They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II

They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II

They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II

They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II


A topical presentation of firsthand accounts from some of the thousands of army and navy nurses who served both stateside and overseas during World War II, this book tells the stories of the brave women who used any and all resources to save as many lives as possible. Although military nurses could have made more money as civilians, thousands chose to leave the warmth and security of home to care for the young men who went off to war. They were not saints but vibrant women whose performance changed the face of both military and civilian nursing. Jackson's account follows both army and navy nurses from the time they joined the military, through their active service, to their lives today.


There's no glamour about a wounded boy. He is dirty with foxhole grime. He is in pain. His clothes are matted with mud and blood, and he has a week's beard. He is often more dead than alive. And he's tired, so tired.

No, there's no glamour about him. But I've seen his strained, old face relax in peace and go young again at the touch of our hands. . . . His gratitude for a bath and a shave--or clean sheets and a chance to sleep-for our anxiety for our care, is so stupendous that it makes us humble. He is so grateful for so little!

--Quoted inJanet M. Geister, R.N. They Need You So! Trained Nurse and Hospital Review, December 1944

These words by a Navy nurse sum up the feelings of the approximately 77,000 nurses who answered Uncle Sam's call to follow American soldiers and sailors into battle during World War II. By war's end, approximately 230 nurses had lost their lives, 16 of them as a result of enemy action. But despite possible danger in hostile territories, 98 percent of the women who joined the Army Nurse Corps requested overseas service.

By attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese hoped to weaken both the military strength and morale of the United States; but they greatly underestimated the nation, and American men enlisted by the thousands that very evening. Soon all Americans were hanging blackout curtains; using ration coupons; buying war bonds; and turning in rubber, nylons, grease, etc.--all for the war effort. Even those Americans who had wanted to stay out of another conflict now found themselves key players in a universal one that would eventually involve almost every country in the world.

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