Chaung crossing north of Sinthe in Burma in the spring of 1945. Photograph by DeWitt Morrill. RG2/002, the AFS World War II Photographic Collection. This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

This picture shows American Field Service (AFS) ambulances crossing a chaung (stream bed) north of Sinthe in Burma during the spring of 1945. Between December 1943 and April 1944, 812 AFS ambulance drivers were stationed in the India-Burma theater of war.

The first AFS ambulances used in this theater of war were black Fords, made from ¾ ton chassis with a white circle containing a red cross painted on the sides. According to DeWitt “Dick” Morrill, an AFS World War II ambulance driver and the photographer of the image above, the rear axles of these vehicles broke frequently. In 1944 AFS began using black Chevy trucks that were slightly larger than the Fords. The Chevy truck chassis were made in Canada and were then shipped to Bombay (present day Mumbai), where the ambulance bodies were constructed. Both the Ford and Chevy trucks contained an unusual characteristic for the American volunteers: the driver seat was on the right side of the vehicle. It was only in the spring of 1944 that AFS also began using olive-colored Jeeps that were issued by the United States military. These were smaller and lacked a passenger seat and windshield, though the driver seat was once again placed on the left side. The Jeeps officially accommodated only two stretchers and one sitting patient, though the AFS drivers would sometimes place stretchers on the hood of the vehicle and carried seated passengers on the bumpers or the hood, if needed.