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Exceptional Medical Replacement Draft - What the heck is this?

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I've been researching the records of a soldier from North Carolina who was trained at Camp Wadsworth, S.C.  In 1918 he was shipped overseas with "EXCEPTIONAL MEDICAL REPLACEMENT DRAFT UNIT #25"


I'm rather well versed with the organization of the US Army in WWI but this category of unit has completely eluded my attempts to discern exactly what it was and what it's intention was.


There are a few references to some other Exceptional Medical Replacement Draft Unit(s) #XX etc. originating at other training camps but no details nor descriptions of these units.


Anyone familiar with this WWI term on the AEF Order of Battle?

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The "Exceptional Medical Replacement Draft Unit #25" would have been a temporary unit to move men from camp to overseas assignments.  Not sure what would have made them "Exceptional".  What was his unit listed for the return voyage?  

Without data, your just another person with an opinion...................


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  • 2 weeks later...


I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe that men who made up an "Exceptional Medical Replacement Draft" replaced men who had already boarded troop transport ships bound for France. Those men were removed at the last minute for any number of reasons - usually for showing signs of VD. Other reasons might include: desertion, falling down a ladder and breaking a bone, insanity, drug addiction, or being placed under arrest.


Most troop ship had last minute medical inspections to ensure that none of the men had communicable or venereal diseases. Embarkation officials would not allow any Army organization to board a troop ship if it was a man or two short. Once the men were onboard, if any were removed for medical or other reasons, the ship would not be allowed to sail until those men had been replaced.


Replacements (regardless of how much training they had or didn't have) were drafted from the nearest training camp and rushed to the port of embarkation as quickly as possible. I'm guessing that in those situations that the circumstances were considered:


1. "Exceptional" - because the War Department did not want to hold up a ship any longer than was absolutely necessary.

2. "Medical" - because the majority of the men needed to be replaced for medical reasons.

3. "Replacement Drafts" - because, well ... the men were replacements drafted in to whatever unit they were needed.

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Good guesses but this was a large replacement draft and the entire contingent of officers and men were assigned to the Medical Corps


Excerpt from the shipping manifests


(5) Officers and (250) Privates, no NCO's 


Med Draft 001.jpg


Med Draft 002.jpg


Exceptional Medical Replacement Unit #24 also departed from Camp Wadsworth with (5) Officers and (250) Men of the Medical Corps


Exceptional Medical Replacement Unit #46 departed from Camp Travis with (5) Officers and (250) Men of the Medical Corps


These replacement drafts appear to be standardized so what is an EXCEPTIONAL MEDICAL REPLACEMENT UNIT?

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