Norwood Man Trains Mule-packing Medics for Mountain War
Mulepacking Medic Is A Curious Combination
Camp Carson, Colo., July 29—(IP) —A curious combination is the mulepacking medic.
He combines the strength and skill of the pack artillery soldier, the tenderness of an Army nurse and the daring of a rock climber.
High in the Rocky Mountains near Camp Carson mulepacking medics are acquiring their triple skills in preparation for the day when they will be called on to save lives on battlefront mountain tops. They are members of the 503rd, 504th and 680th Medical Collecting companies. The 680th served on Kiska in the Aleutians, evacuating soldiers injured in accidents on the island’s rugged mountains, and other mountain collecting company trained at Carson is serving in combat overseas.
Many City Bred
The mountaineering medics of the 503rd and 504th, many of them city-bred Westerners who never saw mountains until they reached Carson, learn rock climbing under the direction of a former pediatrician who, until he entered the Army, had never climbed higher than three flights of stairs in an Eastern hospital—Capt. Edward Dyer, of Norwood, Mass.
He is assisted by Staff Sgt. Paul Petzoldt of Jackson Hole, Wyo., internationally known rock climber who has mounted to the 26,000-foot mark on treacherous K2 in j the Himalayas, and has climbed the loftiest peaks of the Alps and in Mexico and South America.
A medical collecting company evacuates wounded and injured from a battalion aid station just behind the front lines to a clearing station where more advanced treatment can be given. In mountain country the clearing station may be three miles from the fighting.
The medical collecting companies learn their skills at the top of Rock Creek canon, west of Camp Carson. Their proving ground is a giant formation of rock thrusting out of the mountain side. Here they practice lowering wounded in litters down a sheer drop of 180 feet.
After a wounded man is lower-ed from a rocky perch he is transported down the mountain side on ‘an Indian-style travois made of saplings. Wounded men are transported by muleback only as a last, resort. The “mulepacking” part of I the medical collectors’ nickname comes from the fact that mules i are used to pack their supplies and equipment into mountainous country.