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

By Kathi Jackson | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Following the Troops

Earnest determination is written on their faces--they have a duty to perform for their country. Fighting men all over the globe have priority on the most skillful service their heads, hands, and hearts can render.

--Capt. Marion E. Thuma, R.N. "Task Forces, ANC," American Journal of Nursing, January 1944

And, thus, the adventure began. After training to be a nurse, making the decision to join the Army or Navy, and being drilled in military procedures and new medical techniques, thousands of women left home and its comforts to face the unknown. Many wondered if they would come back or, even worse, if they would do a good job. But they did a fantastic job and their efforts made a brighter future for many soldiers, sailors, and marines.

Task Force nurses (those going overseas) were sometimes given only 48 hours to report to their point of embarkation. Those who traveled from their homes were told to take their oath of office before leaving so their pay could begin and they could be reimbursed for their first-class travel expenses.

More often than not, the age-old military slogan of "hurry up and wait" applied as the women were sent from camp to camp only to wait--from hours to weeks--in a staging area for a final boarding call. Dora Cline spent a month in San Francisco waiting to go to New Caledonia. Helen Pon went from Fort Devins, Massachusetts, to Charleston, South Carolina, before going to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to board the USS Monticello to go to North Africa. Louine Connor went from Fort Meade, Maryland, to Fort Story, Virginia, where she was given orders for sea duty and put in charge of getting 10 nurses to New York's Staten Island. Eugenie Rutkowski traveled by train

-17-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Note xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Notes xx
  • Chapter 1 Uncle Sam Wants You! 1
  • Notes 6
  • Chapter 2 from Whites to Fatigues 7
  • Notes 15
  • Chapter 3 Following the Troops 17
  • Notes 21
  • Chapter 4 the Pacific Theater 23
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 5 the Mediterranean Theater 51
  • Notes 62
  • Chapter 6 the European Theater 65
  • Notes 82
  • Appendix 6a: Rain on A Tent in Normandy 85
  • Appendix 6b: China Doll 86
  • Appendix 6c: the Gardelegen Barn 88
  • Appendix 6d: Second Lieutenant Frances Y. Slanger 92
  • Chapter 7 the China-Burma-India Theater 93
  • Notes 97
  • Chapter 8 the United States and Western Atlantic Minor Theaters 99
  • Notes 106
  • Appendix 8a: Nursing in A Stateside Burn Ward 107
  • Chapter 9 Wild Blue Yonder 109
  • Notes 117
  • Appendix 9a: Tales of An Air Force Nurse 119
  • Chapter 10 Life at Sea 121
  • Notes 135
  • Chapter 11 Camaraderie and Romance 139
  • Notes 152
  • Chapter 12 Leaving a Legacy 155
  • Notes 169
  • Appendices 171
  • Notes 182
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 207
  • About the Author 213
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