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2 Paradise Lost Unprepared is the word that describes us best. ... The handwriting was on the wall, but nobody read it. Lt. Col. Hattie R. Brantley, USA, NC (Ret.) Military nurses in the Philippines awakened to news that would change the world forever. Radios announced the attack to those preparing to go on duty, and word-of-mouth traveled like a tidal wave, breaking the news that would stun and engulf everyone it touched. It was Monday, 8 December, in the Philippines, but across the international date line on Hawaii, it was Sunday, 7 December 1941, the date that would live in infamy. At 0755 Hawaii time, naval and air forces of the empire of Japan attacked the military forces of the United States at Pearl Harbor and sank or damaged most of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, it was 0355 in the Philippines, and the islands were slowly awakening to the shock that America was at war and the Philippines would likely be Japan's next target. Gen. Douglas MacArthur's adjutant had awakened Gen. Jonathan Wainwright with the news at 0435, and the military was awaiting MacArthur's orders. While the military commanders debated how to face the emergency, medical personnel went into action to prepare for the wounded they would care for when Japan turned its attention to the Philippines. Paradise Lost 17 Lt. Josie Nesbit, acting chief nurse at the Sternberg General, was greeted by a group of upset nurses coming off the night shift. The women knew nurses and officers stationed at Pearl Harbor and were concerned that their friends might have been wounded or killed. Nesbit was forty-seven-years old and had joined theArmyNurse Corps in 1918. She knew that her nurses would be badly needed in the coming hours. She told them, "Girls, you have to get to sleep today. You cannot stay here and weep and wail over this because you have to go to work tonight." She was glad to see the nurses settled down. "I don't know if they slept, but they quit crying anyhow."l Only hours after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck at the Philippines, bombing Camp John Hay in the mountainous area of Baguio. That morning, the two army nurses stationed at the camp, Lts. Beatrice E. Chambers and Ruby G. Bradley, were getting ready for scheduled surgery and the day at the camp hospital. They were autoclaving the instruments at 0530 when Dr. Dana Wilson Nance was called to headquarters and informed that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. He returned to his office in the hospital and sent for Lieutenant Bradley. "Don't worry about your gown and gloves;' he said. "I want to see you anyway, just keep them on." When Bradley arrived minutes later, he told her what had happened and added, "We could be hit any time here." Before the words were out ofhis mouth, the sound ofapproaching planes filled the air. Without thinking, the two ran to the door. "We could actually see the Japanese. We could recognize them as they were looking down at us because theywere so close in those tiny planes;' Lieutenant Bradley reported. The planes dropped more than fifty bombs, but luckily none hit the hospital itself. The dust they kicked up poured through the hospital's open windows and left one-quarter of an inch of fine powder on everything, making breathing in the hot, dusty air all but impossible for the next thirty minutes.2 The first casualty treated in the hospital was a one-year-old child. He and his mother were visiting on post when the first bombs fell and exploded a few feet from them. The little boy was in shock, and both his kneecaps were shattered. Dr. Nance worked on the 18 All This Hell unconscious child for some time with no response. "We'll have to rush through because we'll be getting other casualties;' Dr. Nance said, and stepped away from the little boy. "Do you think we could put some adrenalin in his heart?" Ruby Bradley asked. "Yes, if you want to do it, go ahead and do it;' Dr. Nance said. Lieutenant Bradley got a syringe and looked at both the threeinch -long needle and the baby and decided she couldn't do it. At the same time she noticed a bottle of whiskey in the bottom of a medicine cabinet and the coffee pot...


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