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Veteran’s History of Ruth M. Haddick
1st Lt. Army Nurse Corps.
November 1, 1942 to March 4, 1946

1st Lt. Haddick served as a nurse with the 51st Field Hospital, the first hospital to cross the Seine, the Marne, and the Aisne Rivers, and the first to enter Belgium. She describes life during the war, from wading ashore at Omaha Beach to celebrating V.E. Day in Paris.

I was in my senior year of Nursing School in Baltimore, MD, when on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Not long after that my only sibling, my brother, Harold W. Haddick, joined the Army Air Corps. That determined my course of action. I would join the Army Nurse Corps, but first I must finish my senior year, and pass my State Board Exams. As soon as this was completed, I went to Hdq. 3rd Service Command in Baltimore and enlisted.

On Nov. 1, 1942, I reported for duty at Ft. Eustis, Va. It was a wonderful post with a very nice General Hospital, housed in Army barracks connected by catwalks. We were immediately assigned to ward duty and indoctrinated into the Army way of life. Nursing duties were not unlike those in civilian hospitals and we wore our same white uniforms. We started as 2nd Lieutenants and beginning pay was $100.00 per month, although that included living quarters and subsistence. Food was served in Officer’s Mess at the hospital.

We were also taught close-order Drill and we marched in “Reviews.” Our first uniforms were Navy color trimmed in maroon, although this changed soon after to official Army Olive Drab. We also got a pay raise. Our first outfits were G.I. – Government Issue.

In July of 1943, 21 nurses were recruited to be shipped to Camp Livingstone, LA, where we joined nurses from other camps to become the 100 nurse compliment of the 58th General Hospital bound for overseas. At Camp Livingstone we had no nursing duties, but spent the month there going through rigorous oversees training. We were issued all of our combat gear, including clothing, which consisted of Fatigue uniforms, jackets, heavy duty shoes, and helmets. We were loaded down with equipment – bedrolls, duffle bags, musette bags, gas masks, mess kits, canteens, etc. On top of that, we endured medical and dental exams, received numerous inoculations against everything imaginable, blood tests and typing. We received our dog tags and were fingerprinted for our new I.D. cards.

Our training was almost as harsh as the men’s. We went on many hikes and some of them were over night so we could test our bedrolls. Close-order drill was a daily occurrence. We were even subjected to Infiltration courses. We had several chances to test our gas masks when they would suddenly, without warning, spray the area with tear gas. Or better still, when we were subjected to “Lethal Gas” chambers just to prove that our gas masks worked.

Finally after a month of this, we were all declared “Combat Ready.” The Post Office was kept busy, because we all had to pack up all unnecessary clothing and personals, including cameras and diaries. These were considered “risky” because if you were captured by the enemy, these could reveal Army secrets. Most of us took a small camera anyway; mine was cheap, took very small black and white blurry pictures which I am sure could not have been any help to the enemy at all. Likewise, my diary was a small notebook, very dull reading. I am really sorry that I didn’t record more pertinent information about our hospital – it would make writing this story after 60 years flow so much easier and more accurately. Finally, in August, our entire 58th Hospital came together as one unit and met on the train. Nurses, Medical Doctors and Personnel, and Enlisted men took up the entire train of day coaches. It took 3 days to reach Camp Shanks, N.Y., a P.O.E. (point of embarkation). But it was not to be. There were German U-boats patrolling the Atlantic shipping lanes – too dangerous to send a convoy through. So, off we went to Ft. Devons, MA for 5 more weeks of drill. This time, for diversification, they added ‘Pitching Pup Tents,” but still no nursing.

In October, we came down to Ft. Dix, NJ, another P.O.E., but this time we did ship out. At 2:00 on Fri. Oct. 7, we left New York Harbor in the middle of a large convoy of Navy ships. We were on the SS Monterrey, a converted Cunard Line cruise ship, with more than 7000 passengers on board. Officers were 8 to a room on hammocks piled four high. Food was served in the Dining Room and actually very good. Enlisted men did not fare so well. They all bunked below decks and in the hold and their food was from a “chow line.” About the second day out, the seas became pretty rough, and lots of soldiers came down with seasickness. I felt fine so I volunteered to work in sick bay every day from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. We had 3 days of rain, but the seas finally calmed down. On Tuesday, October 19, we docked at Liverpool, England. We finally debarked at 10 P.M. (the Army always moves at night). The Red Cross, bless them, were waiting with coffee and donuts. We marched to the train and it was an all night ride to our destination in the Cotswold Hills of Southern England.

We live in quonset huts, each containing 8 single beds and a pot-bellied stove. There were many such huts (for living quarters, offices, mess hall, a recreation hut, and several hospital wards) on lovely farmland surrounded by a stone fence. It was not really a working hospital, usually just one ward open for such mundane complaints as colds, upset stomachs, aching muscles, etc. So, with 100 nurses available, we rarely had to go on duty. So guess what! We had time to fall out for “close-order drill” and exercises. We spent a cold, wet winter in England. It rained a lot, not a downpour, just a misty drizzle, and not enough to keep us indoors, so we marched in the rain.

But all was not lost. Some of us bought bicycles. I used mine to great advantage, riding for miles around the countryside. Our Commanding Officers were quite liberal with leaves; consequently I spent many weekends in London. There was much to see and do in spite of the nightly German air raids. Some times there were direct bomb hits and we had to seek shelter in underground metros. In spite of all the devastation and destruction, the Britons carried on. They are reserved, but quite friendly. They treated us well.

I also visited many other famous places in England, such as Bath, Oxford, and Shakespeare’s Avon. I had a week’s leave so I spent that touring Scotland. Of course, there was always a friendly pub, with drinking, singing, games and camaraderie.

A General Hospital is the last stop in the line of wartime facilities. First was the Field Hospital, which stayed close to the front line, took in all major casualties for operation, and backed up the major battles. Then there was the Evac and Station Hospitals, larger and not so mobile, that took evacuations from the Field Hosp. and overflow surgical, as well as medical emergencies. They were the back-up for the Field Hospital. Lastly was the General, which had a more permanent setup and took care of everything.

I was with the 58th General Hospital, but I really wanted to be with a Field unit, so I kept putting in for a transfer. I became such a nuisance that in the spring of 1944, my transfer finally came through. In fact, in the month of May, I was sent to four different locations. First, I spent a week at a Station Hospital that certainly did not need me at all – this was in Southampton. Next I was with an Evacuation Hospital for a few days, but finally was sent to the 51st Field Hospital to replace a nurse who was ill and had to be sent home.

The 51st was located in Cheddar, England and we were billeted in private homes with local families. This was the first week in June. The invasion was immanent and we were scheduled to take part. Our Chief Nurse was Myrtle Reynolds. Maj. McCafferty, who is Chief Nurse of the entire 7th Corps, joined us temporarily. We were transferred to a staging area on the southwestern tip of England, called Land’s End. We were in tents awaiting the invasion. At last, on Tuesday, June 6, 1944, the Invasion had begun on the beaches of Normandy.

On June 9 we marched to the port and boarded the British Liberty ship, “Francis Drake” with orders not to undress while on board. We each received 9 packages of “C Rations,” our food for the next 3 days. We slept in hammocks 4 high. The ship remained in port for 2 days, then late the second night we sailed. The English Channel was fairly calm now and at about 6:00 a.m. on the morning of June 12 we anchored off the coast of Omaha Beach. Literally hundreds of ships lay at anchor all around us, just beyond range of German bombs that frequently hit the water and exploded. To avoid making us a tempting target, the nurses were not allowed off the ship until after dark, at which time, a large rope net was tossed over the side of the ship and all 18 nurses scrambled down the net into waiting Landing Crafts, followed by all other soldiers on board. The crafts quickly headed in to shore. The front of the ship came down and we waded ashore, went across the beach, and climbed up the now well-worn paths to the top of the cliff, where the nurses regrouped to await orders.

We were met by some of our male Officers. Our enlisted men had landed 2 days before and as soon as our trucks loaded with supplies arrived, they set up our tents and hospital units. Our hospital was located atop the cliff near to St. Laurent and Vierville. The front line was just 4 miles inland, with the 1st and 29th Divisions at the front. One hospital had already taken in patients and had started operating. Half of the nurses went on duty that night, the rest slept and came on duty at 8 a.m. I took the first shift, but by 8:00 a.m. we had so many post-op patients and were so busy that I stayed until noon. And that’s the way it was for the 5 days in this location – work your 12-hour shift, stay 3 or 4 hours overtime, and sleep the hours in between.

All the nurses just jumped right in and did whatever needed to be done -- give IVs, administer Oxygen, pass stomach tubes, set up suctions, change bandages, and give shots. We were given a new drug, still in the experimental stage, to use on all patients to see how well it worked. It was called “Penicillin.” We added 20cc distilled water to a small amount of powder in a small vial, thoroughly shook it up, withdrew the fluid into the 20cc syringe. We could administer 1 cc to 20 patients by just changing the needle between patients. Actually at this first location, we discovered that we did not have nearly enough needles, so, undaunted, we lit a match under the needle after each shot until the match burned out, thus producing a reasonably sterile needle. Every patient received a shot of Penicillin every 4 hours. We never had a reaction: Penicillin was a new drug, so no one had developed an allergy to it yet.

I’ll take the space here for a brief description of how a Field hospital works. First of all, it has the supplies and enough tents and equipment to form 3 separate complete hospital units. These 3 units can spread out and take care of a large area. When the front moves forward, the hospital unit in the rear can evacuate all its patients and move to the forward position. The unit in the middle can still be operating, but start to evacuate patients and then jump to the front. In this way we can play leapfrog and keep pace with the front line. Each unit has 10 2 ½ ton trucks with trailers and the men can fold up, load all equipment, and be ready to move in 1-2 hours, so the units are very mobile.

Each unit has 6 nurses (3 day and 3 night). This means that 1 nurse per tent with 2 or 3 ward men can take care of 30 or more seriously wounded patients. Besides our own 4 doctors, who act as assistants, we have a special attachment of surgical teams – 4 surgeons and 4 surgical nurses, who do all the operations. Thus we can keep 2 or 3 operating tables busy 24 hours a day.

Each infantry battalion has its own medics and battalion aid station. When a soldier is wounded at the front, he is picked up by medics, put on a stretcher, and given first aid at the aid station. As soon as possible he is in an ambulance on his way back to a Field Hospital, where he goes into a Receiving/Shock Tent. Minor wounds that were transportable were sent on back to the larger hospitals. Field Hospitals kept only seriously wounded patients that could not be transported. The patients were recorded, then immediately given Shock Treatment, blood, oxygen, wounds cleansed and bleeding controlled whatever necessary to stabilize them and prepare them for surgery. Today, I guess that would be called Triage, but that was not yet a word in 1944. There were always some patients that we were unable to save, some that never made it to surgery. Our mortality rate among post-operatives was generally under 10%, which, all considered, was very good.

As soon as one of the surgeons completed an operation, he would go to shock tent and take whatever patient was ready, regardless of the nature of the wound. Most operations took 3-4 hours. Then the patient was taken to the post-op tent and his stretcher was placed on the closest empty cot. There the post-op nurse took over. This was my domain – where I almost always worked. The Doctors never took time to write orders as they were all routine. Once in a while there would be a case that would require special treatment and then the Dr. would come over to explain it. Ninety percent of our patients were either abdominal or chest wounds. Chest mainly required Oxygen. Abdominal required a stomach tube connected to a suction apparatus. Of course, we had no suction apparatus, but with 2 empty IV bottles (which were glass) and IV tubing, it took but a few minutes to rig one up, and they worked exceptionally well. All abdominals also had a temporary colostomy, which required frequent dressing changes. And of course, every patient received an IV (1000 cc Glucose or Normal Saline) twice a day. No constant-drip IVs back then. In fact, nothing was disposable back then. We had a small gas stove under a little tank of water in which we boiled all our needles, clamps, etc. Water came from our portable tank on wheels. There was a Central Supply that sterilized all our bandages, O.R. instruments, supplies, etc. We did have a small generator that supplied electricity to the O.R., Shock tent, X-ray, and whatever else absolutely needed it; but not to post-op. At night we worked by Lantern light.

We had very few amputations, as I recall. Perhaps these were among the patients who were sent back to larger hospitals. We had occasional head wounds, and usually at least 2 or 3 burn patients. These were Tankers, whose tank had been hit by Flame Throwers. The heat inside the tank seared all exposed areas of skin, mostly face, head and arms. These were treated with Vaseline Bandages, and with both hands and face completely covered, they required special help with everything they did. Besides that, they usually suffered several days of delirium.

Every patient arrived in the post-op ward still on the same stretcher that brought him from the front line. He was still fully clothed. In Shock Ward, his clothes had been cut away to expose the area of his wound. That area was thoroughly cleansed and was sufficient space for the surgeon to perform the operation. As soon as we had the time after an unconscious patient arrived from O.R. we removed all of his clothes. The easiest way to accomplish this was to use our bandage scissors, cut through all layers of clothing, top to bottom and slip them off. These clothes and shoes were discarded. We always checked the pockets and saved his personal items in a cloth pouch tied to each cot. The patient was then transferred from the stretcher onto a clean blanket on his cot. We had no sheets, pillows, pajamas, etc. Such frills were considered excess baggage and not necessary to the patients welfare. So each and every patient lay on a cot, with “scratchy” wool Army blankets under him, covering him, and folded up as pillows under his head. But did any of them ever complain? NEVER! Rarely did we hear any complaints from our patients – they were so happy to be alive and so brave!

Nurses duties consisted of strictly important nursing procedures, 30 to 50 seriously ill patients were cared for by 1 nurse and 2 or 3 ward men. These young men had only a minimal basic medical training, but they were terrific and such a big help to us. There was no time for basic ward duties – we did not take routine temperatures, did not give daily baths, there were no linens to change, etc. And best of all, no charting. In that “Ditty bag” on each soldier’s cot was one sheet of paper, with only pertinent information. About the only thing we had to record was the time that a narcotic was administered. The office took care of his personal record that went with him on evacuation. We held to sanitary conditions as nearly as possible, and rarely had infections beyond occasional respiratory problems. The new sulpha drugs and Penicillin were the miracle drugs – they kept infections to a minimum, promoted healing and saved lives.

After 5 extremely busy days of duty at our first set-up on the hill above Omaha teach, we caught a break. Our other two units had set up ahead of us, so we stopped receiving and began to evacuate all of our patients. Since there were still no hospitals to back us up on Omaha, patients were taken by ambulance to the beach, put on now empty landing crafts and taken back to England. Also, by now, there was a landing strip 8 miles away at Utah Beach, where fighting and German resistance had been much less severe. Planes with Air Corps Nurses made several flights a day to evacuate up to 15 patients each trip back to England. This early evacuation was out of necessity – eventually we set a routine that chest cases were not to be transported back before 7 days, abdominal cases not before 10 days.

Statistics: During that first 5—day period, the 1st Unit alone handled:
Total Admissions………………….….…636
Total Operations……….………….….…356
Died before Operation……………….…..15
Died Post-Operation………………..……11
Mortality Rate less than……………..……5
The rest of the patients were evacuated un-operated.

With only 2 days rest, our unit packed up and moved to Cartigny l’Epinay near St. Lo, backing the 29th Division. This was a very busy set-up. The Germans put up a very stubborn resistance to hold St. Lo. There was actually 6 weeks of heavy fighting, which means we had many casualties. On July 25, the Allies really got mad. They flew a steady bombardment with 3000 planes over St. Lo. The sky over our hospital was black with planes and they just kept coming. This so demolished St. Lo that the Germans gave up and retreated. The Allies took St. Lo.

On July 30 we moved to a new location just a few miles past St. Lo, another busy set-up. We were in a field right next to an Artillery Battalion. On Aug. 5, one of my ward men, Sgt. Eugene Trestor, was killed. He had grabbed a stretcher and ran to the next field to rescue a wounded soldier. While carrying him out, Trestor stepped on a bouncing “S” mine that went through his head and killed him instantly. This really touched all of us. We had a church service for him and Trestor was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

We really worked hard and steady, exceptionally busy when there were battles just ahead of us. Sometimes when there was a great number of patients, an extra post-op tent could be set up to take care of the overflow. When there was a heavy concentration of fighting, two or even all three of our units could set up together to cover the battle area. Our supplies came in regularly by ship and were usually no problem. At one time, near St. Lo, we were experiencing an extreme shortage of blood, but this was largely overcome by volunteer donors from nearby troops.

Many times shells and bombs landed dangerously close to our hospital, but, fortunately, there were no direct hits. We had no lights or heat in our living areas, and some nights could be pretty cold. Our water tank was kept full of drinkable water. We bathed in a helmet full of cold water. Our toilets were slit-trenches, or a hole in the ground. Most of the time we had a seat, and we were afforded privacy by a tarp around all 4 sides, but no roof. Our constant attire was Army fatigues and men’s high-top shoes, and we usually had to wear our heavy jackets to keep warm on duty. General duty was 12-hour shifts, 8 to 8, either day or night. There were times when there was a lull in the fighting. When there were no battles there were no casualties, so we spent days sometimes doing nothing, just sitting in a field at bivouac. But we did keep moving, field to field, to keep up with our troops.

Still, even with all the work, we had time to play. The officers from nearby were happy to visit with us or take us to a party at their headquarters (nurses being the only available women). As soon as they captured a town, the fighting units took domain over any brewery, distillery, or wine cellar they could find, so there was no shortage of refreshments. The nurses had nothing else to do with their spare time, and we really enjoyed the company also.

During this time of the German occupation of France, a growing underground Army called “Free French” kept forming. In essence, they are spies, getting information back to England by radio. Of course, many had been apprehended, tortured and killed. As the Allies liberated towns and areas, the Free French would come out of hiding to join our forces. By the time we reached Paris, 30,000 French troops had been added to our numbers. Paris was liberated on Aug. 25 without a fight. The 1st Army held back and allowed the Free French under command of Gen. Le Clerc to march in and accept the surrender from German Gen. Von Chalitz. Von ChaLitz had orders from Hitler to burn Paris to the ground, but he just did not have heart to do it. Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who had been commander of all French Armies when Hitler invaded, escaped to Great Britain and had lived in exile since 1940. At 5:00 p.m. on August 25, Gen. de Gaulle arrived in Paris amid wild enthusiasm from the crowds, and was declared “Leader of Free France.” Six days later we were camped near Paris, so several of us got a pass to visit the great city. We toured lots of great cathedrals and museums, and the Eiffel Tower. What a Thrill! Me, this little farm girl, was actually in Paris.

On September 1, the 51st Field made a giant leap forward of more than 100 miles to St. Erme, a small town just past Reims. We were so far ahead of everyone that we had to take all casualties. The retreating German Army just left their wounded and their dead, so it was up to us to pick them up. Our tents were full to overflowing. It’s a good thing that the weather was nice, because we had rows & rows of wounded on stretchers, lined up just on the ground outside the tents. Doctors made the rounds, gave first aid and separated out the seriously wounded. The surgeons worked 24 hours a day, barely taking time out to rest. We gathered together all the ambulances, trucks and other vehicles available to evacuate all minor wounds to the nearest hospital more than 100 miles away. This went on for more than a week. Other field hospitals in other sectors were faced with the same dilemma. Finally, a larger Station Hospital moved in to relieve us. We stayed one more night to help them and then we moved on into Belgium, becoming the first hospital to cross the Seine, the Marne, and the Aisne Rivers, and the first to enter Belgium.

Since leaving Normandy, at every stop that our convoys made, swarms of French came running to greet us. They offered food, drinks, hugs and kisses. The Belgians were even more enthusiastic. “Les Americains” had liberated them and they were expressing their thanks with love!

Our 3 Units set up separately in 3 different areas of Belgium. My Unit #1 was at Verviers. All through central France and Belgium, the Germans had been retreating so fast that there was little to no fighting, so people were still living there and carrying on as usual. At Verviers, many of the town’s people came right to our hospital area (but not inside the tents) to watch us work. They invited us into their homes. I actually made some close friends with whom I corresponded for some time after the war.

The Germans had stopped at their borders and made a fighting stand, determined to keep out the advancing Allied Armies. Our hospital had been backing the entire VII Corps sector of the 1st Army, so we have had lots of patients, some of them Germans. All along, we had taken in German patients, and they were sincerely grateful for our help. They are, after all, just young men who have been drafted and pushed into this war, and now they are glad to be out of it. Occasionally, we would get an SS (Storm Trooper), or a fanatic Nazi, and they can be really NASTY. Fortunately, that did not happen too often. We just ignored their insults and went on about our duties.

On Sunday, September 17, we moved to Roetgen, a little town just inside the German border. It had been raining for days and the weather had turned very cold. Even though the Army had issued long underwear to us (Khaki color), it didn’t help much. The field had become very muddy. It was so slippery inside the tent that we were actually falling down. We had so many patients that we had to put up the extra tent. It was so cold that urine was actually freezing in the drainage bottles on the muddy floor. Our Supply Officer scouted around and found a vacant school house, so we moved indoors for the first time. WOW! We had electric lights, steam heat and wood floors. Class rooms make excellent wards and we even had desks and cupboards. Our mess hall was in the school cafeteria. An empty house right next door became nurse’s quarters with real beds, kitchen, bathroom, and real showers – WOW, this is heaven! Another pleasant surprise – on September 7, all of the 51st Field Nurses received “Battlefield Promotions” to 1st Lieutenants, and a party to celebrate.

Aachen, an important industrial city, just 10 miles north of us, was captured on October 10th. At our location in Roetgen, we were sitting right in the path of German V-2 Rockets, Germany’s “Secret Weapon.” Before the invasion, Germany launched thousands of V-1 “Buzz Bombs” from the Baltic Coast onto London. These caused extensive damage and killed more than 6,000 people before their launch sites were discovered and destroyed. Now they had introduced the V-2 “Screaming Mimis.” Every night we could see the streaking light and hear the shrill squeal as they passed over head. These flew faster and higher, and inflicted even more damage. It was several more months before we found and destroyed the new launch sites.

Come November, we were experiencing much snow and were so glad we were no longer in tents. However, snowball fights were a welcome diversion. Our Unit had been working steadily at this one location in Roetgen since September 17. Casualties from the Hurtgen Forest had been very heavy at times and usually we were very busy. Nov. 15th we were rewarded with a welcome break. All 5 nurses were given a pass to Malmedy – a First Army Rest Area. The other Unit nurses covered for us on duty. We spent 3 days in a beautiful resort home in the mountains of Malmedy, Belgium. Several Officers from Corps Hdqs. that we already knew were there also. It was a real party weekend. Then back to Roetgen to resume our duties. By December 1, we were winding down, cleaning up the wards, and preparing to hand it over to another hospital. Roetgen was our longest stay in one place – 75 days. We had over 700 admissions, 578 operations, and 158 deaths. The almost 20% mortality rate was probably due to fact that we were much farther from the battle fields and due to the severe weather.

By December 4, our entire group – all 3 Units – moved on bivouac to Eschweiler, Germany. All 18 nurses lived together in a large private home, with plenty of room for all. Our officers lived in another home. All enlisted men were living in a castle in Aachen. No work to do.

On December 16, Hitler made one last big strike – the Battle of the Bulge. We had to retreat back into Huy, Belgium, where we opened our hospital in a large barracks-type building, all 3 Units working together. Fierce snowstorms had left us knee-deep in snow and it was bitter cold. We handled many casualties from the northern sector of the Bulge, but one area was not being covered, so the 1st unit moved to Lierneu, Belgium, and opened using the facilities of a former mental hospital. Here we took care of many patients, including several Germans. By the end of the year, we caught a break in the weather. Our planes were back in the air, our infantries advanced, and, by the end of January, the Allies had completely repulsed the Battle of the Bulge. But it was at great cost: more than 20,000 dead. Germany lost 120,000 soldiers, from which she never recovered.

This was the beginning of the end. We finally crossed the Ruhr River, but the Germans held steadfast at the Rhine River. They had destroyed most of the bridges. On March 7 came the famous Crossing of the Rhine at Remagen. A Sergeant of the 9th Armored Division happened upon the partly destroyed R.R. bridge at Remagen. It was unguarded and open, so he led his platoon across. Others followed and soon we had 4 divisions across. Then the bridge finally fell 9 days later, and we had a Pontoon Bridge in place. This is where our hospital crossed. After this we had no memorable set-ups, one briefly in Cologne, and another in Berleburg, where we had but a few patients. While I was on duty in Berleburg on April 12, we heard the news that our Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt had died at age 63.

My last move was more than 200 miles to Halle into a Luftwaffe Airfield, just 60 miles short of Berlin. While riding in a Jeep at night, we ran into a bomb crater. It was pitch dark, the crater encompassed the entire road about 10 feet deep and was unmarked, and all vehicles in a war zone must run with no headlights. Half of my right knee cap had to be removed and I was evacuated to Paris, where I celebrated V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day on May 8. Eventually, I was sent back to the U.S., and after recovery, I elected to stay in the Army. After a few months of duty at Ft. Warren, Wyoming, I was discharged on 4 March, 1946. The war was over and the Army had too many nurses.

The 51st Field Hospital received a “Presidential Citation”, and earned 5 Battle Stars: Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Arden/Alsace-Battle of the Bulge; and Central Europe.

I would not change those days in the Army for anything. I was just proud to serve my country and “I’m Proud to be An American.”