CHARLES L. BRASS
First Lieutenant | Medical Service Corps
By the end of hostilities in 1945, the 6th Division was the most heavily engaged Army unit still fighting Japanese forces – and they had been at it continuously for 219 days on Luzon following 87 days in New Guinea. The aggressive terrain was a nightmare for supply and evacuation for the 6th Medical Battalion where many of the collecting company personnel had to pass litters by hand down jungle mountains. Sergeant Charles L. Brass, in the D Company clearing station, had a bit more of a static position during campaigns where he was tasked with managing the care, shelter, and evacuation of Division casualties. He felt blessed to have the haven of a tent over a foxhole, but he often missed days of rest just as the line companies did and was constantly exposed to the carnage resulting from war.
When the 6th Division occupied Korea in mid-October, not one member had heard of the country before. The same ignorance of the remote land was evident five years later when the war broke out. Brass, however, having been there following World War II, was vaguely familiar with the area when he returned in January 1951 to serve with the 5th RCT’s Medical Company.
For the next year and a half, his experience was very much the same as it had been in World War II. Similar terrain with logistical supply issues and inadequate facilities made his job draining, but he strived to improve what he could. He was commended for going beyond his duties and creating a provisional laboratory within the collecting station to diagnose and treat patients more efficiently in a country where disease was rampant and major cause of non-battle casualties.
Upon leaving the Army in 1954, he enrolled in the Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1957, a masters in entomology in 1958, and was working towards a doctorate when he passed away in 1962.
(1) "Annual Report of the Ohio Academy of Science 1963." Ohio Journal of Science 63.4 (1963): 181. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.