224th AMC history
The 224th Airborne Medical Company was activated on April 15, 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina under the command of Major James J KENNY (ASN O-389250) and then assigned as an organic part of the 17th Airborne Division. During this period (I don't know if this composition has changed with time) command and staff was made up of :
Commanding Officer : Major James J Kenny, MC.
Executive Officer : Captain Arthur M. Hetzer, MC
Records Section Officer : Captain Alan S. Pritchard, DC.
Medical Supply Officer : 1st Lieutenant Charles H. Waste.
First Platoon :
Commanding Officer : Captain Frank Parisi, MC.
Commanding Officer, Treatment Section : Captain James V. Valerio.
Commanding Officer, Ward Section : Captain Hector M. Nadal, MC.
Evacuation Officer : 1st Lieutnant Peter De Vries, MAC.
Second Platoon :
Commanding Officer : Captain Elwood H. Heilman, MC.
Commanding Officer, Treatment Section : Captain Thomas A. Shaffrey, MC.
Commanding Officer, Ward Section : Captain Robert E. Moylan, MC.
Evacuation Officer : 1st Lieutnant Paul W. Robinson.
Third Platoon :
Commanding Officer : Captain Malcolm G. Heath, MC.
Commanding Officer, Treatment Section : Captain Earnest B. Carpenter.
Commanding Officer, Ward Section : Captain Hideo H. Kato, MC.
Evacuation Officer : 1st Lieutnant Edward L. Kirkpatrick.
On May 1, 1943 the new Company was constituted by 11 Officers and 243 Enlisted Men. The officers of the new unit came predominantly from the 88th Infantry Division while the enlisted men came from the 101st Airborne Division. It seems that the officers had previously received both "Glider Tactics" course at the Airborne Command School of Laurinburg - Maxton Army Air Base and "Cadre School" education at Carlisle Barracks Medical Field Service Training School , Pennsylvania.
Like the other units of the 17th AB, the young recruits completed their Basic training from May 3, to August 7, 1943 before continuing with a full unit training till November 13, 1943. During this advance training , the men learned tactical laws and especially the specific glider tactics. Training with other combat teams occupied most of the period from November 14, 1943 to January 2, 1944. At this time, the Company was composed of 14 Officers and 196 Enlisted Men.
This photo realized during manoeuver at Camp McKall in 1943 shows men from the 224th Airborne Medical Company. From left to right : Lawrence E CRANDALL, Ernest E CHURCH and HUSEMAN (?). Alone on the first row : Salvatore R DEPERRO (original unpublished photo - TFH collection).
The unit was involved in the Tennessee maneuvers with the whole division for eight weeks with nearly thirty consecutive days on the maneuver ground. During this time men discovered the condition of winter combat.
On March 26 or 27, 1944, the 224th Airborne Medical Company was transferred at Camp Forrest near Tulahoma, just south of Nashville, Tennessee. It was a better place that Camp MacKall.
On July 30, 1944 the division was attached to the 9th Army assigned to the ETOUSA (European Theater of Operation of the US Army).
The advance party of the Division leaved the USA and arrived in Glasgow on July 31, 1944 to prepare the arrival of the entire division.
On August 12, 1944, by Special Order No 159 Paragraph 11 (Headquarters 17th Airborne Division) dated July 22, 1944 (you can see original copy of this Order in the "17 A/B history" chapter) the unit received order to make a secret movement toward Miles Standish Camp in Tauton (near Boston), Massachusetts. It arrived probably on August 16. In that place it prepared its travel for England.
Between August 16 and 18, the men of the 224th Airborne Medical Company boarded on the USS Wakefield in Boston harbor. They arrived in Liverpool on august 26 after an 8 days travel.
Approximately August 30, 1944 the Division took position in its new location at Chiseldon Camp near Swindon, Wiltshire. It seems that the Company was located in Manton Downs, Marlbourough. This place is approximatively 5 miles south west of Ogbourne St George Camp.
In August 12, 1944, the 17th Airborne Division was integrated in the XVIIIth Airborne Corps.
In early December 1944, only few days before the Bulge campaign, the unit strenght is 24 Officers and 225 Enlisted Men.
This photo was realised in Chiseldon Camp (England) in autumn 1944. From left to right : Francis J Brennan, Joseph Leonardo (KIA on March 24, 1945) and Arthur Freeman.
This letter was send from Chiseldon (England) on October 28, 1944 by First Sergeant Jas K Crisp (ASN 15091314) from the 224th AB Med Co (TFH collection).
The Continental arrival
Following the outbreak of the german counter offensive in the Bulge, the entire 17th A/B was placed in alert on December 19, 1944 and flown to Reims area between December 23 and 25, 1944.
When the division arrived in France, it was assigned to the 12th Army Group. Its initial mission was to defend the west bank of the Meuse River all around the little city of Charleville-Mézières in the Meuse department, France.
The 224th leaved Mourmelon on December 24, 1944 closing Charleveille, its new area on December 28, 1944.
This Medic M1 steel helmet has been recently found in the area of Charleveille-Mezières city. Unfortunately only one Geneva symbol has survived. May be this nice relic belonged to a 224th Airborne Medical Company soldier ... (TFH collection).
The Battle of the Bulge
In early January, the Company maked movement with the Division towards Belgium and the little town of Neufchâteau (Luxembourg province) where the unit set up in a requisitioned civilian hospital while one Collecting Platoon moved to Jodenville to establish a Collecting Point. At this time, the strenght of the 224th Airborne Medical Company is 23 Officers and 220 EM.
On the footsteps of the 17th Airborne Division, the Company departed Neufchâteau on January 4 and finish its long trip through the Bulge 24 days later at Wiltz, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, on January 28, 1945.
This is the Bronze Star Medal earned by Private First Class Charles L Stroyick (ASN 37521422) on the terrible day of January 7, 1945. It is well know that Medics have played an important function during World War II, saving life in contempt of their own life. This certificate illustrates well this fact ! (TFH collection).
On January 9, 1945 the Company received some additional support from a section of litter bearers provided by the 429th Medical Collecting Company.
On January 15, 1945 one advance Collecting Platoon set up at Amberloup, Belgium while a Collecting Point was established at Les Jardins, Belgium on January 16, 1945.
On January 17, 1945 Bertogne became the next Company's station place. The reserve Platoon was sent to Longlier. The 419th Medical Collecting Company, Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 65th Medical Group, was attached to the 17th Airborne Division on January 18, 1945 per troop assignment No. A-93 (Headquarters Third United States Army dated January 20, 1945). First Platoon, 623d Medical Clearing Company who served with the 103d Evacuation Hospital was attached to the 17th Airborne Division on January 20, 1945 per troop assignment No. A-95 (Headquarters Third United States Army, dated January 24, 1945) and relieved to be attached to the 107th Evacuation Hospital on February 10, 1945 per troop assignment No. A-104 (Headquarters Third United States Army).
The 623d Medical Clearing Company dispatched one of its Platoons to Houffalize on January 22.
Wiltz, in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, was the Company’s last station.
This nice Medic ring was found years ago during digs in Wiltz, the area where the 224th Airborne Medical Company finished its Bulge Campaign (TFH collection).
On January 27, the Company was relieved by the Clearing Station of the 87th Infantry Division.
Between January 29 and February 6, 1945 the Company was held in reserve. This time was used for rest and rehabilitation.
After the Bulge
In early February, the 224th Airborne Medical Company leaved the front line for its new assembling area located at Châlons-sur-Marne, France to prepare for the biggest airborne operation of world war II under the planification of Lt. Colonel Edward Sigerfoos (Division Surgeon). The advance party, under command of Captain Arthur M Hetzer (XO) left on February 7, 1945. The main part of the unit departed Wiltz, moving by truck and ambulance on February 10, 1945. It reached Châlons-sur-Marne on February 12, 1945.
This photo was probably realised in the area of Châlon in February or March 1945. It shows medics of the 17th AB Division that give first aid to a wounded paratrooper just after a training jump (TFH collection).
This photo shows Duilio A MONTANARI (ASN 32929798) from the 224th Airborne Medical Company standing on the door of the building where the Company was located on February 1945. Mr MONTANARY from Erie, NY was born on 1921 and was inducted in the Army on March 31, 1943 in Buffalo, NY (original unpublished photo - TFH collection). Click to enlarge.
On March 18, 1945, in preparation for operation Varsity, the 224th Airborne Medical Company was organised into 3 main echelons :
- 30 Officers (of whom 6 Officers of the Surgical Teams, 4 Officers of the Division Surgeon’s Office and the Division Chaplain).
- 207 Enlisted Men (of whom 4 EM of the Surgical Teams and 4 EM of the Division Surgeon’s Office).
- 26 jeeps.
- 25 jeep trailers.
Note that for this transportation, a total of 53 CG-4A gliders were required : 26 for jeeps (with 3 soldiers each), 25 for trailers (with 5 to 7 soldiers each) and 2 for medical equipment and supplies.
- 1 Officer.
- 35 Enlisted Men.
- 10 2 ½-Ton cargo trucks.
- 12 ¾-Ton ambulances.
- 1 250-Gallon water tank trailer.
- 2 1-Ton cargo trailers.
- 7 jeeps.
- 3 jeep trailers.
Base & Dispensary with Rear Echelon
- 2 Officers.
- 9 Enlisted Men.
- 2 ¾-Ton ambulances.
Special troops, surgical and medical detachments were to remain at the Base Camp.
Additionally, 1 Officer and 3 EM each will be attached to the 507th Parachute Infantry, 513th Parachute Infantry and 194th Glider Infantry Regiment.
Two General Surgical Teams : Team No. 3 (4th Auxiliary Surgical Group), and Team No. 10 (1st Auxiliary Surgical Group), consisting each of 3 Officers and 2 Enlisted Men were attached to the 17th Airborne Division 11 days prior to D-Day (effective on March 8, 1945 per troop assignment No. 6, Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, File 332 (AG) dated March 14, 1945. Both Teams will be relieved after operation by troop assignment No. 7, Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps.
1 Medical Liaison Officer went to XVIII Airborne Corps and 1 to DDMS, XII British Corps.
In early March 1945, the Company includes 28 Officers and 216 Enlisted Men.
The unit stayed at Châlons-sur-Marne till March 21, 1945 then moved to the marshalling area prior to Operation “Varsity”. It arrived at the new destination, Chartres, on March 22, 1945. The 17th Airborne Division Surgeon’s Office and staff departed for Chartres on March 22, arriving the same day. The Company, the Division Surgeon’s staff and the attached Surgical teams were ready to D-Day, March 24, 1945 !
On the D-day, the 53 gliders of 224th Airborne Medical Company take off from Chartres (France) at 09h15.
Saturday March 24, 1945 morning. Planes and gliders take off with 17 Airborne soldiers on board, ready for the invasion of Germany (National Archives - TFH collection).
At 12h25, after a 3h10 travel they land on Landing Zone "N" and immediately establishe a Clearing Station in the western part of the LZ (coordinate 203464) under ennemy fire.
Although casualties are heavy (3 Medical Officers and 13 Enlisted Men are killed in action and 5 Officers and 34 Enlisted Men are wounded), the Medics give care to many wounded GI's. A total of 394 men are treated during the first twenty-four hours of the invasion (among which some 117 seriously wounded and 175 slightly wounded). Actually, it is more than 750 allied soldiers that received medical care.
During the first hours of the invasion, the work of the 224th Airborne Medical Company will be completed by a captured german medical unit that is located in an adjacent field. It gives care to German wounded soldiers.
Two jeeps and four jeep trailers containing rations, medical supplies and tent are destroyed by enemy fire.
The overland echelon arrives at 10h00 on March 25, 1945. Normal evacuation of casualties across the Rhine River began only later as the ambulances were unable to cross the river. 10 ambulances from the 488th Motor Ambulance Company and the 499th Medical Collecting Company arrived at noon on March 27 to assist in evacuation of casualties.
The Clearing Station later moved in the vicinity of Peddenburg.
This photo realised on March 24, 1945 by the famous photographer Robert Capa shows a Medic that gives first aid to a 17th AB wounded soldier (National Archives).
Other photo realised on March 24, 1945 and showing 224th Airborne Medical Company's troopers using "requisitioned vehicule" for casualties and medical supplies (National Archives).
Other photo realised by Robert Capa on March 24, 1945. It shows a Medic (second from left) who helped a wound GI (National Archives).
"Medics in action" on March 24, 1945 (National Archives).
After the successful airborne assault north of Wesel (Germany), the 224th Airborne Medical Company followed the advance of the Division, maintaining continuously Clearing Station and Medical Collecting Points. The Company leaved the Wesel area in March 27, 1945 (the Company’s station was located at Peddenburg) in a convoy made of 4 ambulances from the 459th Motor Ambulance Company, 7 from the 499th Motor Ambulance Company and 8 from the 588th Motor Ambulance Company. On March 28, 1945 at 18h00, a new Station was established at Alt-Schermbeck. The Station received enemy artillery fire but the shells fail their targets and there was no casualty.
On March 29, the Clearing Station arrived at Haltern for two days before leaving to a place located 70 miles east of Dulmen.
According the memory of Frances J Brennan, sunday April 1 was a relatively quiet day and Father John F Taus (who followed the Company all the way) gave a mass in a barn.
Finally, after a 15 days journey, the Company arrived in Munster on April 4, 1945. The advance continued rapidly through the Ruhr and because of this continuous movement of the Division, the Clearing Station could not open. Therefore all Division casualties were directed to the 79th Infantry Division Clearing Station located nearby.
The Company departed Münster on April 7, 1945 reaching Oberhausen on April 11, 1945. 19 replacements arrived on April 20.
This poor quality photo realized on April 14, 1945 shows three officers of the 224th Airborne Medical Company. From left to right : Captain James VALERIO (Commanding Officer of the Treatment Section, First Platoon), Albin F Novak and Captain John HESS Jr. At this time, the unit is in the area of Oberhausen, Germany (original unpublished photo - TFH collection).
Between April 22 to April 30, 1945, the Company had only 1 Platoon in operation. Division casualties were extremely light and most of the time was devoted to treating war prisonners and civilians. According the souvenir of Frances J Brennan, the man also exercised volley ball and sometimes football ! During the same period, the 224th AMC conducted a school for infantry soldiers with the purpose of teaching them medical aid.
The total casualties evacuated during the campaign is estimate at 3042 men.
After the war
The 224th Airborne Medical Company left Oberhausen on June 11, 1945, traveling by rail and road to its new assembly area located in Vittel, France.
On July 1, 1945, the Commanding Officer of the Company, Major James J. Kenny (O-389250) was transferred to the 82d Airborne Division and replaced by Major Jerry J. Belden (O-375276) (former CO of the 307th Airborne Medical Company).
The First Platoon was transferred to the 13th Airborne Division on July 5, 1945 (effective on July 14, 1945), at Auxerre (France).
On August 30, 1945, the Company leaved Vittel to St. Victoret near Marseille, Southern France. It reached the new location on August 31, 1945. It remained at its new station until its departure for the United States.
Once back in the States on September 15, 1945, the final location was Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts. The same place where the unit leaved USA to overseas two years before ! At this time, the unit totalised 22 Officers and 299 EM.
The 224th Airborne Medical Company was finally inactivated October 22, 1945 at Camp MacKall, North Carolina, after 921 days of existence !