World War II brought about the first large scale use of aircraft for the movement of patients. The scale is apparent by the following statistics, which cover all patient movements both within and between all war zones:
These figures might be interpreted as indicating that the airplane was the primary method the military used in moving patients during the periods covered. Actually, this was not the case except in certain instances, and in certain sectors of fighting. Air evacuation was really a supplemental and emergency measure, whereas the surface means was the primary and major method used. As an example, the greatest number of patients from overseas returned to the United States in any one month during the war was in August, 1945. During that month 47,200 were debarked from ships, and 8,800 from airplanes.
Following the cessation of World War II hostilities, the Army, of which the Air Force
Hall BGWF. AIR EVACUATION. JAMA. 1951;147(11):1026–1028. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670280028007