WAR LETTERS: CONDITIONS - 1945 Okinawa

LETTERS HOME FROM SOLDIERS AT WAR

In this section, we present letters written by soldiers who describe
non-combat situations and the living conditions they experienced.

1945 Okinawa

Captain Margaret Gaule of Omaha, Nebraska sent this letter to her husband when she was stationed in Okinawa. She tells Nebraska Public Radio,

"I entered the service on November 23, 1941, which was to have been for a year. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the orders were revoked, and I served for the duration, which turned out to be four and a half years. Three months after I married John, our 27th station hospital left for destination unknown. It turned out to be Okinawa. We were among the first nurses to arrive on the island, and we were soon very busy taking care of the wounded. John and I have been married for 55 years."

May 12, 1945, Okinawa, Japan
Margaret Gaule

Friday, May 12th, 1945, 7:15 p.m.

My darling Husband,

Honey, I'm writing on duty while we are having a lull in patients, which may not last for but a few minutes. My hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. so that doesn't give me much time to write.

I am really working hard doing just what I have always wanted to do. I wish I could just tell you half of what I have done today. You would really be so proud of me. I'm working with a shock team instead of being in the wards. It is really valuable experience. I don't have to wait for any orders from the doctors, but just go right ahead giving blood, plasma, penicillin, morphine, etc. Already I have received many compliments, so I feel kind of proud today. These patients are brought right from the aid station, so I'm the first nurse they see. You should see the look on their faces when they see a nurse. Tonight one of the fellows was just coming out of the anesthetic, and one of the fellows asked him if he would like a nurse to hold his hand, and he said, "Don't joke like that." The corps man yelled for me to come, and I wish you could have seen his look of amazement when he saw me.

Our shock ward is right with the receiving office, so all the patients are brought to us to be prepared for surgery. They, of course, must be fully recovered from shock before any surgery can be done. We sometimes have to give them as much as four gallons of whole blood, but it is remarkable how fast it will bring them around. The blood is flown here from Chicago and reaches us within a week's time. We give very little plasma, mostly whole blood.

I'm so glad I'm going to be so busy, because the time will pass quickly, and soon I will be home with you. This will really be all work and no play.

We haven't received any of our back mail, but I imagine we should have some very soon. I should have stacks of it from you alone. That will be the greatest stimulant I could ask for; so just you remember that.

Well, my darling, I'm now off duty and dead tired, but it is a wonderful feeling of tiredness, because I know I have done a lot of very necessary nursing, and I feel so good inside. This is a wonderful outfit, and I wish I could stay with them.

So for today, I will say good night, and write you again tomorrow. I love you with all my being and will forever.

All my love,
Midge

Margaret also writes in this letter about her feelings when VICTORY was achieved.

 

HOMESICKNESS

CONDITIONS OF WAR

1944 Naples          1945 Nagasaki
1945 Okinawa          1990 Saudi Arabia

LEVITY