Random Thoughts from Archives II–The Joys and Frustrations of Historical Research, and, the 1969 Soccer War

Yesterday I was in the lovely reading room of Archives II in College Park, MD coming down the home stretch on my research into the history of the Navy’s first hospital on the U. S. west coast at Mare Island. For those who’ve researched there, you no doubt appreciate, as I do, the lovely large space with its huge glass wall facing a relaxing and peaceful forest view. As is frequently the case, my research was slogging along, following somewhat boring bureaucratic correspondence when, as my time was running out, I hit on yet another vein of gold–maps and images of the place as it existed just before its 1957 closure. Doggone! time’s up: I’ll have to wait now until my next trip in September to finish out this final string of good information. The joy and frustration of research.

While I was transcribing my notes, I had my screen split between the notes and the webcast of the Uruguay / South Korea World Cup football match. My thoughts drifted back to the 4 day “Soccer War” between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969–a conflict that was the culmination of immigration-related tensions between the two countries. Some commentators say the war was ultimately sparked by World Cup qualifying matches between their national teams. Descriptions on the number of civilian and military war casualties vary between 3,000 and 5,000, but in a quick internet search, I was unable to find any commentary on the medical aspects to casualty care. Does anyone know about the medical care rendered to the military personnel in the conflict? I know no Naval forces were involved (it was largely an air war, according to internet coverage…), but “Soccer War Medicine” might carry an interesting story.

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