The Story of an Angel (Aunt Sally’s Book)
Greetings to all my blog followers! It’s been almost a year since I last posted. A lot has happened in that time, and I am definitely starting a new chapter in my life. To date, I have four titles published and on the market (two of which are compilations of the posts I wrote for this Christian devotional blog). I am now embarking on a new book project which doesn’t even have a name yet! The contest to select the book name ended at midnight on September 30th, and some friends and I will be choosing the winner soon. Since we don’t have a name yet, I will call the book, The Story of an Angel (Aunt Sally’s Book) for now.
So just who is this Aunt Sally I speak of? She was my dad’s younger sister who became a decorated military hero at the end of World War II. I am writing a book about her life, and I will be posting weekly, every Monday morning, letting you in on what I’m writing about. I will share some of the amazing research I’ll be doing, and maybe information about a few stray rabbit holes I go down which might be of interest to my readers. You will be part of this journey, and I will welcome comments and information you may have about this segment of history. (Come on, Blaine Cousins! It’s your chance to get involved!) If you don’t want to continue with my blog, please see the unsubscribe feature at the bottom of this page. But I would love it if you will at least read the first couple of blogs, and I hope you stick with me on this whole journey!
Here is a very short version of Aunt Sally’s story:
Adapted from the Pacific War Museum Oral History recorded by Ethel “Sally” Blaine Millett: Ethel “Sally” Blaine Millett grew up in northeast Missouri and went to nurses training in San Diego, California. She volunteered to go to the Philippines and arrived there in June of 1941. Life was a paradise of normal shifts at the hospital and plenty of social life in this flower-filled paradise in the Pacific. On December 8, 1941, just hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Sally witnessed the bombing at Clark Field and rushed to the still-intact hospital. The nurses took care of the soldiers wounded by Japanese strafing. Because of continued Japanese bombing all over the Philippines, about 100 nurses and 50 doctors, along with thousands of patients, had to keep moving as the hospitals became threatened or destroyed. Soon, medical staff and patients were retreating to the jungles of the Bataan Peninsula. The patients were “hidden” from view to the Japanese because of the dense jungle growth. The “hospitals” were open-air; the only things covered were the medical records. For the first time in history, the all-female nurse corps were allowed to wear fatigues on duty in the open jungle, instead of their regulation white starched dresses and caps. Sally described having malaria and then having to evacuate from Bataan to the island of Corregidor. Sally was among several nurses who were being moved because they were so ill. Their sea plane bottomed out landing at Mindanao to refuel. Here they were captured by the Japanese and eventually moved to Santo Tomas, a POW camp the Japanese had created on the campus of a Jesuit university in Manila. Sally described losing her possessions, and the difficulties in the internment camp: the food, the work required, the sanitary conditions, the self-government, the birthrate, and the entertainment. She also described executions. Sally had to undergo surgery while at Santo Tomas. Finally, the American soldiers arrived, and she took a plane home in February 1945. Her brother met her in San Francisco. She and others who served in the Bataan and Corregidor campaigns were welcomed home as war heroes and were eventually awarded medals of commendation for their service in the Philippines.
NEXT WEEK: A humble beginning for our war hero!
Grace and Peace,
Meg Blaine Corrigan