The Brazoria and Galveston County Medical Societies together with their respective County Civil Defense organizations and the Medical Education for National Defense (MEND) programs of Baylor University College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch sponsored a Civil Defense exercise to investigate by field trial the practicability of the 200-bed Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Hospital Unit, now stockpiled in strategic areas over the country.
Designated Operation Rebound, was intended to test the ability of communities in the Gulf Coast region south of Houston to provide medical support in the event of a disaster which would cripple hospital and medical facilities in the urban area itself. For this reason no Houston doctors, nurses, or other professional or lay personnel participated in Operation Rebound except with respect to Baylor University College of Medicine and in observer capacities.
A theoretical problem was set up which assumed that Houston had been bombed by a nuclear weapon of a large yield resulting in a zone of destruction measuring 10 miles in radius from Ground Zero in the downtown area. It was further assumed that all of the city’s medical care facilities had been destroyed and that all doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel had been killed or wounded by primary or secondary blast effects. An estimated 100,000 persons in the periphery of the city were presumed to have survived. Casualties were evacuated along the principal roads of exit in every direction.
To narrow the problem, an estimated 500 injured persons were presumed to reach a traffic block on Highway 288 near Arcola, approximately 20 miles from Houston, within a period of about 12 hours following the air burst. Since prevailing winds are strongly from the south it was assumed these evacuees were free from primary radiation effect and from most of the upwind fall-out although some radiation casualties were included in the problem. Casualties on Highway 288 were to be divided into two groups and diverted to Advanced Treatment Centers and Emergency FCDA Hospital units which had been set up in response to the alert, one at Arcadia, 37 miles from Houston, and one at West Columbia, 50 miles from Houston.
Taken from Operation Rebound: Final Report by T.G. Blocker, Jr. MEND Coordinator.