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Excerpts from
Hospital on Wheels
WW II MASH
By Leo E. Ours, Jr.
Leo has contributed over the years to this web site and I am more than happy to include the excerpts from his book

 

Hospital on Wheels
WW II MASH
June 01, 2008
Words on "Hospital On Wheels" by
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.


vanharl@aol.com


"As Leo and Glenna were leaving, Bob told them that he had a special gift for Leo and gave him a remnant of the U.S. flag that had once flown over Camp Forrest".

 
Leo Jr., is planning another book that will tell the stories of veterans and warriors from any of the wars since World War I.  Go to his web site to send him a message that you would like to contribute a story http://hospitalonwheels.com
 
Hospital on Wheels-WWII MASH is scheduled for publication on June 6, 2008, the 64th anniversary of D-Day.  You may purchase an advance copy by going to http://www.wwiimash.com
 
 

Leo Ours Jr.
leoours@earthlink.net


 
 
 
 
 
 

Camp Forrest during World War II

 

Hospital on Wheels - WW II MASH
By Leo E. Ours, Jr.

 

MOUNTAIN STATE UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE wrote that Leo E. Ours, Jr. ’64, has written Hospital on Wheels: World War II MASH. Leo’s book was inspired when his father began sharing his WWII experiences. His father had remained silent for 63 years and only decided to talk when he received a duffel bag that had been lost for 54 years. This proved to be the catalyst for his flood of memories and stories. Leo Jr. was so moved and intrigued by the stories that he felt he had to share them with others. This true story begins with pre-war America and shares the shock that our soldiers had when they landed in war torn Europe. It tracks the exact movements of Leo’s father’s medical unit as it followed every major battle in the war including D-Day, St. Lo, Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge, and driving the Germans down the cologne plain to liberate the concentration camps in Bavaria. Leo’s book has it all: action, adventure, history, love and compassion.

Leo Jr. describes his fathers’ arrival at Ft Thomas as follows: “By mid-September, Leo Sr. left Ft. Thomas by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) train that ran between Covington, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. They boarded the train and traveled at night (early morning), unaware of the scenery, seeing only the darkness of the night and the occasional light from passing train stations or a front porch light left on by the occupants as if waiting for someone to return home. Leo Sr. thought about that front porch light for some time during the war and hoped someone left one on for him.

They arrived at Nashville but could not hear music played at the little music stores and bars and, of course, the “Grand Ole Opry”. (Found just seven blocks from the train station, WSM radio station, which broadcast the Opry, identified the broadcast as the “WSM Barn Dance.)

Getting off the train, they got on Army buses headed to Camp Forrest, Tennessee. There, Leo and his fellows would begin their basic training and get their unit assignments. They pulled into the receiving center at camp, found just outside Tullahoma, Tennessee, and quickly got off the buses. They did not want to have a repeat of the welcome they had received in Ft. Thomas by the sergeants……….”

In 1997, Leo Sr. and Glenna traveled back to Tullahoma to revisit their past and to find Camp Forrest and the places in which Glenna had worked and stayed. They found the former site of Camp Forrest and discovered that it is now called the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center, a flight-simulation test facility.

From there, they drove to Tullahoma and looked for Jackson’s Grill. Not finding the grill, they began inquiring about it in the various stores on Atlantic Street. Directed to Couch’s Photography Shop on North Atlantic Street, they found Mr. Couch in the rear of the store. They inquired about the Jackson Grill and Camp Forrest. Mr. Couch, one of the local historians of Tullahoma, was delighted to help Leo and Glenna with their questions.

When Leo told Mr. Couch of their war time experiences and inquired about

Jackson’s Grill, Mr. Couch explained that the grill had been torn down several years before.

 

Glenna and Leo Ours, Bob and Dot Couch

 

As they discussed their experiences further, Glenna related to Mr. Couch that she had stayed with a Mrs. Morton in Shelbyville. At that, Mr. Couch went to find his wife Dot, who joined the group. Bob then asked Glenna to start over and talk about Mrs. Morton. After Glenna described her stay with Mrs. Morton, Dot explained that her grandmother had been a Morton and had owned a boardinghouse in Shelbyville.

They all paused and looked at one another in amazement. Dot asked Glenna to describe the house and Mrs. Morton. Glenna could remember Mrs. Morton and the house well, and she remembered being seeing a Singer sewing machine at the top of the stairs in Mrs. Morton’s home. Dot exclaimed, “Oh my, you were in my grandmother’s house!”

Glenna paused for a moment before saying, “I remember that Mrs. Morton’s daughter would visit her on occasion and would bring a 10-year-old girl with her.” When Dot softly said that she had been the little girl, Glenna said, “I remember you as a child very well,” and the two women embraced. Bob, Dot, Glenna, and Leo spent the remainder of the day reminiscing, with Bob providing a special guided tour of the area that included the Confederate cemetery located nearby. As Leo and Glenna were leaving, Bob told them that he had a special gift for Leo and gave him a remnant of the U.S. flag that had once flown over Camp Forrest. Leo and Glenna often speak of the Couches and the day they met new friends.

Leo Jr., is planning another book that will tell the stories of veterans and warriors from any of the wars since World War I.  Go to his web site to send him a message that you would like to contribute a story http://hospitalonwheels.com

Hospital on Wheels-WWII MASH is scheduled for publication on June 6, 2008, the 64th anniversary of D-Day.  You may purchase an advance copy by going to http://www.wwiimash.com