North High School Wall of Honor
Robert Merle Underwood
Class of June, 1941
U.S. Army; Sgt.
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.
Robert Merle Underwood
Bob was a member of North High's class of June, 1941. He enlisted in the US Army on January 22, 1943. At the time of his enlistment, he was single with no dependents. His service number was 37657366.

After his enlistment, Bob went immediately to Camp Dodge, Iowa and then to Buckley Field in Abilene, Texas where was in the Medical Corps. From there he went to New York and to Australia via the Panama Canal. In Australia (May, 1943), he was at Townsville (near Brisbane). His Medical Corps (11th Portable Surgical Hospital) traveled constantly, following combat and troop activities throughout the Pacific Theater. Locations included New Guinea and Luzon, Philippines. Shortly after the war ended, in September, 1945, he was on his way back to Des Moines.

His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Wayne (Sadie) Warren, 3006 Bowdoin Street, Des Moines, Iowa.
Bob passed away September 15, 2014.
Robert Merle Underwood
Year x Rank x Status
June, 1941 x x x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
January 29, 1943 x US Army x Enlisted at Camp Dodge Herrold, IA
date x US Army x Buckley Field, Abilene, TX. Medical Corps
date x US Army x To New York
May 15, 1943 x US Army x To Australia via the Panama Canal.
May, 1943 x US Army xx In Australia at Townville near Brisbane. Medical Corps traveled constantly to include New Guinea and Luzon, Philippines.
September 14,1945 x   x On way back to United States and Des Moines
November 14, 1945 x US Army x Discharged
1945-2014 x Employment x President of Quality Built Homes, Inc.
date x Family x Married Betty Jeane Cameron.
September 15, 2014 x Deceased x Buried in Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, IA
Partial view of medics taking care of casualties at the 11th Portable Surgical Hospital, somewhere in the jungles of New Guinea, picture taken July 44. Normally only a 25-bed facility, the 11th expanded to 50, even admitting 102 patients during 17-27 Jun 44, performing 87 operations with only 1 death! Surgeons and staff worked continuously for 72 hours. The Portable Surgical Hospitals provided skilled surgical care in rugged jungle environment and could be set up and moved within a relative short time; patients and medical facilities were usually kept under canvas or temporary huts.

Robert Merle Underwood
11th Portable Surgical Hospital
US Army

Medical Corps Patch

Sergeant Stripes

(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Robert Merle Underwood's 1941 class page can be viewed at
Robert Merle Underwood
As of 12/04/09, Robert Merle Underwood lives in Johnston, IA with his wife, Jeane. Died: 09/15/14.
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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