In a little-remembered episode of American surgical history, more than 2 years before the nation's formal entry into World War I in April 1917, teams of surgeons and their support personnel had already been deployed in France. The surgeons' service at the Ambulance Américaine in Paris and at other smaller hospital facilities in the French countryside brought about the efficient integration of civilian American medicine into World War I's military structure. Under the leadership of George Crile and Harvey Cushing, this early American surgical presence in France created remarkable organizational and scientific advances in military medicine and prepared the United States to go to war.
Rutkow EI, Rutkow IM. George Crile, Harvey Cushing, and the Ambulance AméricaineMilitary Medical Preparedness in World War I. Arch Surg. 2004;139(6):678-685. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.6.678