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28th Combat Support Hospital
28th Combat Support Hospital.jpeg
Distinctive unit insignia
Active 1943–1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Type Combat support hospital
Size ~500–600 personnel authorized strength
Part of 44th Medical Brigade
Garrison/HQ Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Nickname(s) China Dragons

World War II

Gulf War

Iraq War

The 28th Combat Support Hospital (28th CSH) is a combat support hospital of the United States Army. It was first constituted in 1943 and served in China during World War II. During the Gulf War in 1990, it was the first Army hospital unit established and deployed into Iraq with combat forces of the XVIII Airborne Corps. More recently it has been involved in relief operations following natural disasters and has undertaken several recent deployments to Iraq. Currently the unit falls under the command of the 44th Medical Brigade and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


The 28th Combat Support Hospital was originally constituted on 25 May 1943.[1] It was activated the following month in the Army of the United States as the 28th Portable Surgical Hospital based at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.[2] Following this it was deployed to the China Burma India Theater of World War II for which it was awarded two campaign participation credits: "China Defensive" and "China Offensive". For their involvement in the campaign the unit received the special designation of the "China Dragons".[3] Following the end of hostilities, the unit was deactivated on 20 December 1945 in India.[2]

With the expansion of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, the decision was made to reactivate the unit in 1967. This occurred on 25 July, however, prior to that occurring, the unit was officially redesignated as the 28th Surgical Hospital on 18 April 1967 and allotted to the Regular Army. Upon reactivation, the 28th were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and were brought up to operational status, fielding the Medical Unit Self-Contained Transportable (MUST) system, which replaced the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) system that had previously been used.[1][4] On 21 December 1972, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 28th Combat Support Hospital.[2]

In 1990, the 28th CSH deployed to Southwest Asia as part of the US contribution to the Gulf War. They were the first Army hospital to be set up during Operation Desert Shield and later during the ground operations phase of the conflict, the 28th CSH crossed into Iraq in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps.[1] Prior to the deployment, the hospital was still equipped with the old MUST equipment as it had not been scheduled to receive the new Deployable Medical System (DEPMEDS) equipment until 1992, however, due to the urgency of the situation they were rapidly re-equipped.[4] The 28th CSH remained in Iraq for a month following the end of the war, during which time it treated a number of Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war.[1] For its involvement in the Gulf War, the 28th CSH received two campaign participation credits: "Defense of Saudi Arabia" and "Liberation and Defense of Kuwait".[2]

Following this the unit returned to the United States, after which it undertook a number of disaster relief operations. In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, the unit was deployed to Homestead, Florida in August 1992 to provide assistance. Later, in September 1994, the 28th CSH deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. They also deployed to St. Thomas, in the United States Virgin Islands, in October 1995 to support the Hurricane Marilyn relief operations.[1]

In 2001 the 28th CSH was deployed to the Balkans before taking part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[5] Subsequently they established themselves in an Iraqi hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad.[6][7] In 2006, the unit was deployed to Baghdad again, undertaking a 15-month tour stationed at Ibn Sina Hospital. In October 2009, the 28th Combat Support Hospital deployed once again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where it operated medical treatment facilities in several different locations around the country providing world class health care to service members, DOD civilians, US contractors, third country nationals, Iraqi civilians, and many others. The 28th CSH continued to serve during Operation New Dawn and redeployed back to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in October 2010 after 12 months of meritorious service.[8]

Role and structure

The 28th Combat Support Hospital is currently attached to the 44th Medical Brigade and is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.[9] Equipped with DEPMEDS equipment, it is tasked with providing Level III combat health support when deployed.[1][Note 1] The DEPMEDS system consists of "canvas tents that are connected to hard-sided boxes" which, when fully established, requires an area of 25 acres (100,000 m2),[10] and provides a suite of medical facilities and support equipment that allows the unit to perform a large number of functions similar to that of more permanent facilities including pharmacology, radiology and surgery. It has a 296-bed capacity,[10] although only 96 of these are able to be used for patients requiring intensive care.[1] At the same time it maintains the ability to detach sub-units to task force level operations to provide front-line medical and surgical support.[1] When the hospital is not deployed, or has not been assigned a patient care role, it is tasked with supporting the XVIII Airborne Corps Rapid Deployment Force, and undertaking a range of tasks as part of the Fort Bragg garrison.[1]

The hospital has an authorized strength of between 500 to 600 personnel, of whom about 30 are physicians.[1][10] However, when not deployed it consists only of a small cadre staff who undertake various administrative tasks to keep the unit operational, while the majority of its medical personnel are stationed elsewhere at permanent facilities where they can use their training on a daily basis. When the unit is warned out for deployment, however, these personnel are recalled to the unit.[4][10] During these periods, the hospital is commanded by a Medical Service Corps officer who is responsible for maintaining the unit administratively, however, upon assuming a patient care role, a Medical Corps officer, who is a qualified physician, takes over command of the unit.[4]

The unit possesses its own command, management and administrative support elements and consists of the following sub-units:

  • HHD
  • A Co
  • B Co
  • 759th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne)
  • 240th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne)
  • 274th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne)
  • 541st FST
  • 432nd BLD DET
  • 51st Med Log Co
  • 44th Med TM Pathology
  • 207th Med TM Head & Neck.[11]


Campaign participation credit

  • World War II: China Defensive; China Offensive;
  • Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.[2]



  1. Level III combat health support is defined as resuscitation, initial wound surgery and post operative treatment. Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Operations, Annex A to Appendix C, pp. 1–2.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "28th Combat Support Hospital". Global Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "28th Combat Support Hospital (China Dragons)". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  3. "Regular Army/Reserve Special Designation Listing—By Number". United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Donohue, Hugh. "A Combat Support Hospital in the Gulf War". American College of Physician Executives. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  5. Hodges 2007, p. 14.
  6. Gawande 2004, p. 2474.
  7. Hodges 2007, p. 94.
  8. Boivin, Janet. "Members of the 28th Combat Support Hospital Survive Extended Tour in Iraq". Southwest Nursing News. Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  9. "44th MEDCOM: Our Units". United States Army. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Hodges 2007, p. 13.
  11. "28th Combat Support Hospital units". United States Army. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "28th Combat Support Hospital".

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