March 12, 1944 – Dad’s admiration for the amazing Army nurses

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March 12, 1944 – Dad’s admiration for the amazing Army nurses

While still an inpatient at the field hospital on the Anzio beachhead, Dad wrote home and expressed great admiration for the nurses there.

In his next letter home, Phil wrote:

Dearest Mother and Dad;

I’m sorry, honest I am, that I have not written in so long, but for the last few days I have been in the hospital. Nothing wrong that couldn’t happen back in the States. Just a case of Malaria, but I will be out in a few days and back with the outfit.

All my bonds will be sent home to you. I guess by now you are getting them about the 5th or 6th of each month aren’t you.

Every thing in my foot lockers is in the best place where it is. When I get home then I will know where the stuff is.

I got a nice letter from Grand Mother in my pile of mail.

By now I guess you know what outfit I am in and when I am at. So that is about all I can tell you about here.

I sure would like to see Granddad sheep. Here we see large flocks of thousands of them.

I think it is wonderful about Bill. But then I knew he would come through cause he is just the kind of a guy that can do it. If he get’s to go to the U of T tho’ that will be nice because he will be able to have some enjoyment, just being at home would be enjoyment enough to me.

No I can’t keep a diary, it is not done around here. Anyway I wouldn’t do it all the time. You see our work is all done at night and by the time I get in I eat breakfast and get to bed. In the afternoon I have to get my orders for the night.

I got a nice V-mail from Mrs. Fountain will have to answer some time.

Must close now darling it is time to turn out the lights.

With all my love, Phil

Then he shared his tremendous admiration for the nurses and Red Cross volunteers with his mother:

Boy, you sure have to take your hats off to those gals. They come up here on the beach with their hospitals. They treat all of the boys in the hospitals well. They are supposed to get in their foxholes during air raids, but they don’t. They stay in the wards where the boys are. There have been some of them killed when the shells came in. When a hospital gets ready to move, they all help tear the tents down and load the trucks. When they set up, all the gals work putting the tents up, digging ditches around them, digging foxholes, etc. They sure are a swell bunch.

As Phil began to feel better, he didn’t feel right occupying a bed that only a genuinely wounded man should have. Bronchitis, influenza, malaria, dysentery, and trench foot—all common maladies among the frontline men—seemed too easy a way out. He was among the new-to-the-line, incredibly young soldiers trying to prove themselves as heroes, but they didn’t yet under-stand that a sick soldier was a danger to his buddies.

By his third hospital day, Phil felt much better—hydrated, nourished, rested, and ready to get back to his men. Although his eyes carried the tell-tale yellow caused by the medication Atabrine, he talked a surgeon into releasing him.

“You either discharge me or report me missing,” he told his doctor. “Either way, I need to get back to my men.”

In many ways, Phil believed the war was just starting for him.[1]

[1] From: At First Light: A True World War II Story of a Hero, His Bravery, and an Amazing Horse, Chapter 16, “Opening Salvo.”

In case you haven’t read or listened to Dad’s book, you can learn more or order it here.

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