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Marian Violet Tesheneck Wagman

Champaign County, IL
Korean War Veteran of the United States Navy

"I think war is worthless.  I think it isn't the answer to anything.  I think it's a terrible thing to subject the cream of our crop to be killed.  I cannot forget the patients and the injuries and what terrible things it must have done to their lives.  And I can't forget the deaths."

- Marian V. Wagman

The publishing of this memoir was made possible
by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.

[The following is the result of an in-person interview with Marian Tesheneck Wagman, conducted as part of the Douglas County Museum's (Tuscola, Illinois) oral history project, "The Korean War: Cold, Bloody, and Forgotten."  The project was directed and conducted by Lynnita (Sommer) Brown in 1996.  The rights of this interview are held by the Douglas County Museum, 700 S. Main Street, Tuscola, IL 61953, and are published on the KWE with the permission of the museum trustees.  Mrs. Wagman died on December 07, 2012 in Urbana, Illinois.]

Memoir Contents:

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I was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, a daughter of Andrew Tesheneck (1898-1927) and Katherine Reinhecker Tesheneck (1900-1923).  I lived most of my young life in Milwaukee and West Allis.  I attended West Allis Central High School, graduating in 1940.

No one in my family was in any field related to medicine, but I was interested in it and I wanted to go into medical school.  Of course, I couldn't afford it, so I thought I would work several years to earn enough money to go to nursing school.  I worked for several doctors--Drs. Cash, Farwitz, Epstein.  There was a fourth one, but I can't remember his name.  They were in a group practice in downtown Milwaukee.  They were a pediatrician, a gynecologist, and a doctor of internal medicine.  They trained me to do things like the simple urine tests, and then I helped with the exams.  I was also supposedly a nurse in helping.

After two years of working I went to St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota, and got a nursing degree in 1943.  After that, I went back home to work because there was a group of us that wanted to go to California.  We still couldn't afford to travel any, so the three of us rented a house and started to earn enough money to go to California or to just save money.  I didn't return to the doctors that I had originally worked for because I was a registered nurse.  I went to work at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee.

Two years later it was time for us to go to California, but the others loved Milwaukee so much they wanted to stay.  I went on to California and visited several friends there until I finally located a hospital that I really liked in Sacramento.  The name of the hospital was Suddard General Hospital.  I did floor duty there as a nurse on a medical ward, and I liked it very much.  I probably still would be there today but I had a very unhappy roommate.  Her name was Marguerite Broom and she wanted to leave.  She and I wanted to go into the Navy, but the enlistment they required was a three-year reserve plan.  I told her I didn't want to tie up my life for three years.  She went to various military service facilities and found out that we could join the Army as a reserve and be sent anywhere we wanted to go.  We were really excited about that so both of us went down to be examined.  I passed.  She didn't.  Even after she was not accepted I decided to go with it.  I thought that it would be an adventure, so I was sworn in.

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D.C. to Korea

There weren't too many women in the service in late 1949 other than nurses.  The government actually had stateside general hospitals and they had hospitals in all the foreign countries.  My joining the military was the worse case scenario of not reading the fine print, because if you're in and there's a war or something, you're frozen.

I was sent to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, for my basic training.  We were given a list of places where we could go after our training was over.  I had not been to the east coast before, so I put down Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. and got it.  It was a beautiful assignment.  It was one of the choice ones in December of 1949.  I had a wonderful job.  I worked in the clinics, which gave me time to go sightseeing and do things on weekends.  I had to alternate to relieve night duty nurses occasionally, but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it very much.

Around June of 1950 the physician in the next clinic said, "Oh, you'll be getting your orders pretty soon."  I said, "Orders?  What for?"  He said, "Haven't you been reading the paper?"  I said something like, "Oh yeah, the conflict."  That was the attitude then.  I told him that I was in the reserve and would not be called because I was due out in September.  He laughed and said, "I bet you a dollar that you get your orders."  I was just stunned.  Sure enough, I did get my orders, but I found out that he had cheated.  He had seen the manifest and knew that I was on it.

I had only the vaguest idea where Korea was.  I knew it was in the Pacific rim.  Although I was stunned, I also thought that it was an exciting thing to be called up.  I was also really kind of disappointed that I couldn't stay at Walter Reed.  I was frozen in the military and would not be allowed to get out in September. At the time, I was living with my aunt and uncle whom I had lived with for most of my young life.  They were wonderful people and they came to visit me.  I think they were a little upset about me going into a war zone, but they never said anything.

The other medical personnel who had received their orders for Korea and I went someplace to meet our unit.  Then we took a troop train to San Francisco and boarded the ship that was to take us to Japan. I remember that as we were going up the gangplank to board it two nurses refused to go.  I don't know whatever happened to them, but they refused to go.  They just were frightened or just hadn't thought that war was going to occur to them.  I think they were reservists too because someone in the regular Army would never have done that.  I never even thought of doing it.  I thought that it was dishonorable.

I remember the name of the ship because we used to try to remember the names by making up an acronym for it.  It was the General Randall.  The other different ships we were on were the Greeley and the Ainsworth.  Our acronym for them was Randy Grigglesworth.  I don't remember which one was first, because we just made it up like that to remind us.

On the way to Japan, someone realized they were short of anesthesiologists--nurse anesthetists.  They asked for volunteers to get some short training aboard ship.  Of course you know, you shouldn't volunteer.  But I was new.  I volunteered.  And because of that I was a nurse anesthetist for a while in Korea.  But I really didn't care for it.  I never cared for surgery.  I like to be with the patient so I asked to be transferred out.

Once we arrived in Japan we sat there while they gathered more equipment and then we went to Korea.  While in Japan I did a little sightseeing, but not too much.  It was kind of interesting, but as I said, I was still really kind of stunned most of the time.  Quite a large share of our unit had been in World War II.  They had no idea they were going to be in another war again, so it was a shock to them too, I think.  We transferred off of the ship and boarded another one for Inchon.  We followed the Marines on the 11th wave several days after the Inchon Invasion.  They had gone in and secured the area before we landed.

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In Shock

We followed them in and established a hospital in Seoul or Inchon, I can’t remember which. We landed in the harbor and sat there waiting. The country was very devastated. There was nothing set up for us. No food, no place to go to the bathroom or anything. We were in our fatigues and had our duffle bags, and just waited until we were picked up and sent to a hospital. We thought we would be setting up a tent hospital or something like that. Most of us were fairly young (I was 28 years old) and had no experience whatsoever in the service, much less under those conditions. Maybe the people who had been in World War II were more aware, but the rest of us weren’t. I was one of the younger ones there.  The others were more seasoned.  There were about three or four of us who were around my age and maybe some a couple of years younger.  We had been in basic training together.  The others were in their thirties and forties.

We came to a bombed-out school building where we were to set up a hospital. There were Koreans stacked like cordwood who had not received treatment and had died as a result. Their bodies had not yet been taken away. I think that most of us were just stunned at this point—not only because of the fact that we were there, but also because of the conditions. The hospital in the school building also had rough conditions. By that I mean sleeping on the ground or on the floor of the bombed-out school building. No bathroom facilities. They dug a couple of holes and put a screen of khaki around it, but anybody over a hill could see us going to the bathroom. And our personal toiletries and things like that didn’t follow us. We only had a duffle bag and a smaller bag that we carried over our shoulder. That was it. We could not bring anything else from stateside.  When we got to Korea we didn’t have basins or anything like that for the men. We used to try to scrounge the stuff from the kitchen—metal cans that were larger than K-ration containers. We also had never had K-rations before either. We didn’t mind them, but the nurses from World War II didn’t like them because they had them for four years.

We didn’t stay there very long. We moved on. Sometimes our equipment didn’t catch up with us, but generally we did have adequate medical equipment. Our chief nurse, Major Mary Baker, kept a diary. In it she wrote that medical care seemed futile because there weren’t enough supplies. She said, "The South Koreans had ghastly wounds." I suppose they were ghastly because they hadn’t been taken care of on the line. By the time they came to us they were often terribly infected, gangrenous, or whatever. I never saw a South Korean nurse or doctor while I was there.

We were in such isolated areas. We were rarely near any towns or anything. We were following the line. Major Baker said that we set up OR at an Army prison hospital, but I don’t remember that too well. I always think of our hospital units there in terms of bombed-out school buildings or tents.

After a short time at the school building/hospital in Inchon I think we were evacuated because the North Koreans started pushing the Allied forces down. Major Baker’s diary said that we left Inchon and went to Yongdungpo, which was a little further inland. We were taken there by big four-ton trucks or whatever they called them. We had to climb up into them like we were cattle. In our view from the trucks we could see what the countryside was like between Inchon and Seoul. It was very barren. In fact, one of the things I missed the most while I was in Korea was trees. I didn’t see very many of them because they were being used for fuel. I don’t remember if there was grass. At the time of our arrival in September it was probably still hot, but I don’t remember the heat as much as I do the cold.

We suffered from the cold mostly because our winter uniforms also did not catch up with us. The men had their winter uniforms, but ours didn’t get there. Way into winter, when we were in the middle of a rice paddy, we finally got some men’s winter uniforms and underwear. We just hated them because we had to fold them over and in front, and it made us look pregnant, but they at least kept us warmer. As I said, the thing that we suffered from the most was the cold. When I got back to the States someone asked me how I had kept my uniform white. That was an incredible statement. It was such a lack of understanding of what was going on in Korea. I couldn’t believe that they hadn’t seen pictures in the newspaper about the units, but maybe there weren’t that many pictures then. We wore fatigues the entire two years we were there. We even wore fatigues, which were rather hot, in the summer. We used to roll up our sleeves and not wear a tee shirt underneath and things like that until we finally got some summer uniforms. They were like a seersucker. But that was just as we were practically leaving to return to the States.

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The Patients

Most of our patients were Marines. It just seemed that we followed them first. We treated extensive wounds. Really extensive wounds. After leaving Yongdungpo, we were sent south to Pusan. We didn’t make any stops along the way because we needed to get to Pusan, retreating as a unit to take care of people. They took us there by trucks. We didn’t set up at Pusan, however. There were already hospitals there. We just sat around and waited because we knew our orders would soon come to go to North Korea.

On October 9, we nurses were quartered at the 8054 Evacuation Hospital. According to Major Baker’s diary, we were put on duty there and at the Prisoner of War camp hospital. From there we boarded the General Greeley to go up into North Korea following the Marines. We couldn't go directly to Hamhung because the harbor had been destroyed, I guess.  Instead we had to go to Hungnam (which was further north), and then take a series of convoys, either trucks or jeeps, to Hamhung.  I wasn't afraid.  It seemed like it was a dream at this point.  We stayed in a bombed-out Russian school building and I remember sleeping on the hard floor.  We froze.

Our patients rarely trickled in.  They came by loads all of a sudden.  Loads of them.  Especially when the Chinese came through the Chosin Reservoir.  The Marines were decimated.  We got people who didn't have equipment and were only half-prepared for the terrible cold.  We had to deal with a lot of head wounds caused by shells and/or direct shots. It was incredible. Then we had to deal with frostbite. Acres. It seemed like acres of people with frostbite because they were being routed out from the Chosin Reservoir. By this time, it was December.  We were in North Korea so it was extremely cold. We’re about at the 38th parallel here in Illinois, so we had the same type of winters in North Korea that the people over here have. But then the weather in Korea was like that way up in northern Canada. It was worse than here.

I wasn't in the part of the hospital that dealt with frostbite.  I was mostly down with the severely injured.  I did triage, nurse's work, and doctor's work--things like suctioning wounds and deciding whether or not it would help.  We did a lot more than we would ordinarily have done in a stateside hospital.  My nurse's training had not prepared me for Korea.  None of us, except those who had been in World War II (and those only in World War II who had been in field hospitals) had any kind of training similar to this.  There was so much of it, but I never got blase about it.  It was more like I was in shock.

I remember being on a ward in a bombed-out school building and I would get these...they were just kids, you know.  And they were on cots on the floor.  I called them my "Messy Marines" because they were always making such a mess.  Our shifts were long.  One day I was just going off of my shift when they brought this kid in.  He had a very severe injury and I thought, "Oh, God."  He looked so pale and in shock.  The doctors reassured me that he was taken care of and everything.  When I came back the next day all my patients were there except that one.  I asked where he was and they told me he had died.  I turned toward the blackboard and backed up thinking, "I can't go to pieces here."  So I just stood there for a minute.  I turned around and went about my work.  I had seen worse than that, but he just looked so young and looked like he'd been rescued and was going to go home.  He looked so healthy--pale, but healthy.  And that's what bothered me.

There was another scene, too.  It was terribly graphic.  Another nurse and I were in triage and she was suctioning out a patient's mouth.  He had a terrible head injury.  I wanted to tell her not to tickle the back of his throat because he was coughing.  Every time he coughed, a piece of his brain flew out.  And I thought, "Don't do that."  She was a Captain and I was a Lieutenant.  I said, "Oh, wait.  Let me help you with that."  But by that time, I think the damage was irreversible.  That picture has remained etched in my conscience to this day.  I'm sure he died, and I don't think anything could have been done to save him.  I think that he had such severe injuries to his head and chest that he could not possibly have survived, although I know that some people recover from the worst of injuries.

I saw things in Korea that made me angry.  War is such a terrible thing and such a waste of life.  I had only the vaguest idea why we were there in Korea.  I knew that we were there to help them.  I only vaguely knew about communism--that it wasn't a good thing.

I have always remembered one Marine who came in with a terrible wound.  He was going to have to have surgery near his thyroid gland right away.  I was taking his clothing off and a grenade dropped out.  I thought, "Oh my God."  And he said, "The pin isn't pulled, you know."  He came back successfully from surgery, went stateside, and sent us a package of soap and cologne because we just knew that we smelled to high heaven.  I wrote to him and told him, "We even used your soap as cologne."  I told him that we hated to go out in the rain because we would turn into soap bubbles.  He was sweet.  He remembered, but very few patients remembered the evac hospital.  They may have remembered the MASH units because they were alert then.  By the time they got to us, they either had partial surgery or were in shock or something like that, so very few of them remembered us.  They remembered being in Japan, but they didn't remember the evac hospital.

I had affection for all of my patients, but a few were particularly sweet and responsive.  I always remember this one in particular.  I had a wonderful sweet old Sergeant.  We were someplace in a school building and at the time we were acting as an evac unit.  We got the patients out of surgery and when they were stabilized we evacuated them to Japan.  I had this room in the bombed-out school building.  We put khaki blankets where the windows should have been.  Plaster was falling down and we could see the sky in some sections of the room.  If it was snowing, it would snow in.  We had one 25-watt light bulb, and then all of these cots.  This Sergeant and I were going along, waking up the patients and checking them to see if they were clean and checking to see if they were stable.  Then we shipped them out.  We came to this one kid--and he really was just a kid.  I swear, some of those kids were 16 and 17 or so.  The Sergeant said, "Come on, son.  Wake up, wake up."  And the kid woke up and said, "Where am I?"  The Sergeant said, "You're in Heaven, Son."  He said, "Heaven?"  The kid rolled his eyes around and said, "I'm applying for a transfer."  I thought that was so sweet that he could be humorous when I knew that he was sick and in pain.  I just thought that was so precious.  I have always remembered that so well.

Usually our patients felt that when they saw women they were more secure.  They relaxed as patients.  But it wasn't true because we were often within firing range.  I remember one particular instance when we were just grabbing the patients and treating them as they came in.  One of them had a minor back wound.  He was on a table and there was a loud explosion nearby.  He jumped and said, "Oh, I'm getting out of here."  The doctor said, "Oh son, they are just fixing a road out there.  We're trying to make a road out there."  But the next explosion was louder.  The patient said, "Uh huh," and left.  He didn't have any pants on.  We don't know where he went but he didn't have a very serious injury, so I'm sure he was all right.  He just wasn't going to stick around for the next one.

I liked dealing with the patients because there was interchange between patient and nurse.  I felt that I was really helping them, catching any bleeding or finding some type of injury that had been missed or something like that.  I talked with the patients a lot, although not particularly about where they had just been.  We talked about what was happening at the moment.  I think that when you have an injury or something you are concerned about yourself and I think that's what they were concerned about--getting out of this place and getting home alive.  When we were in North Korea we had them for maybe a day or two.  Usually they were sent out sooner than that, but I think because of the harbor and stuff it was a little slower in getting them out.  I'm not sure what the reasons were.  After that they were sent on to Japan and usually back to stateside where a decision as to their fitness for duty or treatment would be made there.

Sometimes we tried to get eggs from the market and we would make fried egg sandwiches at night for the patients.  They loved that and the fact that we were being kind and cheerful.  We didn't write home for them, though.  We were told not to do that because it was the Red Cross worker's job to do that.  We only had one while we were in the bombed-out school building, so she could not have covered very many wards.  She was an older woman.  Later, when we were established in a more permanent spot, Rita Dickson came as a Red Cross worker.

As I said, sometimes we leapfrogged with another medical unit and acted like a MASH unit.  We could always tell when that happened by the types of wounded we received.  They were fresh off the line.  At Hamhung, we were getting patients, some of whom had already had surgery and some of whom needed it.  We were just keeping them until they were stabilized enough to get them out of the country and over to Japan.  Mary Baker's diary says that from December 1 through 7 of 1950 we received about 200 casualties from the Chosin Reservoir.  They were mostly Marines. Her diary also noted that the enemy was closing in on Hamhung and that's when we were evacuated.  We boarded a huge ship that had been turned into a hospital ship.  It was called the Ainsworth.  They took the passenger's lounge of the ship and turned it into an operating room.  While we were still in the harbor we received 16 Chinese prisoners who were held as POWs under guard on F Deck.

It was because of these Chinese prisoners that I broke the chain of command for the first of two times that I did that while I was in Korea.  I was just a "new recruit" so to speak, and I didn't follow the military chain of command.  That means you ask somebody and you ask somebody and you ask somebody.  We received patients from boats that pulled up alongside of the Ainsworth.  My friend Harriet Adams and I always seemed to draw the worst assignments for some reason.  We were sent down in that hole with those Chinese prisoners.  They looked so hostile, and we didn't have a guard.  There were just us two nurses down there with them.  We didn't even go near them because we could see that their hair was crawling with lice.  We left the hold and didn't go back.  They were all sitting up and weren't in pain and didn't have extreme wounds.  I thought that we were needed worse upstairs.  I really don't know why we were even sent down there.  They should have had men down there.  They had corpsmen who should have been down there with them.

Another bad assignment that Harriet and I had received earlier was in a rice paddy somewhere.  I was on duty and she was to follow me.  We had about three or four very seriously injured patients who had just came out of surgery, and they were bleeding.  I called the doctor to come take them back or check out the problem.  The corpsmen and somebody else came in and they had maybe six or eight North Korean prisoners with them.  They were so lousy we could see their hair move.  I told them, "You may not bring them in here because you will infect these men."  I said, "Absolutely not."  Well, I never should have said that.  I was supposed to go to the chief nurse.  Then she was to go to the head of the unit.  But the corpsmen took me at my word and disappeared.  They didn't bring them in.  The next morning when I came in the GI's were gone and I had all the lousy prisoners.  The corpsmen helped us take care of them.  We got a big blanket, made the lousy prisoners disrobe, and we dusted them off.  After an exposure like that, we always felt that we got the lice, too.  We itched a lot--I think just from the thought--so we DDT'ed ourselves, too.

After we left North Korea we returned to Pusan.  We hated to leave that ship.  We had a nice Christmas dinner aboard it.  I remember that ship.  We loved it because it was so nice and clean and had all the facilities.  It had a nice bathroom.  Diarrhea was endemic among the nurses.  We had to go to these terrible little places out in the field or in the rice paddy when we got an attack of it. On board the ship we didn't have diarrhea.  I suppose we were getting it from the food and contamination and stuff like that when we were on land and in the field.  They brought water to us in water cans and it was supposedly from good sources, but one time they found a body in the bottom of the well and we had been drinking the water from it.

Sometime in August of 1951, a new type of fever went around that the Japanese formerly called, "Manchurian fever."  There were also a number of deaths from what they called "Weils Disease."  I think it was some form of hemorrhagic fever.  It caused the patients to bleed from their eyes.  We were all concerned about that.

We didn't stay there terribly long because then the Allied forces pushed the enemy back north again. I landed in Korea in September of 1950 and I stayed there a good long time.  My tour of duty in Korea lasted until February of 1952.  They had no one to replace us and our unit itself.  We were then stabilized in the last place we were at.  I've forgotten the name of the place where we were at the time--it was near Seoul.  But we finally became an evac hospital there.

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Medical Staff

I can't say that all of the doctors I worked with were highly skilled because many of them were also very young.  They were reservists, too.  There were a few who were really great, but they were like us.  This was the first time that they had been in this type of a situation.  They were compassionate and dedicated to their work.  They went on and on and on doing all this terrible surgery and trying to save the kids.  Still, I was appalled at the lack of experience of some of them who treated the wounded men.

Running out of supplies angered me, too.  They had experienced quartermaster people from World War II, yet they ran out of supplies.  They ran out of Penicillin.  Rather than give it like a one shot thing, we had to give it in smaller doses every three hours.  That was incredible.  I couldn't understand why we were so poorly supplied.  Maybe it was lack of coordination at the stateside level or the lack of supplies or the lack of being able to get the supplies, I don't know.  It just seemed incredible and that angered me so much.  Japan seemed so wealthy and was getting to be so well-run at the time.  It seemed that the United States supported its enemies like Germany and Japan, but not our allies.

We never lost a nurse or doctor to death or illness in Korea, but occasionally some were shipped out suddenly.  They had a breakdown.  I never witnessed it.  I was so busy.  I was usually alone on my own ward with a corpsman.  Then later on we were put in little separate tents so that we didn't get to see everybody every day.  Everybody pulled their own weight in the unit, although we always had people who were sluff-offs.  And there were people who were resentful about being sent to Korea, especially those who had been in World War II just four or five years previous to that.

None of the World War II nurses ever made a comparison between what they had to deal with in the Korean War and what they had had to deal with in World War II because it was in some ways worse than World War II. Some had been on hospital ships, which was an ideal place to be, and some had been behind units way behind the lines. There was one nurse that I worked with quite frequently. I seemed to be put with her because the others didn’t want to work with her. I never had any difficulty with her. She was very quiet, almost depressed. She had been in World War II. It wasn’t until we nurses had our reunion about thirty years ago that I found out why she was that way. Captain Mary Moultrie of Woodbury, Virginia, had been in the Army stationed in the Philippines at the time of the outbreak of World War II. When the Philippines were taken over by the Japanese, she was put in a Japanese prison camp for three years. They were very terrible times for her.  She remained in the service because they said to her, "Well, look, we’ll advance you to Captain and you will never be sent overseas--or at least if you are sent overseas, you will not be sent to the Orient." The minute the Korean War broke out, they sent her back to the Orient, so that really terribly depressed her. I was amazed that she didn’t do what those other girls did when they balked at going onboard ship. They didn’t know what was ahead of them. It looked like a great ship and an adventure. But Captain Moultrie knew and never, never complained.  Instead, she stuck it out in Korea the whole time.

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Daily Living

One thing I didn't miss while I was in Korea--and it was probably caused by a patient, was measles.  I had them in the middle of a rice paddy someplace in Korea in the winter.  I was the only one who got them.  They told me that down the road about ten miles away was a Marine camp and the Marines in it had the measles.  But I said, "I don't know.  It must have been from a patient because I never went out with a Marine."  Who went out?  Nobody went out with anybody.  We had the occasional party once we were stabilized, but usually there just wasn't time for things like that.  I remember that I had a record player and some records, so I donated that for the cause.  If there was a floor available, we danced.  That was about it.  There was the occasional romance with people coming through.  The Marines were such wonderful people.  Sometimes the nurses had a romance with them and then they were gone.  They maybe got a few letters and that was it.

On February 4, 1951, I attended a wedding in our little tent chapel.  Our unit was set up in a frozen rice paddy somewhere near Taegu or Taejon.  Lt. Nancy Donio, who had been a World War II nurse, and Captain Freshon, a dentist with the Fourth Field Hospital, were married.  They knew each other from stateside and both had been sent to Korea. All of the nurses tried to make the day a little more special for Nancy.  Everybody loaned her a piece of their uniform, but she didn’t have any shoes.  I thought, "Ah, shoes!"  It just so happened that when we stopped in Japan on the way to Korea I discovered that somehow a pair of high-heeled shoes had found their way to the bottom of my duffle bag. Apparently I hadn't dug deep enough when packing and they were down in the very bottom. At the time I thought, "What a stupid thing," and I wanted to throw them away. But the others said, "Oh, just keep them. They don’t take any room."   My high-heeled shoes fit Nancy perfectly, so she had high-heeled shoes that she wore to her wedding right in the middle of the rice paddy. Fortunately it was frozen, so we didn’t have the smell or the goo to deal with at the time. We never sat in the rice paddy in the summer, of course.  Another time when we were still in the rice paddy at Toksongdong we all celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps.  We celebrated with a party.  I don't remember it, though.  Maybe I was on duty.  We often missed things like that when we had to stay with the patients.

We never had a chance to visit with or mingle with the natives.  We weren't allowed to do that.  In Seoul, once we stabilized, we had Korean helpers on our ward.  We also had a little girl--well, she was like a teenager, helping us.  We finally got a place to stay like a Quonset hut.  It was our most luxurious place ever and she helped keep it clean and stuff like that.  When I was stationed at Walter Reed I worked for a dermatologist.  He was coming through our area in Korea and he looked me up.  He was a very sweet, elderly man.  Our Korean girl's sister had a terrible skin infection on her hands and she asked if I would ask the doctor to look at them.  I asked him if he would and he did.  He mentioned something that would help her.  That was the only time I got to meet her family.

The only other contact I had with a native was a little civilian Korean boy who came in to the hospital because he had apparently been hit by our fire.  It had ricocheted off of a rock and hit him.  His name was Tai.  Tai wanted to stay with us and help the patients, which he did.  He was like a little helper.  If the fellows were on the cot and they needed water, Tai ran and gave it to them.  He was such a big help.  I don't really know how old he was.  He was just a little one, but that didn't give us an indication of his age.  They wanted to discharge him but I tried to keep him.  His mother came along--such a pretty woman.  She had a baby on her back and she took him home.  He found his way back again and wanted to stay with us.  The soldiers were so sweet to him, and we were sweet to him, too.  I wrote a theme about him later on.

There were Korean men who worked on my ward.  They were older men--quite old, and they were so wonderful.  What one wouldn't do, the other one did.  My favorite one was Lee Kyom Pok.  He was so clumsy he tripped over the stands and things like that, but he was so willing to do things--carry the heavy jars of human waste and stuff like that.  When I was on R&R I got them both a watch because they were always pestering me for the time.  Time to get the mess kits from the dining tent for the patients.  Time to take this out to catch the supplies.  Things like that.  It just drove me crazy because I was usually in the middle of doing something.  When I bought the watches it really wasn't out of the kindness of my heart, but instead, just to get rid of the questioning.  But they thought those Timex watches were just beautiful.  One of them gave me a silver saki pot as a keepsake when I left.  The letter that he gave with it was dated January 18, 1952 and said:

"My Dear Lieutenant, I thank you very much and pay homage to you, for you American have worked hard and fought a splendid fighting for our miserable Korean liberty and rehabilitation.  Since I have worked together with you, I am always glad and happy because you think of me and treat me as your friend although I am an ignorant and humble Korean.

Sometime I commit wrong and do not know what shall I do because I cannot understanding English, but you did not pay any attention to my wrong; and you only praised me when I did good.  Time and time you have given me many GI clothing and items which helped very much, especially your watch to me.  How beautiful it is.

I will have it in your, in my life for your beautiful memory.  Would you kindly allow me to present you with trifle silver wine bottle and cup for thankful sourvenirs [sic] from me.  Please remember me as you see the trifle present. - Yours respectfully, Lee Kyom Pok.  And would you please tell two captains what I told you."

He also said that he had asked the Korean-American Red Cross worker to translate it.  He couldn't speak English, but the Korean worker translated it into English for him.  I have never forgotten them.  I have the flask out in the bookcase.  I see it every day.

Sometimes I got letters from the patients.  They called me "Princess" for some reason.  Their letters told me how kind I had been to them and that I was so sunny and sweet.  Things like that.  Sometime later I read in a stateside newspaper an article about a Marine who was wounded in Korea.  He said in the article, "I remember the princess who made egg sandwiches for us."  And I thought, "That must have been us."  I can't remember any other unit being in that area at that time.  I thought that it was sweet to be remembered.  I also got packages from my aunt and uncle.  They endlessly sent me packages, usually with things that I requested.  We requested warm socks.  And my aunt was famous for her Christmas cookies, so she sent me those and other foods.  When we were finally stabilized we had to go some distance to the latrine.  I asked a former nursing school classmate to send me a bathrobe because most of our jackets were too short.  We never had a coat.

We were supposed to get an R&R after so many months over there, but we were there a solid year before they were able to send any of us over to Japan to have one.  Even then it was only five days.  There we saw some General going out of some building.  We also saw the Catholic Cardinal Spellman who came over to see the patients.  I didn't see a USO show.  They came to units around us, but never to the hospital.  Occasionally a minister came through, but we didn't have one assigned to us for a long time.

Jack Benny came to my ward once.  There were seriously injured kids there and they could have cared less that he was there.  But he was trying to be funny for them.  He looked around and said, "Gee, with all these pretty nurses around here, I think I'll be a patient myself."  He lowered his pants and he had on these funny, funny shorts.  Everybody laughed, of course.  He shook hands with me.  That was in Seoul.

For me, the hardest thing about being in Korea was to see all those young men with their lives so torn up by the injuries they received.  The senselessness of it all.  Sometimes they told me how they had received their injuries.  They got injured by bombs, gunshot or rifle fire, things like that.  I so vividly remember the face of one of the Marines when he said, "We didn't have enough ammunition.  We ran out of ammunition.  We ran out of ammunition."  He kept repeating it.  He looked as if he was going to make it, but he had irreversible shock and it affected his kidneys.  Sometimes, too, there were soldiers and Marines who broke down under the pressure.  I saw the result of this once when I substituted one week on the psychiatric ward.  The psychiatrist wanted me to stay because I was so quiet, but I could not handle it. The men were really out of it and I responded to them when they responded, but I didn't like this duty. My fondest memories of Korea are of the good patients and the rapport among our nursing group.

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Going Home

I stayed in Korea for two years.  They told us that they couldn't get replacements for us.  At the end of our term our whole unit was replaced--the doctors and corpsmen and all the support personnel, but not the nurses.  The original nurses stayed there because they couldn't get any new ones.  When they left we had all these new, new people to explain things to and to deal with.  We nurses were resentful.  At that point we wanted out.  Finally the head nurse of the Far East Command visited us and said she was sorry that we could not be replaced because they didn't have replacements.  Apparently they weren't recruiting many, or else they needed them stateside.  She offered us two possibilities at that point.  She said, "I can transfer you to Japan and you will have to stay in the Far East longer, or you could stay here and go home within two to six months."  She didn't really specify how long.  A number of us chose to stay rather than go to Japan.  That was a bad mistake because the nurses who went to Japan were living and working in stateside conditions.  They got to go sightseeing.  They went to Shanghai.  They went to all those other places--Singapore and others--and we were in Korea.  When it was time for us to leave Korea we were sent to Japan onboard ship to get our stateside effects that had been placed in storage.  And there were those nurses who had transferred to Japan, going home the same time that we were.  Oh, did that make us angry.

When we returned to the States we got off the ship in California and went back to San Francisco for processing.  Then we got a short week at home before we had to report to our next station.  It was just like a dream, you know.  Everything was so different in the States from the two years of happenings in Korea.

While I was at my aunt and uncle's, apparently a neighbor notified the Milwaukee Journal TV station that I was coming.  They wanted to interview me but I said, "I don't think so."  They said it was for a blood drive, so I said okay, as long as it was a spot announcement.  I went and told them where I had been and the areas we were in.  When I got home there were all these calls from women--mothers asking if I remembered their son whose name was so and so.  That was so hard to take.  It was just so difficult.  These women still had this hope.  They had gotten notice that their child was lost in combat or was pronounced dead, but they still wouldn't accept it.  They still felt, "Well, maybe someplace someone saw my son before he died."  And then they would describe what he looked like.  It was difficult.  I felt their pain.  After a while I thought, "Oh, I can't."  I wouldn't deal with it after a while.  I thought I would never go public again.  The only time I ever discussed with anyone that I had been in Korea was if I heard somebody say that they had been there, too.

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Final Reflections

I think that going to Korea changed me.  I became more withdrawn.  I didn't want to be in nursing too much, or at least nothing hospital related.  I didn't want to do that.  So I used my GI Bill of Rights to go into public health nursing.  I stayed in hospital work when I was going through the University of Michigan because I needed a job.  The GI Bill wasn't all encompassing, you know.  I had to have money beyond that, so I worked at the University of Michigan Hospital.

Going to Korea gave me a better understanding of people, as well as a better understanding of what the military and soldiers went through.  It made me bitter in many ways.  Bitter over the lack of supplies and that we were such a wealthy nation and we couldn't afford to get this on the road--you know, get their act together.  It was incredible.  I think our government made a mess of Korea by dividing it in the first place.  It should never have happened.  They did the same thing in Berlin.  They gave the Russians one part of Berlin.

About eight of the nurses who served in my unit in Korea still keep in touch, as well as the Red Cross worker.  We were the ones who all lived in the Quonset hut in Seoul.  The doctors and the corpsmen called us the "dolls" and then when we got the Quonset hut they called it the "doll house."  No matter where we were we managed to sleep on our fatigues so that they looked straightened and we always tried to keep our hair neat looking.  That's why they called our group the "dolls."

I missed our first reunion and I was very unhappy about it.  I went to the second one.  They stopped me at the door and said, "Do you remember your middle name?"  I said, "Yes, don't you?"  When we lived together in Korea, I always said, "Why don't you close the flap on the tent so it won't blow through?"  They responded, "G--D---, why don't you?"  They were always annoyed because I was so polite.  I always said, "Why don't you..?" when I asked them to do something.  I said things like, "Why don't you be sure that this patient is to be sent out?"  Or, "Why don't you check on him every hour?"  So "Whydon'tyou" was my middle name.  We were all good friends.  We had a wonderful time together considering what we were in.

I think war is worthless.  I think it isn't the answer to anything.  I think it's a terrible thing to subject the cream of our crop to be killed.  I cannot forget the patients and the injuries and what terrible things it must have done to their lives.  And I can't forget the deaths.

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Addendum Contents:

  • Original 121st Evacuation Hospital Nurses
  • Pleads for More Blood - news clipping
  • Meritorious Citation
  • Mescal Baker's Diary
  • Whereabouts - original 121st Evac Nurses

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Original 121st Evacuation Hospital Nurses

  • 1st Lt Harriet M Adams N794653
    1727 Coit Ave
    Cleveland 12, Ohio
  • Maj Margaret E. Blatt N583
    125 Sixth Ave
    Freedom, PA
    c/o Mary E. Blatt
  • 1st Lt Eve Budnick N804405
    528 School St
    Minersville, PA
  • 1st Lt Anastasia Chaponis N1805
    527 Burnham St.
    Manchester, CT
    c/o Mrs. Anastasia Moskitis
  • Mrs. Anne Currier Miller
    Main Street
    Sandwich, MA
    c/o Mrs. Elizabeth I. Currier
  • 1st Lt Margaret G. Gibson N792726
    2604 9th Street
    Meridian, MI
  • Capt. Mary E. Hartley N1375
    2286 Acushnet Ave
    New Bedford, MA
  • 1st Lt Anne C. Jablunovsky N2022
    Yatesboro, PA
  • 1st Lt Harriet F. Kingan N792553
    Box 26
    Iroquois, NY
  • Capt Helen F. McManus N754226
    123 Hudson St
    Fall River, MA
    c/o Joseph M. McManus
  • Capt Mary L. Moultrie N1085
    Woodbury, VA
  • Capt. Sarah E. Perkins N764923
    1408-7th Ave
    Bossemer, AL
  • Maj Mescal Baker N109
    23 E. Pgh - McK. Blvd.
    McKeesport, PA
  • 1st Lt Dorothy L. Bolinger N792860
    322 S. St. Joe Ave
    Niles, MI
  • 1st Lt Irena N. Canalas N792280
    717 N Holmes Ave
    Indianapolis, IN
  • Capt Thelma Crowell N121
    1724 25th Ave
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Mrs. Anne Donio (Prejean)
    Egg Harbor Road
    Hammonton, NJ
    c/o Mrs. Anna Donio
  • 1st Lt Margaret M. Hanley N753353
    38 Coolidge St
    Lawrence, MA
  • Capt Irene I. Hawkins N727754
    277 Chavasse Ave
    Henderson, NC
    c/o Mrs. Mary Hawkins
  • Mrs. Anna Jacobs King
    Route #1, Box 320
    Muskogee, OK
  • Capt Corinne I. Lipham N763740
    430 Kilsy Heights
    Anniston, AL
  • Capt Lorraine H. Martin N351
    8165th Army Unit
    APO 309 c/o PM
    San Francisco, CA
  • 1st Lt Ada D. Pellegrene N727807
    535 Burns Ave
    Jackson, MI
  • Miss Clara N. Rachuig
    499 Casassa Drive
    Reno, NV
  • Capt Lucy T. Rainone N796592
    2720 Decatur Ave
    Bronx 58, NY
  • Capt Edith C. Roderick N725842
    42 So 9th St
    Allentown, PA
  • 1st Lt Patricia M. Schneider N2023
    1327 E. Ocklawaha Ave
    Ocala, FL
  • 1st Lt Wahnetta M. Taylor N804326
    101 S. Wade St
    Washington, PA
  • Capt Frances Thomas N742828
    Cumberland, VA
  • 1st Lt Janice Tucker N804222
    185 School St
    Waltham, MA
    c/o Mrs. E.L. Spidell
  • 1st Lt Rosemary Vencelik N785062
    524 S. 57th St
    Tacoma, WA
    c/o Mrs. Mary A. Pyfer
  • 1st Lt Lorraine L. Williams N804389
    32 Chestnut St
    Lockport, NY
    c/o Mrs. Leah Graves
  • Capt A. Inez Robinette N453
    116 E 67th St
    Shreveport, LA
    c/o Mrs. Leslie C. Robinette
  • Capt Julienna Sabat N1874
    3139 Scranton Rd
    Cleveland, OH
    c/o Onufer Sabat
  • 1st Lt Dorothy M. Steen N792361
    1101 Sheridan St
    Richmond, IN
  • 1st Lt Marian V. Tesheneck N804467
    2349 S. 78th St
    West Allis, WI
    c/o Mr. John Reinhecker
  • Capt Mary P. Toudouze N467
    167 Octavia Pl
    San Antonio, TX
  • Capt Mildred P. Turton N250
    Box 56
    Richey, MI
    c/o Mrs. Estella Parish
  • Capt Grace E. Weeks N726190
    Kenansville, NC
    c/o Mrs. E.O. Littleton


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Nurse Home From Korea Pleads for 'More Blood' - a newspaper clipping

A Milwaukee Army nurse with 18 months of duty in Korea returned home from the front a few days ago with a plea for "more blood and more nurses."  First Lt. Marian Tesheneck, a shy, pretty nurse who has seen almost as much of the front, and more of the suffering than most combat infantrymen, landed in Korea from a landing barge at Inchon, only a few days after the first Marines gained a foothold on the eastern shore.

"It wasn't very pleasant then and it is worse today," she said.  "First there was a lack of just about everything.  Now we have men and equipment, but blood supplies remain at a very low ebb and we could use so many more nurses I could not begin to estimate the number."

Born in West Allis, she lives with her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. John Reinhecker, at 2349 S. 78th St.  She attended West Allis Central High School and St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing at Rochester, Minnesota.

In the fall of 1949 Miss Tesheneck joined the Nursing Corps and got her first taste of Army duty at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C.  When the Korean War broke out she and many other nurses were alerted for overseas duty.  She left the states in mid-summer and went directly to Korea, landing behind the Marines in September with the 121st Evacuation Hospital unit.

As units of the United Nations forces moved north her unit followed, finally reaching Hamhung, North Korea, just before the big Chinese push.  She was hurriedly evacuated with other nurses at the last minute.

"We're using bombed out buildings and tents for hospitals, even to this day," she explained.  "That part isn't so hard to take, but the suffering of all the wounded is almost unbearable.  We do all we can and then hurry them to expert care in Japan.  We are very short-handed.  Red Cross workers and some volunteers help, but we need so many trained nurses."


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Meritorious Citation

WITH EIGHTH ARMY - For meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services in support of combat operations in Korea from September 25, 1950 to November 24, 1951, the 121st Evacuation Hospital was recently awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation by the Eighth Army surgeon, Col. L.H. Ginn, Berryville, VA.

The citation reads in part:

"Throughout the critical phase of hostilities, this unit operated with unmatched efficiency under extremely difficult conditions, maintaining high standards of medical and surgical service to combat troops and to units located in its area of operation.  Combining such commendable attributes as steadfast devotion to duty, ingenious improvisation of existing facilities and comprehensive medical knowledge paralleled by the skillful application of this knowledge, this hospital admitted and treated patients in a manner which elicited the highest possible praise from all those cognizant of its fine work."

The 121st entered the Korean conflict when it landed at Inchon on September 25, 1950, some ten days after the initial assault.  But a contingent of the main body went in during the invasion, providing professional care to civilian personnel injured during the bombardment and the fighting incident to the invasion.

From Inchon, the 121st moved to Hamhung and continued operations until December 10, caring for sick and wounded UN personnel.  In addition to operating its own hospital, it was necessary to screen PW's and set up facilities and staff for the care of sick and wounded prisoners of war.

On April 8, 1951, the 121st Evac moved to Seoul and undertook a new assignment--providing medical support to I Corps units.  As a result of the spring offensive launched by the Communists in late April, the hospital received orders to cease operations in Seoul and return to Taejon, their former area of operation.  The unit remained in Taejon for a month and by sections, moved back north again as the spring offensive was checked.

The hospital was raised from 400 to 750 bed capacity and handed the mission of handling all Eighth Army patients being evacuated south or direct to Japan.  Since September 1950, the 121st Evacuation Hospital has treated in Seoul more than 75,000 United Nations troops and recently ROK president Syngman Rhee awarded the unit the Republic of Korea presidential unit citation "for exceptional performance of medical and surgical services to the gallant men of the United Nations forces."


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Diary - Major Mescal Baker

[KWE Note: Mescal Baker was the Chief Nurse of the 121 Evacuation Hospital in Korea in 1950. She kept the following official diary for Lt. Col. Alice Gritsavage, who was the chief of nurses of the Far East Command.  Ms. Gritsavage's obituary appears at the end of this Addendum.  Mescal Baker gave a copy of the diary to the nurses of the 121st and then left for Japan in 1952.]


  • 21 September
    Left Yokohama for Korea in Convoy (SS Weigel).
  • 24 September
    Arrived at harbor of Inchon staying aboard until next morning.
  • 25 September
    Disembarked and taken ashore via L.C.M.  The 121st Evac. Hospital boarded at abandoned Grade School in Inchon.  We slept in Bedrolls and ate C-9 rations wile there.
  • 26 & 27 September
    Worked at a military-established hospital taking care of South Korean civilians (headquarters building of Communist Koreans); also set up an OR at the Army Prison Hospital.  The work was done primitively as they had no supplies except for the few we used in the O.R.  The South Koreans had ghastly wounds for the most and our nurses were kept busy just changing the dressings.  They had mats for beds and no blankets except for a few who brought their own.  Our supplies hadn't arrived so the whole business seemed so futile.
  • 28 September
    Left Inchon for Yong-dong-po rei near Seoul.  The First Mobile Surgical taking over at Inchon.  Arrived at the school which is to be our new hospital about 0930 and by noon could have started taking patients.  The nurses tents were set up about 4 p.m., but it wasn't until 10 p.m. that they were able to come and get their bed roll ready for the night.  We got cots the next day.
  • 29 & 30 September
    Kept very busy with casualties..  The OR doctors, surgical nurses, and anesthetists working day and night.
121st Evacuation Hospital APO #909, U.S. Army, Chief Nurse, Medical Section, CHQ, FEC, APO #500
5 November 1950

Dear Lt. Col. Gritsavage:

It seems as if I never can get my monthly report in on time, but again we were traveling just at the time.  We did enjoy your letter received while on board ship at Pusan, and hope you can get over to see us one of these days...if we stay put long enough anywhere!  I'm going to give you now a more or less daily diary of our activities this past month:

  • 1-7 October
    Took care of casualties at Yongdong-po.  Miss Maude Campbell ARC reported for duty on the 7 Oct. 1950.
  • 8 October
    Evacuated the last of our patients - packed and prepared to move again.
  • 9 October
    Nurses and all unit personnel except those necessary to accompany the equipment and drive the vehicles were flown from Kimpo Air Base to Pusan.  The nurses were quartered at the 8054 Evacuation Hospital and the men at the 52d Medical Battalion near by.
  • 11 October
    The nurses were put on duty at the 8054 Evacuation Hospital and at the PA Camp Hospital (15 at the PW Hospital and the rest at the 8054 Evacuation Hospital).
  • 14 October
    The equipment and the rest of the unit got in by convoy.  We lost one water truck and one truck and trailer carrying our shower unit and certain surgical items.
  • 12-18 October
    Nurses still on D.S. with the 8054 Evacuation Hospital.
  • 19 October
    Boarded the General Greeley.
  • 31 October
    Sat out in the harbor until this date; then, sailed north.

Kindest regards,
Mescal Baker, Major

Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital SMBL, APO #909- 3 December 1950

Dear Lt. Col. Gritsavage:

Heard from X Corps Headquarters that you were going to pay us a visit about the 8th of December.  We'll try to make your visit pleasant and will be looking forward to hearing all the latest from Japan.

Things were really hopping around here yesterday.  Casualties poured in from the stricken Reservoir area till we practically had to hang them from the ceiling.  Everyone pitched right in, however, and we finally had them all looked at and bedded down about 0200.  They are supposed to evacuate several hundred today but so far they haven't.  We just have to make room for more patients.  I'll try to give you a short resume of our activities this past month:

  • 1 November
    We arrived at Wonsan in North Korea and stayed at a bombed out school building for two nights.  the first night we slept in our clothing on the hard old floor as they were expecting an attack from the hills.  Just about froze that night.  The next night we had our sleeping bags and bedding rolls so managed a little rest.
  • 3 November
    The unit except for enough to drive our vehicles with the supplies on, were flown to Yong-po airport near Hamhung, North Korea and from there we were driven over to our present home between Hamhung and Hungnam...again a school; but this time a little better than the usual.  It had been built or was being built by the Russians to teach Communism.
  • 4 & 5 November
    We set up the hospital.
  • 6 & 7 November
    Started to get patients and by the end of the 2nd day we had over 200...so many N.P. patients.
  • 7 to 19 November
    Our census continued to increase until it was up to 500 or more.  Every day we had to open one or more new wards.  The majority of the casualties and patients arrived about 5 p.m.  Quite a few severely frostbitten patients arrived during this period.
  • 20 & 21 November
    Promotions came through.  Captains Blatt and Rauchig to Major, Lts. Perkins, Hawkins and Roderick to Captains, and all our 2nd Lts. were promoted to 1st.
  • 21 November on
    Our work slackened and the girls were able to get some extra time.

That's about the story.  Give my best to Clara Kiely.  I must write her, but it seems I am a poor correspondent.  Yours Respectfully, Mescal Baker.

Chief Nurses' Office, 121st Evacuation Hospital, APO #909 - December 1950
  • 1 to 7 December
    Still very busy receiving and evacuating patients.  About 200 casualties from around the Chosin Reservoir received on the 2nd of December.  They had been able to hold off the Chinese Communists long enough to get all the wounded off the Plateau.
  • 9 & 10 December
    Tore down the hospital and packed the equipment.  The enemy closing in on Hamhung.
  • 11 December
    Boarded the General Ainsworth in Hungnam Harbor and set up our hospital...receiving about 200 or more patients that same afternoon.
  • 12 December
    The census increased to 384 today.  The passengers' lounge made an excellent operating room.  They were able to have 4 operating tables going at the same time.  The fixed card tables acted as our anesthesia stands.  We were able to do remarkedly well except for taking the litters in and out of the cabins.  All ambulatory cases were put in the troop area on Decks E and F.
  • 13 & 14 December
    Gradually evacuated until only 120 patients remained.  At this time the Yongpo Airport was still in operation.
  • 15 December
    The 1st MASH nurses join us aboard ship.
  • 16 & 20 December
    Census up once more.  Received 16 Chinese PWs.  They were placed under guard on F Deck.  Three deaths.
  • 24 December
    Sailed from Hungnam Harbor south.
  • 25 December
    Arrived at Pusan Harbor about noon.  Patients and personnel had a very nice Christmas dinner aboard.
  • 26 December
    Unloaded all patients...those going on to Japan evacuated to the hospital ship Consolation...among these one of the nurses - Captain Lorraine Martin.
  • 27 December
    Nurses and male officers transferred over to the ship General Freeman for the night.  Our enlisted men had to sleep on the dock.
  • 28 December
    Captain Bertha Richardson ANC reported.  We left the General Freeman at 1:45 p.m. and were convoyed via ambulance up to Ulsan, Korea.  Took over 4 hours.  Quartered in tents next to the ROK Hospital.  Bitter cold!
  • 29 December
    The 121st had their Christmas today!  We received our first mail since the 10th of December; also, all our Christmas packages...a wonderful morale builder!
  • 31 December
    Still not setting up - awaiting orders from 8th Army Hqs.
January 1951 Diary
  • 1 to 6 January
    Still staging at Ulsan, Korea awaiting further orders from 8th Army Hqs.
  • 6 January
    Left Ulsan via ambulance...arriving at our destination, Taksong-dong about 5 p.m. that evening.  Our site for the hospital is situated in the middle of a rice paddy.
  • 7 January
    Set up the hospital today.
  • 8 January
    Got our first patients today.  two nurses ill with acute upper respiratory infections.  Our tents are very damp and cold despite the oil stoves.
  • 9 January
    Captain Mary E. Jordan and 2d Lt. Barbara F. Drake reported for assignment and duty today...a wet miserable day, so really got well initiated to field duty and Korea.
  • 10-31 January
    Working spasmodically.  Census never over more than 200.  We have put up tents to take care of over 400 patients.  Floors put in all the nurses tents, and a recreation tent set up...a very popular spot at night as curfew is at 1900.
Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital SMBL, APO 301 - Diary for February 1951
  • 1 February
    Still in the rice paddy at Toksongdong.  The 50th Anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps was celebrated by a party held in our recreation tent.  The food was sent through the courtesy of various clubs in Japan to the Army nurses in Korea.  With red, white, and blue parachutes up and the food and flowers attractively arranged, the tent looked very festive and gay.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
  • 4 February
    Lt. Donio ANC and Capt. Prejean, a dental officer from the 4th Field Hospital, married today at our little tent chapel.
  • 7 February
    Our doctors and nurses all returned from the 4th Field Hospital.  They had been helping out there each day as their patient load had been very high and we had very few at the time.
  • 14 February
    Received a train load of casualties from up north.
  • 15-19 February
    Very busy operating and getting patients ready for evacuation as rapidly as possible.
  • 20 February
    Evacuated remainder of patients and packed for movement to Taejon.
  • 21 February
    The nurses all left for Taejon today...20 at 8 a.m. via ambulance (at the time the only available transportation).  At 9 a.m. received word that the hospital train coming through Taegu could transport the remainder of the nurses.  The first group arrived at Taejon at 3:30 p.m., tired and weary, after their 120 miles via ambulance over rough and mountainous road' the others at 11 p.m.
  • 22 February
    Our first view of our new home.  Everyone was pleased with the set-up...a concrete hospital and nurses' quarters quonset huts.
  • 23-28 February
    Receiving and evacuating patients every day.  Not too many casualties.
Chief Nurses' Office, 121st Evacuation Hospital, SMBL, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of March
  • 1-8 March
    Very busy in the hospital with sudden influxes of patients, operative care, and quick evacuation as planes and trains were available.  Contagion, especially measles and chicken-pox, high.  Three cases of small-pox, one severe.  Miss Anderson, new ARC worker, arrived the 8th.
  • 9 March
    Lt. Anne Currier left for R&R today.
  • 10-23 March
    Hospital not too busy.  Received word the 17th that Lt. Currier had been transferred to the Detachment of Patients at Tokyo Army Hospital as of the 14th.  Lt. Margaret Gibson evacuated to Japan the 23rd of March for further G.U. studies - Albumunuria.
  • 24 - Easter Sunday
    Very busy again.  Three trainloads of patients from the 187th AB on the 24th.  We opened a new post-operative ward...Ward 11 (a prefab).
  • 26-31 March
    Hospital continues to receive and evacuate large loads of patients each day. On the 26th we were kept very busy taking care of a group of Korean children...wounded by the explosion of a large shell which they found on the ROK firing range and were playing with.  Over 4 died immediately and several after operation.  There were about 20 in the group.
Chief Nurses' Office, 121st Evacuation Hospital, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of April 1951
  • 1-4 April
    Still at Taejon.  Average patient load.
  • 5 April
    Left Taejon via hospital train at 1530.
  • 6 April
    Arrived at the RTO in Yongdongpo at 0430.  Loaded in ambulances and taken across the Han to our hospital site in Seoul...arriving there about 0600.  The nurses quarters on the top floor of the school building (hospital), sixteen, twelve, and twelve to a room...very crowded and cold.
  • 7 April
    Started to receive our first patients.
  • 9-20 April
    Very busy with casualties during this period.  Four (4) air alert.
  • 22 April
    Our C.O. had a heart attack and was evacuated to the hospital ship Consolation in Inchon harbor.
  • 23 April
    Big Chinese offensive.  Very heavy casualty load.  The nurses from the 8055 and 8063 MASH units sent to us and quartered.  The Chief of Medicine assumed command of the unit per order of the Surgeon 8th Army.
  • 24 April
    The 8055 nurses leave us to join their own outfit setting up in Yongdongpo.
  • 25 April
    Told at 0800 that our hospital is to move to Suwon.  Very busy trying to evacuate our heavy patient load and pack too.  The nurses left at 1800 to stay with the 8055 MASH unit across the Han at Yongdongpo overnight.
  • 26 April
    Our orders changed.  The 121st to move south to the old location at Taejon.  We nurses sent south on the rail bus.  Made the trip in about 5 1/2 hours.
  • 27 April
    Set up again.
  • 28-30 April
    Two train loads of patients unloaded here...not many serious cases.  Census about 250.
Chief Nurses' Office, 121st Evacuation Hospital, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of May 1951
  • 1-8 May
    Hospital quiet - mostly medical cases being admitted. Lt. Vencelik transferred to the 20th Train Unit.
  • 10 May
    Lt. Anna Halls reported today for assignment and duty with this unit.
  • 11-20 May
    Hospital still very quiet.  The nurses are taking sun baths and hiking to occupy their time.
  • 21-26 May
    A little busy these past few days...more casualties.  Lt. Margaret Wardrop reported for duty today...26 May 1951.  The 1st received orders to move to Yongdongpo.
  • 27 May
    Busy packing and evacuating our patient load.
  • 28 May
    Nurses, a few doctors and E.M.'s left at 1800 via hospital train.
  • 29 May
    Arrived at Suwon about 0400 and sat there on the train until 1630 that afternoon.  Arrived at the RTO in Yongdongpo at 1730...Hospital area about 1830.  Quite a few serious cases in the wards.  Three nurses go on night duty.  Again we are housed in 3 rooms (13 to each).
  • 30 May
    Nurses all went on duty this morning.  Raining very hard.  Visit our future hospital site...a huge Industrial College not too far from here.
  • 31 May
    Very busy in the O.R. and on the Shock and Post-operative Wards.  Six nurses left to set up the Medical Wards over at the other hospital.  Patients to be transferred there tomorrow.  Until such time as repairs are completed the Surgical Staff will remain here.
Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital, SMBL, APO 301, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, CA
12 February 1951 to Lt. Col. Alice M. Gritsavage, ANC Headquarters, Far East Command, Medical Section, APO 500

Dear Lt. Col. Gritsavage:

We, the nurses of the 121st Evacuation Hospital, want to thank you for your effort in securing all the food and decorations for the 50th Anniversary of the Army Nurses Corps and seeing personally that the boxes were delivered to our unit in Korea.

Our celebration on the 1st of February in the Recreation Tent was gay and festive--the flowers and food blending in well with the red, white and blue parachutes overhead.

If it hadn't been for your thoughtfulness, I'm afraid the day would have had to pass by unnoticed amongst most of the nurses in Korea as we would never have been able to acquire the food and decorations anywhere here to have any sort of party.

Again, our sincere thanks.

Yours sincerely,
Mescal Baker & Nurses
121st Evacuation Hospital

Diary for June 1951
  • 1 June
    All medical patients transferred over to the Main Hospital...an Industrial College building.  Still a large number of casualties being admitted at this section of the hospital.
  • 3 June
    Two new nurses, Lts. Bartz and Dolton reported for duty.
  • 5 June
    Moved the Surgical Section over to the main hospital...only duty and ambulatory cases to remain over at the annex and be admitted there.  Miss Maude Campbell (our former ANC worker and now assigned to the ship "Jutlandia") arrived to relieve Miss Lynn Anderson for ten days while her ship is in Japan for repairs.
  • 6 June
    Very busy setting up the surgical wards and taking care of the large number of casualties which are still coming and going each day.
  • 7 June
    Lt. Col. Gritsavage and Lt. Col. Desmond ANC arrived today and spoke to the nurses at 4 p.m.
  • 8-15 June
    Much quieter.  Census average about 500...including the patients at the annex.  Our bed capacity now 800.
  • 16-19 June
    Alerts every night...few enemy planes able to get through.  Suwon, Yongdongpo and Inchon hit during this period.  Several casualties.
  • 20 June
    The 1st Provisional Neuro-surgical Detachment arrived today and set up their ward.  Capts. Jansen and Bakita are the two nurses with the team.
  • 21-27 June
    Still fairly quiet.  The Neuro-surgical ward started to fill.
  • 28 June
    Enemy plane over hospital area early this a.m.  Dropped 2 shells which exploded right outside the fence.  One Korean boy received superficial wound.
  • 29 June
    Four more nurses arrive from Japan for the Neuro-surgical ward.
Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital SMBL, APO 301 - Subject - Rotation - 17 February 1951
To: Command Chief Nurse, Medical Section, Eighth United States Army Korea, APO 301

The following officer would like to be rotated under the three (3) month rotation policy:

Name - Tucker, Janice M.
Rank - 1st Lt.
SN - N804222
Arr Korea - 25 Sept 50
Date Exp Tour - 25 Dec 50
Preference - Tokyo Gen Hospital

Mescal Baker, Major, ANC, Chief Nurse

Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital SMBL, APO 301 - Diary for the Month of July

This month we have not been too busy with battle casualties...getting only small numbers and those sporadically.  There has been a tremendous number of accidents, however, with vehicles and accidental shootings both within our troops and amidst the civilians.  Our medical service has had a terrific load...most of the time running over 200 patients.  These include all types of fever, contagion, and skin ailments.  Early this month the laboratory was able to isolate the leprospirachete in a patient and they were able to diagnose the case as Weil's Disease.  Since that time, we've had over 50 or more cases.  Of this number, about 7 have died.  The 121st with its Mobile Lab attached is now the center for all Weil's disease.

The nurses and male officers moved in to Quonsets the first part of the month thus enabling the unit to use the entire hospital for patients.  We are very comfortably fixed at the present time...8 nurses living in one Quonset.  Most of them have fixed the hut very attractively with whatever they were able to gather on the market.

Major repairs have been made in the hospital and all the buildings have been painted on the inside.  It improves the appearance 100%.  Two additional nurses arrived for the neurosurgical team...one an operating room nurse.  Lt. Canalas was reassigned to this unit from hospitalization in Japan.  Major Rachuig departed for the States the first part of the month and has since been separated from the service.  Lt. Col. Desmond and Major Bradley, the new 8th Army Chief Nurse visited us the last part of the month.

Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital, SMBL, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of August 1951

Up until the last week, the surgical service has not been too busy... a few sporadic groups of battle casualties, quite a number of injuries due to truck or jeep accidents, and accidental shootings.  The Neuro-surgical service has continued to be very busy as this is the center for all such cases.

Our medical service has been heavy with quite a few deaths from what they first diagnosed as Weil's Disease and now think a new type of fever which the Japanese formerly called "Manchurian Fever."

The nurses like their new Quonset huts and have been gathering various and sundry items to make each of them more attractive.

They have started to build permanent-type latrines and showers for patients and personnel and expect to have running water at some future date.

The nurses remain fairly healthy after a year in Korea...a few severe colds but that is about all.  Five of the group have asked to be rotated to Japan rather than put in another winter over here.

Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital, SMBL, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of September 1951

The 121st Evacuation Hospital has been extremely busy this past month.  Our admissions were over 7000...the greater number of these battle casualties.  The nurses have worked hard and efficiently.  The Neuro-surgical section has continued to be busy...the ward carrying at least 60 patients most of the time--both head and cord cases.

Five of the original nurses have rotated back to Japan and have been replaced by new ones.  The Neuro-surgical anesthetist was evacuated to Japan and been replaced by Capt. Faulk of the 171st Evacuation Hospital.  Two new Red Cross workers have been assigned and Miss Lynn Anderson has been returned to Japan.

On the 25 of September, the Hospital celebrated its year in Korea...having landed at Inchon last year on that date.  The nurses held "Open House" 7 to 9 p.m. and a dance followed later at the club.

Two nurses have been placed in anesthesia this month (Lt. Turner and Lt. Drake) and are showing keen interest.  Both are doing very good work.

Our quote for R&R has increased so that more nurses are going than heretofore.  Last month we sent two and this month four are going.

The nurses seem to have plenty of recreation.  There is usually a dance every week, bingo every Wednesday, and a movie every night.  Quite a few USO shows have been through here too.

Office of the Chief Nurse, 121st Evacuation Hospital, SMBL, APO 301, US Army - Diary for the Month of October, 1951

The hospital was very busy the first two weeks of this month, but has tapered off until all sections are light except for the medical section.  They have continued to get quite a few epidemic hemorrhagic fever (Weil's Disease?) cases, but are now evacuating the less acutely ill to Japan as soon as feasible.

1st Lt. Agnes Hogan ANC, MOS 3449, a medical nurse, has continued her teaching program with the corpsmen on the operation of the Emerson Respirator and the care of such patients, and has received a commendation from the Chief of Medical Service on her good work.

Our nurses' quarters have received two pot-bellied stoves per Quonset and are kept fairly warm.  They have been issued Phase I of their winter clothing which includes long underwear with accompanying wool shirt and three pairs of woolen socks.

Two nurses were sent on R&R this month to Japan and we've been promised a higher quota this next month for we still have about twelve nurses that have been here in Korea thirteen months and have as yet not gone on R&R.

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Obituary - Alice Gritsavage

Alice Gritsavage, 98, Korean War's Chief Nurse
Published: April 22, 2001

OCALA, Fla., April 21— Alice M. Gritsavage, who was chief nurse of the Far East command during the Korean War and Gen. Douglas MacArthur's nursing consultant, died on Monday in Daytona Beach, Fla. She was 98.

In the Korean War, Ms. Gritsavage revolutionized the command structure of the Army Nursing Corps, obtaining hospital supplies when equipment was scarce and helping get the military to commission male nurses on an equal footing with women.  At the time, male nurses were drafted as enlisted men but were forbidden to be commissioned with their female counterparts because the Army thought that nursing was for women only.  Her insistence that these men serve on an equal footing led to an effort to discharge her, which was stopped by General MacArthur, then commander of the American forces in the Far East. She was the only woman on the general's staff.

Reared in Glen Lyon, Pa., Ms. Gritsavage received her nurse's training at King's County Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., earned a pharmacist degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and a master's degree in nursing administration from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

She joined the Army in November 1942 and during World War II served in Africa, France and Italy. Ms. Gritsavage received many medals and citations, including the Bronze Star and two Legion of Merit awards. She retired as a colonel in 1962 after 20 years of service, and became a vocal spokeswoman for veterans' affairs.

The Korean War Veterans Association named its Ocala chapter after her, its first to be named after a woman. Ms. Gritsavage is survived by a sister, Jennie Clard.

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Whereabouts - Original 121st Evac Nurses

If any of our KWE readers know the whereabouts of any of the original 121st Evacuation Hospital, the Korean War Educator would like to know about it.

  • Mescal Baker - Born February 1, 1913, she retired from the Army February 1, 1959.  She was a graduate of McKeesport High School and later served as a nurse in the hospital there.  She died September 4, 1991 and is buried in Richland Cemetery, Dravosburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Margaret E. Blatt - retired out of the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel on July 31, 1962 after 22 years military service, two Army Commendation Medals, seven Bronze Stars, and nine overseas stripes for combat service.  She died April 3, 2002 and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
  • Dorothy L. Bolinger - [obituary] Dorothy L. Bolinger, 83, of Broadway, Niles, died at 12:01 a.m. Friday, February 6, 2009, at her home. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 12, at Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles, with Pastor James Wing of First Baptist Church, Niles, officiating. Burial will be in Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles. American Legion Post No. 26 will hold a Veteran's Flag Presentation. Friends may call beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. She was born on Aug. 25, 1925, in Niles, to Frederick C, Bolinger and Eunice Ruth Ludwig Bolinger. She was raised in Niles, lived in Kalamazoo and Lawrence for many years, returning to Niles in 1988. She retired from Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, after many years as a registered nurse. She was baptized as First Baptist Church of Niles as a youth and has always enjoyed studying Christian literature. She earned her R.N. certification from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. She was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, serving two tours of duty in the U.S. Army and continued in the U.S. Army Reserve. She as a First Lieutenant in the Nurses Corps and earned three combat ribbons. She was a member of the American Legion Post No. 26, Niles, of which her father was a charter member. She was preceded in death by her patents and a sister, Edith Bolinger, who died on March 5, 1988. Surviving family includes a brother, Frank "Bill" Bolinger of Gahanna, Ohio and Bill and James Bolinger, both of Ohio. Arrangements were by Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.
  • Eve Budnick - Born on March 3, 1926 in Minersville, Pennsylvania, she died January 9, 2005.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Lukes and Children's Medical Center, Philadelphia.  A registered nurse, she served as a 1t Lieutenant in the Army Nurses Corps for five years.  One and a half of those years were served in the Korean War.  She retired in 1969.  She married William R. Sykes (1926-2003), a Captain in the US Navy during World War II and Korea.  Eve B. Sykes is buried in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.  She was survived by her two sisters, Ann Trenosky and Catherine Budnick, both of Minersville.
  • Anastasia Chaponis graduated from the Ona M. Wilcox College of Nursing.  Following her return from Korea she spent many months in a hospital recovering from illness.  The daughter of Charles and Anna Weidner Chaponis, she had siblings Charles C. and Sylvester Chaponis, and Ann Chaponis Kildish.  Later in life Anastasia married Walter Strimike.  Anastasia is now deceased and is buried in the cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
  • Thelma Crowell - Captain Crowell was born November 19, 1910.  After serving in the Army during World War II and the Korean War, she retired in 1959.  She had been in the military for 20 years.  After retiring she returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Her hobby was gardening.  She died March 11, 1980 at age 69 and is buried in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida.
  • Anne Donio - Born April 27, 1915 in Hammonton, New Jersey, she served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Nurses Corps in World War II and Korea.  She married Edward Joseph Prejean Jr. on February 4, 1951 while both were serving in Korea.  She was a nurse with the 121st Evac and he was a dentist.  Edward died in 2009 and Anne died September 9, 2016 at the age of 101.  She is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.  Anne and Edward were survived by their son, Edward Joseph Prejean III.  She was also survived by sisters Gloria Cappucio and Edith Donio.
  • Margaret G. Gibson - Full Military Honors for Colonel Margaret G. Duckworth, age 88, of Dallas, Georgia will be held Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 11:00 AM at Marietta National Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. Colonel Duckworth was an operating room nurse in the United States Army. She served during the Korean War. Colonel Duckworth is survived by: Son, Mr. and Mrs. Robert (Linda) Duckworth of Hiawassee, Ga.; Son, Michael David Duckworth of Cumming, Ga.; Son, Mr. John Joseph Duckworth of Dallas, Ga.; Son, Mr. Timothy Patrick Duckworth of Dallas, Ga.; Daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ken (Margo) Waters of Sugar Hill, Ga. 9 Grandchildren; Sister, Mrs. Barbara Ann Shaw of Kennesaw, Ga.  Colonel Duckworth was preceded in death by: Husband, Mr. Robert Duckworth; Brother, Mr. Bob Gibson; Brother, Mr. Ben Ed Gibson; Brother, Mr. Billy Gibson; and Brother, Mr. H.C. "Lew" Gibson.
  • Mary E. Hartley died at the age of 80 on June 22, 1999 at the Soldiers Home in Marion, MA.  Born in Bursley, England, she lived in Marion for 15 years.  She retired at a Lieutenant Colonel after more than 20 years of service as a lieutenant colonel in the Army.  She served in a MASH unit in Korea as well as a unit in Vietnam.
  • Irene I. Hawkins - unknown
  • Anne Jablunovsky was 86 years old as of 1/2009 and lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania.  She put in over 20 years in the military, serving as a nurse in both Korea and Vietnam.  She died in 2011.
  • Anna Jacobs King - Anna joined the Army Nurse Corps on January 1, 1950.  She thought she would have overseas orders to Okinawa, but instead her orders were for Korea, where she served in 1950-July 1951 in an evacuation hospital.  She remained in the nurse corps and served in Panama in the late 1970s.  In 2013 she was living in the Okmulgee, Oklahoma area.
  • Harriett Frances Kingan - She was from Iroquois, New York at the time she served in Korea.  The daughter of James William Kingan (1883-1942) and May O. Walker Kingan (1895-1986), she married Elmer F. Savage (1917-1997).  Harriett was born in 1923 in Westfield, New York and died October 15, 2012 in Newberg, Oregon.  She had two sons, Bruce Savage and Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa; three granddaughters; and one great-grandson.
  • Corinne I. Lipham - [obituary] Funeral services for Maj. Corinne I. Lipham, 91, of Anniston, Alabama, will be 1 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Gray Brown-Service Chapel with Rev. Sonny Champion officiating. Burial will follow at Forestlawn Gardens. The family will receive friends tonight from 6 – 8 pm at the funeral home. Major Lipham died Monday at her residence. Survivors include four nieces, Jerry Brooks, Agnes Zielinski, Charlon Seegar and Diane Douthit (Troy), one nephew, David Seegar (Brenda). Pallbearers will be Military.  Major Lipham was a native and lifelong resident of Calhoun County. She was a member of St. Marks United Methodist Church. Maj. Lipham was retired from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps where she served during World War II in Europe and the Korean War. Arrangements under the direction of Gray Brown-Service Mortuary & Crematory, Anniston, Alabama.
  • Helen F. McManus - unknown
  • Lorraine H. Martin - unknown
  • Anne Currier Miller - A daughter of Dr. Cyrus Richard Currier (1885-1946) and Elizabeth Lavers Currier (1883-1961), she married Walter Miller and had two sons, Walter Miller Jr. and ?, as well as a daughter, Bettyann.  Anne Currier had brothers Richard Currier and Stewart Lavers Currier (1916-1978), and an unmarried sister Elizabeth Currier (1917-1988). 
  • Mary Lucy Moultrie - [obituary] - Mary Lucy Moultrie, age 97, Deltona, Florida. Born April 30, 1914 went to heaven on November 4, 2011. Mary lived most of her life in Woodbury, Georgia. She became a U.S. Army nurse and served her country during World War II and the Korean War. In 1942, she was stationed on the island of Corregidor. She and 12 other nurses escaped the island aboard the U.S.S. Spearfish just before the island fell to the Japanese. She rose to the rank of Major before retiring from service in the Army. She remained a nurse by trade until her retirement.  Mary was predeceased by her parents, Jeptha and Elizabeth Walton Moultrie, four brothers and three sisters. She is survived by four nephews and six nieces and many more family members who loved her. She is also survived by her extended family and friends at Water's Edge Assisted Living Center, Deltona, Florida. Viewing to be held on Thursday, November 10, at Smith-Steele-Meadows Funeral Home, Woodbury, Georgia from 6-8pm. Mary will be laid to rest on Veteran's Day, Friday, November 11, 2011 at 11am in the Woodbury Cemetery, Woodbury, Georgia.
  • Ada Davis Pellegrene - Born October 20, 1905, she was the daughter of John W. and Maggie J. Davis.  Major Pellegrene died January 3, 1992 and is buried in Newton County Memorial Gardens, Newton, Mississippi.
  • Sarah E. Perkins - unknown
  • Lucy T. Rainone - [obituary] Lucy T. Rainone Harding, 93, of St. Petersburg, Florida, passed away July 29, 2011. She was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Nursing Corps and a veteran of World War II and Korea. She was a member of St. Giles' Episcopal Church in Pinellas Park. A memorial service will be held at 11 am, Aug. 9th, at St. Giles' Church, 8271 52nd St. No., Pinellas Park. Interment with Military Honors will be 10:45 am Aug. 11th at Bay Pines National Cemetery. Garden Sanctuary Funerals.  Published in the St. Petersburg Times on August 7, 2011.
  • Arry Inez Robinette - She was stationed at Camp Wolters Hospital when she joined other nurses in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps on February 2, 1961. At that time she was a major.  Major Robinette was born June 19, 1918 and died August 5, 2005.  She is buried in Ramah Cemetery, Ashland, Louisiana.  Inez was the daughter of Cleveland Elmo and Mary Lelia Ayres Robinette.  Her siblings were Charles Eugene, Andrew Allen, Dalton Watson, Orie Melvin, Norman Elmo, and James Alva Robinette.  Another infant sibling died at birth.
  • Edith C. Roderick - Edith Clara "Roddy" Roderick was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  She enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1942 and served in England during World War II.  She remained in the Army until discharge in 1955.  That year she married Edward Carroll Esslinger, a pharmacist.  She worked as a nurse anesthetist at Sinai Hospital and what became the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center until she retired in 1984.  She and her husband were parents of a son and two daughters.  Edith died September 04, 2019.
  • Julianna Sabat - She was promoted to Major in the US Army Nurses Corps via General Orders No. 26 - 7 March 1952.  Major Sabat was born in 1907 and died in 1997.  She is buried in the Brooklyn Heights Cemetery, Brooklyn Heights, Ohio.  She was the daughter of Onufer and Mary Cirkot Sabat.  Her siblings were Anne Sabat Boryk, Mary Sabat Straka, John Sabat, Michael Sabat, and Nicholas Sabat.
  • Patricia M. Schneider - died of gastrointestinal infection while still in service to her country in Germany after the Korean War.  Captain Schneider was born January 15, 1926 in Florida, a daughter of Melvin Edward and Lily Pearl Krueger Schneider.  She died in Germany on August 15, 1957 and is buried in Highland Memorial Park, Ocala, Florida.  Her sister was Melva Rose Schneider Myers (1929-1995).
  • Dorothy M. Steen - unknown
  • Wahnetta Taylor - married Dominick J. Carosi, had seven children, and died January 8, 1999.
  • Marian V. Teshenek - Born February 12, 1922, she died on December 07, 2012 in Urbana, Illinois.  She was married to Morton Wagman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana.  They had one daughter, Mrs. John Lloyd (Lois Eileen Wagman) Colbert of Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Frances Thomas - unknown
  • Mary P. Toudouze - [obituary] Mary (Polly) Toudouze Fogel, 93, Funeral Mass: 12 p.m. Monday September 23, 2013 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery. Arrangements by FDA Kaster Maxon & Futrell.  Mary (Polly) Toudouze Fogel, retired LTC ANC, passed away on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, a resident of El Paso since 1964. She was born in San Antonio, TX to Gustave and Emma Toudouze. She graduated from Blessed Sacrament Academy and Robert B. Green School of Nursing in San Antonio, Texas. She joined the Army Nurse Corp 16 July 1941 and served in ETO during World War II to include, Iceland, England, France and Germany. She served in Korea at the onset of the conflict and served in Hospitals throughout the states to include Alaska. She retired in 1969 from WBAMC after serving five years as OR Supervisor. In her 28 years of service she received many awards, citations and decorations to include Army Commendation Medal, Legion of Merit and US Army Medical Service Medallion. She was preceded in death by her Husband CWO Leo B. Fogel, sister, Eugenia Toudouze Lupa, brother Gus Toudouze and wife Patricia. She is survived by numerous cherished nieces and nephews and friends. She was a member of Blessed Sacrament Church and Rosary Altar Society, Secular Franciscan Queen of Angels Fraternity, Catholic Daughters of America, and Retired Army Nurse Corps Assoc., and The Retired Officers Association In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Child Crisis Center, St. Vincent DePaul or the charity of your choice . Visitation will be held Sunday September 22, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a Rosary at 7p.m. at Funeraria Del Angel Kaster-Maxon Futrell Funeral Home. Funeral Mass will be held Monday September 23, 2013 at 12 noon at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Interment to follow at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.
  • Janice Tucker - unknown
  • Mildred Parish Turton - of Amory, Mississippi, she served as a neuropsychiatric nurse in the Pacific Theatre while a member of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.  She was separated from the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on 20 February 1946.  For her service, Turton was awarded the Bronze Star, the American Defense Service medal, the American Campaign medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal with two bronze star service stars, the World War II Victory medal, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and the Korean Service medal.  Born October 18, 1913, she died December 14, 2005 and is buried in Forestlawn Gardens & Mausoleum, Anniston, Alabama.
  • Rosemary Vencelik - Following her work with the 121st Evacuation Hospital, she was assigned to the 8138th AU Hospital Train Evacuation Service.  She received a Commendation ribbon for meritorious service while assigned to the 121st Evacuation Hospital.  She retired as a Captain in the Army on November 16, 1956.  Born December 11, 1906, she died December 21, 2001 and is buried in Fir Lane Memorial Park, Spanaway, Washington.  She was a World War II and Korean War veteran.
  • Grace E. Weeks - unknown
  • Lorraine Williams - unknown

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Chronology - Army Nurses in Korea

[KWE Note: The following chronology was found in the government document: "Highlights in the History of the Army Nurse Corps."]

5 Jul 1950 -

Fifty-seven Army nurses arrived in Pusan, Korea. They helped set up a hospital and were caring for patients by the following day. Two days later, on 8 July 1950, twelve Army nurses moved forward with a mobile Army surgical hospital (MASH) to Taejon on the perimeter. By August, more than one hundred Army nurses were on duty in South Korea in support of United Nations troops. During the first year of the Korean conflict, the strength of the Army Nurse Corps increased from 3,460 on 15 July 1950 to 5,397 in July 1951.

Throughout the ground fighting until 1951, and during the prolonged peace negotiations that lasted until 27 July 1953, approximately 540 Army Nurse Corps officers served throughout the Korean peninsula. They served in twenty-five medical treatment facilities, such as mobile Army surgical hospitals; evacuation, field, and station hospitals; and hospital trains.

Army nurses supported combat troops during the amphibious attack and landing on Inchon in western Korea, well behind the Pusan beachhead line; the advance across the 38th Parallel toward North Korea in the west; the amphibious landing on the east coast of Korea pushing toward the Yalu River, the northern boundary of Korea; and the disastrous defeat when they were forced to retreat well below the 38th Parallel. Their support continued as allied forces pushed back the Chinese, regaining practically all of South Korea plus a few hundred square miles north of the parallel. Maj. Gen. Edgar Erskine Hume, Surgeon, United Nations Command and Far East Command, paid tribute to Army nurses in Korea:

"Members of the Army Nurse Corps have all distinguished themselves by their devotion to duty, their utter disregard of working hours, and their willingness to do anything that needs to be done at any time. They have displayed courage, stamina and determination. They have completed every task with which they have been confronted in a superior manner."

No Army nurse was killed due to enemy action in Korea, but the story of the Army Nurse Corps in the Korean War would not be complete without mention of the tragic and untimely death of Maj. Genevieve Smith of Epworth, Iowa. Major Smith, a veteran of World War II, was among the victims of a C47 crash while en route to her duty assignment as Chief Nurse in Korea.

Aug 1950 -

The Army Nurse Corps was exempted from the Army-wide requirement that all commissioned officers hold or achieve a baccalaureate degree. The majority of registered nurses nationwide were graduates of a three-year hospital (diploma) program. By August 1950, only two years had passed
since the last of 124,065 Cadet Nurse Corps participants had graduated.

Relatively few degree-completion programs were available for diploma graduates. Nonetheless, the goal set in 1950 was for Army Nurse Corps officers to complete an accredited program leading to an undergraduate degree, preferably in nursing.

5 Sep 1950 -

The first course in nursing administration, which later became the Military Nursing Advanced Course, was established at the U.S. Army Medical Field Service School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The twenty-week course included principles of nursing administration, current trends in nursing, principles of supervision and teaching, hospital organization and functions, personnel administration, psychology of leadership, and orientation to all departments of an Army hospital.

1951 -

Maj. Elizabeth Pagels became the first Army Health Nurse to be assigned to the Preventive Medicine Division, Professional Service Directorate, Office of the Surgeon General, to assist with issues related to the practice of Army health nursing.

2 Feb 1951 -

The fiftieth anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps was observed throughout the world.

26 Jun 1951 -

The American Red Cross awarded the cherished Florence Nightingale Medal to Col. Florence A. Blanchfield (Ret.), seventh Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, "for exceptional service on behalf of humanity rendered through the Red Cross."

29 Jun 1951 -

Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 750.041 (renumbered 1125.1) established a definitive policy on the utilization of registered nurses in the military services. Registered nurses were to be relieved of custodial and housekeeping duties and clerical, food service, and other nonnursing functions in patient care areas. The DOD directive also instructed the various military medical services to institute programs to train and utilize more practical nurses and other nonprofessional nursing service personnel in staffing for patient care.

Even before the Department of Defense policy was established, plans were being developed and projects had been initiated under the aegis of management improvement which would work toward solving the problems of defining and staffing the nursing service. The studies ultimately resulted in the reorganization of nursing service in Army hospitals. Duties and functions of registered nurses were defined. A 48-week pilot course of instruction for enlisted personnel on the practical nurse level had already been instituted in 1949. On-the-job training programs were developed for both professional and nonprofessional nursing personnel. As a result of concerted efforts to comply with the DOD directive, Army Nurse Corps officers were authorized, after 8 September 1953, technical control of enlisted personnel assigned to nursing service.

11 Aug 1951 -

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) was established by the Secretary of Defense to interpret to the public the role of women in the services and to promote acceptance of military service as a career for women.

30 Sep 1951 -

Col. Mary G. Phillips retired. Colonel Phillips was the first Chief of the Army Nurse Corps to complete the statutory four-year appointment as Chief of the Corps. Among the honors received by Colonel Phillips was the Legion of Merit on 23 October 1945 for her outstanding service as First Assistant to the Superintendent, Army Nurse Corps.

1 Oct 1951 -

Col. Ruby F. Bryant became the ninth Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. Colonel Bryant was the second graduate of the Army School of Nursing to serve as Chief of the Corps.

Jun 1952 -

A career guidance program for Army Nurse Corps officers was established in the Office of the Surgeon General. Capt. Harriet H. Werley was assigned as the first career guidance counselor.

30 Dec 1953 -

The Registered Nurse Student Program (RNSP) was established to recruit registered nurses for the Army Nurse Corps. The program provided financial assistance, pay, and allowances of grade in which commissioned to registered nurses in their final year of study for a bachelor's or master's degree in a field of nursing. Upon graduation, they were obligated to serve as reserve officers on active duty for two years. Grade in which commissioned, from second lieutenant through captain, depended on qualifications by education and experience. Authorization for men to apply for the program was approved on 20 November 1962.

13 Feb 1954 -

The first two professional postgraduate short courses were
established for nurses: one in operating room nursing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; and one in nursing service administration at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

31 Mar 1954 -

A Medical Training Center was established at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to replace the training center for enlisted personnel of the Army Medical Service at Camp Pickett, Virginia, which was scheduled for closing in June 1954. Army nurses continued to serve on the faculty as full-time instructors.


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