V-Mail, Edward J Campau, and the 19th Malaria Survey Unit

(Published: January, 2018, Volume 18, Number 1, Issue #46) (Table Of Contents)
(Author: Kelly Horn)

Malaria survey units, as the name implies, were created to monitor mosquito activity in areas where our soldiers would be. These units also looked for other insect-borne diseases, such as filariasis and dengue. Malaria control units accompanied these units in implement the survey unit's recommendations. Approximately twice as many malaria control units (143) were deployed than malaria survey units (63) throughout the different theaters of the war (Coates, 1963). Malaria survey units consisted of 2 officers (an entomologist and a parasitologist) and 11 enlisted men.

In a series of V-mails from soldier Edward Campau, one can trace the movement of the 19th malaria survey unit for part of the war. V-mail was a process to reduce the cost of mailing by decreasing the volume of the mail. Wikipedia has more information.

Corporal Campau writes in this first letter dated Aug 18, 1943 that he enlisted 8 months ago (Nov 20, 1942 [WII US Army Enlistment Records website]), which fits in with the activation date of the 19th malaria survey unit on March 20, 1943. He was likely assigned to the malaria survey unit after completing basic training. The "A.S.N." stands for "Army Serial Number," which was used to distinguish those with similar names.

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The following is the envelope that the previous V-mail was sent in, which indicates that it took about a month from writing the mail to the post office receiving the mail.

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The high APO (army post office) number of 4609 on the next V-mail indicates that it is a temporary APO. Note that the censor was (Captain) Charles M Vaugh, the parasitologist of the 19th malaria survey unit. A censor for the mail sent from a unit was often one of the officers of that unit.

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After completing his training as a member of a malaria survey unit, somewhere in the eastern United States as indicated by his New York City return address, Corporal Campau traveled to New Orleans, LA, the port of embarkation for the 19th malaria survey unit (Mosley 1943).

In the Nov 4, 1943 V-mail, APO 523, Corporal Campau is near Teheran, Iran (Carter 2001). The malaria survey unit was part of the US Army Forces in the Middle East that served the war activities from Senegal to Iran, as of December 1943 (Coates, 1963).

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Nov 23, 1943, APO 783 (Khorramabad, Iran), Corporal Campau writes that he's "...still here in Iran."

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As of Dec 12, 1943, Corporal Campau was still in the Iran area (APO 783) but would soon be moving to the African theater. Iran was important because materiel was moved from the Persian Gulf ports across Iran to the USSR.

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The V-mail from Dec 22, 1943, APO 616 (Camp Huckstep, Egypt), indicates that malaria survey unit has moved into Africa.

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A year transpires between the V-mails that were in this group of postal history material. Edward Campau is now a Technician Fourth Grade and is still in Africa but has moved farther west with his APO 622 of Dakar, Senegal. His military unit is now referred to as a medical composite unit due to organizational changes in the Army.

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This series of V-mails from Edward Campau shows the movement of the 19th malaria survey (medical composite) unit from the eastern US through the African-Middle East Theater of WWII. Other members of his malaria survey unit were Captain Charles M Vaughn (parasitologist), Captain Henry A Dunn (entomologist) (Hudnal, 1943), and Sergeant Eldon H Newcomb (cover dated Mar 21, 1944).

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Dr Edward Campau served for 3 years in the 19th malaria survey unit and later earned a PhD in economic entomology from the University of Wisconsin. He lived a long life, as noted in his obituary. http://www.erleweinmortuary.com/obituaries/Edward-Campau/#!/Obituary


  1. Carter R, Numbered Army & Air Force post office locations, 7th Edition, Volume 1, BPOs, PRSs, & Regular APOs (1941-1964). Military Postal History Society. 2001.
  2. Coates, JB, Jr, Colonel. Communicable diseases. Malaria. Volume VI. Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, Washington, DC. 1963.
  3. Hudnal JR, Colonel, Medical Corps Assistant. Memorandum for the Adjutant General. April 6, 1943. From the National Archives and Records Administration.
  4. Mosley Kirk T, Medical Corps. Memorandum for Chief, Military Personnel, Surgeon General Office. April 2, 1943. From the National Archives and Records Administration.
  5. WWII US Army Enlistment Records. http://wwii-enlistment.com/search/?q=36411020&select=asn&quick-search=1
  6. V-mail. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-mail
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