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In early October, I requested transfer to a field unit and received my orders to report to the 59th Evac in Sicily. I liked the outfit immediately — remaining with them the rest of the war in Europe. I have many pleasant memories. The 59th Evac was set up in dorm rooms at the University of Palermo Polyclinic. Also while there, Edna Haertig sent her brother Bob a photograph of the view from her window.
Bob, an artist, later did a painting of the picture and presented it to Edna. She recalled that the male lead was very short while Mimi was a very large woman. Every time he tried to hug her, the crowd roared! We chose Cairo, Egypt, and hitched by air. It was an interesting trip, and delightful I might add. We had two nights in Tripoli at the Albergo del Mehari Hotel. While in Morocco, they went to a club where the show was a Moroccan dancer wielding a scimitar. She recalled that he cut himself repeatedly but did not bleed.
Illustration showing one of the heavily-fortified Pyramidal Tents belonging to the 59th Evacuation Hospital set up at Anzio. Photograph taken in June On 9 June, Edna returned to the 59th and arrived in the Anzio area. Edna reported that many of the soldiers were hurt too badly to move. Many of the Nurses in the 38th Evacuation Hospital which the 59th relieved on 7 June were also in bad shape, mentally and emotionally.
Her unit came in to help with the situation. During their time here, their main job consisted in evacuating patients to General Hospitals in the Naples-Caserta area. The Nurses generally worked hour shifts, seven days a week. We learned on the job. We had to improvise. It was such a dramatic time.https://edumacoltd.com/images/gobitexu/2778.php
Selected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
There was so much blood and mayhem going on. Edna departed Anzio on 11 July and traveled to Paestum on the beach southeast of Salerno, and near Battipaglia where they staged from 16 to 27 July, , functioning as a kind of Station Hospital. In mid-August, the unit staged in Naples for another 3 or 4 weeks. Vesuvius, Salerno, Sorrento, etc. We were killing time for the big event — the Southern France Invasion.
Her scrapbook included a lock of hair from the female soldier who modeled the Army fatigues for Miss Curie.
Most miserable of all my boat trips. After debarking, they set up our Hospital about miles inland from Ste. Maxime where they landed at a place called Carpentras north-northwest of Marseille. It was here that the unit benefited from the cooking of a French chef. But we soon discovered we were no longer being invited to parties and dances from other units in the neighborhood. When inquiring about this we were told we all smelled like garlic. The chef had to go! Edna and friends pictured in heavy snowfall while in Epinal.
That was our main siege of working — two months of hard, steady work with no breaks. She helped decorate, using carrot tops because there was nothing else around. Here they treated many Seventh US Army casualties from the battles across this specific region of France.
On 18 October , Edna was entitled to another miniature bronze star for her participation in the Southern France Campaign. The organization spent early December at Mutzig, Alsace. Here, the unit was housed in two large four-story buildings. And all the Doctors and Nurses shared their liquor rations with the Enlisted personnel, for a grand holiday party. Edna photographed while at Epinal. Notice her uniform comprises a Winter Combat Jacket for extra warmth.
On 10 January, orders recommended that Edna be promoted to First Lieutenant. During this time, she remembered being in a group traveling on a good road in France and thought they would take a quick detour into Germany for fun.
Christian author Edna Ellison to speak at Lilesville Baptist
They got cold feet at the border and turned back. In mid-February, she returned to the 59th Evac. Personnel of the 59th Evac Hosp enjoy the sights of Paris. To brighten the mood of the patients, we Nurses gathered armfuls of lilacs and put them in all the tents. At Easter we made Easter bonnets from fresh sweet flowers and paraded through the tents. Edna and other Nurses of the 59th pose with their Easter bonnets made from fresh flowers.
The Rhine was crossed and we moved to Heidenheim, Germany in fact Schnaitheim.
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We were established there for a few weeks, and then the war in Germany was over. Photograph showing the entire group of personnel while on leave in Paris. Edna is standing third from right on the front row. Later in April, the Hospital relocated to Crailsheim, Germany.
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While there, they heard on the radio that the war was over and wanted to get back to tell their unit as quickly as possible. The Officers they were with gave Edna and five other Nurses a German convertible to drive back so they could spread the word that Germany had surrendered. En route, the car caught fire under the hood and began to smoke she thought the radiator needed water. They pulled off the road, close to several houses. When lights started coming on and they heard German voices, they got scared and abandoned the car and took off running.
They hitched a ride on an Army truck back to their unit. Upon arriving, they informed the Commander who yelled around the camp that the war was over. We always went formal and wore flowers in our hair. Edna models one of the formal gowns produced from the silk parachutes acquired from American pilots.
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Late August, while the 59th was still set up in Ellwangen, even though she could have gone home, Edna did not want to go by herself so elected to visit the French Riviera instead. On 27 September, Edna and 9 other Nurses were granted 7 days leave in Switzerland. Then back to Reims, then another truck ride to Le Havre.
The Statue of Liberty what a sight welcomed us home on 25 October Our job was to put fighting men back together again, to heal the sick and wounded, to comfort the dying, to listen to their hearts, to look at the pictures of their loved ones, to encourage them to get well. We were their nurses, mothers, sisters, wives, sweethearts.
It was such an honor and privilege to serve these wonderful brave fighting men. War is hell…anyone who thinks it is fun, exciting, glamorous or profitable, has not been there.
But I would gladly serve my country again if it means preserving our precious heritage, the United States of America. Unfortunately, the book only contained four chapters; the rest of the story was either never written or was lost somewhere through the years. I suppose you would call this a rather peculiar type of book. This particular subject is usually hidden behind the bathroom door.
But, you know, I think back about some of the funny things that occurred during my Army career, and I am like everyone else. I want to put them down on paper before they fade too far into the distance. In fact, I believe every subject pertaining to the war has been written into a book except the one I want to tell you about. I imagine many people will frown upon this manuscript, blush behind the pages, and even slam the book shut, but since I am dedicating this work of art to the Nurses who shared these comedies, I am not greatly concerned.
Maybe I had better state right off the bat that I do not know a thing about writing a book, any particular style escapes me, my punctuation will be terrible, but I will try to spell all the words correctly. I believe that is of little matter since I never expect this book to make history, or be included in school libraries.
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Wash day at the 59th Evacuation Hospital. Photograph taken in Heidenheim, Germany. I can remember when I was in High School, how miserable we gals often were out on a date, too bashful to tell the current swain that we had to go, but all sorts of phrases have been invented since then. There was very little occasion for embarrassing moments, as there were always enough to go around, and each cubicle had its own privacy. Twenty-three of us embarked from Fort Sam by our own private Pullman to Camp Blanding, Florida, to join our unit there for overseas duty. Naturally, we were all excited.
The trip took three days, with a one-day stop in New Orleans. I could write an entire book on just our day in that wonderful city. The line is always long and the place is always dirty, and there is always a draft.
But being cooperative gals and practically strangers, we stood the trip without any mishaps. I might add that the Hospital ran out of cascara a mild laxative derived from the bark of the cascara buckthorn plant and mineral oil our first day at Camp Blanding. Now riding a troop train in foreign countries is about the worst thing that can happen to anybody. That was a pretty long ride from Oran to Constantine — it took five days.
By the time we got there everybody was either constipated or had diarrhea, or collapsed bladders. There were at least fifty girls to each car, and two bathrooms. Now, there are all types of girls. I must add right here that the line formed at 6 a. This type was about as unpopular as the neat type. I enjoy reading on the throne myself, but not when there are 50 gals waiting in line.