Source: Spalding family.


John Spalding’s
Purple Heart

This medical evaluation of John Spalding (unsigned and undated) was made at Wakeman Convalescent Hospital after the lieutenant returned to the States.


This 30-year old 1st Lt. Inf, enlisted 13 February 1941 and was commissioned 16 April 1943; therefore had 2-2/12 years enlisted service and 2-1/12 years commissioned service on admission to Wakeman Convalescent Hospital. He served without incident in the military service up until 27 September 1944 when he was hospitalized at the 16th Infantry Regiment Aid Station for shell fragments wounds right thigh, removed. Returned to general duty 15 November 1944. Readmitted 24 February 1945 at a 1st Division Rear Aid Station in Belgium for an upper respiratory tract infection. No overseas records are available on this case. This officer adjusted well to his first combat experiences and states that he had the normal fear and was able to control it. He went to shore with the first wave on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. Most of his unit were casualties. He believed he should have been killed then. “Germans sitting there waiting for us, no man had a right to come out alive.” He figured that if they didn’t get him then, they wouldn’t get him at all and soon developed a feeling of personal invulnerability which was reinforced as he saw so many of the others became casualties.  Frequently he felt that if he weren’t an officer he would stay put and not move forward, but he pushed himself on because of his responsibility to his men and declared that if they were going to get him they would regardless of where he was. His onset of symptoms was gradual; he had battle dreams, was nervous, irritable and had difficulty sleeping while in England before combat, but this did not worry him. He first noticed himself going downhill in August 1944 at Mayene. His outfit was spread over a large area when reports came in that an attack by SS troops was imminent. Then another report came that SS paratroopers had landed behind his outfit. The attack was expected for an entire week but it did not materialize. Much tension was built up during this time. Patient started to worry, apprehensive that he would make poor decisions which would be costly to his men. On 27 September 1944 he was hit by shrapnel and the concussion knocked him down twice. He crawled back to an aid station and was evacuated to England. He returned to duty in January 1945 when his anxiety symptoms and depression became increasingly worse. This was brought to the attention of a medical officer. He was admitted on 24 February 1945 to an aid station in Belgium for medical reasons and a diagnosis of Nasopharyngitis, acute, catarrhal was made. He was transferred and admitted on 26 February 1945 to the 76th General Hospital, Liege. Through channels of transportation he was admitted on 5 March to the 62d General Hospital in Paris. There he was treated with subconvulsive doses of insulin and a diagnosis of Psychoneurosis, reactive depression was made.

He was evacuated to the United Kingdom and admitted on 20 March 1945 to the 34th General Hospital, a holding unit. Transferred and admitted 21 March 1945 to the 93d General Hospital. A Disposition Board met and the same diagnosis was continued. He was admitted on 5 April 1945 to the 96th General Hospital. His condition remained unchanged and he was returned to the ZI. Admitted 5 May 1945 to Station Hospital, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. In transit admitted 9 May 1945 to Wakeman Convalescent Hospital. While here in Wakeman Convalescent Hospital, he has participated in the Reconditioned Program. He attends calisthenics, orientation classes and group psychotherapy sessions. In the afternoon he plays golf. At the present time his principal symptoms are in the nature of nervousness, anxiety, fatigability, irritability, depression, insomnia and battle dreams. He has feelings of indecisiveness, uncertainty, and insecurity. He attributes the cause of his illness as due to 120-days continuous combat as a Rifle Platoon Leader, worry over heavy casualties in his outfit and provoked by stress of 4-1/2 years of regimentation. He states that he has lost confidence in himself and former aggressiveness, He feels that he cannot train troops anymore because of his hatred for guns, is fed up and present attitude towards regimentation, He has shown no appreciable change in his status during his stay here.