Retired Feb. 1, 1972. Died Feb. 6, 1984.
Brigadier General Harold Frederick Funsch is the command surgeon, Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
General Funsch, a native of St. Louis, Mo., was born in 1912. He began his military career with a Reserve commission as a first lieutenant upon graduating from the St. Louis University School of Medicine in June 1938. After serving an internship in St. Louis and a residency (OB-Gyn) in Omaha, Neb., he was commissioned in the Regular Army and went on active duty as attending physician at Fort Omaha in February 1940.
After completing the flight surgeon course, School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas, in the fall of 1940, he became flight surgeon and obstetrician at Scott Field, Ill. Following a short tour as base surgeon, Romulus, Mich., he went to South America as wing surgeon of the South Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command, Natal, Brazil. There his area of responsibility extended from Trinidad to the west coast of Africa.
He left Brazil in September 1943, and in March 1944 became deputy surgeon, Headquarters Air Transport Command, Washington, D.C., and two years later transferred to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., as surgeon and hospital commander, Headquarters Command.
In 1946 following World War II, Dr. Funsch was attending physician for a group of dignitaries on an around-the-world flight. Among some of those present were Senator Stuart Symington (Mo.), then undersecretary of war for air; Senator Millard Tydings (Md.); postmaster general Robert E. Hannegan; Lowell Thomas, Jr., and numerous other personalities.
During this trip the Philippine Islands were officially given their independence. Ernie Pyle's grave was honored. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials were visited. At that time fewer than 300 people had circled the world by aircraft.
In 1948 he was transferred from the Army Air Corps to the U.S. Air Force.
From October 1949 to January 1959 he served as hospital commander at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; Wiesbaden, Germany; Sampson Air Force Base, N.Y.; and Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. In 1959 he was assigned as deputy surgeon, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In February 1962 he transferred to Fuchu Air Station, Japan, as surgeon, Headquarters Fifth Air Force. After returning to the United States in November 1963, he was assigned to his present position at Military Airlift Command Headquarters.
He initiated Little League baseball in Europe, forming leagues among the dependent children. He became the first European Little League commissioner of baseball. Later in Japan he held the same position in the Far East.
He has been active in base federal credit unions, having held offices including that of president in three credit unions.
He is president of the Society of USAF Flight Surgeons. In addition, he is an executive council member and a member of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Aerospace Medical Association.
He is the author of numerous scientific papers pertaining to hospital management, aeromedical evacuation, and obstetrics and gynecology, among which are "Jet Age Evacuation of Vietnam Casualties," Medical Times, September 1966; "All-Service Airlift AIDS Medical Care," U.S. Medicine, Jan. 1, 1967; "Worldwide Aeromedical Evaluation and Recent Developments," Lectures in Aerospace Medicine, 6-9 February 1967; "Wings for Wounded Warriors," Journal of the American Medical Association, May 1, 1967; "Aeromedical Evacuation's New Look," The Retired Officer Magazine, October 1967; "Flying Hospital Wards," Aerospace Historian, Winter 1967; and "Improved Clinical Care Aloft," Military Medicine, August 1968.
During World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, he has been associated with the aerial evacuation of patients. For this reason he is referred to by many as "Mr. Air Evac."
He received commendations from the chiefs of staff of the Japan Air Self Defense Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force for his work as an adviser to the Air Force surgeons general of those countries.
General (then Lieutenant Colonel) Funsch was the Air Force representative on a joint study panel for Admiral Nimitz (commander in chief Pacific) in World War II to estimate the American casualties expected and means of their evacuation in the event of a U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.