Vivian Bullwinkel
was the sole survivor when the Japanese massacred 21 army nurses
on Bangka Island, now part of Indonesia. She was taken POW and survived the hell camps of Sumatra
 

Thanks Joni Terrio
The Minefields Of Her Memory
Army nurse recalls duty in the field hospitals of Europe

June Wandrey was one of
  more than 70,000 women
    who served as Army nurses
   during World War II

   JUNE WANDREY PUT AWAY her memories of
      three years of fighting in Europe when she came home in
        1945. But 40 years later, they resurfaced when she found a
        box of the letters she sent home from the war, all saved by
her mother.
"One thing that really bothered me about seeing the
         letters was that I had forgotten the vast majority of material
         that was in it. I think you bury it... someplace down deep
   inside," Wandrey says.
This time, she did not want to forget. She wanted to
           remember and others to learn. So she compiled her letters
            and war diaries into a book. Its title: "Bedpan Commando,"
             the nickname soldiers called the nurses who cared for them.
     Looking at Wandrey now, a small, wry woman, it's
             hard to imagine how she endured the rigors of combat. The
           living conditions were horrible. Her field hospital unit would
            go months without heat or showers or a good night's sleep.
             They lived on C-rations, sometimes heating their meals on
   the radiator of an ambulance.
       "We had one condiment that was called alley slop," she
         remembers. "And I always thought they would shake it on
    their food and kill anything in there that was live and
shouldn't have been."
Jane Wandrey, pictured here
during her days as an Army nurse.

As she talks about her tour of duty through North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, Wandrey
  often rambles, switching subjects and places as if to avoid the minefields of her own memory. But
     there is one memory she cannot avoid. The memory of a young man
       she nursed for three days in 1945. A young man she knew only as Sammy.
"Sammy was very badly wounded. He was just the most cheerful, cheerful person in the world," she remembers
  with tears in her eyes. "He had a voice like an angel." She says his body was torn apart by a grenade his
    legs shattered, wounds in his chest and stomach, and part of his brain exposed. Yet he still made jokes and sang songs
as he fought to live. The scene she describes is reminiscent of the novel and
  movie, "The English Patient." As their unit moves ahead, June and Sammy, a doctor and another nurse stay behind.
   She learns Sammy was a singer before he became a soldier, that he is married to a girl named Mary, and that he wants to live.
He does not.She writes home: "Despite Sammy's desperate battle to live, he slipped away just as morning broke. It broke my
 heart. Desperately tired, hungry and sick of the misery and futility of war, I wept uncontrollably, my tears falling on
poor Sammy's bandaged remains. Fifty-three years have not dulled the pain. Crying, June
tells me that Sammy was every young man who fought in World War II, and that in her opinion his life was wasted.
More than 70,000 women served as nurses in that war and June believes every one knew a Sammy someone
    who came to personify the horror of combat, the terrible price her generation was asked to pay to save the next. A
  price they paid without question For more than 25 years this nurse has been haunted by a memory of Vietnam

WAC Training Battalian, Fort. McClellan, Alabama - 1961.


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8th Field Hospital -Vietnam Nurses

11 Jun 1970, Anna Mae Hays, the 13th Chief of the Army Nurse corps, made history when she became the
first female ever promoted to the rank of general officer in the U.S. Armed Forces.


 WOMEN VETERANS SEARCH PAGE


 
 

 OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS


Rosemary Hogan, Captain - Army Nurses Corps WW-II
Born May 12, 1912 at Walters, Oklahoma. Entered service August 1, 1936 at Fort Sill Oklahoma
and served there until 1940. Captain Hogan served\ in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of War,
and participated in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor. She was held POW by the Japs
from May 1942 to February 1945 and was wounded by shrapnel in the bombing
of Hospital # One at Bataan, April 1942.Decorations: Asiatic-Pacific Medal, Pre-Pearl Harbor Medal, Philippine
Liberation Medal, American Defense Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star,Presidential Citation w/2 Oak
Leaf Clusters, 6 Overseas Stripes.NOTE:Captain Rosemary Hogan is one of the nurses that volunteered to
stay with the wounded American soldiers. They knew that they would be overrun, captured and taken
prisoner by the Japs and they were ordered to leave the wounded, and they did so.She was taken
prisoner, she survived the awesome ordeal of being a POW for three years. She returned to the states and was
promoted to Colonel. Rosemary died in 1964 at the age of 52. I thank her for leaving me a free country to live in.
If it were possible to talk to the wounded men she volunteered to stay and care for, they would say.
Thank God for the women in the military.
These wounded men were Hogan's Heros. She definitely was their Hero.
Rosemary Hogan and the other American nurses were moved from Bataan to Corregidor just before the surrender to the Japanese.
Some nurses and other peronnel were evacuated from Corregidor before it was surrendered, including Rosemary Hogan, who was, as
you mentioned, wounded at Bataan. (She was wounded when a Japanese bomb fell on her hospital. Nurse Rita Palmer was wounded
in the same bombing.) The plane on which Hogan, Palmer, and other evacuees were flying had to land on another island to refuel, and was
damaged. While the pilots repaired the plane, the evacuees found shelter elsewhere. After the plane was repaired, the pilots couldn't find
their passengers, and had to leave them behind. The passengers eventually surrendered themselves
to the Japanese, as they did not believe they could avoid capture.
 Rosemary's Story from Arlington
 


1st Lt. Rita G. Palmer-POW 3 years

'It Was Terrible'
Former Army Nurse Reflects On Horrors Of Being A War Prisoner
By Lara Bricker, Staff Writer
The Hampton Union, Tuesday, May 30, 2000
[The following article is courtesy of The Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

1st Lt. Rita G. Palmer
Only one small section of my ward remained standing.
Part of the roof had been blown into the jungle.
There were mangled bodies under the ruins; a bloodstained hand stuck up through a pile of scrap;
arms and legs had been ripped off and flung among the rubbish.
Some of the mangled torsos were impossible to identify.
We worked wildly to get to the men who might be buried, still alive, under the mass
of wreckage, tearing apart the smashed beds to reach the wounded and the dead....
The bombing had stopped, but the air was rent by the awful screams of the new-wounded
and the dying. Trees were still crashing in the jungle and when one nearby fell on the
remaining segment of tin roof it sounded like shellfire.... I saw Rosemary Hogan being helped
from her ward. Blood streamed from her face and shoulder; she looked ghastly.
"Hogan," I called, "Hogan, is it bad?"
She managed to wave her good arm at me. "Just a little nose bleed,"
she said cheerfully ..."How about you?"
... Then Rita Palmer (from Hampton) was taken from her ward. Her face and arms had been
cut and her skirt and GI shirt had been blown (open).
In fact, Rita Palmer had more than a few cuts. "I remember coming to and having long beams of the roof over
me and struggling out from under those," she said. "I have no idea how long I was knocked out. I could breathe
all right, but one finger of one hand was incapacitated. I didn't even know about the piece (of shrapnel) in my chest
for several hours. It didn't penetrate my lung. I had shrapnel in my legs too."
{From "We Band of Angels:
The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped On Bataan by the Japanese"
Elizabeth M. Norman -- 1999}
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rita Palmer doesn't like to talk about her three years as a prisoner of war in Santa Tomas in Manila.
The memories don't come hack easily. She prefers that they don't sometimes.
"I haven't talked about it very much," the 82-year-old Hampton native said last week.
Palmer and Rosemary Hogan were the first two women awarded a Purple Heart for their service in World War II. T
hey were awarded the military medal in San Francisco in 1945. Palmer keeps mostly silent about the honor.
"It didn't mean anything," she said. "They all did things so much more than we did."
Palmer never anticipated the deadly turn of events when she enlisted as an Army nurse with the rank of Second Lieutenant in March 1941.
Following her graduation from the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, she saw the Army as an opportunity to travel and see the world.
Opportunities for travel were not as accessible to young people during that time as they are today, her brother Ansell Palmer, 80, of Hampton, explained.
Rita Palmer wrote of her feelings in a letter to her brother.
"After several months an opportunity to transfer to the Philippines came along and being young and eager to see the world, I volunteered," she wrote.
With five other nurses, she left on September 26, 1941 and arrived in Manila on Oct. 23, where she was stationed at Fort Stotensburg, 60 miles
north of Manila. Clark Field was close by and Palmer wrote of her memories of the first day of war.
"The horror of that first afternoon of war is burned in my memory - the dead, the dying, the dismembered who filled every inch of our small hospital
are epitomized for me by a legless 16-year-old who had lied about his age to get into the Army," she wrote. Clark Field was evacuated and the troops
and nurses were moved south to Manila and by Christmas she was on Corregidor.
"Everything they bombed," Palmer said last week. "We were scared in a way. We didn't have time to think about anything."
The nurses worked 18-hour shifts and soon ran out of medical supplies. They rarely slept.
"It was almost constant," Palmer said.
From there, she worked on the Bataan Peninsula where she was wounded, as described in the excerpt from the book. Her brother explained
that she was then taken back to Corregidor and was one of 12 army nurses who were to be taken at night to Australia by Navy flying boats, PBYs.
The planes needed refueling often and the flight stopped on Lake Lanao on the southern island of the Philippines, Mindinao. However, the plane's
belly was ripped open by a rock and they were grounded.
"Her PBY had had it and couldn't make it from there," Ansell Palmer said.
For six months, the small group stayed on the island but were eventually captured by the Japanese and returned by a cargo boat to
Santa Tomas prison on Manila. She was imprisoned for three and a half years.
"That was a long time," she admitted.
At first getting food was not that difficult, but soon they were eating only rice, cooked in milk.
"It was terrible," she said. "Then it got so bad, our health was so bad."
Palmer and the others were freed in 1945 after Gen. Douglas MacArthur's troops re-took Manila. She remembers the day the Air Force
fighter planes flew over the prison camp and tipped their wings. It was their first sign of liberation. But some who had survived for the
entire length of time were killed just before they were to be freed.
Meanwhile, Ansell Palmer was stationed in Hawaii in the Navy Air Corps, where he was repairing planes. What he knew of his sister was through
his mother and he learned of her liberation when reading the base newspaper. He read that some of the nurses were being brought to Hawaii and
after three hours of calling different places on the phone, he was able to get through and talk with his sister for the first time in four years.
Two hours later, he received a phone call from the officer of the day who informed him that a high ranking official had ordered Ansell Palmer to
be sent to his sister in Honolulu "the fastest way possible."
It was February 23, 1945, which is also Rita's birthday. He was shocked when he saw her at only 85 pounds. She returned to Hampton in August 1945
and later went on to the University of Chicago, where she met her husband, Bud James, who also received a
Purple Heart after he was wounded in Italy.
Today, Palmer lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and returned to Hampton last week to visit her brother. She hopes when people think about the
nurses who served in World War Il, they realize the significance of using women in combat, which wasn't seen much before WWII.
Today, she said, women have more opportunities for their careers and in leadership roles. She credits the nurses with
opening up the future for modern day women.
But she still is haunted by the vivid memories of war.
"I have not successfully come to terms with everything that happened in those years," she wrote in a letter to her brother. "I learned some
valuable lessons, a great deal about human nature under extreme conditions and the recognition that little is gained and nothing is resolved by war."
Courtesy photo Hampton native Rita Palmer was imprisoned in the Philippines for three and a half years during World War 11.
She was one of the first two women awarded a Purple Heart.
 
 
 


 
 


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   Over 58,000 Americans killed, 200,000 wounded and Women Were There!

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VIETNAM WOMANS MEMORIAL DEDICATION
NOVEMBER 11,1993

American  Military Women
   Who Died in the Viet Nam War (1959-1975)
Military:
U.S. Army
2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba
2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones
Lt. Drazba and Lt. Jones were assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a
helicopter crash near Saigon, February 18, 1966. Drazba was from Dunmore, PA., Jones from
Allendale, SC. Both were 22 years old.
Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander
1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski
Capt. Alexander of Westwood, NJ and Lt. Orlowski of Detroit, MI died November 30, 1967.
Alexander, stationed at the 85th Evacuation Hospital and Orlowski, stationed at the 67th
Evacuation Hospital, in Qui Nhon, had been sent to a hospital in Pleiku to help out during a push.
With them when their plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon were two other nurses, Jerome
E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI and Kenneth R. Shoemaker, Jr. of Owensboro, KY. Alexander
was 27, Orlowski 23. Both were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars.
2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan
Lt. Donovan, from Allston, MA, died of pneumonia in Qui Nhon on July 8, 1968. She was
assigned to the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon. She was 26 years old.
1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane
Lt. Lane died from shrapnel wounds when the 312th Evacuation Hospital at Chu Lai was hit by
rockets on June 8, 1969. From Canton, OH, she was a month short of her 26th birthday. She was
posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for
Heroism. In 1970, the recovery room at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, where Lt. Lane
had been assigned before going to Vietnam, was dedicated in her honor. In 1973, Aultman
Hospital in Canton, OH, where Lane had attended nursing school, erected a bronze statue of
Lane. The names of 110 local servicemen killed in Vietnam are on the base of the statue.
Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham, Chief Nurse at 91st Evacuation Hospital, Tuy Hoa.
Lt. Col. Graham, from Efland, NC, suffered a stroke in August 1969 and was evacuated to Japan
where she died four days later. A veteran of both World War II and Korea, she was 52.
U.S. Air Force
Capt. Mary Therese Klinker
Capt. Klinker, a flight nurse assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, was on the C-5A
Galaxy which crashed on April 4 outside Saigon while evacuating Vietnamese orphans. This is
known as the Operation Babylift crash. From Lafayette, IN, she was 27. She was posthumously
awarded the Airman's Medal for Heroism and the Meritorious Service Medal.

 ......AND PROUDLY SHE SERVED

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This is the Women's Army Corps Museum on the grounds of Fort McClellan, Alabama.
 
 


This Col. Oveta Culp Hobby, the first commandant of the Women's
   Army Corps, 1942-1945. Col. Culp served as Deputy Secretary of the
  Army for Women's Affairs prior to her appointment as Commandant of
  the Women's Army Corps in 1942. Col. Hobby was always active in
 Texas politics and was the wife of the Publisher of the Houston Post,
    later assuming that position upon his death. In 1953, President
   Eisenhower appointed her to the position of Secretary of Federal
      Security Agency, and later became the first Secretary Health, Education
       and Welfare, a position she held until 1955, when she resigned to return
    to Houston to take care of her ailing husband.


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DOC DENTICE SERVED WITH THE 25TH DIV. IN CUCHI VIETNAM
DOC BROUGHT MANY WOUNDED TROOPS TO THE 12TH EVAC
1967/68


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