I’d like to supplement Bob Poole’s June 3 letter, in which he advocates extending gratitude to military wives and also to women who served in World War II.
Poole mentions Blanche Cobb, a World War II nurse who recently passed away. Cobb represented those women who chose to go to the combat zones, placing themselves in harms way when they had no obligation to do so. They opted to be where their training, dedication and expertise would be of utmost benefit at a time and in places of urgent need. They passed up opportunities to work in stateside hospitals, where there would’ve been more normal working hours, better pay and better working conditions.
After Pearl Harbor, tens of thousands of women volunteered for military nursing departments; 98 percent of them requested duty overseas. Nurses served in a variety of places around the world. Some places such as Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Canada were not bad and were even nice. Others such as New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Aleutians, North Africa, Normandy Beach and Okinawa were not pleasant and sometimes were downright dangerous!
From Pearl Harbor to Okinawa, nurses left their blood, sweat and tears. Some also gave their lives. They contributed heavily to the proud heritage of their profession.
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I’ve seen for myself that in a combat zone, women as nurses are not only dedicated healers, but they are also morale boosters. They make it plain and clear that in difficult times and in hazardous places, they too will step forward to serve and do their part.
Frank B. Austin, O’Fallon