Adequate care for the sick and wounded of naval and military land forces has been a problem as long as man has relied on the diabolically conceived instrument of war to settle disputes between nations. That the solution has been attained more easily when forces are opposed on land than at sea is apparent, for first aid, collection, evacuation, definitive treatment and subsequent disposition of casualties may be accomplished with greater facility under most circumstances in terrestrial than in naval warfare. The vicissitudes of weather may prove to be only a handicap to land operations whereas similar atmospheric conditions at sea may constitute an impediment of the first magnitude. The presence of the sick and particularly of the wounded has a markedly detrimental effect upon the morale of the remaining members of a combat unit. On land, the advancing forces may leave such unfortunate persons behind or they may be taken to the rear if the forward lines become static. At sea, this cannot be accomplished unless means be provided by utilizing combat vessels, cargo vessels, transports, ambulance transports, or hospital ships.
The Function of a Hospital Ship
By Captain Howard K. Gray (M.C.), U. S. Naval Reserve