- Historic Sites
IN A HARD WAR theirs may have been the hardest job of all. But together with Army doctors and Army nurses, they worked something very close to a miracle in the European theater.
November 1997 | Volume 48, Issue 7
Good company commanders already knew that to be the case. Captain Winters of the 101st commented that he learned during the Bulge “the miracle that would occur with a man about to crack if you could just get him out of his fox hole and back to the CP [command post] for a few hours. Hot food, hot drink, a chance to warm up—that’s what he needed to keep going.”
Men who needed more than a quick visit to the CP or battalion aid station were sent back to division medical facilities, where the division psychiatrist operated an “exhaustion center” that could hold patients for three days of treatment. The bulk of these men also returned to the line. Those who had not recovered went on to the neuropsychiatric wards of general hospitals for seven days of therapy and reconditioning. The extreme cases were air-evacuated to the States.
The system worked. Ninety of every hundred men diagnosed as exhausttion cases in the ETO were restored to some form of duty—usually on the line. As they had done with the men wounded by bullets and shrapnel, so the medics, nurses, and docs did for the exhausted casualties: under the worst possible circumstances, superb medical care.