This is a different than my usual review I post on my book blog. Because I am a retired nurse, a feminist the history of nursing in the military fascinated me. As well as women on the home front, I dedicate this to you.
I would also like to thank Cate Lineberry for her book, Secret Rescue. Here is a article I found written by her about the history of military nurses in the Huffington Post. I Think it is interesting to know a bit of history of military nurses before you dive into the book.
The Secret Rescue
By Cate Lineberry
Thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt and a few others, women were not staying home keeping the oil burning. Instead women were now needed in the work force because the men were overseas serving their country. Women wore all hats while the men were fighting overseas. They were wives, homemakers, mother's, and factory workers at the same time.
Women played an important role for the United States in World War 2. Although they did not enter combat as soldiers, many women helped by serving in the armed forces, and at the home front. Women worked in factories producing ships, tanks, ammunition. Do you know who Rosie the Riveter is? That explains the patriotism of all the women at home and overseas. They also served their country entering into the military.
Marine Corp. creates Marine Corp Women Reserve, they serve stateside as clerks, cooks, and mechanics, etc. Coast Guard establishes a reserve for women also, called SPARS. They served states side at various jobs as well. US Public Health organizes the Cadet Nurse Corp that trained 125,000 women for possible military service. 400,000 American military women serve at home and overseas in non combat jobs.
Then finally WAVES, this is part of the Navy Women's Reserve. They recruit more than 14,000 Navy nurses serve stateside as well as overseas on hospital ships and as flight nurses during the war.
The Army establishes the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942, which is converted to the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943. More than 150,000 women serve as WACs.
The above info. from a awesome site, called Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Wow, a book about women during WW2 .I always love to read books that deal with women. But it is unusual to read books about women and war in the same sentence.
Cate Lineberry did a awesome job in writing Secret Rescue. She did a great job in doing research. She found one survivor left from the rescue Harold Hayes, 91 years old.
I loved reading Secret Rescue. It is part of history I was not aware of us. Women stuck in a country for months. Behind enemy lines, and aren't rescued for months.
When we read books we always see men not women written about. This book attracted me for that reason. This also gave me a chance to do my own research and find the history of nurses, and the history of military nurses.
During World War 2, there were nurses and medics that accompanied the sick and wounded to be air lifted to military hospitals. Air lifting was a new concept to transport patients to military hospitals.
In November 1943, 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, were a group about 13 nurses, and 13 medics, and 4 pilots. They were suppose to go on a uneventful air lift to Italy. But a storm and enemy planes. (German) forced them to land in Nazi occupied Albania.
They were forced to crash land and there was a division of civil war, and also the war with the Germans. The partisans are armed, and unfriendly. But, then once one of the partisans speak to them in English they realize they are some what safe. They were then protected by villagers, and resistance fighters hiding them for months. They were scattered at different homes throughout the village.
They hid during the day and traveled by foot by the help of the villagers, and partisans at night. They did not stay at the same place for too long. Most of the villagers helped to protect the nurses and medics and pilots. They gave them food, which they did not have much of, and shelter to share. They were in danger of locals turning them in, or being killed.
But even the villagers and partisans would have been in danger if they were found out that they were protecting Americans. There was fighting in the local villages by the Nazi's and met with great danger. This was not what they expected being a nurse, or a medic. They did not think they were be in the thick of the action. They thought they would travel.
Finally though they did get out by the help of the American and British intelligence by walking into the mountains to get into the coast of Italy. They walked 1,000 miles. Unfortunately, there were three nurses that were separated from the rest of the party. They did not get out till March of the following year of 1944.
The story was never revealed until years later. Because of fear of what would happen to the villagers, and Parisians, and other American soldiers in the future. They decided never to talk about it till years later.