Alexander Patch

Alexander Patch, the son of an army officer, was born in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, United States on 23rd November, 1889. He attended the West Point Military Academy and graduated in 1913 (75/93) and joined the 13th Infantry Regiment in Texas. He saw action in Mexico and in France during the First World War and by 1918 had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After the war Patch studied at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth and spent twelve years as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Staunton. Promoted to colonel he was placed in charge of the recruitment camp at Camp Croft in North Carolina.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Patch was promoted to major general and sent to New Caledonia. As head of the 164th Regiment he joined Alexander Vandegrift and his US Marines on Guadalcana on 13th October 1942. Patch led a counter-offensive against the Japanese Army and secured victory on 9th February 1943.

In May 1943 Patch returned to the United States where he was placed in charge of the 4th Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was also given responsibility for the Desert Training Center.

Patch returned to front-line duties when he was placed in charge of the US 7th Army which landed in France near Toulon on 15th August, 1944. His troops advanced up the Rhone Valley and captured the Saar on 15th March 1945. He then went on to force the surrender of German troops under the command of Hermann Balck.

In July 1945 Patch was promoted to lieutenant general and placed in command of the 4th Army based in San Antonio, Texas. Alexander Patch died of pneumonia on 21st November 1945.

Patch Archives

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General Alexander McCarrell Patch, 1889-1945

General Alexander Patch (1889-1945) was one of the few US commanders to fight in both the Pacific and European theatres, commanding on Guadalcanal and during Operation Dragoon.

Patch was born into an army family at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1889, the son of a cavalry captain. He graduated from West Point in 1913 (75th in a class of 93) and entered the 13th Infantry Regiment, based in Texas. He served in the Mexican border in 1916, then commanded a machine gun battalion on the Western Front. During his time in France he took part in all of the main American battles, and rose in rank from captain to lieutenant colonel.

During the inter-war years he taught military science and graduated from the Command and General Staff College (1925) and the Army War College. He spent twelve years between 1921 and 1936 serving as the Professor of Military Science & Tactics at the Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. He was then appointed to the Infantry Board at Fort Benning, Georgia. This was followed by a spell at the Alabama National Guard HQ in Montgomery, the recruit camp at Fort Bragg and the Infantry Replacement Training Camp at Camp Croft, South Carolina. During this period he was promoted to Colonel.

He was promoted to brigadier-general in August 1941.

Early in 1942 Patch was sent to North Caledonia in the South Pacific, to help secure the links of communication between the US and Australia. He was promoted to Major General on 10 March 1942, and given the task of raising the Americal Division, the only US division of the Second World War to be raised outside the United States. The name was a combination of America and Caledonia, to reflect where it had been formed.

The new division&rsquos 164th Regiment moved to Guadalcanal on 13 October 1942 to reinforce the Marines under General Vandegrift, who had been fighting off a series of major Japanese attacks since August. The rest of the division soon followed, and in December Patch took over on Guadalcanal. On 2 January 1942 Patch was promoted to command the newly formed 14th Corps, while General Edmund Sebree took ver the Americal Division. Patch was in charge during the later offensive stage of the battle, which eventually saw the Japanese make the very unusual decision to evacuate their remaining troops. The battle ended on 9 February 1943.

Ill health then forced Patch back to the United States, but he was still fit enough to take command of the 4th Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington, in March 1943. From November 1943 to January 1944 he also ran the Desert Training Centre.

Patch was then moved to the European Theatre, where he took command of the staff planning for Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France. His staff was split between Algiers and Palermo, and came from the HQ of the 7th Army, which had been commanded by Patton, but was temporarily under the command of Mark Clark at the start of 1944. On 2 March 1944 Patch officially took command of the 7th Army, and on 4 July 1944 he moved his base to Naples. Patch found himself in the middle of a bitter political dispute. The British were fervently opposed to the invasion of the South of France, believing that it would have little impact on the battle in the north, and would throw away the potential benefits of the summer campaign in Italy. They would also have preferred to use any spare troops to invade the Balkans, partly because it would threaten the Germans from a new angle and partly because it would stop the Soviets occupying the area. The Americans were determined not to get involved in the Balkans, and wanted to secure Marseilles and the southern French ports. As a result Patch wasn&rsquot even sure what troops he would have until after the fall of Rome on 4 June and D-Day on 6 June. Patch was promoted to lieutenant general on 7 August 1944.

Patch&rsquos new command was a Franco-American Force, made up of the US 6th Corps (General Truscott) and the French 2nd Corps. During the initial invasion Patch also had operational control over General Delattre de Tassigny&rsquos French Army B, which committed the French 1st Corps to the invasion. Once a big enough bridgehead had been created General Devers 6th Army Group would become operational, and Delattre&rsquos force would become part of that army group as the 1st French Army.

Operation Dragoon began on 15 August 1944. The German forces in the south of France weren&rsquot strong enough to put up much of a fight, and were soon given permission to retreat. The original plan had been for Operation Dragoon to take place at about the same time as Overlord, so that the Germans would be unable to move troops north to Normandy, but by the time the landings actually took place the Allies had already broken out from the Normandy bridgehead, and had begun the attempt to trap the retreating Germans in the Falaise Pocket. As a result even Hitler had to acknowledge that any attempt to hold on to the south of France was futile.

Devers&rsquos Army Group became operational on 15 September at Lyons, leaving Patch in command of his own 7th Army.

After landing on 15 August 1944, Patch&rsquos men advanced up the Rhone Valley, helping to liberate all of southern France as they went. They soon joined up with the troops advancing east from Normandy, going into the Allied line to the right of Patton&rsquos 3rd Army. The boundary between the armies thus also formed the boundary between Devers&rsquos army group in the south and Bradley&rsquos 12th Army Group in the north. Patch and Patton coordinated their attacks to advance through the Vosges. During the battle of the Bulge Patch&rsquos men took over much of the area that had been held by Patton&rsquos troops, to allow them to turn north to attack into the southern flank of the German army.

Early in 1945 Patch&rsquos army helped repel Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive of the war in the west. He then helped clear up the Colmar Pocket, a German foothold west of the Rhine. In March 1945 Patch&rsquos 7th Army and the French on his right launched Operation Undertone, breaking through the German defences on the old border between Germany and Alsace-Lorraine. Patch then advanced into southern Germany, taking part in the move south-east towards the possible National Redoubt, a largely fictional area in which the Germans claimed they would make a last stand. On 5 May 1944 General Foertsch surrendered on behalf of Army Group G, ending the fighting on the southern part of the western front.

After the end of the war in Europe, Patch was moved back to the US, where he was given command of the 4th Army, which was based at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. However soon after taking up the post he was taken ill with lung problems, and he died on 21 November 1945, aged only 55. In 1954 he received a posthumous promotion to full General.

Patch was a highly regarded commander, and one of the few senior officers to hold high rank in both the Pacific and European theatres. In February 1945 Eisenhower ranked him as one of his most effective army commanders, putting him ahead of Hodges and Simpson.

Alexander Patch - History

Military Sea Transportation Service
US Navy

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me .

Capt. John M. Will, USN, of Perth Amboy, N. J. has been named MSTS representative for Europe, and is directing the organization of the service on the Continent and in Great Britain. He is making his headquarters in Heidelberg in order to maintain closer liaison with the EUCOM transportation division, which has been handling the sea and land transportation of EUCOM personnel.

Within the next few months, MSTS will take over the operation of Army transports.

Headquarters of MSTS ELM is located at Grosvenor Square in London.

The article goes into some detail on the organization and operations of the command.

From a recent article that appeared in the SERVICE FAMILY JOURNAL:

Since the Bremerhaven MSTS Office was opened in 1961, some 1,500,000 passengers have been processed through the port for return to the United States.

Approximately 20 MSTS (nucleus and controlled) ships called at Bremerhaven and other ports served by MSTSO Bremerhaven each month.

Seven of these transports -- USNS Darby, Rose, Buckner, Patch, Gordon, Upshur, and Geiger -- run a tight schedule between Bremerhaven and New York. Two other vessels - the reefers USNS Bals Eagle and Blue Jacket -- stop regularly at Bremerhaven.

As of July 1, the MSTS area headquarters in Europe will be moved to Bremerhaven, Germany. (Headquarters has been located in London since 1951.) In addition, an MSTS Office will be established at Rota, Spain, to replace the closing Naples office, and a new office will open at Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Commander of the new MSTS setup in Bremerheven is Capt J. M. Seymour.

After the reorganization, the Eastern Atlantic sub-area at Bremerhaven will have under its direct control Rotterdam St. Nazaire, France and London. The Mediterranean sub-area is headquartered at Leghorn (Livorno), Italy and will include the new Rota office. The command also has a representative at Frankfurt, Germany.

MSTS at Bremerhaven will have a headquarters staff of 50 and will consist of a personnel and administration section, chief of staff, chief of operations, vessel operations section, cargo operations section and passenger operations section.

The Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean section of the MSTS command (at Bremerhaven) assumes operational control of these ships after they reach midway in the Atlantic. Their movements are directed by the US Navy's European Command Center in London until the ships enter the AOR of the Pacific MSTS command.

MSTSELM, which includes a sub-area commander in Leghorn, Italy and MSTS offices in Rotterdam and London, is commanded by Capt Gerald W. Rahill. The command also has representatives in 15 locations throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East who serve MSTS on a part-time basis whenever ocean transportation of DoD cargo is involved.

The bulk of military cargo coming into Europe moves through the Northern Europe ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Bremerhaven, Bremen and Hamburg and into the inner regions by truck, rail and barge.

Cargo to the United Kingdom moves primarily through London and Felixstowe on container services.

The Mediterranean area still lags in facilities for container service but is moving to a greater use of container service as improvements come about.

Headquarters, MSTS Office Bremerhaven

The MSTS mission - a troop ship pulls away from the pier at Bremerhaven in 1958,
as it begins its voyage back to the States with US service members and their
dependents returning from a tour of duty in Europe.

USNS General Hugh J. Gaffey (T-AP-121) (Jim Gibson)

USNS General Simon B. Buckner (T-AP-123)

USNS General William O. Darby (T-AP-127)

USNS General Alexander M. Patch T-AP-122
USNS General Simon B. Buckner T-AP-123
USNS General Maurice Rose T-AP-126
USNS General William O. Darby T-AP-127

From 1946 to 1950, the transports served as part of the Army Transport Service .

In 1950, the ships were transferred back to the US Navy and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service .

Other ships were added to the regular Atlantic service at a later date:

The Buckner was formerly known as the transport Admiral E. W. Eberle. The ship was converted for its new role at a cost of $4.5 million. The Buckner is one of ten TC vessels (1) that make up the TC fleet - five of the transports are earmarked for Atlantic service, the others wil be used in the Pacific.

Troop accomodations consist of compartments four-bunks high.

Dependent quarters consist of two, three, four and six-bunk cabins, most with connecting baths. Some of the cabins have settee berths, the upper berth folding into the ceiling.

Troops and dependents have separate dining areas.

The transports are also equipped with a playroom and playpens on the top deck, as well as nurseries.

(1) Looking at the information provided on Wikipedia ( it appears that only 8 of the ships actually entered into service as part of the Army Transport Service (T-AP-120 thru T-AP-127). Only four of these (the Patch, Buckner, Rose and Darby) were part of the regular Atlantic passenger service in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Throughout the following months the battalion went through intense training to prepare for the trans-Atlantic move and the new overseas mission.

In early February, the battalion was transported by train to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, N.Y. where it was embarked on the USNS Geiger for shipment to Germany.

Bremerhaven officials reported that port calls for servicemen and US Forces families due to return to the US aboard MSTS ships would be rescheduled for air transportation. Affected were passengers scheduled to leave Bremerhaven aboard the transports Buckner on July 31, the Geiger on Aug 6, the Rose on Aug 13 and the Geiger on Aug 30. Passengers scheduled to leave Bremerhaven on the Rose on July 17 would not be affected.

The DoD announcement also stated that the current MSTS fleet of 15 transports would be cut to 8 in the next 12 months. All but one of the trans-Atlantic service ships would be used to support Vietnam operations. The four Atlantic-run ships to be used to support military operations in SE Asia are the Patch, Darby, Buckner and Geiger. The ships are required to move more combat and support troops to Vietnam during the current buildup.

(In June, sailings of the Patch and Darby were cancelled and passengers were given a new port call for air travel from Rhine-Main.)

MSTS ships generally carry 400 to 450 cabin-class passengers and some 1,000 servicement in troop compartments.

Cargo runs by MSTS and MSTS-chartered ships are not affected by this announcement and will continue in the Atlantic and Pacific areas.

All eight played important roles in the past 25 years carrying troops, dependents, refugees and war brides between Europe, the US and the Far East. During the US military buildup in Vietnam, the troopships were taken off their normal trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific runs and carried two-thirds of the troops from the US to Vietnam combat.

Six of the eight (including the four former trans-Atlantic vessels) are now moored in New York and will be transferred to the Maritime Administration reserve fleet at James River, Va. (The other two are now in San Francisco and they will be taken to the reserve fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif.)

World War II [ edit ]

Pacific Theater [ edit ]

Patch was promoted to major general in November 1941 and was assigned to command Task Force 6814, a hastily assembled force of divisional size, composed of two Army National Guard infantry regiments. The following month the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, followed shortly after by the German declaration of war on the United States, officially bringing the United States into World War II. He was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations to organize the reinforcement and defense of New Caledonia, arriving there in March 1942. En route he was struck with pneumonia, recovering sufficiently to take command of a loose collection of units and form them into the Americal Division (a contraction of "American, New Caledonian Division").

The Americal Division first saw action in the Guadalcanal Campaign in December 1942, when it relieved the valiant but tired and malaria-ridden 1st Marine Division there. The Americal Division and the 1st Marine Division were both relieved by the 25th Infantry and 2nd Marine Divisions, respectively and, in early January 1943, Patch moved up to command of the XIV Corps, and was given charge of the entire offensive on Guadalcanal. Patch personally led troops under his command on a dangerous offensive in the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse to capture several fortified hills and ridges from the Japanese forces. Under Patch's leadership, by February 1943 the Japanese were driven from Guadalcanal.

The Oregon Maneuver [ edit ]

In the wake of Guadalcanal's conquest, the state of Patch's health, battered by his bout of pneumonia, tropical dysentery and malaria, forced George Marshall to recall him back to the U.S. There, after recovering from his illness, he took command in May 1943 of the IV Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington. That fall he commanded the 100,000 man strong Oregon Maneuver in central Oregon, the largest training exercise of World War II, designed to test United States Army units prior to deployment in support of Allied combat operations in both the European and Pacific Theaters. In early 1944 he took the corps, then just a headquarters, overseas to Algiers, Algeria to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). By mid summer he would put his Oregon Maneuver experience to the test in Operation Dragoon, the amphibious assault of southern France that was pressed clear to the Alsace-Lorraine on Germany's southwest flank before year's end.

Mediterranean and European Theaters [ edit ]

In March 1944, handing over command of IV Corps to Major General Willis D. Crittenberger, a fellow 1913 West Point classmate, Patch took over command of the Seventh Army from Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, then commanding the Fifth Army in the Italian Campaign. The Seventh Army was intended to participate in an upcoming amphibious operation in southern France, codenamed Operation Dragoon. For this operation the Seventh Army was composed of several veteran formations pulled out of the fighting in Italy, Major General Lucian Truscott's U.S. VI Corps and General Alphonse Juin's French Expeditionary Corps (CEF), along with numerous airborne units in support.

Under Patch, the Seventh Army invaded southern France in Operation Dragoon on 15 August 1944. Patch–promoted to the three-star rank of lieutenant general three days later–then led the Seventh Army in a fast offensive up the Rhône valley. On 9 September 1944, near Dijon, France, it met up with the Third Army, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, which had driven east from Normandy. The Seventh Army came under the command of the 6th Army Group, commanded by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers. One of Patch's corps commanders, Major General Truscott, who commanded the VI Corps, which came under command of Patch's Seventh Army, wrote of him, "I came to regard him as a man of outstanding integrity, a courageous and competent leader, and an unselfish comrade-in-arms."

The Seventh Army distinguished itself in difficult winter conditions during the Vosges Mountains campaign, clearing strong and entrenched German forces from the west bank of the Rhine and stopping a German counteroffensive, Operation Nordwind, while reserve forces were being committed to the Battle of the Bulge. The campaign marked the only contested advance through the Vosges Mountains ever to succeed.

Patch stayed in command of the Seventh Army through the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, leading the Seventh Army in Operation Undertone through the Siegfried Line, over the Rhine, and then the Western Allied invasion of Germany into southern Germany. By war's end forward elements sprawled as far afield as Austria Α] and northern Italy. Β]

In the spring of 1945, the Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, offered Patch a B-25 Mitchell and pilot for his personal use. Patch turned down the offer because he wished to remain in touch with his subordinate commanders during fast-moving operations and preferred a smaller plane that could land on unimproved fields and pastures. Patch narrowly escaped injury or death on 18 April 1945, while flying from Kitzingen to Öhringen in Germany during the Battle of Nuremberg. His Stinson L-5 Sentinel liaison aircraft Sea Level was intercepted by a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter, but the pilot, Technical Sergeant Robert Stretton, maneuvered the L-5 so skillfully that it escaped and landed safely at Öhringen. Stretton later received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the flight. Γ]

In August 1945, Patch returned to the United States to take command of the Fourth Army headquartered at the Fort Sam Houston, Texas, but was hospitalized with lung problems in November and passed away a week later. Ώ] ΐ]



Patch was born in 1889 on the US base Fort Huachuca in the US state of Arizona as the son of the base commander there Alexander McCarrell Patch (1854-1924) and his wife Annie Brownlee Moore (1850-1915), a daughter of the MP William S. Moore born. His older brother Joseph Dorst Patch (1885-1966) also served as an officer, rose to major general in 1942 and was also known as a military writer.

Training and First World War

In 1909, at the age of 20, Alexander Patch was admitted to the US Military Academy at West Point . Patch wanted to become a cavalry officer like his father , but realized that this branch of service seemed outdated in the industrial age and was finally awarded his officer license in 1913 as a second lieutenant in the infantry .

During World War I , Patch served in the infantry and as an instructor at the U.S. Army Machine Gun School . In the fall of 1918 he came to the front with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. George C. Marshall , who was serving on the staff of General of the Armies of the United States John J. Pershing at the time, became aware of him at this time.

Second World War

As part of the expansion of the US Army before the United States entered World War II , Marshall, who was now Chief of Staff of the US Army , promoted Patch to Brigadier General on August 4, 1941 and transferred him to Fort Bragg , North Carolina , to do the Take on training of new soldiers.

When the United States entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the high command decided to assemble additional infantry units and send them to the Pacific. After the further conquests of the Japanese in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries, the Japanese expansion was to be stopped.

On January 14, 1942, Einsatzgruppe 6814 was activated in New York Harbor and placed under the command of Brigadier General Patch. Your mission was the island of New Caledonia in the Pacific. The group reached the port of Nouméa on March 12th. Patch's mission order, who had been promoted to major general on March 10 , was to defend New Caledonia against Japanese attacks.

The 164th Infantry Regiment replaced the two regiments 132 and 182 of Einsatzgruppe 6184 on April 19 . In addition, field artillery was landed. The units then went through a reorganization. The 23rd Infantry Division , better known as the Americal Division , was established in New Caledonia on May 24th. After completing their tasks, new forces from Einsatzgruppe 6814 replaced the Americal Division , whose 164th Infantry Regiment was moved to Guadalcanal .

The Solomon Islands of Guadalcanal was reached by the first units on October 13th. There the American Division intervened seriously for the first time in the fighting of the Pacific War when the Japanese attacked the positions of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 164th Regiment on October 26, in order to break through to Henderson Field . After two days, the Japanese withdrew, losing around 1,000 men. After the entire division arrived on November 12th on Guadalcanal, they took part in the offensive west of the Matanikau River. At the beginning of December she then took full control of all battle sites on the island. This replaced the 1st Marine Division .

At the headquarters of the XIV. US Corps , Generals Patch and Edmund B. Sebree , who had replaced Patch in December as commander of the American Division as he took over command of the entire Guadalcanal operation, planned a major offensive to take the still occupied territories the island.

Marshall was again impressed by Patch and ordered him to the European theater of war to take over the 7th US Army . After Operation Dragoon , the invasion of southern France from August 15, 1944, Patch led the army up the Rhone on a quick offensive . On September 9, he met with parts of George S. Patton's 3rd US Army , who came from Normandy .

Patch experienced a personal tragedy when his son, Captain Alexander M. Patch III, who served as a company commander in the 79th Infantry Division , died fighting the Germans on October 22, 1944.

End of war and death

After the war ended in May Patch retained command of the 7th US Army until June 1945. In August, he returned to the United States and took over, to August 18, Lieutenant General appointed in Presidio , California , in command of the 4th US Army . However, a short time later he was admitted to hospital with lung problems. Patch died on 21 November 1945 in a hospital in Fort Sam Houston , Texas , at a pneumonia . He is buried in the West Point Military Academy cemetery.

Discovery and Development of Penicillin

Designated November 19, 1999, at the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in London, U.K. Also recognized at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill., and the five American pharmaceutical companies that contributed to penicillin production research during WWII: Abbott Laboratories, Lederle Laboratories (now Pfizer, Inc.), Merck & Co., Inc., Chas. Pfizer & Co. Inc. (now Pfizer, Inc.) and E.R. Squibb & Sons (now Bristol-Myers Squibb Company).

The introduction of penicillin in the 1940s, which began the era of antibiotics, has been recognized as one of the greatest advances in therapeutic medicine. The discovery of penicillin and the initial recognition of its therapeutic potential occurred in the United Kingdom, but, due to World War II, the United States played the major role in developing large-scale production of the drug, thus making a life-saving substance in limited supply into a widely available medicine.


Alexander Fleming’s Discovery of Penicillin

Penicillin heralded the dawn of the antibiotic age. Before its introduction there was no effective treatment for infections such as pneumonia, gonorrhea or rheumatic fever. Hospitals were full of people with blood poisoning contracted from a cut or a scratch, and doctors could do little for them but wait and hope.

Antibiotics are compounds produced by bacteria and fungi which are capable of killing, or inhibiting, competing microbial species. This phenomenon has long been known it may explain why the ancient Egyptians had the practice of applying a poultice of moldy bread to infected wounds. But it was not until 1928 that penicillin, the first true antibiotic, was discovered by Alexander Fleming, Professor of Bacteriology at St. Mary's Hospital in London.

Returning from holiday on September 3, 1928, Fleming began to sort through petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus, bacteria that cause boils, sore throats and abscesses. He noticed something unusual on one dish. It was dotted with colonies, save for one area where a blob of mold was growing. The zone immediately around the mold—later identified as a rare strain of Penicillium notatum—was clear, as if the mold had secreted something that inhibited bacterial growth.

Fleming found that his "mold juice" was capable of killing a wide range of harmful bacteria, such as streptococcus, meningococcus and the diphtheria bacillus. He then set his assistants, Stuart Craddock and Frederick Ridley, the difficult task of isolating pure penicillin from the mold juice. It proved to be very unstable, and they were only able to prepare solutions of crude material to work with. Fleming published his findings in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology in June 1929, with only a passing reference to penicillin's potential therapeutic benefits. At this stage it looked as if its main application would be in isolating penicillin-insensitive bacteria from penicillin-sensitive bacteria in a mixed culture. This at least was of practical benefit to bacteriologists, and kept interest in penicillin going. Others, including Harold Raistrick, Professor of Biochemistry at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, tried to purify penicillin but failed.

Penicillin Research at Oxford University

It was Howard Florey, Ernst Chain and their colleagues at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University who turned penicillin from a laboratory curiosity into a life-saving drug. Their work on the purification and chemistry of penicillin began in earnest in 1939, just when wartime conditions were beginning to make research especially difficult. To carry out a program of animal experiments and clinical trials the team needed to process up to 500 liters a week of mold filtrate. They began growing it in a strange array of culture vessels such as baths, bedpans, milk churns and food tins. Later, a customized fermentation vessel was designed for ease of removing and, to save space, renewing the broth beneath the surface of the mold. A team of "penicillin girls" was employed, at £2 a week, to inoculate and generally look after the fermentation. In effect, the Oxford laboratory was being turned into a penicillin factory.

Meanwhile, biochemist Norman Heatley extracted penicillin from huge volumes of filtrate coming off the production line by extracting it into amyl acetate and then back into water, using a countercurrent system. Edward Abraham, another biochemist who was employed to help step up production, then used the newly discovered technique of alumina column chromatography to remove impurities from the penicillin prior to clinical trials.

In 1940, Florey carried out vital experiments, showing that penicillin could protect mice against infection from deadly Streptococci. Then, on February 12, 1941, a 43-year old policeman, Albert Alexander, became the first recipient of the Oxford penicillin. He had scratched the side of his mouth while pruning roses, and had developed a life-threatening infection with huge abscesses affecting his eyes, face, and lungs. Penicillin was injected and within days he made a remarkable recovery. But supplies of the drug ran out and he died a few days later. Better results followed with other patients though and soon there were plans to make penicillin available for British troops on the battlefield.

War-time conditions made industrial production of penicillin difficult. A number of British companies, including Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKline) and Kemball Bishop, a London firm later bought by Pfizer, took up the challenge.

Penicillin Production in the United States during WWII

Substantial amounts of penicillin would be needed for the extensive clinical trials required to confirm the promise of the early results and to provide adequate supplies of the drug for therapeutic use if it did live up to its potential. Florey recognized that large-scale production of penicillin was probably out of the question in Britain, where the chemical industry was fully absorbed in the war effort. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Florey and his colleague Norman Heatley traveled to the United States in the summer of 1941 to see if they could interest the American pharmaceutical industry in the effort to produce penicillin on a large scale.

Yale physiologist John Fulton helped to put his British colleagues in touch with individuals who might be able to assist them in their goal. They were referred to Robert Thom of the Department of Agriculture, a foremost mycologist and authority on the Penicillium mold, and eventually to the Department's Northern Regional Research Laboratory (NRRL) in Peoria, Illinois, because of the expertise of its Fermentation Division. This contact proved to be crucial to the success of the project, as the NRRL was a key contributor of innovations that made large-scale production of penicillin possible.

Increasing the Yield of Penicillin

Orville May, Director of the NRRL, agreed to have the Laboratory undertake a vigorous program to increase penicillin yields under the direction of Robert Coghill, Chief of the Fermentation Division. It was agreed that Heatley would remain in Peoria to share his expertise with his American colleagues. Within a few weeks, Andrew Moyer found that he could significantly increase the yield of penicillin by substituting lactose for the sucrose used by the Oxford team in their culture medium. Shortly thereafter, Moyer made the even more important discovery that the addition of corn-steep liquor to the fermentation medium produced a ten-fold increase in yield. Corn-steep liquor was a by-product of the corn wetmilling process, and the NRRL, in an attempt to find a use for it, tried it in essentially all of its fermentation work. Later, the Peoria laboratory increased the yield of penicillin still further by the addition of penicillin precursors, such as phenylacetic acid, to the fermentation medium.

It was recognized that the Oxford group's method of growing the mold on the surface of a nutrient medium was inefficient, and that growth in submerged culture would be a superior process. In submerged culture fermentation, the mold is grown in large tanks in a constantly agitated and aerated mixture, rather than just on the surface of the medium. Florey's Penicillium culture, however, produced only traces of penicillin when grown in submerged culture. Under the direction of Kenneth Raper, staff at the NRRL screened various Penicillium strains and found one that produced acceptable yields of penicillin in submerged culture.

Soon a global search was underway for better penicillin producing strains, with soil samples being sent to the NRRL from around the world. Ironically, the most productive strain came from a moldy cantaloupe from a Peoria fruit market. A more productive mutant of the so-called cantaloupe strain was produced with the use of X-rays at the Carnegie Institution. When this strain was exposed to ultraviolet radiation at the University of Wisconsin, its productivity was increased still further.

U.S. Pharmaceutical Companies Support Production

While Norman Heatley remained in Peoria helping the NRRL staff to get the penicillin work started, Howard Florey visited various pharmaceutical companies to try to interest them in the drug. Although Florey was disappointed in the immediate results of his trip, three of the companies (Merck, Squibb and Lilly) had actually conducted some penicillin research before Florey's arrival and Pfizer seemed on the verge of investigating the drug as well. At this time, however, the promise of penicillin was still based on only limited clinical trials.

Florey next visited his old friend Alfred Newton Richards, then vice president for medical affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. More importantly, Richards was chair of the Committee on Medical Research (CMR) of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). The OSRD had been created in June, 1941, to assure that adequate attention was given to research on scientific and medical problems relating to national defense. Richards had great respect for Florey and trusted his judgment about the potential value of penicillin. He approached the four drug firms that Florey indicated had shown some interest in the drug (Merck, Squibb, Lilly and Pfizer) and informed them that they would be serving the national interest if they undertook penicillin production and that there might be support from the federal government.

Richards convened a meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 8, 1941, to exchange information on company and government research and to plan a collaborative research program to expedite penicillin production. In addition to representatives of the CMR, the National Research Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, participants included research directors Randolph T. Major of Merck George A. Harrop of the Squibb Institute for Medical Research Jasper Kane of Pfizer and Y. SubbaRow of Lederle. The next CMR penicillin conference, held in New York in December, ten days after Pearl Harbor and U.S. entry into the Second World War, was more decisive. At this meeting, which was attended by the heads of Merck, Squibb, Pfizer and Lederle, as well as the company research directors, Robert Coghill's report on the success at the NRRL with corn steep liquor was encouraging to the industry leaders present.

As Coghill later recalled, George W. Merck, who had been pessimistic about the possibility of producing adequate quantities of penicillin given the constraints of available fermentation techniques and yields,". immediately spoke up, saying that if these results could be confirmed in their laboratories, it was possible to produce the kilo of material for Florey, and industry would do it!". It was agreed that although the companies would pursue their research activities independently, they would keep the CMR informed of developments, and the Committee could make the information more widely available (with the permission of the company involved) if that were deemed in the public interest.

Although there was some concern that investments in fermentation processes might be wasted if a commercially-viable synthesis of penicillin were developed, other companies also began to show an interest in the drug. Some firms worked out collaborative agreements of their own (e.g., Merck and Squibb in February 1942, joined by Pfizer in September). Merck's pilot plant continued to produce several hundred liters of penicillin culture per week using both flasks and tray, and in December, Heatley joined the Merck research staff for several months, where he introduced the Oxford cup plate method of penicillin assay, which soon became a standard method industry-wide. By March 1942 enough penicillin had been produced under OSRD auspices to treat the first patient (Mrs. Ann Miller, in New Haven, Connecticut) a further ten cases were treated by June 1942, all with penicillin supplied by Merck & Co., Inc.

Scaling-up Penicillin Production

Pharmaceutical and chemical companies played an especially important role in solving the problems inherent in scaling up submerged fermentation from a pilot plant to a manufacturing scale. As the scale of production increased, the scientists at Merck, Pfizer, Squibb and other companies faced new engineering challenges. Pfizer's John L. Smith captured the complexity and uncertainty facing these companies during the scale-up process: "The mold is as temperamental as an opera singer, the yields are low, the isolation is difficult, the extraction is murder, the purification invites disaster, and the assay is unsatisfactory."

Because penicillin needs air to grow, aerating the fermentation mixture in deep tanks presented a problem. When corn steep liquor was used as the culture medium, bubbling sterile air through the mixture caused severe foaming. Squibb solved this problem by introducing glyceryl monoricinolate as an anti-foaming agent. Submerged fermentation also required the design of new cooling systems for the vats and new mixing technology to stir the penicillin mash efficiently.

Lilly was particularly successful in making the mold synthesize new types of penicillin by feeding precursors of different structure. Once the fermentation was complete, recovery was also difficult as much as two-thirds of the penicillin present could be lost during purification because of its instability and heat sensitivity. Extraction was done at low temperatures. Methods of freeze-drying under vacuum eventually gave the best results in purifying the penicillin to a stable, sterile, and usable final form.

The steps of fermentation, recovery and purification and packaging quickly yielded to the cooperative efforts of the chemical scientists and engineers working on pilot production of penicillin. On March 1, 1944, Pfizer opened the first commercial plant for large-scale production of penicillin by submerged culture in Brooklyn, New York.

Meanwhile, clinical studies in the military and civilian sectors were confirming the therapeutic promise of penicillin. The drug was shown to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of infections, including streptococcal, staphylococcal and gonococcal infections. The United States Army established the value of penicillin in the treatment of surgical and wound infections. Clinical studies also demonstrated its effectiveness against syphilis, and by 1944, it was the primary treatment for this disease in the armed forces of Britain and the United States.

Penicillin, WWII and Commercial Production

The increasingly obvious value of penicillin in the war effort led the War Production Board (WPB) in 1943 to take responsibility for increased production of the drug. The WPB investigated more than 175 companies before selecting 21 to participate in a penicillin program under the direction of Albert Elder in addition to Lederle, Merck, Pfizer and Squibb, Abbott Laboratories (which had also been among the major producers of clinical supplies of penicillin to mid-1943) was one of the first companies to begin large-scale production. These firms received top priority on construction materials and other supplies necessary to meet the production goals. The WPB controlled the disposition of all of the penicillin produced.

One of the major goals was to have an adequate supply of the drug on hand for the proposed D-Day invasion of Europe. Feelings of wartime patriotism greatly stimulated work on penicillin in the United Kingdom and the United States. For example, Albert Elder wrote to manufacturers in 1943: "You are urged to impress upon every worker in your plant that penicillin produced today will be saving the life of someone in a few days or curing the disease of someone now incapacitated. Put up slogans in your plant! Place notices in pay envelopes! Create an enthusiasm for the job down to the lowest worker in your plant."

As publicity concerning this new "miracle drug" began to reach the public, the demand for penicillin increased. But supplies at first were limited, and priority was given to military use.

Dr. Chester Keefer of Boston, Chairman of the National Research Council's Committee on Chemotherapy, had the unenviable task of rationing supplies of the drug for civilian use. Keefer had to restrict the use of the drug to cases where other methods of treatment had failed. Part of his job was also to collect detailed clinical information about the use of the drug so that a fuller understanding of its potential and limitations could be developed. Not surprisingly, Keefer was besieged with pleas for penicillin. A newspaper account in the New York Herald Tribune for October 17, 1943, stated: "Many laymen - husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters, friends - beg Dr. Keefer for penicillin. In every case the petitioner is told to arrange that a full dossier on the patient's condition be sent by the doctor in charge. When this is received, the decision is made on a medical, not an emotional basis."

Fortunately, penicillin production began to increase dramatically by early 1944. Production of the drug in the United States jumped from 21 billion units in 1943, to 1,663 billion units in 1944, to more than 6.8 trillion units in 1945, and manufacturing techniques had changed in scale and sophistication from one-liter flasks with less than 1% yield to 10,000-gallon tanks at 80-90% yield. The American government was eventually able to remove all restrictions on its availability, and as of March 15, 1945, penicillin was distributed through the usual channels and was available to the consumer in his or her corner pharmacy.

By 1949, the annual production of penicillin in the United States was 133,229 billion units, and the price had dropped from twenty dollars per 100,000 units in 1943 to less than ten cents. Most British companies moved over to the deep tank fermentation production of penicillin, pioneered in the United States, after the end of the war to meet civilian needs. In the United Kingdom, penicillin first went on sale to the general public, as a prescription only drug, on June 1, 1946.

In Britain, Chain and Abraham continued to work on the structure of the penicillin molecule, aided by the X-ray crystallographic work of Dorothy Hodgkin, also at Oxford. The unique feature of the structure, which was finally established in 1945, is the four-membered highly labile beta-lactam ring, fused to a thiazolidine ring. In the same year Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Ernst Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize for their penicillin research.

The co-operative efforts of American chemists, chemical engineers, microbiologists, mycologists, government agencies, and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers were equal to the challenge posed by Howard Florey and Norman Heatley in 1941. As Florey observed in 1949, "too high a tribute cannot be paid to the enterprise and energy with which the American manufacturing firms tackled the large-scale production of the drug. Had it not been for their efforts there would certainly not have been sufficient penicillin by D-Day in Normandy in 1944 to treat all severe casualties, both British and American."

Michelle Alexander: “A System of Racial and Social Control”

Michelle Alexander is a civil-rights advocate, lawyer, legal scholar, and professor.

Michelle Alexander is the author of the bestseller The New Jim Crow, and a civil-rights advocate, lawyer, legal scholar and professor. She spoke with FRONTLINE about how the war on drugs spawned a system dedicated to mass incarceration, and what it means for America today. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Sept. 5, 2013.

What is mass incarceration?

Mass incarceration is a massive system of racial and social control. It is the process by which people are swept into the criminal justice system, branded criminals and felons, locked up for longer periods of time than most other countries in the world who incarcerate people who have been convicted of crimes, and then released into a permanent second-class status in which they are stripped of basic civil and human rights, like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to public benefits.

It is a system that operates to control people, often at early ages, and virtually all aspects of their lives after they have been viewed as suspects in some kind of crime.

Give me a sense of what’s happened over the last 40 years in terms of the numbers of people in prison, in terms of how it’s affected specific communities, whether it’s very high turnover or people coming on now.

For a very long time, criminologists believed that there was going to be a stable rate of incarceration in the United States. About 100 of 100,000 people were incarcerated, and that rate remained constant up until into the early 1970s. And then suddenly there was a dramatic increase in incarceration rates in the United States, more than a 600 percent increase in incarceration from the mid-1960s until the year 2000.

An exceptional growth in the size of our prison population, it was driven primarily by the war on drugs, a war that was declared in the 1970s by President Richard Nixon and which has increased under every president since. It is a war that has targeted primarily nonviolent offenders and drug offenders, and it has resulted in the birth of a penal system unprecedented in world history.

So America has a higher incarceration rate than other nations. Do they have a higher crime rate than other nations?

No. The United States actually has a crime rate that is lower than the international norm, yet our incarceration rate is six to 10 times higher than other countries’ around the world.

It’s not crime that makes us more punitive in the United States. It’s the way we respond to crime and how we view those people who have been labeled criminals.

You said it started with Nixon. Give me a sense of the progression and how through each president since Nixon the incarceration system has been ramped up, and sometimes in unexpected ways. …

Some of our system of mass incarceration really has to be traced back to the law-and-order movement that began in the 1950s, in the 1960s. …

Segregationists began to worry that there was going to be no way to stem the tide of public opinion and opposition to the system of segregation, so they began labeling people who are engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience and protests as criminals and as lawbreakers, and [they] were saying that those who are violating segregation laws were engaging in reckless behavior that threatens the social order and demanded … a crackdown on these lawbreakers, these civil rights protesters.

This rhetoric of law and order evolved as time went on, even though the old Jim Crow system fell and segregation was officially declared unconstitutional. Segregation[ists] and former segregation[ists] began using get-tough rhetoric as a way of appealing to poor and working-class whites in particular who were resentful of, fearful of many of the gangs of African Americans in the civil rights movement.

Pollsters and political strategists found that thinly veiled promises to get tough on “them,” a group suddenly not so defined by race, was enormously successful in persuading poor and working-class whites to defect from the Democratic New Deal coalition and join the Republican Party in droves.

Unfortunately, this backlash against the civil rights movement was occurring at precisely the same moment that there was economic collapse in communities of color, inner-city communities across America.

In an excellent book by William Julius Wilson, entitled When Work Disappears, he describes how in the 󈨀s and the 󈨊s, work literally vanished in these communities. Hundreds of thousands of black people, especially black men, suddenly found themselves jobless.

As factories closed, jobs were shipped overseas, deindustrialization and globalization led to depression in inner-city communities nationwide, and crime rates began to rise. And as they rose and the backlash against the civil rights movement reached a fever pitch, the get-tough movement exploded into a zeal for incarceration, and a war on drugs was declared.

So there was a rising crime rate at that point, but over the last 40 years, the incarceration rate has pretty much been exponentially up. Has the crime rate remained high as well through that time?

Many people imagine that our explosion in incarceration was simply driven by crime and crime rates, but that’s just not true. That is sheer myth, although there was a spike in crime rates in the 1960s and 1970s. During the period of time that our prison population quintupled, crime rates fluctuated. …

Today, as bad as crime rates are in some parts of the country, crime rates nationally are at historical lows, but incarceration rates have historically soared. In fact, most criminologists and sociologists today will acknowledge that crime rates and incarceration rates in the United States have moved independently [of] each other.

Incarceration rates, especially black incarceration rates, have soared regardless of whether crime is going up or down in any given community or the nation as a whole. …

Ironically, at the time that the war on drugs was declared, drug crime was not on the rise. … President Richard Nixon was the first to coin the term a “war on drugs,” but it was President Ronald Reagan who turned that rhetorical war into a literal one.

At the time President Reagan declared his war on drugs in 1982, drug crime was on the decline. It was not on the rise, and less than 3 percent of the American population identified drugs as the nation’s most pressing concern.

So why would he declare an all-out war on drugs at a time when drug crime is actually declining, not on the rise, and the American public isn’t much concerned about it? Well, from the outset, the war on drugs had much less to do with … concern about drug abuse and drug addiction and much more to do with politics, including racial politics.

President Ronald Reagan wanted to make good on campaign promises to get tough on that group of folks who had already been defined in the media as black and brown, the criminals, and he made good on that promise by declaring a drug war. Almost immediately after his declaration of war, funds for law enforcement began to soar.

But the crack epidemic hit after this declaration of war, not before. Many people assumed that the war on drugs was declared in response to the emergence of crack cocaine and the related violence, but that’s not true. The drug war had already been declared, but the emergence of crack cocaine in inner-city communities actually provided the Reagan administration precisely the fuel they needed to build greater public support for the war they had already declared.

So the Reagan administration actually launched a media campaign to publicize the crack epidemic in inner-city communities, hiring staff whose job it was to publicize inner-city crack babies, crack dealers or so-called crack whores and crack-related violence, in an effort to boost public support for this war they had already declared [and to inspire] Congress to devote millions more dollars to waging it.

The plan worked like a charm. Millions more dollars flowed to law enforcement. There was the militarization of law enforcement of the drug war as the Pentagon began giving tanks and military equipment to local law enforcement to wage this war. And Congress began giving harsh mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses, sentences harsher than murderers receive, more than [other] Western democracies.

And soon Democrats began competing with Republicans to prove they could be even tougher on them than their Republican counterparts, and so it was President Bill Clinton who actually escalated the drug war far beyond what his Republican predecessors even dreamed possible.

It was the Clinton administration that supported many of the laws and practices that now serve millions into a permanent underclass, for example. It was the Clinton administration that supported federal legislation denying financial aid to college students who had once been caught with drugs. It was the Clinton administration that passed laws discriminating against people with criminal records, making it nearly impossible for them to have access to public housing. And it was the Clinton administration that championed a federal law denying even food stamps, food support to people convicted of drug felonies.

So we see, in the height of the war on drugs, a Democratic administration desperate to prove they could be as tough as their Republican counterparts and helping to give birth to this penal system that would leave millions of people, overwhelmingly people of color, permanently locked up or locked out.

How does George W. Bush fit into this narrative? …

I would say the Bush administration carried on with the drug war and helped to institutionalize practices, for example the federal funding, drug interdiction programs by state and local law enforcement agencies, and the support for sweeps of entire communities for drug offenders, communities defined almost entirely by race and class.

So the drug war was born by President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan, but President Bush, both of them, as well as President Clinton, escalated the drug war. And sadly we see today, even with President Obama, the drug war being continued in much the same form that it [was] waged back then.

… Why should we care? Why should we pay attention to this?

I think most Americans have no idea of the scale and scope of mass incarceration in the United States. Unless you’re directly impacted by the system, unless you have a loved one who’s behind bars, unless you’ve done time yourself, unless you have a family member who’s been branded a criminal and felon and can’t get work, can’t find housing, denied even food stamps to survive, unless the system directly touches you, it’s hard to even imagine that something of this scope and scale could even exist.

But the reality is that today there are more African Americans under correctional control in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the civil war began.

More black men are disenfranchised today as a result of felony disenfranchise[ment] laws. They were denied the right to vote in 1870, the year the 15th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting the laws that denied the right to vote on the basis of race.

There are 2.3 million people living in cages today, incarcerated in the United States, and more than 7 million people on correctional control, being monitored daily by probation officers, parole officers, subject to stop, search, seizure without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion.

This is a massive apparatus, and that system of direct control of course doesn’t even speak to the more than 65 million people in the United States who now have criminal records that are subject to legalized discrimination for the rest of their lives.

The impact that the system of mass incarceration has on entire communities, virtually decimating them, destroying the economic fabric and the social networks that exist there, destroying families so that children grow up not knowing their fathers and visiting their parents or relatives after standing in a long line waiting to get inside the jail or the prison — the psychological impact, the emotional impact, the level of grief and suffering, it’s beyond description. And yet, because prisons are typically located hundreds or even thousands of miles away, it’s out of sight, out of mind, easy for those of us who aren’t living that reality to imagine that it can’t be real or that it doesn’t really have anything to do with us.

What is it like for someone leaving prison? Talk me through the restrictions, the monitoring, the things they are locked out of for the rest of their lives.

I think most people have a general understanding that when you’re released from prison, life is hard. You have to work hard to get your life back on track, get it together. But I think most people imagine if you really apply yourself, you can do it. It just takes some extra effort. The people who believe that rarely have actually been through the experience of being incarcerated and branded a felon.

When you’re released from prison in most states, if you’re not fortunate enough to have a family who can support you and meet you at the gates and put you up and give you a job, if you’re like most people who are released from prison, returning to an impoverished community, you’re given maybe a bus ticket, maybe $20 in your pocket, and you return to an impoverished, jobless community.

You’re now branded a criminal, a felon, and employment discrimination is now legal against you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how long ago your conviction occurred. It doesn’t matter if it was five weeks, five years ago, 25 years ago. For the rest of your life, you have to check that box on employment applications asking have you ever been convicted of a felony.

Hundreds of professional licenses are off limits to people who are convicted of a felony, and sometimes people will say, well, maybe they can’t get hired, but they can start their own business they can be an entrepreneur. In some states you can’t even get a license to be a barber if you’re convicted of a felony. Can’t get a job. Can’t find work in a legal economy anywhere.

Housing discrimination is perfectly legal against you for the rest of your life. In fact, you can be denied access to public housing based only on a [reference], not even convictions. Discrimination by private landlords as well as public housing projects and agencies, perfectly legal. You’re just out on the street.

Discrimination in public benefits is perfectly legal. In fact, under federal law, you’re deemed ineligible for food stamps for the rest of your life if you’ve been convicted of a drug felony. Fortunately many states have now opted out of the federal ban on food stamps, but it remains the case that thousands of people can’t even get food stamps, food support to survive, because they were once caught with drugs.

What are people who are released from prison expected to do? … Apparently what we expect people to do is to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, fines, court costs, accumulated child support, which continues to accrue while you’re in prison. And in a growing number of states, you’re actually expected to pay back the cost of your imprisonment, and paying back all these fees, fines and court costs can actually be a condition of your probation or parole. What do we expect those [people] to do?

When you take a look at the system, when you really step back and take a look at the system, what does the system seem designed to do? It doesn’t seem designed to facilitate people’s re-entry, doesn’t seem designed for people to find work and be stable, productive citizens.

No, if you take a hard look at it, I think the only conclusion that can be reached is that the system as it’s presently designed is designed to send people right back to prison, and that is in fact what happens the vast majority of the time.

Most people who are released from prison return within a few years, and the majority in some states return in a matter of weeks or months, because the challenges associated with mere survival on the outside are so immense.

We’ve been working in Kentucky, where felons have been disenfranchised for life. Tell me about how that works and also what it means, what it signifies.

There is no rational reason to deny someone the right to vote because they once committed a crime. We live in a democracy, of the people by the people, one man, one vote, one person, one woman, one vote. In other Western democracies, prisoners are allowed to vote. There’s actually voting drives that are conducted inside prisons. But here in the United States, it’s not only [that you are] being stripped of the right to vote inside prison, but you can be stripped of the right to vote permanently in some states like Kentucky because you once committed a crime.

Many people say: “Well, that’s just not a big deal. So you can’t vote. What’s the problem with that?” Denying someone the right to vote says to them: “You are no longer one of us. You’re not a citizen. Your voice doesn’t count. You’re relegated to a permanent second-class status, do not matter. You’re not a person to us, a person worth counting, a person worth hearing.”

That message is a powerful one, and it’s not lost on the people who are forced to hear it. We say that when people are released from prison we want them to get back on their feet, contribute to society, to be productive citizens, and yet we lock them out at every turn. We don’t allow them to vote, we don’t allow them to serve on juries, so you can’t be part of a democratic process. …

Now, if we adopt this attitude, we can’t pretend then to really care about creating safe communities. We can’t pretend that this system that we devised is really about public safety or serving the interests of those we claim to represent.

This system is about something else as currently designed. It’s more about control, power, the relegation of some of us to a second-class status than it is about trying to build healthy, safe, thriving communities and meaningful multiracial, multiethnic democracy. …

Tell me what effects locking up so many people from one small community has on that community and what horizons and possibilities it then presents to the youth coming up in that community.

Some scholars have actually argued that the term “mass incarceration” is a misnomer, because it implies that this phenomenon of incarceration is something that affects everyone, or most people, or is spread evenly throughout our society, when the fact is it’s not at all.

Mass incarceration in the United States isn’t a phenomenon that affects most. It’s concentrated in extremely small pockets, communities defined almost entirely by race and class, and in these communities it’s not just one out of 10 who serve time behind bars. No, often one out of three are likely to do time in prison.

And in communities of hyperincarceration that can be found in inner-city communities, in [Washington], D.C., in Chicago, in New York — the list goes on — you can go block after block and have a hard time finding any young man who has not served time behind bars, who has not yet been arrested for something.

And in these communities where incarceration has become so normalized, when it becomes part of the normal life course for young people growing up, it decimates those communities. It makes the social networks that we take for granted in other communities impossible to form. It makes thriving economies nearly impossible to create. It means that young people growing up in these communities imagine that prison is just part of their future. It’s just part of what happens to you when you grow up.

And the behavior of the police in many of these communities only reinforces it as they stop, frisk, search people no matter what they’re doing, whether they’re innocent or guilty. It sends this message that you’re going to jail one way or another no matter what you do, whether you stay in school or you drop out, or if you follow the rules or you don’t. You’re going to jail just like your uncle, just like your father, just like your brother, just like your neighbor. You, too, are going to jail. It’s part of your destiny.

And it affects one’s mindset. It affects people emotionally. It’s growing up not knowing and forming meaningful relationships with their relatives, their parents. But it’s also devastating for people who come out and want to do the right thing by their family and aren’t able to find jobs and support them.

I can’t tell you how many young fathers I have met who want nothing more than to be able to support their kids, maybe get married one day, but they have no hope of ever being able to find a job, [no] hope of doing anything else than cycling in and out of jail.

So we’ve decimated these communities, and we’ve destroyed all hopes of anything like the American dream. …

You could look at the numbers and say, OK, crime rates are at historic lows in the United States incarceration rates are at historic highs — great, it works. Locking all these people up has bought crime rates down. So if you view this as the great prison experiment, as an effort to eradicate crime, has it been successful?

Many people imagine that mass incarceration actually works because crime rates are relatively low now, so hasn’t this worked? Hasn’t this been a grand success story?

The answer is no. We have decimated millions of people’s lives, locked up and locked out millions of people, but in the places where the war on drugs has been waged with the greatest intensity, places where we have locked up the most people, gone on the most extraordinary incarceration binges, crime rates remain high and have actually increased.

You take communities like Chicago, New Orleans and in this neighborhood in Kentucky where the drug war has been waged with just extraordinary, merciless intensity and incarceration rates have soared as crime rates have soared. When you step back and actually look at the data on crime and incarceration, you don’t see a neat picture of incarceration rates climbing as crime rates are declining. No, in fact in many of the places where crime rates have declined the most, incarceration rates have fallen the most. …

In places like Chicago, in New Orleans, in Baltimore, in Philadelphia, where crime rates have been the most severe, incarceration has proved itself to be an abysmal failure as an answer to the problems that need to be addressed.

[There] seems to be something almost counterintuitive going on here, that once you start locking up too many people, you can actually start to destroy the social fabric of a community to the point where it creates the conditions for crime rather than prevents crime, which one would assume was in some people’s minds the point of incarceration.

One might assume that the more incarceration you have, the less crime you would have. The research actually shows, though, that quite the opposite is the case once you reach a certain tipping point.

When you begin to incarcerate such a large percentage of the population, the social fabric begins to erode. … When you reach a certain tipping point with incarceration, crime rates rise, because the community itself is being harmed by the higher levels of imprisonment. It can no longer function in a healthy manner. Incarceration itself becomes the problem rather than the solution. …

More than half of the people locked up in the community we’re focused on are locked up for selling drugs. Does locking up people selling drugs stop the drug trade in a neighborhood?

… Since the war on drugs was declared, there has been an exponential increase in drug arrests and convictions in the United States. Between 1985 and 2000, more than two-thirds of the increase in the federal population and more than half of the increased state prison population was due to drug convictions alone.

Drug convictions have increased more than 1,000 percent since the drug war began. To get a sense of how large a contribution the war on drugs has made to mass incarceration, think of it this way: There are more people in prisons and jails today just for drug offenses then were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980.

Arresting people for minor drug offenses in this drug war does not reduce drug abuse or drug-related crime. It is common sense and conventional wisdom that if you arrest one drug dealer, there will be another dealer on the street within hours to replace him. …

We have seen that today, 40 years after the drug war was declared, illegal drugs in many respects are cheaper and more readily available than they were at the time the drug war was declared. It’s difficult these days to find politicians who will openly defend the drug war on the grounds that it’s actually worked or that we are any closer to winning it than we were 40 years ago. And yet the war goes on.

It goes on and on, and every day people are arrested for minor drug offenses, branded criminals and felons, and then locked away and then relegated to permanent second-class status. Simply arresting people for drug crimes [does] nothing to address the serious problems of drug abuse and drug addiction that exist in this country.

The war goes on, as you said, but there are efforts underway in various states … to start to change things. … The aim is to reduce the jail population to save money. The idea in principle is to pump that money back into treatment and, in theory, things that will help prevent crime rather than exacerbate it. Could you talk to me about what is good about these initiatives underway in various states but also about their limitations?

It’s encouraging that in states like Kentucky and Ohio and in many other states around the country, legislation has been passed reducing the amount of time that minor, nonviolent drug offenders spend behind bars. It’s a step, a positive step in the right direction.

The concern, though, is that these reforms are motivated primarily because of money, fiscal concerns. State budgets have been struggling to meet basic expenses for prisons, [and] these bloated prison budgets have created a situation where politicians either have to ask taxpayers to pay up, pony up more money, raise taxes, or downsize our prisons somewhat.

And because these reforms have been motivated primarily out of concern about tax dollars rather than out of genuine concern about the communities that have been decimated by mass incarceration, people who have been targeted in this drug war and their families, the reforms don’t go nearly far enough.

We may reduce the size of prison population in some states somewhat by reducing the length of time some people spend behind bars, but as long as people, when they’re released from prison, still face legal discrimination in employment and housing, are still denied food stamps, are still denied financial aid and access to education to improve themselves, they’ll be back. That revolving door will continue, and they may stay for a shorter period of time, but that castelike system that exists will remain firmly intact.

If we don’t do something to reform our probation and parole systems and turn them into systems that are actually designed to support people’s meaningful re-entry in society rather than simply ensnare people once again into the system, we can continue to expand the size of our prison population simply by continuing to revoke people’s probation and parole and keep that revolving door swinging.

In fact, the problems associated with our probation and parole system became so severe that by the year 2000, there were more people incarcerated just for probation and parole violations than were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980.

So without major, drastic, large-scale change, this system will continue to function much in its same form. The question is whether we have the political will to do what is required.

If we were to return to the rates of incarceration we had in the 1970s, before the war on drugs and get-tough movement really kicked off, we would have to release four out of five people who are behind bars today. More than a million people who are currently employed by the criminal justice system would need to find a new line of work.

Most new prison constructions employ predominantly white rural communities, communities that are struggling themselves economically, communities that have come to view prisons as their source of jobs, their economic base. Those prisons would have to close down.

Private prison companies now listed on the New York Stock Exchange would be forced to watch their profits vanish if we do away with the system of mass incarceration.

This system is now so deeply rooted in our social, political and economic structure, it’s not going to just fade away, downsize out of sight with a little bit of tinkering of margins. No, it’s going to take a fairly radical shift in our public consciousness, … and that is going to be a change of mind, a change of heart that will be a hard one, but it’s necessary if we’re ever going to turn this system around.

The long list you gave me there of obstacles to reform felt insurmountable as you were going through them. What can be done? What is being done other than this tinkering, as you say, to move things in a more just direction?

Despite the extraordinary obstacles, I remain hopeful and optimistic that a movement against mass incarceration is being born in the United States. It exists in communities large and small. Nationwide, young people are organizing against mass incarceration on campuses. Formerly incarcerated people are organizing a movement to abolish all the forms of discrimination against them, voting and housing and employment, access to public benefits.

There is a movement for major drug policy reform as well as a movement for restorative justice, to shift away from a purely punitive approach to dealing with violent offenders to a more restorative one that takes seriously interests of the victim, the offender and the community as a whole.

So there is a movement being born, and while the obstacles are great, I have to remember that there was a time when it seemed that slavery would never die. There was a time when people said segregation forever, Jim Crow will never die, and the Jim Crow system was so deeply rooted in our social and economic and political structure and all aspects of social, political and public life, it seemed impossible to imagine that it could ever fade away.

And yet the movement was born. People who recognized the gap between what we were doing, who we are, and who we wanted to be as a nation and were willing to fight for it, to make sacrifices for it, to organize for it, to speak up and to speak out even more than when it was unpopular, that kind of movement is being born again.

So I’m hopeful that as people begin to learn the truth about what is happening, and as the curtain is pulled back, that we will learn to care more about the folks in and beyond and commit ourselves to doing the hard work that is necessary to end mass incarceration and to ensure that no system like this is ever born again in the United States. …

… Talk to me about youth detention and how that affects life chances and the chances of being incarcerated later in life as well.

In communities where there are very high rates of mass incarceration, communities that have been hit hardest by the system of mass incarceration, the system operates practically from cradle to grave.

When you’re born, your parent has likely already spent time behind bars, maybe behind bars at the time you make your entrance into the world. And at a very young age, you find that you are going to be viewed as suspicious and treated like a criminal.

No matter who you are, what you’ve done, you’ll find that you’re the target of law enforcement suspicion at an early age. You’re likely to attend schools that have zero-tolerance policies, perhaps where police officers patrol the halls rather than security guards, where disputes with teachers are treated as criminal infractions, where a schoolyard fight results in your first arrest rather than a meeting with the principal and your parents.

You find that a very young age, even the smallest infractions are treated as criminal. You’re criminalized at a young age, and you learn to expect that that’s your destiny. You, one way or another, are going to jail.

When we think of criminals, we typically think of the worst kind of rapists or ax murderers or serial killers, or we conjure the grossest caricature of what a criminal is and think that is who’s behind bars, that is who’s filling our prisons and jails, when the reality is that most people’s introduction to the criminal justice system when they live in these ghetto communities is for something very small, something minor.

Maybe they were stopped and searched and caught with something like weed in their pocket. Maybe they got into a fight at school, and instead of having a meeting with a counselor, having intervention with a school psychologist, having parental and community support, instead of all that, you got sent to a detention camp. Suddenly you’re treated like a criminal, like you’re worth nothing. You’re no good and will never be anything but a criminal, and that’s where it begins.

Then we feign surprise that these young people then wind up very often with serious problems, emotional problems, act out in violent ways. We act surprised, and yet what have we done? What messages have we sent? How have we treated them? What forms of violence have actually been perpetrated by us, the state, the government, us collectively, upon them?

I think we ought to spend a lot more time thinking about how young people are criminalized at early ages rather than just imagining that a life of crime is somehow freely chosen. Many young people find they are criminalized long before they ever are able to make choices about who they want to be in our society.

… What effect does locking up so many people from one concentrated neighborhood have on that neighborhood?

Locking up extraordinary numbers of people from a single neighborhood means that the young people in those neighborhoods imagine that incarceration is their destiny. They have no reason to believe otherwise. All evidence suggests that that is in fact their fate.

It also means that in these communities, the economic structures have been torn apart. There are very few people who are able to work because they’ve been branded criminals and felons.

The economic base in those communities is virtually nonexistent. Jobs are often nonexistent in these communities. Housing is often difficult to come by or tenuous. People find themselves rotating from home to home, sleeping on couches or trying to find places to stay because they can’t get access to basic housing. Getting access to education or public benefits is very difficult.

When this happens on a large scale, when most people in the community are struggling in precisely this way, the social networks are destroyed. And it is a virtual statistical inevitability that if you’re raised in that community, you too will someday serve time behind bars.

Why is there so much drug abuse in Beecher Terrace?

Drug abuse and drug addiction is not unique to poor communities of color. It is like this everywhere in America, but how we respond to drug abuse and drug addiction in poor communities of color is radically different than how we respond to it in more privileged communities.

If you’re middle class, upper-middle class, living in the suburbs, and your son or daughter becomes dependent on drugs, experimenting with drugs, the first thing you do is not call the police. The first thing you do is figure out, how can I get my child some help?

If you’re a schoolteacher working in a suburban school, and you come to discover that a child in your school may be struggling with drugs or have a drug abuse problem, the most likely response is not to call the police. The most likely response is to get them help.

And in fact, if you’re struggling with depression in a middle-class, upper-middle-class community, you can get prescription drugs, lots of them, lots of legal drugs to deal with your depression, your angst, your anxiety.

But in ghetto communities, where there is more than enough reason to be depressed and anxious, you don’t have that option of having lots of hours in therapy to work through your issues, to get prescribed lots of legal drugs to help you cope with your grief, your anxiety.

No, people in these communities have little choice but to self-medicate, and when they do, when they decide to turn to marijuana or turn to cocaine or turn to some type of substance we’ve designed, we’ve decided is prohibited, is off-limits, then rather than responding to these people with drug treatment and say[ing], “How can we help you cope with your crisis and help you through this period of time and help you deal with your drug addiction?,” instead we say: “Oh, the answer for you is a cage. We’re going to put you in a cage, lock you in a literal cage, treat you like an animal, and when you’re released, we’re going to make it almost impossible for you to find work or housing or care for your children.” That’s our answer to drug abuse and drug addiction in these communities.

If we really cared about people who lived there, would that be our answer? I think not. I think the way in which we respond to drug abuse and drug addiction in these communities speaks volumes about the extent to which these are people we truly care about.

Alexander Patch - History

Welcome to the Fort Tuthill Military Museum Online

Welcome to the Fort Tuthill Military Museum Website. The site is intended to provide a guide to the museum and the over 150 years of Arizona Military history it represents. We believe you will find it both comprehensive and informative. Please let us know should you have any comments on the site or questions about the museum. We hope you will have an opportunity to visit us soon.

Constructed in 1929 and named after General Alexander M. Tuthill, Fort Tuthill was considered one of the finest National Guard training facilities in the United States. Located three miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona, this permanent facility served as the annual field-training site for the 158th Infantry Regiment Arizona National Guard from 1929 to 1937, again in 1939, and for the last time in 1948.

Housed in two of Fort Tuthill’s original buildings, the Fort Tuthill Military Museum presents the appearance of a Regimental Headquarters Building of the 1940's. The Museum Mission is to preserve and present the distinguished history and traditions of the 158th Infantry Regiment, 158th Regimental Combat Team, and current 1st Battalion 158th Infantry Arizona National Guard. Exhibits trace the history of the regiment from it's organization in 1865 as the 1st Regiment Arizona Volunteers to 1967 retirement of the Regimental Colors and 2005 organization and Afghanistan deployment of 1st Battalion 158th Infantry.

General Admission: $5.00
Children under 12: Free
There is no charge for outside museum exhibits and activities, such as, special uniform, weapon, and vehicle displays.

Museum Hours are Saturdays and Sundays - 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Beginning May 20th, 2017 through the last weekend in September.

Depending on staff availability the museum may also be open additional days during the week. Contact the museum to determine if staff is on site.

Patch History

The Irmo Fire District was formed in 1963 as a Special Purpose District. Throughout the years, the patch design has changed and evolved as The District has grown.


The very first Irmo Fire District patch featured the "firefighter bee". This design was believed to be chosen because the mascot of Irmo High School is the Yellow Jacket.


In 1974, the Irmo Fire District became part of the Lexington County Fire Service and was designated Station 17. This county patch was used until 1990.


In 1990, the Irmo Fire District separated from the Lexington County Fire Service. This separation brought about the need for a new patch design. Yellow and black were incorporated into this design to represent the color of Irmo High School. Additionally, the various forms of service provided by the Irmo Fire District were represented: Fire, Medical, and Rescue.

2003 - Present

In 2002, Irmo Fire District grew from a one-station department into a two-station department. Due to this new growth, we felt that it was time to update our station patch. A committee was formed to head up this project so that the new patch would reflect not only the mission of the Fire District, but also the qualities of an Irmo Firefighter. This patch was adopted in 2003. The firefighters and engineers wear the gray patch, and the officers wear the gold patch. This patch includes some of the following details: The color gray represents Victory. The color red represents Courage. The four principles of Integrity, Courage, Loyalty & Honor comes from the eight obligations of the knights “Cross of Calvary”, which was later called the “Maltese Cross”. The purple front on the helmet is from the high recognition of the expensive and honorable color which St. Florian wore in battle. 9-11-01 Represents the fallen brothers past, present, and future.

2003 - Present

In 2002, Irmo Fire District grew from a one-station department into a two-station department. Due to this new growth, we felt that it was time to update our station patch. A committee was formed to head up this project so that the new patch would reflect not only the mission of the Fire District, but also the qualities of an Irmo Firefighter. This patch was adopted in 2003. The firefighters and engineers wear the gray patch, and the officers wear the gold patch. This patch includes some of the following details: The color gray represents Victory. The color red represents Courage. The four principles of Integrity, Courage, Loyalty & Honor comes from the eight obligations of the knights “Cross of Calvary”, which was later called the “Maltese Cross”. The purple front on the helmet is from the high recognition of the expensive and honorable color which St. Florian wore in battle. 9-11-01 Represents the fallen brothers past, present, and future.

2008 - Present

In 2008, Headquarters station adopted the "Keep On Truckin" patch for their station patch. The firefighter in the patch is carrying a hook and vent saw, and sports the classic-looking firefighter mustache. The hook has torn through the upper banner, and represents that fact that firefighters can break most anything. South Carolina is represented by our state flag which includes the classic crescent moon and palmetto tree on a pleasant looking field of indigo. This flag helps to inspire our state motto, “Dum spiro spero”… which is Latin for “While I breathe, I hope”.

2009 - Present

In 2009, Northlake adopted the "Engine 2" patch as their station patch. During WWII, B-25's did practice runs over Lake Murray. During this training, some planes crashed and sank to the bottom of Lake Murray. In 2005, one of these B-25's was recovered. Lake Murray is featured on this patch as well as the B-25. On the B-25 is "343" for the number of firefighters that lost their lives on 9-11, the "C9" is for the Charleston 9, and "Joe" is in memory of one of our former firefighters. The famous crescent moon and palmetto tree is also featured on this patch in an homage to our state of South Carolina.