OCTOBER 5, 1942
SEATTLE, Sunday—Here I am in Seattle and I have not told you as yet of what I did last Friday. At 10:00 o'clock, Admiral Wood and Captain Clifton, of the U. S. Naval Hospital on Mare Island, came for me and we went at once to the new and comparatively small hospital on Treasure Island, where some of the boys wounded in the Makin Island raid are being treated.
It was heart stirring to see those boys who had been close to my own boy. I have a curious feeling in visiting these hospitals that the boys are not strangers, but that there is a close, personal tie with them all. Treasure Island is an evacuation hospital and the patients are sent from there to Mare Island and other hospitals.
At Mare Island the treatment which is being used there exclusively for burns was especially interesting to me. They showed us a short movie illustrating the spraying process by which a wax-like coating covers the burned parts and immediately relieves the pain. The patients are able to stretch the muscles and the skin and avoid some of the old results which caused so much trouble. The sulfa drugs are also making a vast difference in the rapidity with which some of the treatments can now be given, because infection is controlled better.
I saw men who have been through Pearl Harbor, the battles of the Coral Sea, the Solomon Islands and Midway. One Marine parachutist, Private First Class Lopacinski, was ashore for two days and killed 36 Japs single-handed, but was wounded by a bomb blast. There were many others with interesting stories of individual feats of daring and courage.
I think the men themselves recognize that every man in the outfit is equally important, runs the same risks, and by doing his job well, whatever it is, makes the more spectacular achievements possible. Sometimes I wish that the medals of honor could really be distributed to the whole personnel. The case is rare where one man without the support of the rest of his outfit could do the outstanding job.
We visited the Navy Hospital at Oakland, which is entirely new. Building is still going on, but the hospital runs with complete efficiency and I thought the wards were particularly bright and cheerful. The spirit of the men is the thing which impresses me most. Everywhere there is a smile, and if you ask them how they are getting on, the answer invariably is, "Fine ma'am."
There is a great improvement in what can be done for men today who have lost a foot or an arm or a leg. It is good to be able to tell them that before long they will learn to do most of the things they could do before they were wounded.