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Image J Nurs Sch. 1993 Summer;25(2):121-6.

The angels of Bataan.

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  • 1Rutgers College of Nursing, Newark, New Jersey 07102.

Erratum in

  • Image J Nurs Sch 1993 Fall;25(3):171.


Fifty years ago, the strategic Battle of Bataan marked the end of American dominance in the Philippine Islands. Historians record the combat on that peninsula, during the winter and spring of 1942, as among the most brutal the United States Army and Navy ever fought. Eighty-eight women, including the first group of American military nurses to be sent into the field in World War II and 25 Filipina nurses endured the entire battle. The purpose of this article is to examine their experiences during the four months these nurses lived and worked through combat, starvation and illness on Bataan. Analysis of primary archival material from federal, private and military sources and nine oral history interviews indicate the women successfully adjusted from peacetime to war roles. They learned that individual and group self-reliance could help them survive the worse in war. From their earliest memoirs to recent interviews, the nurses displayed both a pride in their service and a sense of grief at the losses suffered on Bataan.

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