July 9 1943: American medicine comes to Sicily

On July 9, 1943, American and allied forces began the invasion of Europe in World War II at Gela, Sicily. It was near there that the 93d Evacuation Hospital medical unit went to the front line of the assault to provide emergency treatment for the casualties and convey them back to the hospital ships that would follow in a few days. The deployment of full surgical hospitals within a mile of the combat line was a new stage in military medicine. It was in the ward tent of the 93d evacuation hospital that General George Patton slapped Private Paul Bennett in full view of the medical staff and reporters.

This field hospital unit would go on to support the landing in Anzio, where it was bombed by German aircraft. In 1944 it set up in southern France, then on to Germany. In 1945 it was the first unit to enter the Dachau concentration camp.