The Regional Review

Volume V - Nos. 2 & 3

August-September, 1940

Man-building in the CCC

Beneficial results of Civilian Conservation Corps camp life, work, and training upon the general health of youthful enrollees are reflected strikingly by a report forwarded recently by the War Department to James J. McEntee, Corps director. The document, based on a large body of statistical data compiled and studied by the staff of the Surgeon General, showed that the CCC has been particularly successful in improving the national usefulness of young men who were substandard in weight when they entered the Corps. An average gain of 8.6 pounds was recorded for all junior enrollees spending six months in training.

Twenty-five per cent of enrollees entering the Corps were so far below normal weight that CCC requirements had to be waived to permit enrollment, the report pointed out, while another 45 per cent, although meeting minimum requirements, were below standard upon acceptance. Figures showed that on completion of service the percentage of youths who were substandard had been reduced from 70 to 40 per cent. A dramatic feature of the report was the discovery that the greatest improvement was made in the group most needing it, those who were below minimum acceptable weight. They represented 25 per cent of the organization at the time of enrollment, but upon discharge all save 4 per cent had advanced beyond the inacceptable class. The chief gain was made in the first two months of service.

The report directed attention to the low CCC typhoid, tuberculosis, and pneumonia rate, commenting that the Corps has made "a very significant contribution to medical science through the experiment on immunization against pneumonia which was inaugurated on a nationwide scale October 1, 1937, after preliminary tests had suggest ed the value of the vaccine developed by Dr. Lloyd C. Felton, then of Johns Hopkins University." Results obtained from treating about 115,000 enrollees "indicate that the vaccine has definite value as a preventative of pneumonia."

Director McEntee described the data as demonstrating the value of the CCC as a means of improving the health and physical hardihood of young men. "There is no doubt," lie asserted, "that the Corps, through its physical preparedness program, has made and is continuing to make a vital contribution to national defense. The Corps' man-building program includes regular hours, healthful surroundings, good food and living conditions, proper medical and dental care as well as periodic physical examinations, vaccination against typhoid and small pox, daily calisthenics for junior enrollees, health and safety training, and a full day's work, five days a week."

During the period from April 1933 to September 1, 1940, a total of approximately 2,500,000 had been enrolled in the Corps, some 2,300,000 of them juniors.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002