Contact: Crystal Wendt
----Source: Millie Lee’s personal scrapbook
CAPT. HENNING DESCRIBES LIFE OF ARMY NURSE
St. Joseph’s Graduate Serves in CBI Theater
Capt. Dora Henning, of the Army Nurse Corps, who spent 26 months in India and Burma, and is now home on leave, addressed members of St. Joseph’s Alumnae Association at the meeting held last evening in the Nurse’s Auditorium.
The description of her adventures from that St. Patrick’s Day she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in California March 17, 1942, where she was employed at the time, until she returned only recently to the States reads like a storybook, but not al all like a delightful fairy tale.
Her first responsibility was teaching soldiers to be corpsmen and medics at Camp Ord, Calif.
Capt. Henning shipped out from the States Jan. 20, 1943 on a boat used by Mussolini during the Ethiopian campaign, "a regular old tub’ she called it, with the first boat load of colored troops to be sent abroad. Their course took them to New Zealand, Australia, Bombay and finally Calcutta.
Her unit, assigned the task of setting up bases and starting hospitals, followed Col. Seagraves around India and had his Chinese soldiers as their first patients. It wasn’t until almost six months later that American casualties started coming in and by this time the hospital had electric lights, running water, and cement floors, not to mention an adjoining airfield so that wounded men might be flown in.
With the base so thoroughly established it was time for the unit to moved on to new territory and this time it was "hell" the captain said. In one year this country had 322 inches of rainfall; mud was ankle deep, mold and rot made it impossible to keep shoes in wearable condition for any length of time; the bugs and snakes were horrible; and the food was not too much better.
However by the time she left for home even these obstacles had been reasonably overcome. Plasma, quinine, and Red Cross bandages were arriving and candy, beer, and peanuts were not uncommon. The daily meals had likewise greatly improved.
Capt. Henning showed a number of pictures she had taken of her trip to the East.
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