Hospital on the Move: Life with the 79th Hospital in World War II

Hospital on the Move: Life with the 79th Hospital in World War II

Hospital on the Move: Life with the 79th Hospital in World War II

Hospital on the Move: Life with the 79th Hospital in World War II

Synopsis

Born in Yale, Oklahoma, in the 1920s, Mary Jane Kohlenberg received her bachelor's degree in math from the University of Illinois, and her master's degree in education from Truman State University. She joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and served for six years, and worked one year as a statistician for the army. She taught in the division of math and computer science at Truman from 1954 to her retirement in 1988

Excerpt

Set against the backdrop of World War II, this book reconstructs life with the 79th Field Hospital, the first Army field hospital that was attached to an army. This account follows Lt. Gilbert Kohlenberg, my late husband, from the hospital’s organization in September 1944 at Camp Ellis, Illinois, to its deactivation there in August 1946.

Gilbert served in the Medical Administration Corps as battalion commander of the 79th Field Hospital. He wrote eighty-five letters to me between January 1945 to August 1945. He collected news clippings, European editions of gi newspapers, photographs, and other items which he planned to use to write a story about the 79th.

A half century after the war, the unexpected death of Gilbert, on 15 November 1996, brought Sgt. Martin W. Miller to call on me. Miller served with Gilbert and had been secretary to the commanding officer. Miller convinced me to write the story Gilbert always wanted to tell. in addition to Miller’s suggestions that I write the story of the 79th Field Hospital, I found in one of Gilbert’s letters his intent to do so.

27 June 1945

Near Arles, France

I am keeping all of my letters in my footlocker so I’ll have
them when I finish my world duty tour, courtesy of Uncle
Sam. Do you have all of my pictures and negatives I’ve sent
to you? I want to make a book of them
.

I had indeed saved the cards, letters, and photos Gilbert had sent me. My own letters to him—and others Gilbert had saved—were . . .

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