Friday, September 03, 2010

Stories from the Clippings


Some say that the end of The War to End War dates to the signing of the Versailles treaty in 1919; while others date the war's end on the armistice of November 11, 1918; and still others claim that the last formal peace treaties were not signed until the Treaty of Lausanne on August 23, 1923. It wasn't long after the end of the war, perhaps in anticipation of yet another war, that the University of Oregon Medical School initiated actions to establish an ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp.) Unit at the School.

On October 31, 1920 a directive came from the War Department, signed by the Surgeon General, M. W. Ireland, addressed to Dean Richard B. Dillehunt. As one of only ten medical schools chosen to establish a unit, the faculty accepted the charge and a medical officer, Col. Frank Baker, MC, was appointed as a professor of military science and tactics.

Continuing in reply to the affirmative response of the school, the Surgeon General stated that he was refraining from "dwelling on the necessity" to create ROTC Units, but that the lessons learned during the Great War were due to unpreparedness. But the Medical School was not new to military involvement, having been active in WWI in Base Hospital 46 and was prepared and eager to serve once again if needed.

The Surgeon General said that, "the present regulations [were] so liberal and elastic that the establishment and operation of an ROTC Unit" would not present insurmountable difficulties on campus. The medical men would be required to attend at least one of two lectures weekly but would not be required to wear a uniform or practice drill during the school year.

By the time September rolled around, a formal circular had arrived laying out the responsibilities and requirements for students participating: 90 hrs/year of theory and summer encampments during one's freshman and junior years, where they would receive a course in drill and field duties. (The image posted by Emily Wednesday must have been during these summer encampments,1163 ). The object of the training was to qualify the men as commissioned officers in the Officers' Reserve Corps.

The OHSU Historical Collections & Archives holds ample evidence of the UOMS Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry in the 46th General Hospital during WWII, so training was not in vain. Anyone interested in further research about the school's participation during the world wars, I can point you to scrapbooks, photographs, memoirs, uniforms, papers, records and much more documenting this very human experience

Well, all of this is to preface (and, of course, to highlight the collections) today's news clipping that reports that the ROTC program came to an end at UOMS in June 1954, where at a swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Administration Building (that's Baird Hall to you), 8 received their commissions. Three were assigned to the army, two to the air force, three into the army reserves, and two went into the US Public Health Service.

The termination of the ROTC program was not unique to UOMS but all dental and medical programs in the nation ended. Perhaps there was impossible hope that we had actually arrived at the end of war.
This is an image of one of the first ROTC groups to receive training in Army General Hospitals. Men from the University of Oregon Medical School were on a six weeks training period at Madigan General Hospital, Tacoma, Washington. The men, all veterans are identified as: First row (l to r) Sgt. Herbert J. Watts, Sgt. Instructor at the Oregon Medical School, Todd D. Baily, Chappell, William H. Cone, Arthur G. Denker and Edgar S. Fortner, Jr. Second row (l to r) Charles C. Henriques, Oaks H. Hoover, D. King, Gerald E. Rowen and Paul E. Schaff. Third Row (l to r) John E. Stanwood, James M. Stubblebine, Vincent C. Sweeny, Samuel F. Toevs, Marvin J. Urman, Allan E. Voight, Thomas W. Watts, Jr., Peter T. Wolfe, Jr. and Elmer Zenger. Monday 8 Aug. 1949.

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