Army Post Offices of Malaria Control and Survey Units of WWII(Published: September, 2007, Volume 7, Number 2, Issue #23) (Table Of Contents)
(Author: Kelly Horn)
There have been a number of wars in which the effects of various diseases were more debilitating than combat. Bubonic plague, typhus, and malaria have each altered the course of history because of their impact on the attacking fighting forces.
The United States did not want to be included in the litany of failure because of the incidence of an insect-borne disease. Therefore, at the start of World War II, the United States began an intensive program to control mosquitoes and the diseases they carry that resulted in the creation of malaria survey units and malaria control units. The program included both training centers and combat areas. In addition to mosquito control, survey units would also be checking for elephantiasis and typhus, and control units often controlled other insects such as sand flies, bed bugs, fleas, and tse-tse flies. The units also assisted in the control of rodents.
Malaria rates declined rapidly after 1943 and this decrease can be directly attributed to the increase in the number of special malaria control units deployed in the different theaters of the war. One hundred fifty-nine control units and 69 survey units served overseas, with 133 control and 66 survey units trained in the United States and the remainder with locally trained personnel. More than 60 malariologists, 350 officers, 2500 enlisted men, and thousands of troops and native laborers were part of the malaria control and survey units (Coates, 1963).
It usually required 6 to 8 months from the time a request for malaria unit was issued to the arrival of the unit at its overseas destination. There was never a time when a reserve of malaria units was available. Tables 1 and 2 identify the number of malaria units and their relative destinations during the war.
|Theater||Present||En Route||Activated and Scheduled||Total|
|Middle East, including Central Africa and the Persian Gulf||3||7||---||---||---||---||3||7|
|Theater||Malariologists||Survey Units||Control Units|
|Present||Scheduled for Shipment||Present||Scheduled for Shipment||Present||class="article-title"Scheduled for Shipment|
|Pacific Ocean Areas (Central and South)||16||---||13||---||13||---|
|Middle East, including Central Africa and the Persian Gulf||3||---||3||---||9||---|
|Caribbean Defense Command||1||---||---||---||---||---|
Source: Coates, 1963
One of my interests is to locate the whereabouts of the malaria units during WWII. Part of the information comes from covers and part from historical records, mainly the National Archives in Washington, DC. Table 3 and 4 contain the information that has been gathered from these different sources. Some information is repeated because some of the units were assigned to work together.
In regards to postal markings, a War Department Directive commanded that APO number be removed from the entire postal markings, effective from 1 July 1942 to 10 March 1943. However, cancels can be found during this period with APO numbers. Cancels after this period can be found without numbers because indicia were not available for some time after the directive was rescinded (Billings, 2006).
Because the units were reassigned to larger organizations during the war, the name of the units changed from malaria control (survey) units to malaria control (survey) detachments. Some were also redesignated as medical composite units. Included in this report are examples of covers representing different aspects of the APO units.
From Solomon Islands, patriotic cover and from Malaria Control Unit #1.
From Roberts Field, Liberia
From the Philippines
From Dakar, Senegal
From India, associated with Merrill's Marauders
The next 3 covers illustrate the how a malaria unit's designation changed during the war.
APO cancellation from Italy (APO 400) from unit in Algeria (APO 534) to another APO in Italy (APO 650) and redirected (APOs 766 [Italy] and 528 [Corsica]).
The 2655th Malaria Control Detachment was originally activated by the War Department as Medical Detachment 2655 to supervise malaria control activities in and around Army installations in Liberia. It had 12 administrative malariologists, 17 control units, and 6 survey units assigned to it at its peak in August 1944 (Coates, 1963).
Table 3. Malaria Control Units and Their Army Post Offices
|Malaria Unit||APO, Location||Date on Cover||Date APO in Service||Source|
|Malaria Control Detachment (MCD) #1||709, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal||Nov-7-1943||13-Dec-42 to 04- Nov-49||Cover|
|7th MCU||629, India||NA||02-Nov-42 to 01-Jul-45||National Archives record, report dated 8 Jan 1945|
|16th, 17th, 18th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 43rd through 51st||885, SOS USAF CBI, India||NA||??-Jun-42 to ??-Nov-46||National Archives record, report dated, 7 Apr 1944|
|17th MCD||885, HQ Services of Supply, CBI, India, then 465, Calcutta, then 690, Ondal, India||NA||??-Jun-42 to ??-Nov-46 15-Mar-43 to 31-Mar-48 01-Feb-43 to 16-Apr-46||National Archives record, report dated 28 Jan 1946|
|22nd Malaria Control Unit(MCU)||763, HQ, Eastern Base Section, Constantine, Algeria||Apr-23-43 (?)||16-Feb-43 to ??-Jun-43||Cover|
|27th MCU||601, Roberts Field, Liberia||NA||??-May-42 to ??-May-46||National Archives record, report dated 31 Dec 1944|
|29th MCU||622, Dakar Senegal||Feb-28-44||01-Jan-43 to 15-Mar-45||Cover|
|30th MCU||490, Mohanbari, India, (629 in return address)||Jan-7-45||??-Nov-43 to 06-Nov-45 (APO 490) 02-Nov-42 to 07-Apr-46 (APO 629)||Cover|
|32nd MCD||431, Lalmanir Hut, India; 885, HQ Services of Supply, CBI, India||NA||14-Oct-43 to 17-Nov-45 ??-Jun-42 to ??-Nov-46||National Archives record, report dated 27 April 1944; National Archives record, report dated 20 Oct 1945|
|43rd MCU||629, Advance Section #2, India; 493, SOS, USAF-IB, India||NA||02-Nov-42 to 07-Apr-46 21-Mar-44 to 31-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 01 Jan 1944; National Archives record, report dated 11 Jan 1945|
|45th MCU||218, Myitkyina, Burma; 689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||17-Aug44 to 31-Oct-45 13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 28 Mar 1945|
|46th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 01 Oct 1945|
|47th MCU||433, India||NA||25-Oct-43 to 16-Apr-46||National Archives record, report dated 31 Jan 1945|
|48th MCU||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India.||Aug-11-45||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||Cover|
|49th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 19 Oct 1945|
|58th MCD||343, Leyte, Philippines||Jul-13-45||29-Dec-44 to 09-Sep-45||Cover|
|64th MCU||713, Papua New Guinea||Nov-28-?||18-Aug-43 to ??-May-45||Cover|
|72nd MCD||631 Chakulia (India), 493, India||NA||17-Dec-42 to 25-Oct-45 (APO 631) 21-Mar-44 to 31-Jan-46 (APO 493)||National Archives record, report dated 28 Jan 1946|
|73rd MCU||218, Myitkyina, Burma||NA||17-Aug-44 to 31-Oct-45||National Archives record, report dated 20 Mar 1945|
|73rd MCD||APO not identified; HQ Advance Section, India-Burma Theater, Ledo, India||NA||NA||National Archives record, report dated 19 Oct 1945|
|81st MCU||73, Base R, Batangas, Luzon, PI||Apr-29-45||18-Jan-45 to 31-May-46||Cover|
|91st MCU||BPO 7, 503 (in return address), Papua New Guinea||Aug-7-44||05-Mar-44 to ??-Mar-45 (BPO 7) ??-Dec-42 to ??-Aug-45 (APO 503)||Cover|
|106th MCU (cover 1)
|BPO 7, 565 (both), Papua New Guinea (cover 1), Indonesia (cover 2)||Jan-20-4?
|17-Dec-43 to 27-Apr-44;
28-Apr-44 to 05-Apr-46
|107th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 21 Oct 1945|
|109th MCD||678, HQ, Middle East Service Cmd, Egypt||NA||2-Mar-42 to 31-Oct-45||National Archives record, report dated 28 Jun 1945|
|112th MCD||BPO 7, 503 (in return address), Papua New Guinea; no APO, Karachi, India||Aug-7-44||??-Dec-42 to ??-Aug-45||Cover;
National Archives record, report dated 31 Dec 1944
|113th MCD||690, Asanol, Gushkara, Panagar, and Ondal, India, 217, Madhaiganj and Pandaveswar, India, 630, Gaya, India||NA||01-Feb-43 to 16-Apr-46 ??-Aug-44 to ??-Feb-46 05-Dec-42 to 15-Dec-45||National Archives record, report dated 28 Jan 1946|
|116th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 12 Mar 1945|
|117th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 19 Oct 1945|
|118th Medical Composite Unit (Malaria Control and Malaria Survey)||601, Roberts Field, Liberia||NA||??-May-42 to ??-May-46||National Archives record, report dated 1 Jan 1945|
|124th MCD||494, Replacement Depot No.3, India||NA||22-Jan-44 to 10-Apr-46||National Archives record, report dated 14 Jan 1946|
|164th MCD||433, Tezgaon, India||NA||23-Oct-43 to 16-Apr-46||National Archives record, report dated (no day) Jan 1946|
|166th MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 19 Oct 1945|
|169th MCD||465, Calcutta, India||NA||15-Mar-43 to 31-Mar-48||National Archives record, report dated 15 Apr 1946|
|170th MCD||No APO, Tinsukia, India; transferred to 627(?), Kunming, China||NA||??-Sep42 to 07-Dec-45||National Archives record, report not dated|
|171st MCD||689, HQ, Northern Combat Area Cmd., Ledo, India,||NA||13-Jan-43 to 15-Jan-46||National Archives record, report dated 21 Oct 1945|
|174th MCD||885, SOS USAF CBI, India (stationed at Warasup, Burma), then 671, Hastings Mills, Calcutta, India, then 433, Tezgaon, India||NA||??-Jun-42 to ??-Nov-46 23-Oct-43 to 16-Apr-46 25-Apr-44 to 16-Apr-46|
|2655th MCD||400, Italy; 534, Algeria, HQ North African Theater; 766, Italy; 650, Italy, HQ, 12th Air Force & Air Service Cmd; 528, Corsica, 12th Air Force Service Cmd||Jun-21-44||Corresponding APO dates:
1-Nov-43 to 17-Aug-45
8-Jan-43 to 4-Dec-44
11 Oct-43 to 12-Nov-45
30-Nov-43 to 30-Nov-45
1-Mar-44 to 6-Oct-44
SOS=Services of Supply, USAF=United States Armed Forces
|Malaria Unit||APO, Location||Date on Cover||Date APO in Service||Source|
|6th Malaria Survey Detachment (MSD)||74, Clark Field, Philippines||194?||25-Feb-45 to 31-Dec-64||Cover|
|7th, 8th, 9th, 18th, 35th, and 36th Malaria Survey Units (MSUs)||885, India||NA||??-Jun-42 to ??-Nov-46||National Archives record, report dated 7 Apr 1944|
|8th MSU||627, HQ, 14th Air ForceServ. Of Supply, China Theater Kunming>||NA||??-Sep42 to 07-Dec-45||National Archives record, report dated 2 March 1945|
|9th MSU||465, Calcutta, India||NA||15-Mar-43 to 31-Mar-48||National Archives record, report dated 01 Jan 1944|
|14th MSU||BPO 2, Morocco 600 (in return address), Algeria||Nov-15-43||Nov-18-42 to 15-Sep-43 (BPO 2), Nov-22-42 to Dec-??-44 (APO 600)||Cover|
|14th MSU||605, Roberts Field, Liberia||Jun-07-43||Jun-22-42 to June-??-46||Cover|
|17th MSD||70, Philippines||Jan-17-46||Jan-11-45 to May-31-46||Cover|
|18th MSU||689, Ledo, Assam, India, Base Section Three||NA||Jan-13-43 to Jan-15-46||National Archives record report dated 01 October 1945|
|19th MSU, later cover is 19th MSD||622, Dakar, Senegal (2 covers)||Mar-21-44, Jun-06-45||Jan-01-43 to Mar-15-46||Cover|
|21st MSU||717, Munda, New Georgia Is, Solomon Is||Jul-26-44||Nov-20-43 to Mar-15-45||Cover|
|26th MSU||320, Papua New Guinea||Mar-04-1944||Nov-01-43 to Sep-19-44||Cover|
|29th MSU||622 629 (in return address), Dakar, Senegal||Sep-09-1944||Jan-01-43 to Mar-15-45 (APO 622) Nov-02-42 to Apr-07-46 (APO 629)||Cover|
|35th MSU||689, Ledo, Assam, India, Base Section Three||Aug-24-1944||Jan-13-43 to Jan-15-46||Cover|
|36th MS?||210, China||Feb-24-1945||Mar-23-44 to Dec-31-45||Cover|
|42nd MSU||709, Solomon Islands||May-24-1944||Dec-13-42 to Nov-04-49||Cover|
|205th MSU||717, Philippines||Oct-13-1945||Mar-13-45 to Mar-15-46||Cover|
|209th MSU||BPO 7,
5367 (in return address), temporary APO, Philippines
|Jul-15-1945||Mar-??-45 to Nov-??-45||Cover|
|212th MSU||No APO, West African Service Command, USAF in the Middle East||NA||NA||National Archives record, report dated 3 Jul 1944|
|218th MSD||81, Philippines||Jul-23-1945||May-06-45 to Sept-17-45||Cover|
|421st MSD||12, Philippines||Jun-29-1945||Jan-11-45 to May-31-46||Cover|
|443rd MSD||709, Solomon Islands||Jul-11-1945||Dec-13-42 to Nov-04-49||Cover|
Billings, B. US postal machines of the Army Post Offices - World War II. October 2006
Coates JB, ed. Preventive medicine in World War II. Volume VI. Communicable diseases.
Malaria. Office of the Surgeon General. Medical Department, United States Army. Washington, DC. 1963.
- Forte J, Helbuck RW. A price guide to the U.S. A.P.O. cancels of the Second World War.Lake Oswego (OR): La Posta Publications. 1996.