FLIGHT SURGEON

Tom Wanta was a medical corpsman, one of four enlisted men in the Army Medical Corps attached to the Flight Surgeon at Tacloban airbase. No day for the medical corps, especially at Tacloban, was without incident.

The following composite from a report by the Army Medical Corp suggests what it might have been like for Tom:

0500: In the ambulance on the line for takeoff.

0630: Everyone airborne; time for breakfast

0700: Sick call: bronchitis, malaria, diarrhea

0930: Rounds, attending to those men in the small sick-bay at the base.

1400: Paperwork, lots of it.

1610: Back in the ambulance on the line, "sweating out" the returns. The radio brings all the chatter between the tower and the planes. Priority in landing goes to the planes with wounded men aboard.

1830: Rounds in the sick bay with the Flight Surgeon. Evening sick call.

"Good ol' Doc was at the ops tent with "combat rations," and as soon as Lt. Spence, our intelligence officer, had debriefed us, Doc passed out the ration, and did it ever hit the spot! If you're surprised that the Army gave us liquor, let me assure you that it was one of the smartest things it ever did. Fighter pilots may have been given the medals, but they also had by far the highest loss rate. A shot of liquor significantly helped to calm us down after combat."
- Terrors of Tacloban

Tom Wanta in new photo with title, “Carry Wounded American Down Leyte Hill”.  Tom is helping hold the stretcher on a steep hill.

Tom Wanta is shown, second from left in helmet and shorts.


David Atkinson 2017. All Rights Reserved.