Men playing volleyball in Lovorno

Athletics

As a diversion from their wartime obligations, members of the 12th General Hospital Unit engaged in both formal and informal athletic activities. On athletic and recreation days at Fort Custer, members would play touch football, tennis, golf, horseshoes, and baseball in addition to riding horses, going to the riffle range, and swimming. The men became especially good at ping-ping while stationed at Fort Custer, which they played whenever they were off-duty. 

Although 12th General Hospital personnel were increasingly tasked with the responsibilities of operating a hospital, they found time for sports. Some of the staff played basketball and baseball in a league where they participated as the “Redbirds” in highly-publicized tournaments all over Italy. There was also a softball team known as the “Little Reds.” In Livorno, the 12th General Hospital Unit decided to take part in inter-departmental softball and baseball games as well as volleyball, badminton, and fencing matches when they were no longer charged for caring for patients.