Cerro Gordo County

Col. Glenn E. Harrison





Dr. G. E. Harrison Promoted
to Rank of Lieutenant Colonel

Former Local Man Stationed
at Camp Robinson, Arkansas

Maj. Glenn E. Harrison, chief of the medical services for the Station hospital at Camp Robinson, has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, according to an announcement by the commander of the hospital. The camp is near Little Rock, Ark.

The new colonel was a practicing physician in Mason City before his induction into the army. He was a reserve officer several years.

Colonel Harrison was assigned to the hospital Dec. 12, 1940, among the first medical officers to reach the field during construction period. He received his medical education at the University of Iowa and has had post graduate work at Duke university, where he later was an instructor in medicine.

Colonel Harrison, Mrs. Harrison and their two children live in Little Rock.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, June 17, 1942, Page 8 (photo included)

Incongruities of Africa Are
Told by Col. Glenn Harrison

Former Mason City Physician Is Area and Port Surgeon

The incongruities of north Africa and the habits of its Arab population are the subject of a letter received by Lions club friends from Col. Glenn E. Harrison, former Mason City physician.

“It is picturesque and interesting, of course,” he begins, “But I would rather have Iowa. . .

“Most of it is under irrigation with 4 crops a year. In the west, the section is irrigated with wells and modern electrical pumps, but here it is more primitive – wells with huge leather buckets drawn up by oxen of donkeys. ‘Tis a strange sight to see in the same fields, herds of camels and an American Deering binder pulled by oxen, horses and donkeys in tandem.

“Not and then there is a threshing machine, but in a nearby field, like as not, is the old Biblical threshing floor with it’s proverbial plodding ox. Stranger yet is the sight of petrol pumps (damaged) with Shell, Texaco and Standard signs. Advertisements for Singer Sewing machines, Frigidaires and General Electric in French and Arabic are even more nostalgic.”

He continues by saying that the Arabs are filthy, crafty and not above stealing. Their political sympathies are unknown. The Colonel’s medical detachment has given these Arabs what care they need, and as a consequence, get along famously with them.

“It is amusing to see little boys walking down the road with a couple of flat loaves of bread balanced on their heads, and the old donkeys piled so high with hay or brush that all once can see is the feet and the ears. Often as not here is an Arab or 2 perched on top. The children of all ages and sexes stand by the roadside and yell ‘Give me bon bon!’ They spend their days digging up all our garbage and spoiled food.

“We are located in what was once a very beautiful city but now is a greater mass of rubble and ruins, the British say, than Coventry or Malta. I flew in with an advance party a few days after it fell when they were still looking for land mines and booby traps. We had a few casualties, but my guardian angel protected me and curbed my curiosity.

“I was fortunate to find a building fairly whole for an office and quarters – except for doors, windows and half a roof. In the patio we have a lemon and orange and a banana tree, as well as grapes and a date palm. The vacant lot across the street where we have our slit trenches is lined with olive trees.

“Speaking of slit trenches, they are a great invention. We had nightly air raids when we first came. The first few were fun – just like a 4th of July show, until a bomb dropped a block away blowing us by its concussion back in the hallway. After that we hit for the trenches when the ack-acks begin – with me in the lead.”

Colonel Harrison is area surgeon and the port surgeon. It is his responsibility for the clearing of all ships at quarantine, the sanitation and mosquito and fly control of the area as well as medical care of all troops, U. S. and British, and native laborers employed on the docks.

“I have some good assistants,” Harrison writes, “so, except for tours of inspection, I just sit back and ‘exec.’ For transportation I have a command car, but my favorite is 1 of the 2 German jeeps. They have a small 4-cylinder air cooled motor in the rear with 4 speeds ahead. The reverse does not work too well. Hitler did not intend for his troops to retreat, I guess.”

He mentions meeting several Iowans and enjoying letters from home and the paper when it comes.

“My job is interesting, but I would rather be back in the best city in the United States. By the way, did we win the annual ball game, as usual?”

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, September 02, 1943, Page 10

Better Care of War 2 Wounded,
Says Harrison

Colonel Tells Lions of Observations as Africa Hospital Head

The vast advance in the treatment of wounded in this war as compared with World war I, as reflected in the reduced ratio of deaths to wounds, was attributed by Col. Glenn E. Harrison, Mason Cityan home after some 3 years as commanding officer of army hospital in north Africa, Corsica and France, to these factors:

1. The advent and extensive use of penicillin and sulfa drugs, particularly the former.

2. The greater resort of blood transfusions, using both whole blood and blood plasma.

3. The placing of skilled medical aid and hospital facilities nearer to the front lines.

This view was expressed by the Mason City doctor, who entered the service 4 ½ years ago, in an informal talk Wednesday before his fellow Lions at the Mason City country club.

Dr. Harrison opened his talk by tracing his service – at Camp Robinson, Ark., Boston, Iran, north Africa, Corsica and finally 2 bases in France, 1 near Dijon and the other at Epinal. Then he talked of the food, reporting that it was generally acceptable, but with less of fresh meat in the Mediterranean area than in France.

High praise was given by him to the Red Cross, a fainter praise to the USO.

North African Arabs were described as “somewhat hostile,” Corsicans as “indifferent” and the French as “sincere and friendly” in their attitude toward Americans.

Medical supplies, of the best quality and in adequate quantity, were available at all times, Col. Harrison stated. The one greatest problem facing him, he explained, has been transportation in connection with the operation of his hospitals.

One unusual coincidence recalled by the colonel had its setting in Bizerte. On arriving there he stopped in at the first building flying a French flag to make inquiry about the whereabouts of the medical unit with which he was joining up. To his amazement he learned that the outfit on guard duty was Co. K of the 168th regiment of the Iowa national guard with which in his younger days at Corning he had served. It was “Reunion in Tunisia.”

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, July 12, 1945, Page 4


Col. Glenn E. Harrison, 709 3rd N. E., recently returned to the states from 3 years overseas, will return to his former position as member of the staff of the Park hospital on Sept. 1, it was learned Monday.

Col. Harrison has a terminal leave until Dec. 17 and then will be put on inactive status as reserve officer, he reported. Overseas he served as commanding officer of army hospitals in north Africa, Corsica and France.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, August 20, 1945, Page 5


The meritorious service unit plaque was awarded to the 35th station hospital on the island of Corsica, of which Col. Glenn E. Harrison, lately returned to Mason City, was commanding officer. The award was given for superior performance of duty in the accomplishment of exceptionally difficult tasks on the island during the period of Feb. 15 to June 30, 1944.

“Assigned the mission of furnishing general hospital care for the entire east coast of Corsica and without any buildings available in which to house the patients or staff, the 35th station hospital was forced to establish itself in tents,” the citation stated.

“Despite the extremely adverse weather conditions of ice, snow and rain, each officer, nurse and enlisted men, with complete disregard for personal welfare, worked night and day to get the unit into operation as soon as possible,” the citation further stated.

“Later when an extremely heavy enemy bombing of nearby airfields cause many casualties, the 35th station hospital through the industry, resourcefulness and perseverance of its personnel quickly converted the hospital into an evacuation unit and with surgical teams working night and day saved many lives that otherwise would have been lost, thereby reflecting great credit upon themselves and the medical department of the army of the United States,” concluded the citation.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday, August 28, 1945, Page 15


Burial at Lenox With Legion Post in Charge

Funeral services for Dr. Glenn E. Harrison, 42, who died suddenly at his home about midnight Saturday [August 31], were conducted at the Major Memorial chapel at 10 o’clock Monday morning. Doctor Lloyd A. Gustafson of the First Methodist church was in charge.

Mrs. Roy Servison played obsoquial music at the organ.

Doctor Gustafson accompanied the flag-draped casket to Lenox, Iowa, where the American Legion post of Corning was to conduct military rites at 2 p. m. Tuesday.

Attending the service in a body were members of the Masonic lodge, P. E. O., Park Hospital clinic, Cerro Gordo County Medical society, Lions club and a group of registered nurses.

The Major funeral home was in charge of arrangements.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday, September 04, 1945, Page 2