[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 10, 2009
News

Remaining buildings in former 
hospital area torn down

An era is coming to an end with the demolition of the last remaining wooden buildings in Fort McCoy’s 1000 block, which once was home to the installation’s hospital.

Photo: Employees from Gerke Excavating of Tomah, Wis., a subcontracted firm, tear down buildings in the former hospital area. Charpie-Solitt of Chicago was the general contractor for the project. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Employees from Gerke Excavating of Tomah, Wis., a subcontracted firm, tear down buildings in the former hospital area. Charpie-Solitt of Chicago was the general contractor for the project. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

The buildings in the area housed a complete hospital, which included surgical capabilities, during the World War II era.

The buildings were part of the new Camp McCoy cantonment area, which was built in 1942.

The 1,800-bed station hospital was one of the 15 induction and basic training centers for Army nurses during World War II. Altogether, 27,330 nurses underwent training throughout the Army, with Camp McCoy serving as one of the largest sites. A four-week course included 144 hours on military courtesy, discipline, correspondence, security, self-protection (e.g. gas-mask training), physical fitness, drill, sanitation, insect control and care of chemical casualties.

After the war, the installation was put on inactive status. Camp McCoy, including the station hospital, was reactivated in 1950 shortly after the conflict in Korea began.

The hospital came to the aid of the civilian community during the polio epidemic in the early 1950s. During 1952, more than 100 civilian patients were treated at the Camp McCoy station hospital.

Photo: A view of the former hospital buildings in 1946. The remaining buildings in the area recently were removed. (History Center Archives)
A view of the former hospital buildings in 1946. The remaining buildings in the area recently were removed. 
(History Center Archives)

Also during the Korean Conflict, the hospital had a nursery that brought 352 "civies" into the world in its first year.

In addition to three Army nurses working in eight-hour shifts, the department was staffed by six civilian attendants and several members of the Women’s Army Corps.

The two doctors heading the department provided prenatal care to young mothers throughout their pregnancy.

The next major use of the former hospital area was as the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) location, during summer annual training in the 1980s when medical units conducted annual training.

When that wasn’t occurring, the TMC service was offered in the 1400 block during the summer annual-training season.

The TMC facilities moved to the 1600 block with the opening of a new facility in August 1990. Most recently, the TMC has been located in the 2600 block.

The former hospital buildings were prominently used during Operation Desert Shield/Storm as a processing center for Soldiers mobilizing and demobilizing to support the Gulf War in the 1990-91 time frame.

After that, the buildings were used to support medical training coordinated by Regional Training Site-Medical (RTS-Medical). The buildings served as classrooms, while the DEPMEDS (Deployable Medical System) tents were used to conduct medical training.

Gerry Meyer, RTS-Medical executive officer, said the former hospital buildings had outlived their purpose to support medical training for the organization.

"We have been acquiring either new or recently renovated facilities to support our training," Meyer said. "The latest project will add two structures, which will support a biomedical repair building (17,000-square-feet) and a classroom facility (12,000-square-feet). These buildings will offer state-of-the-art systems to support medical and mobilization training of our Soldiers."

(Compiled from information in the Fort McCoy History and Heritage booklet; the Nov. 24, 2000 special section of the Fort McCoy Triad Fort McCoy: The Korean War Years; the Aug. 10, 1990 Triad, and the Fort McCoy Archaeology Laboratory.)

 

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