General Hospital 21/Base Hospital 21 Washington University School of Medicine Bernard Becker Medical Library
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21st General Hospital crest

Medicine in Times of Need


The 21st General Hospital and Base Hospital 21 Collections consist of almost 2000 items relating to the service of these Army hospital units in the First and Second World Wars. The items include photographic prints, negatives, lantern slides, sketches, documents, and memorabilia from several collections donated by members (or relatives of members) of these medical units.

The unit’s crest (above, right) was approved on July 26, 1942. The overall shape of the crest is that of the acacia tree. The maroon background is superimposed with a yellow fleur-de-lis and a silver nightingale. The silver scroll at the base bears the Latin inscription, “REVIRESCO.” The acacia tree was selected because the astringent medicine, catechu or cutch, is drawn from this thorny Egyptian tree. Maroon is a color used for the Army Medical Department. The fleur-de-lis represents the unit’s service in France, and the nightingale is symbolic of Florence Nightingale’s unprecedented medical efforts. “Reviresco” means “I flourish again,” and is indicative of the unit’s prime mission, the rejuvenation of patients.

Base Hospital 21 and the 21st General Hospital both served the United States with distinction. Since the Second World War, the unit has been allotted to the Army Reserve Corps and assigned to the Fifth Army under the 102d U.S. Army Reserve Command. The unit was partially activated in 1990 to serve in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. After the inactivation of the 102d ARCOM, the unit was assigned to the 89th Regional Support Command in 1996 under the United States Army Reserve Command. The 21st General Hospital medical staff continues to serve proudly and have been selected to provide support to missions in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, Egypt, Italy and Germany. Contingency deployments have been made to Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The unit today is organized as a 500-bed Deployable Medical Systems General Hospital and is the only Army Reserve Medical unit in the St. Louis area.

On September 16, 2004, the 21st General Hospital will inactivate and become the 301st Combat Support Hospital. This will close the military history books on the unit, as it has been known for almost 90 years. The record of the meritorious service and outstanding history of Base Hospital 21 and the 21st General Hospital live on, however, in the United States Military Archives and in the archival collections held by the Washington University School of Medicine’s Bernard Becker Medical Library.

Can you help us? Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, informative, and that the subjects in these photographs have been correctly identified. However, some of the photographs in these collections do not include any information regarding the subjects’ identities. In some cases there is even conflicting information regarding identities. If you discover an error or have any additional information that may be of help in correctly identifying subjects, please contact us.

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