116 Medical Battalion: Medics’ Tales

By Dr. Hargis Westerfield, Division Historian and Medic George Jackson

 On or after 16 January 1943, Kantes of B-116 Medics' 2nd Platoon had a wild birthday party. Exact date is not available, but the party occurred after B-116 moved through the jungle north of Perimeter Rankin (founded 9 January) and then east and then south to Sanananda Track. We set up perimeter here, a short distance west of the Track, and behind the corpse-littered hospital lot which G Company 163 Infantry had cleared on 16 January.

Our camp area was somewhat open, with short, scrubby trees around us and mud underfoot. Water table was six inches below the mud. When we dug slit trenches here, to be roofed by two-man pup tents, we created our own personal tubs to sleep in, which overflowed into muddy ponds.

            That night with high winds, more rain poured down in waves. Lightning flashed occasionally. A wandering squad of still unbeaten Japs took up positions in a dense thicket to our left. Now and then, among lightning flashes, they shot at us.

When our B-116 men replied, DeLucia's grenade hit a tree before our perimeter. The grenade rebounded and wounded DeLucia himself. Derrick left his wet hole under a shelter-half to patch up DeLucia. For a time, Derrick was the only live man exposed out there by the lightning, in front of the Japs, until he had save DeLucia.

 

 

CREDIT: George Jackson, Secretary of our 116 Med Chapter, has credit for these stories which appeared in Jackson's "Pill Roller," published in 1970.