by Nicole Reitz
Alfred Myhill, an 87-year-old native of Fulton and World War II veteran, has been named the 2012 Veteran of the Year by the Fulton Veterans Council.
From 1941 to 1943, Myhill worked at a farm in Fulton where he fed, tended and milked cows and operated a tractor and other farm machinery. He attended high school for two years before enlisting in the military Feb. 15, 1943.
Myhill attended Medical Technician School in Fort Harrison, Ind. for eight weeks in 1943. It was there has he received instruction in giving emergency medical treatment and giving hypodermic injections.
Just before being shipped overseas, Myhill got the mumps and was hospitalized. His unit left for England and Paris without him. He ended up sailing on the Queen Elizabeth with 15,000 other troops.
“I felt so funny because I didn’t know one soul in that outfit,” said Myhill.
Myhill was 19 years old when he landed on Normandy July 16, 1944, a month after D-Day. He was assigned to the first Platoon, Second Hospitalization Unit of the 53rd Field Hospital in Europe. A field hospital is comprised of three hospitals, with a first, second and third unit.
Myhill served as a member of the medical corps, setting up tents as makeshift hospitals, and sometimes occupying old factories and schools to repair wounded American soldiers.
The job was dangerous because streets were lined with bombs, and the hospitals were on the ground in close proximity to combat.
Soldiers with stomach and chest wounds that needed immediate care were sent to Myhill’s outfit. Tank drivers died before getting to the hospital because of their burns.
“We had to improvise a lot — we didn’t have colostomy bags,” said Myhill. “Cots would come in and they were so low that it was hard to keep bending over.”
Besides giving emergency medical treatment, Myhill worked alongside nurses and doctors to apply splints, clean and bandage wounds, give injections, and check vitals.
The unit continued to set up field hospitals in England, Normandy, Northern France, Belgium and Germany in 1944 to 1945 as they followed Patton’s Third Army across Europe.
Sept. 29, 1944, the second hospital unit accompanied the entire unit across France, arriving at Bastogne Oct. 2, 1944.
Myhill’s field hospital treated the wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, known as the largest and bloodiest battle of World War II. The battle happened in the Ardennes mountains of Belgium and the town of Bastogne, killing 89,000 Americans.
In 1945, Myhill was located in Germany and was 30 miles from Berlin when the war ended. After the war, as the hospitals were getting less of the wounded, Myhill was made a dental technician.
He assisted dentists in routine dental work and in surgical operations on gums and bones. He was awarded five battle stars, and had enough points to return home. Myhill was honorably discharged from the military Dec. 15, 1945.
Myhill came home in what he describes as a little liberty ship. “Boy it was the roughest thing, I didn’t think we’d make it,” he recalled.
He was welcomed home by friends and family and married his late wife Marion. The couple met before the war. Myhill carried a photo of Marion with him to England, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany.
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