Sunday, February 5, 2012

US Army Nurse Corps booklet cover

Courtesy of Muriel P. Engelman, WWII U.S. Army Nurse, retired R.N.

Muriel, who eventually nursed men wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, has this to say about the different uniforms they were issued:

"When we first were commissioned, we wore navy blue dress uniforms and the navy cape but then sometime in '43, they changed to olive drab before we went overseas and the summer dress uniform was beige--but I was overseas for about 9 months before that arrived.  In the winter months we wore the olive drab combat pants but come Easter Sunday we were allowed to wear the brown and white seersucker wrap around uniforms that looked like maternity dresses but the effect on the G.I.'s , both in England and in Belgium on those Easter Sundays was the same. The patients hooted and whistled and yelled, "They've got legs!" So, it was good for their morale and our egos."

"We did not wear our white army uniforms once we went overseas but wore drab fatigues or coveralls, that we called "zoot suits." Then just before we went to France we were issued our "combat pants" with liners that provided more warmth than the fatigues, and wore long underwear under the liners once winter set in for good in Belgium. And our helmet liners were the head gear we wore all the time, replacing the nurses' caps. During periods of bombings, then we wore the three pound steel helmets over the helmet liners, when we'd try to worm as much of ourselves as possible into those helemets."

Muriel's wartime activities are included in her memoir, Mission Accomplished: Stop the Clock and in the U.S. section of Women Heroes of WWII  (she is the leader of the nurses marching across the cover of the book).