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"They call you a battalion surgeon. I didn’t know surgery; really, I was simply trying to save lives." (Audio Interview, 9:58)

   William M. McConahey, Jr.
Collection image
William McConahey, Jr., in uniform, posing beside a litter jeep [ca. 1944]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division; 344th Field Artillery Battalion
Service Location: France; Germany; Czechoslovakia; European Theater
Rank: Captain
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In the summer of 1945, William McConahey, a physician working with the Occupation forces in Germany, decided to write a memoir of his experiences in the European Theater. He had landed in France on D-Day Plus Two and had seen the casualties of fighting from Normandy through the Battle of the Bulge and beyond. He had also visited a liberated concentration camp at Flossenberg, expressing frustration at not being able to save so many dying prisoners. McConahey’s memoir, Battalion Surgeon, wasn’t published until 1966, when he was already on the staff of the prestigious Mayo Clinic.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (59 min.)
»Photo Album  (11 photos)
»Battalion Surgeon
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»Military Medicine: Doctors
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Anticipating D-Day; the scene on Utah Beach. (02:53) Duties of a “battalion surgeon.” (06:46) Not carrying a gun; avoiding getting shot at or captured. (02:19)
Patton’s strengths and weaknesses. (02:51) Close calls with death. (02:13) Releasing tension by writing his memoir; difference between veterans of World War II and Vietnam. (03:17)
The concentration camp at Flossenberg. (01:32)  

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  October 26, 2011
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