Military


115th Combat Support Hospital
115th Field Hospital
"Warrior Medics"

The 115th Combat Support Hospital is a US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) unit assigned to the 1st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, but stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

The 115th Field Hospital traces its origin to Evacuation Hospital Number 15, originally organized at Fort Riley, Kansas on 21 March 1918. At the onset of hostilities during World War I, the unit sailed aboard the SS Mataika, departing the United States on 22 August 1918, and arriving in France 3 September 1918.

There Evacuation Hospital Number 15 earned a battle streamer for its participation in the Meuse-Argonne Forest offensive from 26 September 1918 through 11 November 1918. The Hospital, having served honorably and proud during World War I, returned to the United States aboard the SS America and was demobilized at Camp Lewis, Washington on 28 June 1919. Evacuation Hospital Number 15 was reconstituted as the 15th Evacuation Hospital in 1936, after having been organized as an inactive unit of the Regular Army on 1 October 1933.

As the first hostilities of World War II began, the 15th Evacuation Hospital was again activated in a training status at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. Shortly thereafter, the Hospital was alerted for overseas deployment. Preparations for this move included the assignment of new personnel and equipment. On 8 February 1943, the Hospital sailed aboard the SS Susan B. Anthony, a converted passenger and cargo liner designed for 300 passengers, but redesigned to accommodate 2,700 troops. At this time, the unit had an assigned strength of: 39 officers, 48 nurses, 1 warrant officer, and 248 enlisted men. Three days into the trip, the 15th Evacuation Hospital learned that its destination was North Africa.

On 21 February 1943, the ship docked in Algeria, where the 15th Evacuation Hospital unloaded its men and equipment and went into a staging area to await its first operational assignment. On 10 April 1943, the unit moved a distance of approximately 600 miles east to Tunisia, where it set up and began receiving patients. The 15th Evacuation Hospital operated in a number of locations within the North African Theater until just prior to D-Day, 10 July 1943.

At this point, the Hospital sailed for the southern coast of Sicily, where it supported the beachhead established by Allied forces. At one point during the Sicilian Campaign, the patient census rose to an astronomical figure of 978 in-patients. It was interesting to note that during this period (3 August 1943), Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Commanding General, Seventh US Army, paid a 30 minute visit to the hospital, from that visit the often talked about "slapping incident" materialized.

The Hospital moved to Italy, and participated in both the Salerno and Anzio beachheads. It was during the Anzio beachhead operations that the 15th Evacuation Hospital came under heavy artillery attack, suffering numerous casualties. Several members of the unit were decorated for heroism during that period.

The 15th Evacuation Hospital continued to move north through Italy, and on 10 June 1944, established itself in a schoolhouse near Rome. This was the first permanent-type building the 15th Evacuation Hospital had operated out of in over 18 months. The Hospital's comparatively comfortable life in Rome was short lived, and on 21 June 1944, it moved north in support of combat operations through Florence and the Po Valley into Milan, where it served until the end of hostilities.

In addition to several campaign streamers, including: Tunisia, Naples-Foggle, Rome-Arno, Po Valley, and North Appennines, the 15th Evacuation Hospital received the most prized award of all, the Meritorious Unit Citation, for its outstanding performance during World War II. After the end of the Second World War, the unit was inactivated on 8 September 1945.

The 15th Evacuation Hospital was again reactivated on 25 August 1959, at Nurenburg, Germany, where it was responsible for the medical care of military and civilian personnel. The Hospital acted as a MEDDAC and, in addition, operated various other medical activities throughout the Nurenburg area. In 1961, the hospital moved to Kornwesteim, Germany and was organized as a training unit without patients. During March 1963, the 15th Evacuation once again began receiving patients and operated a 400-bed facility in Baumholder, Germany. In 1964, the Hospital moved to Muenchweiler, Germany, where it again assumed a training posture without patients.

On 1 August 1968, the 15th Evacuation Hospital arrived at Fort Belvoir, Virginia after being airlifted from Rhein Mein Air Base, Germany during a period of troop reduction in Europe. On 21 January 1975, the 15th Evacuation Hospital was officially redesignated and reorganized as the 15th Combat Support Hospital, utilizing the new and conventional Medical Unit, Self-contained, Transportable (MUST) equipment, which was capable of holding 100 to 300 patients and preparing them for further evacuation.

On 31 July 1975, the 15th Combat Support Hospital was alerted for deployment to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania for the purpose of operating the Medical Treatment Facility, Task Force New Arrivals, providing comprehensive medical care to Indochinese refugees and task force personnel, both military and civilian. Movement of the 15th Combat Support Hospital to Fort Indiantown Gap began on 11 August 1975, and continued in increments until 22 August 1975, when the Hospital officially took over operation of the Medical Treatment Facility there.

During the period from 22 August 1975 through 15 December 1975, the 15th Combat Support Hospital treated 32 inpatients and evacuated an additional 137 patients. A total of 12,459 patients were seen on an out-patient basis. In addition, 8,648 refugees were given dental care.

On March 1984, after 9 years of distinguished service, the 15th Combat Support Hospital was reorganized and redesigned as the 15th Evacuation Hospital. In March of 1988, the 15th Evacuation Hospital began to prepare for the move from Fort Belvoir, Virginia to Fort Polk, Louisiana. The unit was officially inactivated in June 1988 and was reactivated in August 1988 at Fort Polk.

Officially reinstated, the 15th Evacuation Hospital became a valuable asset to the 5th Infantry Division. From 8 January 1991 to 26 April 1991, the Hospital deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Iraqi POW's, women and children were primarily treated. Prior to deployment, the 15th Evacuation Hospital was fielded with DEPMEDS (Deployable Medical Systems). In February 1993, the 15th Evacuation Hospital was redesignated the 115th Field Hospital.

The 115th Field Hospital was a US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) unit located at Fort Polk, Louisiana. It was assigned to the 1st Medical Group, Fort Hood, Texas. Its mission was to deploy to a theater of operations to provide medical support to the corps and echelons above corps and treat casualties that will return to duty within the prescribed theater policy.

Medical specialties of the 115th Field Hospital included: General Surgery, Orthopedics, Podiatry, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Dermatology, General Dentistry, Oral Surgery, Psychiatrics, and Social Work Services. Additional support for clinical operations was provided through a pharmacy, x-ray services, clinical laboratories, anesthesia, and operative services. The 115th Field Hospital was also staffed to provide medical command management and administrative support through an organic medical headquarters. The medical maintenance section performed standard maintenance on all equipment used throughout the hospital. The hospital's 504 bed configuration consisted of 24 intensive care beds, 140 intermediate care beds, 40 minimal care beds, 20 Neuro-Psych beds, and 280 convalescent care cots. The unit also had 2 operating room tables that could be utilized 24 hours per day. Hospital and other medical services were provided in sterile and climate controlled environments consisting of metal expandable shelters known as ISO shelters and fabric shelters that are known as TEMPER tents.

During peacetime operations the 115th Field Hospital trained at the home of the JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Soldiers and staff of the hospital participated in a varied program of command post exercises and field training exercises designed to enhance deployment and readiness capabilities.

The 115th Field Hospital made significant contributions to the training objectives of the JRTC and to the quality of life enjoyed by the Fort Polk community. The 115th Field Hospital's first priority is active preparation for its assigned tactical missions. As a Deployable Medical Systems hospital with modern equipment available, the unit was capable of being deployed in an area of operations during a contingency, war or national emergency. The mission of the 115th Field Hospital was to, on order, deploy to provide hospitalization support and services to US Forces within the theater of operation in support of combat operations and/or support and stabilization operations.

The 115th Field Hospital deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovinia from March to September 2000.

On 9 June 2002, the Warrior Medics of the 115th Field Hospital trained and prepared for their deployment to the fictional state of "Cortina" as part of a training exercise. Thirteen months of training were put to the test as the Warrior Medics, in direct support of the 45th Separate Infantry Brigade (Oklahoma National Guard), as well as several other Reserve Components units comprising a multi-state Task Force, established their hospital to "restore and stabilize the democratically elected government of Cortina."

The background for the exercise was that the island of Aragon was in disarray, to include the small hamlet of Jeanne Junction, just around the corner of Logistics Base Bravo, where the Warrior Medics were located. Despite the hostile environment, the Hospital was established far ahead of schedule, with great precision and skill. The emergency room, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, and all care wards were able to focus on the treatment and stabilization of American soldiers, as well as local civilians in distress. This was made possible in large part with the assurance that the Quick Reaction Force was hard at work, securing the area from enemy forces. The enemy did come, the Leesville Urban Guard (LUGs), the People's Special Operations Command (PSOC), and the Cortinian Liberation Front (CLF), all made repeated attempts to disrupt the support operations of the 115th Field Hospital, as well as other logistics forces in the area. These attempts were all in vane, as time after time, the enemy was repelled and kept at bay, allowing for the outstanding soldiers, nurses, and doctors to continue to "Conserve the Fighting Strength."

In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 115th Field Hospital deployed to Kuwait in 2003. On 17 February 2004, President Bush credited soldiers and their families at Fort Polk, Louisiana, with "serving with skill and bravery in the war on terror" and leaving "no doubt that the enemy will be defeated and freedom will prevail." The commander in chief thanked troops at this northwest Louisiana post that had trained and deployed more than 10,000 troops in the war on terror. Among those deployed were more than 3,400 members of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and about 800 troops from the Warrior Brigade, made up of the 46th Engineer Battalion, the 83rd Chemical Battalion, the 115th Field Hospital and the 142nd Corps Support Battalion.

The 115th Field Hospital deployed again to Iraq, providing support at Adu Gharb Prison from July 2004 to July 2005. During this combat deployment, the 115th Field Hospital, while under some of the most fierce combat conditions, created an entire system of Detention health Care from scratch. The 115th Field Hospital was subsequently redesignated and reorganized back to the 115th Combat Support Hospital. It remained assigned to the 1st Medical Group, which became the 1st Medical Brigade as part of the transformation of the US Army as a whole to the modular force structure.




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