monthly with DDT powder and kerosene mixture. Diesel oil is sprayed into latrine pits daily. Showering facilities for Enlisted Men and Officers is ample.
Medical work in this area consists of processing of all Hospital Returnees, profile serial examinations, treatment of sick and wounded Reinforcements, inspections of incoming and outgoing personnel; and inspections of all medical records for proper recording of Profile Serial numbers, and check on immunizations prior to shipment to Zone of Interior.
Sick call is average, complaints are of the average variety.
Many cases of venereal Disease arrive at this station undiagnosed, and are treated either locally or by hospitalization.
Major difficulty consists of men discharged from hospitals prior to full recovery. Such cases are discovered immediately upon arrival, and returned for further convalescence.
Dental service is rendered the entire command by the Dental Clinic, which is located in the dispensary.
The dispensary consists of a building comprising Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, and Pharmacy. A Prophylaxis station is maintained twenty-four (24) hours daily, and mechanical prophylactics are available at all companies.
Recreational facilities are abundant. There are four baseball fields, and ample athletic equipment. Each company has a Day Room and Reading Room combined, and the Battalion Recreation Hall has bars for the sale of Coca-Cola and American type beer which is served to all members of the command.
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There is a Barber Shop and Tailor Shop under the supervision of the Battalion Post Exchange.
A Battalion Theatre has two (2) shows nightly for the enjoyment of the command, under the supervision of the Battalion Special Service Section.
A large Chapel is available, and services are held during the week and on Sundays for members of all faiths.
Medical Department Officers include:
James T. Grimes, Major, M.C. Detached Service, this Headquarters, from Headquarters, GFRC.
Hilbert A. Jabczynski, Captain, M.C. Battalion Surgeon.
Albert H. Kredo, Captain, D.C. Battalion Dental Surgeon
Commanding Officer of 54th Reinforcement Battalion is:
Gustav M. Bacharach, Lt. Colonel, Infantry
HILBERT A. JABCZYNSKI
Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Army
1st Ind. GMB/djh
HQ., 54TH REINFORCEMENT BATTALION, APO 772, U.S. ARMY, 14 June 1945 –
TO: COMMANDING GENERAL, Ground Force Reinf. Command, APO 887, U.S. Army.
(Attention: Surgeon, G.F.R.C).
Noted and forwarded.
GUSTAV M. BACHARACH
Lt. Col., Infantry,
NOTE: This report was obtained from the National Archives, April 28, 2009. It is from Record Group 338, Unit Histories (Entry 37042)