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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his father pdf (3,031,461 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his father
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (3,031,461 Bytes)
1943-01-17 (January 17, 1943)
Swan, Henry
[Swan, Henry Sr.]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 16
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal and Biographical, 1936-1995
Folder: [Scrapbook, 1939 July-1943 Dec]
January 17, 1943
Dear Pop,
Today, as I was driving into the Hospital in the misty early gray light, a flock of mallards sailed in through the snow-flaked sky with wings set and dropped into the Few about 30 yards from the bridge. The one on the right was the drake! I guess this Hitler guy is going to post-pone for a year or two our already too-long overdue duck shoot. However, it made me think that maybe now when people are thinking of other things might be a time to put a corner on a place where we can go and shoot as we want and when we want
as in the old days at the 70. And that brought to mind a question I've meant to ask before. Do you know who owns the place on the right on the road 1/2 way between Barr and the Mile High?
If a fellow built a dam at X and made a little 2 or 3 acre lake with a slew above and below wouldn't all the ducks shot at in Barr or at Mile High like to drop in on a nice stool of decoys? Only 35 minutes from [ town?]? What do you think of that?
Just before he left for active duty, I talked with Dr. Churchill, who was exceedingly kind and gracious to me. I learned from him more concerning the auxiliary surgical units of which I wrote you. The service sounds very promising as he describes it. Each army has an auxiliary service, the internal set-up of which is less fixed then fluid (i.e. opportunity for advancement in rank, unlike general in Base Hosp. Units). In the general surgical part of the auxiliary service, the men are divided into teams -- a major or captain as surgeon -- a captain or lieutenant as asst. surgeon -- an anesthetist, nurse and 2 or 3 orderlies (educated men). There is no
hospital affiliation. The idea is to send the teams where they are most needed. When the casualties mount in one sector -- there you go to do the surgery. Then, when the pressure is on somewhere else, off you go to do the surgery -- etc. The most appealing aspect of this service (if Dr. Churchill's dope is accurate) is that it is limited to young men. The fellows throughout the country who have finished surgical residencies, etc. In short -- a good portion of the cream of the present generation of surgeons is being enrolled, a stimulating and enjoyable group with which to be associated.
There may be a catch in all that -- if your army doesn't get hurt, you sit and twiddle for the
duration. But all in all, it sounds good, if true: 1. almost sure foreign service in more places than one. 2. good chance of getting some surgery. 3. chance of advancement. 4. desirable and stimulating companions.
Dr. Churchill has written a letter to Lt. Col. Nolan B. Carter, Surgeon General's office, who apparently is in charge of recruiting for the auxiliary surgical group, recommending me for the job. Apparently, whomsoever Dr. Churchill recommends gets the job. He suggested I write Dr. Carter at the time I take out my papers, which I intend to do an about three weeks.
What would be your reaction, in evaluating this assignment in comparison with a detail through your friend's friends, Cols. George and Hall? I suspect there is a chance of a captaincy in the auxiliary group, tho' perhaps not.
Do you feel the Col. Hall's note indicates that he can and will get an assignment at Walter Reed or other large general hospital. If so, do you think such assignment preferable from a surgical and personal and service to Uncle Sam point of view?
Two other items: 1. I have your book by Paucoast(?), I read 1/2 of it on the train coming back and the other 1/2 during the Christmas holidays. Will send it under separate cover. 2. Tell Mom Fletch is wangling(?) with Bests'(?) to get a bigger size over shoe(?) and will communicate re: same.
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