By Scott C. Woodard U.S. Army Medical Department Center of History and HeritageOctober 19, 2017
A free public demonstration of a World War I Regimental Aid Station will be presented on the grounds of the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum on Thursday morning through lunch, 2 November 2017.
The U.S. Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage is, once again, providing historical support for the 2017 CSM Jack L. Clark, Jr. Army Best Medic Competition here at Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston from 28 October through 2 November 2017. This year's competition is commemorating the centennial of the United States' participation in the First World War. Candidates will review the living history display during breakfast before the awards ceremony. Volunteers and staff will continue the circa 1917-18 portrayal throughout the morning. As you enter Fort Sam Houston from Harry Wurzbach, you are encouraged to stop by on your way to the office or visit during your lunch. All are welcomed.
During the competition, candidates will experience the sights and sounds of France during the "war to end all wars." Stories of the medics that came before them are woven throughout the lanes during the grueling 72-hour competition. In the First World War, the US Army experienced less death from disease for the first time in its record of warfare. The emergence of combat aviation, better artillery, machine guns, and gas warfare all contributed to the increased casualty rates on the front lines. Simultaneously, the improved science of military medicine in preventing disease, treatment, and automotive methods of evacuation contributed to the overall decrease in mortality. It is in this period that medical aidmen are pushed forward to the company-level similar to the combat formations seen in today's modern Army.
Whether the shrill call of a trench whistle signaling the candidates to advance into no-man's land, the ominous cloud of simulated chlorine gas, or the completion of a buddy-run replicating the valorous acts of Privates Henry Ruland and Herman Woll of the 90th Infantry Division rescuing a fellow soldier under constant machine gun and shell fire, the accomplishments and bravery of those medics one-hundred years ago will be remembered.