The Officers Candidate School was located at Camp Columbia at Wacol in Brisbane, Queensland from 1942-1945.

At the time of Pearl Harbor Edmund J. Ryan was with the 36th Engineer Regiment (Combat). A month later he went on Atlantic Fleet Amphibious ops. off the Virginia coast with the 1st Infantry Division. A month, to the day later, the French ship "Normandie" caught fire as it was being converted to a troop ship and sank in New York harbor. In March '42 he was assigned to the faculty of the Army Engineer School OCS at Fort Belvoir, VA. When petrol rationing was started in July, Edmund requested foreign duty. Two other officers, Edmund J. Ryan and three sergeants were assigned to become the Engineer Section of an Officer Candidate School to be activated in Australia. They left New Zealand on 26 November 1942 after dropping the Yale University 39th General Hospital unit, including 45 Doctors and 139 Registered Nurses, at Wesley School near Auckland.

Their chartered Dutch Ship "Tjisadane" with Chinese and Javanese crew arrived in Brisbane on 1 December 194.2 With the rest of the OCS Staff and Faculty they went directly to Aussie-built hutments at Camp Columbia at Wacol, a half mile across the railroad tracks from 6th Army Headquarters. With the arrival of Enlisted Candidates from New Guinea they moved into tents there. After a prescribed course of three months, most of them qualified to be commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants.

After a year at Wacol with the 3rd Training Company, Edmund J. Ryan put in a request for duty with troops. After a timber survey and assembling the parts of a British Pickles saw mill at Finchhaven, NG After 6 weeks at Victoria Park, he joined the 91st Engineer Regt. at Port Moresby, later moving to Biak, NEI (now Indonesia). Edmund spent 38 months in the SWPA.

On 1 February 2003 Edmund J. Ryan told me that they were literally in an American enclave at Camp Columbia. He said:-

"We had a quite busy schedule at OCS there, relieved by dates with American nurses of the 28th Surgical Unit located in a large house on stilts near 6th Army Headquarters and Saturday night dances at Lennon Hotel in Brisbane with music by the 32nd Division Band. Other remembrances were of the thousands of mosquitoes in my little wall tent. We had to sleep in mosquito bars. We did have hot water in outdoor showers."



    Col. Haney, H.

Executive Officer:
    Col. Dewey, F.O.

Director of Training:
    Col. Privett, G.P.

Assistant Director of Training:
    Lt. Col. Dunn, T.N.

Operations Officer:
    Major Wise, G.E.

    Lt. Swise, R.E.

Sgt. Major

Personnel Officer:
    Lt. Gausman, C.W.
    W/O Barouch, H.W.

Supply Officer:
    Capt. Davis, T.L.

MCA Supply:
    Col. France, G.D.

Ordnance Officer:
    Capt. Flornoy, E.

Range Officer:
    Capt. Fuller, J.S.

Motor Pool:
    Lt. Clarke, C.R.

Dispensary No. 1:
    Lt. Col. Fineberg, M.
    Capt. Thacker, W.A.

Dispensary No. 2:
Capt. Graul, E.G.

Reproduction Plant:
Capt. Pash, L.D.

Post Exchange:
    Lt. Hulbert, H.B.

Mess Officer:
    Lt. Devane, W.H.

Officer's Club
Message Center
Guard House

Headquarters Det.:
    Capt. Poole, M.L.

Det. Orderly Room:
    Lt. Cross, M.A.

First Training Bn.:
    Lt. Col. Krayenbuml, C., C.O.

First Training Co.:
    Capt. Blackman, R.C., C.O.

Second Training Co.:
    Major Bristol, M.C.C., C.O.

Third Training Co.:
    Capt. Ryan, E.J.

Fourth Training Co.:
    Capt. Froeber, R.J.

Fifth Training Co.:
    Major Taylor, J.F.


ACA Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Budinger, W.F.

AGD Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Press, J.E.

GAC Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Michael, D.T.

CE Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Griggs, E.L., Jr.

CWS Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Lt. Col. Andes, J.O.

FA Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Johnson, F.W.

Inf. Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Dyson, J.L.

MCA Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Col. France, G.D.

Ord. Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Amrine, H.T.

Q.M. Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Lt. Col. Russell, H.E.

Signal Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Major Sawyer, C.H.

TC Section:
    Chief Instructor:
        Lt. Col. Smeltzer, T.R.

cc01.jpg (28514 bytes)

Capt. E. H. Lowe, the first black graduate from the OCS in the SWPA,
pins insignia on 2nd Lt. James B. Morris, Des Moines, Iowa at OCS
graduation exercise held at Camp Columbia, Brisbane,
on 29 Jun 43. 
Signal Corps Photo: GHQ SWPA SC 43 7037 (T/4 Harold Hoffman)


The First Training Company of the Officer Candidate School at Camp Columbia. This class
graduated in September 1944 S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston is the person marked in the front row
that is standing. Major Charles L. Haines is fifth from the right in the front row that is standing.

jhjohnston02.jpg (107662 bytes)

Close-up of the back row


jhjohnston04.jpg (167926 bytes)

Close-up of the front two rows


S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston


S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston had been in New Britain before he was sent to Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Camp Columbia. Because of a delay in transportation he was too late for his original intended class and he was temporarily attached to Headquarters Company. Compared to a fox hole in New Britain, Camp Columbia was a near paradise for S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston. After he graduated from OCS Joe Johnston was assigned to the 43rd Infantry Division at Aitape in New Guinea in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines.


jhjohnston05.jpg (277315 bytes)

A V - Mail from S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston
at Officer Candidate School at Camp Columbia
to his parents in Maryland on 19 March 1944


The Officer Candidate School at Camp Columbia had its own medical Dispensaries as follows in October 1943:-

Dispensary No. 1:
    Lt. Col. Fineberg, M.
    Capt. Thacker, W.A.

Dispensary No. 2:
    Capt. Graul, E.G.

In May 1944 and February 1945 it is shown as follows:-

    Major Graul, E.G. (Surgeon)
    Capt. Thacker, W.A. (Dental Officer)
    Lt. Goldberg, P. (Ass't. Surgeon)


Photo:- via Barry Graul, son of Major E.G. Graul who is in this photo

Photo of Medical Staff at the Officer Candidate
School taken between Feb 43 and Jan 44


Click on the above thumbnail
to enlarge the above photo


Photo:- via Barry Graul, son of Major E.G. Graul

Major Elmer George Graul in January 1944 at the Officer Candidate School


I'd like to thank Bill Bentson, Michael D. Haines (son of Major Charles L. Haines) and Hugh F. Johnston (son of S/Sgt. Joe H. Johnston) for their assistance with this home page.

I'd like to thank Barry Graul, son of Major Elmer George Graul for his assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 4 August 2002

This page last updated 19 January 2020