Dr. William W. Lusk, Battalion Beach Doctor, USS Leon (Pt. 1)

This past Spring I had the good fortune to locate and meet the Lusk family from the Carlinville, IL, area. Their Dad was Dr. William Lusk. Dr. Lusk was a physician who earned his medical degree in 1936 from Rush Medical School in Chicago. He and his wife, La Verne, looked around the Midwest for a community that needed a doctor… and they ended up in Carlinville. Except for time off while he served in WWII, Dr. Lusk became a proverbial country doctor, practicing in Carlinville until his retirement.

I  was thrilled to learn this story, because I knew of Dr. Lusk as a surgeon and a senior medical staff member aboard the attack transport USS Leon APA 48. According to Navy records, that senior medical team included:

  • Dr. Richard L. Pearse, Lieut. Commander, Sr. Medical Officer
  • Dr. Arnold W. Friedman, Lieut. (jg), Jr. Medical Officer
  • Dr. Gerald S. Almond, Lieut., Dental Officer
  • Dr. William W. Lusk, Lieut., Battalion Bach Doctor.

I had learned that Dr. Lusk was the Battalion Beach Doctor on Blue Beach 2 during the amphibious assault at Saipan, June 15, 1944. He and his eight corpsmen treated wounded Marines, sailors, and soldiers at the beach aid station day and night for two and one-half days under unrelenting mortar and artillery fire. He also triaged on the beach, diagnosing the wounded and prioritizing patient transfers to the Leon for advanced care.

One of the men he probably examined and treated on D day was the Leon’s Boat Group Commander, Lt. (jg) Joe McDevitt, my Dad.

Here’s the great news: the Lusk family shared some fabulous pictures with us, including pictures of Dr. Lusk and those young corpsmen who served during five amphibious assaults in the Pacific. We are touching up those pictures now; we can’t wait to show them to you. But the picture below is the one we always ask for first: a portrait in uniform.

This picture was probably taken after Dr. Lusk completed his medical training program with the Navy and was appointed Lieutenant in the U. S. Navy.

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Lt. William W. Lusk, Battalion Beach Doctor, USS Leon

Here’s a hero!

Source: Lusk Family Album