When Lt Marie returned home, she received a standard note of “thank you for your service” signed by President Truman. Marie returned to work as a registered nurse, married, had children, and lived happily ever after.
Old Granny at 91 has managed to outlive everyone in her generation, so no one will ever say ‘that’s not how it happened.’ She’s never lost her sense of humor. She’s very healthy and takes no medication. She lives at home with her family, watches the Mass and her news regularly, and loves to share her stories. There are loads more papers to share, hope you enjoyed these.
After WWII ended in 1945 and most of the soldiers returned to their homes, the hospitals started to close down and the nurses were not needed. Lt. Marie and the other nurses were given the choice of being discharged (actually placed on the inactive list) or signing up for an additional FIVE years. Being the only child, Lt. Marie elected to be discharged and return home to keep an eye on her mother. (Note: if she stayed for five years, she would have been pulled into the Korean War with several more years committed.) Here’s the discharge orders that sent her home.
In this pic, Lt. Marie was on-duty, retrieving some hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound. Her uniform is a one-piece wrap-around dress that tied on two sides. It’s a light-weight brown and white striped, seer-sucker dress. The cap was made of the same fabric and was worn with brown shoes and hose. Dresses were shorter than worn in the 1930s to save fabric. After the war, the dress length dropped dramatically. Many ladies inserted a contrasting or matching fabric to make the dress longer.
Lt. Marie had been stationed first in Atlanta at Camp Butner, followed by service Camp Butner in North Carolina, and finally at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington DC. At Camp Butner, she worked primarily with soldiers who had been injured and returned home to recover. In the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944 – January 1945, the Germans caught the Allies in a surprise offensive. With over 19,000 killed and 89,000 injured, it became the most tragic battle of the war. Some soldiers had suffered from severe frostbite requiring amputation with a long treatment and recovery.
Lt. Marie worked received only one day off a month. Night nurses worked 7pm to 7am. Day nurses worked eight hours, from 7am to 7 pm with three hours off during the shift. Although she was usually too tired to socialize, officers were required to join the Officers’ Club. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember where the card was issued.
This is another clicking camera surprise at Walter Reed. Lt Marie was dressing a wound. A brave, wounded soldier, you ask? No. A young man who fell while skating.
A few months into her career when Lt Marie was stationed at Camp Butner in North Carolina. A “tragedy” arose at home. Her mother who was shy around others demanded that she come home to resolve a problem with a neighbor. Lt. Marie was granted leave (See the form below.) to resolve the problem.
A neighbor who lived behind her whose house faced another street ran his fence across her yard, taking in about 20% of their property. Unwilling or unable to handle it herself, she relied on Lt. Marie. The neighbor cursed her out when she told him to move the fence. Undaunted, she gave him 24 hours before she called the police. Pretty gutsy for a 22-year-old. Needless to say, the neighbor had the fence moved by the next morning and Lt. Marie had a nice break.
When Lt. Marie reported for duty, she left behind a widowed mother with a home but minimal means of support. She was able to claim her mother as a dependent which made her eligible to receive a small monthly allowance of $50. Although Lt. Marie received $150 per month as a second lieutenant, she made a provision for her mother to receive $50 more of her income –giving them each $100 per month.
Lt Marie received her supplies, uniform allowance, and clothing while at Rucker. TRUE STORY: The nurses were told not to bring clothing with them because everything would be provided on arrival. Since so many nurses were being processed, they ran out of clothing to issue. The nurses were stuck wearing what they had arrived in for several days. Finally, they were issued fatigues to wear until the next shipment arrived. Unfortunately when it did arrive, they started issuing the clothing to the nurses who had arrived later. Many complaints were lodged with the Chief Nurse who saw that they went to the head of the line, so they could leave for their assigned stations on time.
When the nurses completed their training, they participated in a graduation ceremony – complete with program listing their names, the staff, and the Army Nurses’ Pledge. The Pledge is inserted below:
Lt. Marie left Mobile by train and traveled to Fort Rucker, AL for the Basic Training on March 31, 1945. The four-week-long course included receiving their uniforms and training to work on the Army Hospital wards. Their curriculum is listed below.