My mother, Ora Mae Sorensen Hyatt, joined the Army Nurse Corps with her best friend in the fall of 1944, immediately following their graduation from nursing school. Their first assignment was to Ft. Lewis, Washington, where Ora Mae met Corps of Engineers Lt. Edmond P. Hyatt. In true wartime fashion, after a spotty courtship between changing assignments, they married in February 1945, then were sent their separate ways--she to Okinawa and he to India.
Mom's time in Okinawa included weeks of battlefront service as the Battle for Okinawa raged on. She told us stories of being escorted from tent to tent by GIs, protecting nurses from snipers and Japanese soldiers who sometimes came from the hills looking for food in the Army Mess. One such hungry soldier blew himself up with a grenade just outside her tent when he was surrounded by the camp guards.
When the war officially ended, the nurses' service continued for several more months. She was sent to Tachikawa Hospital outside Tokyo, braving a typhoon to travel there. Her assignment was to help care for the released and starving POWs and the survivors of Bataan. She told how they were so weak, they needed to be spoon-fed. One time she pooled rationed ingredients to make some fudge for them, and they cried.
Ora Mae was sent home in November 1945, to await her husband's return. They met again in May 1946, and began a life together that lasted 71 years. Mom died April 1, 2017, at the age of 94. Two of her sons and a grandson are military veterans (as doctors), two grandsons are currently serving (one a Major in the National Guard, one a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force), and two more doctors are currently in training under military sponsorship. One of her daughters is a retired nurse, and one granddaughter is a nurse practitioner. That's quite a legacy!