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G.I. Nightingales

The Army Nurse Corps in World War II

Barbara Tomblin

Publication Year: 1996

"Weaving together information from official sources and personal interviews, Barbara Tomblin gives the first full-length account of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in the Second World War. She describes how over 60,000 army nurses, all volunteers, cared for sick and wounded American soldiers in every theater of the war, serving in the jungles of the Southwest Pacific, the frozen reaches of Alaska and Iceland, the mud of Italy and northern Europe, or the heat and dust of the Middle East. Many of the women in the Army Nurse Corps served in dangerous hospitals near the front lines—201 nurses were killed by accident or enemy action, and another 1,600 won decorations for meritorious service. These nurses address the extreme difficulties of dealing with combat and its effects in World War II, and their stories are all the more valuable to women’s and military historians because they tell of the war from a very different viewpoint than that of male officers. Although they were unable to achieve full equality for American women in the military during World War II, army nurses did secure equal pay allowances and full military rank, and they proved beyond a doubt their ability and willingness to serve and maintain excellent standards of nursing care under difficult and often dangerous conditions.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Half Title Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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p. v-v

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pp. vi-x

My fascination with World War II began in childhood and grew naturally from the memories of the war told to me by my parents, Florence and Sanford Brooks, and their friends who lived through those tumultuous years. My interest in Army nurses in ...

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Mobilizing for War

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pp. 1-12

On October 8, 1940, Miss Agnes C. Rosele stepped forward at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., to be sworn into the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Rosele was the first of 4,019 Red Cross nurses to be transferred from reserve to active duty on the eve of World War II. At the brief ceremony, Capt. James ...

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War Comes to the Pacific: U.S. Army Nurses at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines

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pp. 13-37

While Maj. Julia Stimson's office in Washington was preparing for a national "emergency," Army nurses overseas in 1941 were going about their daily peacetime routines all but oblivious to the war clouds gathering on the horizon. At bases in the Panama Canal Zone, Hawaii, and the Philippines, Army nurses were thoroughly ...

Across the Pacific: Nursing in the Central Pacific and Southwest Pacific Area

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pp. 38-66

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The Torch is Lit: Army Nurses Support the Invasions of North Africa and Sicily

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pp. 78-94

As thousands of American troops were arriving in the southwest Pacific in 1942, others were being convoyed across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom in anticipation of a Second Front against the Axis in Europe. Allied leaders were under strong pressure to go on the offensive somewhere in the West in 1942. However, after ...

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Fifth Army First: Nursing in the Italian Campaign

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pp. 95-119

With the Allies firmly ashore on the island of Sicily, Allied planners could turn their attention to the next objective in their strategic plan to attack the Axis's "soft underbelly." On July 17, 1943, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, buoyed by the early successes of the Sicilian operation, decided that the Allies should give serious ...

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To the Rhine and Beyond: Army Nurses in the European Theater of Operations

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pp. 120-152

Many nurses sailing for distant shores early in World War II were destined for U.S. Army bases or airfields in Great Britain. Our buildup of medical personnel in the United Kingdom was so gradual however that a nursing section was not established in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) until July 21, 1942. When ...

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The End of the Line: Nursing in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations

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pp. 153-171

While the Pacific theaters absorbed the bulk of American fighting forces during 1942 and 1943, other Allied troops were waging war against the Japanese in India and Burma. Although the British had committed the most troops to what became known as the China Burma- India (CEl) Theater, the United States's Lend Lease ...

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They Also Served: The Army Nurse Corps at Home and in the Minor Theaters of War

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pp. 172-203

Although most Army nurses in World War II were assigned to hospital units in the continental United States or in major theaters of war, thousands of nurses served in minor theaters from Alaska to Iceland, Africa, and the Middle East. Their experience, although less well known, was equally valuable and often quite interesting. The first Army nurses to be sent to foreign soil during World War II ...

Peace at Last! Demobilizing the Corps

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pp. 204-211


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pp. 212-231


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pp. 232-238


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pp. 239-255


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E-ISBN-13: 9780813170206
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813119519

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 1996