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Experiencing War: Military Medicine: Stories from the Veterans History Project

In an enterprise founded on destruction and killing, military doctors have a uniquely constructive mission. They must mend their own comrades’ wounds and if possible, send them back to fight, even if it risks further injury. Doctors rarely carry a weapon and in most instances are exempt from being fired on. That doesn't always protect them from danger, and it surely does not exempt them from the stresses of war. A soldier, if he’s truly lucky, may never witness a casualty; casualties are what wartime military doctors deal with every day.

Featured Story: Glenn Wyler
Image of Glenn H. Wyler - link to story

"The patient didn't have the 'gas pains' which usually follow abdominal surgery. The rolling of the ship apparently took care of that."

Glenn H. Wyler was that rare soldier who served tours of duty in both major theaters of World War II, working as ship's physician on a troop transport vessel. His often colorful memoir, The Buzzard's Tale, changes only the names of the men and the ship. Raised in Utah, Wyler had no desire to go to sea, but the Army assigned him to the "Buzzard," which sailed the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific. He writes of taking on 700 Moroccan, Algerian, and Senegalese fighters and their 85 female camp followers in Africa; a barroom brawl in Marseilles; preventing theft of valuable medical supplies headed for the black market; and transporting German nationals out of China after the war.

Go to Glenn H. Wyler's storyGo and experience
Glenn H. Wyler's story
Experience more Stories of Military Medicine: Doctors more stories

"It is so different from a civil hospital where you hear moaning from the least little thing; you can tear these boys apart and they won’t make a sound but you thank you when you are through." -- Eugene A. Curtin

Image of Herbert Amstutz  - link to story

"The things that you'll have to take care of in the Army..."

Herbert Menno Amstutz's story

Image of Newspaper Clippping about Eugene A. Curtin  - link to story

"Then the wounded began to come back..."

Eugene A. Curtin's story

Image of William J. Dolan  - link to story

"There was little use for a dentist on the battlefield..."

William J. Dolan's story

Image of Letter from Richard Bliss Leith - link to story

"Some of the guys preferred a smoke to something to eat."

Richard Bliss Leith's story

Image of William M. McConahey  - link to story

"I didn't know surgery; really, I was simply trying to save lives."

William M. McConahey's story



  Home >> Military Medicine: Doctors
  The Library of Congress
  February 18, 2005
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