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Experiencing War: Military Medicine: Stories from the Veterans History Project

No one in war has a purer mission than nurses. Even doctors must sometimes inflict pain for the better good of a patient, but a nurse is there only to soothe and comfort. The ideals that a nurse carries into any wartime hospital are challenged by the daily arrival of bodies broken in battle. Every personal experience -- camaraderie with fellow nurses, relations with superior officers, romantic entanglements -- is magnified by the intensity of a profession that demands courage, compassion and above all, composure.

Featured Story: Frances M. Liberty
Image of Frances Liberty - link to story

"Nurses were classified as lower than low in those days."

Few nurses can claim the distinction of serving in three wars, and in all of them at duty stations near the action. But Frances Liberty's assignments ranged from hitting the beach at Anzio to supplying a hospital train in Korea to dressing down a derelict nurse in Vietnam, as well as caring for celebrity patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Our Nation’s Capital. Her blunt personality earned her a reputation with her superiors as a straight arrow. She had the pleasure of seeing the status of Army nurses improve dramatically as well as having her father, originally skeptical of her enlistment, send her off to serve in Korea with his blessing.

Frances Liberty - link to storyGo and experience
Frances M. Liberty's story
Experience more Stories of Military Medicine: Nurses more stories

"You take some comfort that everybody’s in the same position." -- Jayne Cooley

Image of Jayne H. Cooley  - link to story

"We weren't treated any differently because everyone has their own mission."

Jayne H. Cooley's story

Image of Dorothy Walters Cutts - link to story

"I was sorry at one time that I wasn't a man when World War II came out."

Dorothy Walters Cutts' story

Image of Julie Grabner Haskell - link to story

"Many times the guys would wake up and say to you, 'Did I die? Did I go to heaven?'..."

Julia Grabner Haskell's story

Image of Jeanne Urbin Markle - link to story

"We ran out of bandages ... and had to use the Stars & Stripes newspaper ..."

Jeanne Urbin Markle's story

Image of Vera Gustafson Palmer  - link to story

"The chief nurse told me I wouldn't have got my promotion if she had known I was going with an enlisted man..."

Vera Gustafson Palmer's story

Image of Carolyn Hisako Tanaka  - link to story

"This time I was not the enemy, but I was there saving lives, perhaps their loved ones."

Carolyn Hisako Tanaka's story

Image of Sharolyn Walcutt  - link to story "... and it would be like the 4th of July, and you knew a lot of casualties were coming in..."

Sharolyn Walcutt's story
  Home >> Military Medicine: Nurses
  The Library of Congress
  February 18, 2005
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