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Experiencing War (Companion to the New Book -- Forever a Soldier): Stories from the Veterans History Project

They are charged with the mission of undoing the damage of war. The process starts with corpsmen, working along the front lines to treat the wounded, risking their own lives in the process. It continues in the field hospitals and then farther away from the battlefield, in the convalescent facilities, staffed by tireless and resilient doctors and nurses. No job in any hospital is preparation enough for the relentless task of dealing with the wounded and dying of war.

Image of Ruth Deloris Buckley
Ruth Deloris Buckley at the Army Nurse Corps Press Conference,
Paris, France (1945)
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RUTH DELORIS BUCKLEY

Deloris Buckley always seemed to be in the center of the action wherever she went as a nurse working in the European Theater of World War II. On the way from Africa to Italy, her ship was sunk by a German bomber who ignored the giant red crosses painted on the vessel's side and deck. Buckley and her fellow nurses took to the lifeboats and were picked up by a British destroyer. On a beach in Italy, another bomber dropped his payload in effort to avoid a pursuing plane, and Buckley was severely wounded by shrapnel. After convalescing, she went right back into the fray, finishing out her service in the relative calm of liberated France.

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"I always wondered what kind of a feeling it would be to think you are a goner; but I found I wasn't excited, or afraid, or felt any unusual emotion." (October 3, 1943 letter, quoted in article, "Lt. Delores Buckley gave the girls hysterics...")

Image of Dodson Moore Curry

"To my surprise I learned that several of the passengers had the same emotional dilemma."

Dodson Moore Curry's story

Image of Eugene A. Curtin

"Then the wounded began to come back... glad to be at last out of that awful hell."

Eugene A. Curtin's story

Image of Julia Grabner Haskell

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

Julia Grabner Haskell's story

Image of Frances M. Liberty

"If they're going to die, let them see an American woman that smells good."

Frances M. Liberty's story

Image of Wendy Wamsley Taines

"That was the first night that my own mortality really hit me... the last and only night I cried."

Wendy Wamsley Taines' story

Image of Carolyn Hisako Tanaka

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

Carolyn Hisako Tanaka's story

 
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  October 28, 2005
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