Magee, James C.
Army Surgeon General 1939-43, led wartime US Army Medical Corps
Autograph ID: 3887
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1883-1975) Irish-born Surgeon General of the US Army 1939-43. Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia) MD 1905, Army contract surgeon 1907-08, one of the initial first lieutenants in the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), commissioned 1908. Commissioned 1st lieutenant in the Regular Army Medical Corps 1909, served in Europe in WW I. Promoted to Major General and appointed Surgeon General of the Army June 1, 1939. He confronted huge problems in preparing the Army Medical Department for enormous wartime expansion and worldwide conflict. A major March 1942 reorganization of the War Dept. compounded Magee’s problems by removing The Surgeon General’s office from the War Dept. Special Staff and placing it under the Services of Supply (SOS), later designated the Army Service Forces (ASF). Magee pushed through important changes inc. establishing 102 general hospital units and constructing new, large cantonment-type hospitals in the US rather than a haphazard expansion of inadequate existing facilities. On his recommendation, the Secretary of War established the Board for the Investigation and Control of Influenza and Other Epidemic Diseases (the Army Epidemiological Board, predecessor of today’s Armed Forces Epidemiological Board) in Jan. 1941. Foreseeing a shortage of surgical instruments, largely procured from Germany before the war, he pressed rapid development of domestic manufacture, which resulted in ample supply and improved quality of these critical items, the first time surgical instruments was made on a large scale in the US. Shortly after the US entered the war, Magee secured the services of many outstanding civilian physicians (inc. Michael DeBakey) commissioned in the Medical Corps. He was never a favorite of Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, and his personal relations with the powerful commanding general of the Services of Supply, Lt. General Brehon B. Somervell, were equally poor. He tried to emphasize that his responsibilities to advise the Secretary of War and Chief of Staff on health and medical issues affecting the Army could not be effectively carried out in this organizational structure. The policy was reversed late in 1944 by the Secretary of War who directed that The Surgeon General would have unencumbered, direct access to him and the Chief of Staff on all matters pertaining to the health of the Army. When Magee assumed his duties, the AMEDD had 2,181 officers & 9,359 enlisted men, a total of 11,540 in a peacetime Army of 188,565. When he ended his tour, the AMEDD had 91,401 officers & 514,957 enlisted personnel, a total of 606,358 in an Army of 6,858,591 all over the US and the world. The AMEDD developed and operated a worldwide evacuation system and hospitalization structure for Army forces and a global medical logistics system that provided medical and surgical supplies and equipment to support the operation of evacuation and hospitalization in some of the most hostile environments in the world. This meant research, development, and procurement of new medicines and equipment, foundations for all laid during Magee’s tenure. On the expiration of his appointment, General Magee went on terminal leave until his Oct. 31, 1943 retirement. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his services in the building the wartime Army Medical Department.
2 ½ x 3 ½ card signed as Major General and Surgeon general, US Army, adds February 3 1943 date.”
Type: Signed Card