The jeeps are rigged so that they can carry four litters, leaving just enough room for the driver and a helper. The method was devised under the supervision of Lieut.-Col. Joseph B. Gordon, whose wife, Mrs. Frances Gordon, lives at Stephenville, Texas.
This unit activated in 1941, is organized and equipped to move into the front lines when the liberation of Europe from the west begins. Its mission will be to set a field station for emergency treatment, and to clear and evacuate serious casualties to base hospitals.
A high percentage of its enlistment personnel are skilled technicians. Included in the organization is one Lowell man, 1st Lt. Russell C. Prohl, of Lake Dalecarlia.
Chaplain Prohl who tells the story is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Prohl of Hammond, where he was born. He was graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary, at Springfield, Ill., in 1934. On April 4, 1942, while pastor of Redeemer Lutheran church, Cleveland, Ohio, he reported for active duty as a Chaplain, and was a member of the first class of the Chaplains' army school then being conducted at Camp Benjamin Harrison, Ind. Mrs. Prohl and their three children are now living at Lake Dalecarlia.
Of his experiences before and during the landing on the Normandy beaches, Chaplain Prohl has sent to the General Commission the following description:
"The most impressive and dramatic moment came on the evening before D-Day. We were at anchor off England, aboard an army transport. I was conducting a communion service. A number of men were kneeling in front of me to receive the Lord's Supper when a significant rock of the ship warned us that the anchor was being weighed. We were on our way. Not a sound disturbed the holy solemnity. Then I prayed softly: 'Heavenly Father, permit us to embark upon every important voyage of life in as close a communion with Thee as we are this night, in Jesus' name we ask it. Amen.'"
Chaplain Prohl was born at Hammond, Ind., and was graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary at Springfield, Ill., in 1934. He is an ordained clergyman of the Lutheran church, Missouri Synod. Before he received his commission as a chaplain in 1942, he had already served for 4 years as pastor of the Redeemer Lutheran church, Cleveland, Ohio. The home address of Chaplain Prohl is Lake Dalecarlia, Lowell, where his wife and three children now reside.
Chaplain Prohl, who landed with his Medical Clearing Company in Normandy soon after D-Day, has sent to the General Commission the following account:
"Before me are trucks loaded with men. The men are armed only with red crosses on helmets and around each arm. They are the litter bearers. They are battle wise. They do not like what is before them, but they will do it well. In ten days or two weeks they will return -- that is, God willing, most of them will return. But bursting shells do not recognize red crosses. I press a few copies of 'Battlefield Prayers' into their hands, and wish all Godspeed, and the trucks are gone …. May God forgive me the streak of vanity which makes me throw out my chest and strut a bit when I think of these, my men.
"They have but one duty -- to do their utmost, to give their lives if necessary, to nourish and preserve the lives of others. For tedious hours in the operating room, on 24-hour shifts in the wards, over perilous stretches of road with the ambulances, while clearing the bloody battlefield, there is a devotion to duty which prompts me to whip off my helmet, bow from the waist and say, 'Soldier, I salute you!'
"Of course, the idea of saluting these men is not original. A general started that soon after D-Day, back in Normandy, when he pinned the first medal on a hero. The first bronze Star went to an ambulance driver who twice drove through the enemy lines to deliver medical supplies and evacuate the wounded. The first Silver Star went to a Sergeant who crawled out on the open field between American and German lines to dress the wounds of a German officer, and to bring him in.
"A private had an interesting experience. I am going to let this 'man who came back' tell his own story. It is: 'Our litter squad was cut off with an aid station and a part of an infantry battalion. The shelling became so heavy while we were evacuating the wounded from a certain section that we thought it safer to take the injured men into a basement rather than make the long trip with each one to the air station. Late in the afternoon a German medical officer opened the door and, speaking in good English, warned us that we would have to leave soon or be made prisoners. Since we could not move the wounded, we decided to stay at least through the night. Early the next morning I set out for the aid station to report our predicament. I found the station with little difficulty, but saw immediately that men there were in no position to help us. They needed help. I worked that day at the aid station. Toward evening an officer asked me if I would try to lead the walking wounded through to our lines under cover of darkness. I said I would try my best. That night we set out walking, running, crawling, helping the injured over rough spots until we could go no farther. There we fell to the ground and slept. At daybreak we were rudely awakened by our own G.I.s. We had made it! The men in the basement are missing in action.'"
He is the husband of Mrs. Elra Prohl, who still resides at the lake with their family.
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