The 203rd General Hopsital
February 10, 1941, to November 28, 1945

FAQs & Miscellaneous Information

FAQs: 203rd General Hospital:
    1. Awards, Decorations and Citations of the 203rd
    2. Command of the 203rd
    3. Locations of the 203rd at Fort Lewis

FAQs: 203rd General Hospital:

Awards, Decorations and Citations of the 203rd

Battle Participation Awards for the 203rd:
  1. Bronze Service Star for Campaign Normandy;
  2. Bronze Service Star for Campaign Northern France

The June 28, 1945, "Period Report" of the 203rd General Hospital to the Surgeon General, Washington, D.C., states as follows:

"Awards. (1) Personnel who accompanied the unit to its present location were awarded the Bronze Service Star for campaign "Normandy" under the provisions of Ltr, Headquarters European T of Opns, 2 February 1945, AG 200.6 OpGA, subject: Battle Participation Awards - Normandy Campaign (No. 3) and for campaign "Northern France" under the provisions of Ltr, Headquarters European T of Opns, 30 March 1945, AG 200.6 OpGa, subject: Battle Participation Awards - Northern France Campaign (No. 3)." Report, p. 9

Decorations and Citations for the 203rd: Members of the 203rd also may have been eligible for the "European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon" and the "American Defense Service Medal"

Because these honors were made known towards the end of the war, and personnel may have been reassigned before they were actually awarded, many members of the 203rd may not have been aware of their eligibility, or received their awards, decorations or citations. Persons interested in receiving them now, or duplicates of them, could contact the constituent services staff of their U.S. Senators or Representatives for guidance.

A reference book which provides good instruction concerning this, and offers much more information about researching World War II U.S. Army personnel issues, is the following: "Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army", by Jonathan Gawne.

Last Updated: Wednesday 14th November, 2007

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Command of the 203rd



Major James E. Graham, Medical Corps, was the principal commanding officer of the 203rd General Hospital, during the period when its primary function was training medical technicians for service in other establishments. His command: February 17, 1941, through May 11, 1942.

Colonel James H. Turner, Medical Corps, was the unit's commanding officer, when the 203rd was designated an independent General Hospital group, training for, and then later participating in "overseas service". His command: October 8, 1943, through sometime in September, 1945. The following is his 1924 graduation portrait, taken when he earned his M.D. at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine*:

Click to Enlarge
*Col. Turner's portrait courtesy of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Archives, Special Collections Department, McGoogan Library of Medicine, Omaha, NE

In addition to Major Graham and Colonel Turner, there were a number of shorter-term, or interim commanding officers of the unit entire. These included, from activation in February, 1941, Lt. Col. R.R. Williams, Medical Corps, and Captain C.E. McEnany, Medical Corps, until command was assumed by Captain James E. Graham, above, who was later promoted to Major. On 18 January 1942, Colonel Paul R. Ensign, Medical Corps, assumed command, succeeded in May of 1942, by Captain B. B. Forman.

After Colonel Turner, above, left the unit in September, 1945, he was relieved by Colonel Rex Bolend, Medical Corps, who commanded in the last days of the 203rd's existence, Fall, 1945. Unofficial histories of the unit also mention the following as having had temporary command of the 203rd prior to Colonel Turner's tenure, with no specific dates given: Lieutenant Colonel Kocher, Medical Corps; Major Arnold, Medical Corps; and Colonel Corr, Medical Corps.


There were times when small groups of personnel from the 203rd were sent off on "detached" special service, with a designated "Detached Commanding Officer" in charge--that temporary rank being abbreviated as "Det. CO". This occurred when special medical needs required the services of doctors or nurses of the 203rd, away from the main body of the group, eg., when they were assigned to staff medical units close to fighting fronts, or other areas where their skills and expertise were required. While Colonel Turner remained the Commanding Officer during the 203rd's entire period of ETO hospital service, Detached CO's from the unit independently commanded small groups of medical personnel in surgical teams for limited periods during the Battle of Normandy. Later, detached units of 203rd personnel served in hospital trains and other medical establishments in the ETO. Detached CO's had full authority over the small groups of personnel in their limited service area, but not over the greater entity which was the 203rd General Hospital.

Last Updated: Sunday 15th June, 2008

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Locations of the 203rd at Fort Lewis

According to the official unit history of the 203rd dated February 12, 1944, the following were the locations of the 203rd at Fort Lewis:

"On 18 January 1942, Colonel Paul R. Ensign, MC, assumed command and it became apparent that the mission of the organization had changed from one of training to one of preparation for overseas operation. Accordingly, the organization moved to an area of its own adjoining Gray Field in Fort Lewis proper. A separate mess was established and a training program inaugurated under which each man would receive at least one half day of field training each week in addition to the applicatory and technical training afforded at the Station Hospital."

"The opening of the year 1943 found the organization with its headquarters, supply and motor pool located in Section 3 of the Station Hospital at North Fort Lewis, while the detachment and officer personnel were spread throughout the several sections of the hospital where they could be used to the greatest advantage and at the same time receive the most benefit from on-the-job training. All facilities with the exception of those mentioned were furnished by the Station Hospital. However, due to the large area covered by the Station Hospital, this arrangement prevented unification of the organization."

"In May 1943, the organization was moved from Fort Lewis proper to Northeast Fort Lewis, a newly developed area located several miles from the Station Hospital. While the facilities provided were entirely adequate, this arrangement proved unsatisfactory as it was necessary to transport personnel to and from their places of duty in the Hospital. In July 1943, the organization was moved back to Fort Lewis proper where accommodations were provided in the brick barracks at 2nd and California Streets, a short distance from the Station Hospital."
Last Updated: Sunday 11th November, 2007

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