Pottawattamie County

Maj. John P. Cogley






About three out of four service men who enter U. S. army medical corps evacuation hospital on the New Guinea fronts are treated for wounds of their lower extremities, Lt. Col. John P. Cogley, Council Bluffs surgeon back from 11 ½ months of operating in the jungles, said here Wednesday.

Chief of surgery at a several-hundred bed hospital located variously from four to 40 miles behind the lines, Col. Cogley is well-tanned and fit. The jungles took 20 pounds from his weight, which has been promptly replaced in about as many days back in the States.

He is now temporarily assigned to the O’Reilly general hospital at Springfield, Mo., in a medical officers pool.

Bulk of  wounds to allied troops fighting in New Guinea come from mortar fire, high explosive shells and the Japanese anti-personal bombs. The anti-personal bombs, not uncommonly dropped from a single fighter plane on a sneak raid, are filled with old razor blades, nuts, bolts and other pieces of metal scrap.

Parents of men in the service should know that the medical facilities in the area are ample, Col. Cogley said. “Wounded receive first treatment at their battalion aid stations and then come to the evacuation hospitals. There they receive treatment and within 36 hours are on their way back to a general hospital, usually well behind the lines. Where possible evacuation of the wounded is accomplished by the ‘flying box-cars’ or the C-47 transport planes.”

Forty surgeons operation in teams worked at the hospital unit to which Col. Cogley was attached. Evacuation hospital units complete with all equipment, including X-ray, go ashore on beach landings only a few hours after first attacks are launched. Insignia is not worn by army men in the battle zones.

Can’t Tell By Looking

You’ll see some distinguished looking gentleman and think he must be a general. He turns out to be a private. And then there is apt to be some fellow who looks like G.I. Joe who turns out to be a two-star general.

Medical men have found, Col. Cogley said, that for the good of the patient wounds are seldom redressed unless complications arise.

“A soldier comes into the hospital with a high explosive fragment in his thigh. We clean the wound, pack it with penicillin, put him in a plaster cast for transport and he’s on his way.”

Col. Cogley says he has viewed patients three months later in which the original treatment and cast were still in place and the wound was healing properly.

Penicillin and plasma are saving thousands of lives, Col. Cogley said, and supplies are plentiful. Early in the campaign, there were times where supplies were low, but such conditions no longer exist. “At one time patients and the hospital staff were on quarter rations for a month when our supply ships were bombed and unable to reach us.”

Cogley said he saw many doctors from this area while in New Guinea, and several southwestern Iowa men turned up as patients at the hospital.

- Save Your Tin Cans -

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Wednesday, July 26, 1944, Page 10


Maj. John P. Cogley, Council Bluffs surgeon, was sitting at an improvised desk in the jungles of New Guinea the evening of Jan. 2, writing to an acquaintance in Council Bluffs.

A navy officer walked into this tent, inquired if certain medical supplies were availabl.

Maj. Cogley looked up.

The man was Naval Lt. Robert M. Collins of Council Bluffs.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, April 04, 1945, Page 5