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This is the story of the 7th Convalescent Hospital, United States Army, Medical Department. It is the story of a group of men who were assembled to rehabilitate soldier casualties both physically and mentally: the story of doctors, dentists, farmers, business men, clerks, salesmen, cooks, truck drivers, soda dispensers, students, and laborers who became the professional staff, technicians, clerks, carpenters, cooks, drivers, and electricians. The combined efforts of all these individuals made possible the accomplishment of our mission. It was all in the "T/O and T/E", but no one had ever seen such a unit in operation – there was doubt as to whether this unit could ever become a practical, working part of the forces in the field.
But the 7th not only accomplished its mission, it can take credit for being an outstanding leader in its field; a unit that was not only a success in the eyes of the army but also – and what is more important -- in the eyes of its patients.
Success, in large measure, is the result of the efforts that are put into the job. This is where the men of the 7th excelled. When the chips were down, they could pitch in as a team and accomplish miracles. This was amply proven in England, France, and Germany.
A common statement among soldiers is, "When I get out of the Army, I am going to forget everything about it." In its true light, this remark is merely a reaction to the man's present plight. He is tired of Army life. He wants to get home. Take a peek into the future and you will probably find this same man telling his Army experiences to his co-workers, relatives, and friends. To the story teller, this book can be a restraining influence against exaggeration. But to most of us this book will be a record of all the little things we might forget -- and want to remember-as the years go by; such facts as the names of the men, interesting experiences, and amusing incidents.
We have traveled through many lands; we have observed destruction and suffering; we have experienced discomfort, fatigue, disillusionment, and uncertainty; we have known friendliness and hatred. Exposed to these constant emotional strains, we have changed during our Army career. How much? Well, we shall discover that when we have returned to civilian life. At that time we may wonder what altered our way of thinking. The probability is that we shall find the answer within the covers of this book.
This book was conceived and written by a group of your own buddies as a souvenir containing many of the memories of the 7th Convalescent Hospital. An Ernie Pyle could have done a better job of recording these incidents, with a finer touch of human interest; however, the book, you will find, has that quality of warmth which comes naturally from the pen of one who has experienced the happenings he describes. It was written during odd moments, often under hectic and unfavorable conditions, of the stay of the 7th in the European Theater of Operations.
It is hoped that many hours of pleasant reading and many years of happy reminiscing will result from our efforts. For now and for always -- the good luck of the "Lucky Seventh" is extended to you.
United States Army, World War 1939-1945, regimental histories, 7th Convalescent Hospital
United States Army, "The 7th: 1943-1945" (1945). World War Regimental Histories. 165.
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