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By Lacey Gardner

Author Michael Gabriel to present this Sunday at the Eldred WWII Museum


Physician Soldier: The South Pacific Letters of Captain Fred Gabriel from the 39th Station Hospital

Former Bradford resident Michael P. Gabriel will give a presentation on Sunday, August 13, at 1:30 P.M. at the Eldred World War II Museum

From the Eldred WWII Museum,

The book is a compilation of over 300 letters that Gabriel’s father wrote to his family in Eldred, PA, during World War II.  The letters and approximately fifty accompanying photos provide a gold mine of information on the war, although the 39th Station Hospital saw only limited combat and was usually stationed in rear areas.

The correspondence begins in February 1942, when Gabriel was a resident at the Thomas Jefferson Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia, and follow him and his unit’s training at Camp Barkeley and Sheppard Field, Texas, and the Desert Training Center in Yuma, Arizona. The vast majority of the letters and pictures cover from January 1944 to December 1945, when he deployed to the South Pacific and was stationed on Guadalcanal, Angaur, and Saipan.

The letters cover a wide range of topics such as the varied responsibilities of medical officers and female nurses, a Bob Hope USO show, the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the end of the war in Europe, the atomic bomb, and growing frustration with the slow return of troops from the Pacific. The letters also offer insights into the home front, as Gabriel responded to his parents’ and friends’ correspondence. He commented on bond drives, rationing, other Eldred residents serving in the war, and a variety of domestic and international events, such as the San Francisco Conference. 

Gabriel later worked as a radiologist at the Bradford Regional Hospital from 1966-1981.

 Michael P. Gabriel is Chair of the Department of History at Kutztown University.  He is the author of three books on the American Revolutionary War.

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