US Army Service Command Unit, SCU

Discussion in 'USA' started by Earthican, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    On another thread I researched the acronym SCU and found it stood for Service Command Unit. This is the most I found about SCU's:

    "1473rd SCU was at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

    I believe that every Army installation in the Z.I. had it own uniquely numbered SCU during WWII (they were known as Corps Area Service Units - CASU - before the Service Commands were established in 1941 to free the Corps for tactical duty overseas). A complete SCU roster would be a useful reference but I have never seen one.

    In the absence of a complete list, here is one useful clue for quickly narrowing down an SCU's location: The second digit in an SCU number corresponds to the Service Command area where the SCU is located. Hence, 1473rd SCU at Camp Shelby was in 4th Service Command's area."

    If anybody knows more about SCU's please respond. Were any deployed overseas?

    In researching this I found a number of people around the Internet who have their relatives discharge certificate which shows an SCU. I suspect these men were wounded or ill but their relatives are mistakenly believing their relative "served" with an SCU.

    This is a pretty good example, but the discharge certificate also sites "Convalescent Hospital".

    Private First Class Donald Paul Lynch

    This was posted on This gentlemen was found to be Military Police.

    "Good Day to everyone. My dear grandfather, Franklin Furlow served in the Army during WWII. He was part of the 1881st service command unit and received a purple heart.
    Also, it states he was wounded in action in Lagonia, Italy in 1943. I have done some research but cannot find such a place in Italy."

    This is an interesting Filipino-American veterans site. The return date of 25 Dec 1944 leads me to think he was wounded or sick.

    3860th Service Command Unit, United States Army

    I might be wrong about all this. I don't know what connection an SCU would have with the hospitals.
  2. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    The Service Command Units are pretty well covered (though without a numerical listing) in the official US Army history of WW2. The Volume on the Army Service Forces is at The Organization and Role of The Army Service Forces

    Basically, these were what today we would call Base support units, Garrison Command units, or Installation and Management units. There also seem to have been a great number of specialised units, by mission. The vast majority were stationed in the Continental US, and basically ran the various bases, though the role and responsibility of the Army Service Forces continually changed throughout the war. I find some references to Service Command Units going overseas, but I am not sure in what capacity. Sorry to not have more info, but this is not my field.

    After about 1942, the Army Service Forces included the Army Medical Department, but the responsibility for running General Hospitals remained with the Surgeon General. To see if the Service Command Units ran base hospitals or something similar (which would not surprise me), you'd have to look deeper into the ASF functions than I have time for at present.

    Take a look at: Office of Medical History - Medical Department in WWII

    Earthican likes this.
  3. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Thanks Doc,

    For some reason I did not think the ASF volume of the Green Books was online, except as down-loadable PDF. Google searches for "service command army" even fail to put it near the top of the returns.

    As you noted there is not much discussion of the SCU's but more of the nine regional Service Commands, and still only in general terms. When discussing their functions at the installations they never mention SCU, only their functions.

    This is probably the sentence you paraphrased. It certainly leaves open the possibility that the patients of the post hospitals, like those of the general hospitals, would fall under the personnel system of the installation SCU.

    "So as military posts, the general hospitals were placed under the commanders of service commands; but as centers of medical care, the general hospitals remained under The Surgeon General."

    The only time I have gained any insight into the US Army medical treatment system off the battlefield in WWII was reading the letters of an Army Surgeon in Europe. Tedious but interesting.

    Browsing your links, I am coming to the conclusion that it might be more productive to search Personnel Administration and see if they have a section on the status of patients through the medical system.

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