In World War II, 59,000 women voluntarily risked their lives for their country as U.S. Army nurses. When the war began, some of them had so little idea of what to expect that they packed party dresses; but the reality of service quickly caught up with them, whether they waded through the water in the historic landings on North African and Normandy beaches, or worked around the clock in hospital tents on the Italian front as bombs fell all around them.
Before the USA was thrust into World War II, Betty Nugen was a farm girl in the mountains of West Virginia. When Congress created the WAC—the Women’s Army Corp—she knew that was where she should be. Serving her country. Elaine Fields Smith gathered information from memories of her mother, Betty, from family stories and historical facts to create this story of a young woman who found a new life away from the only home she ever had known. This is a story of true American heroism, family, patriotism, and honor.
In late 1942, along with so many others who signed up to support the war effort, thirty-year-old Mildred Radawiec left a comfortable position as a nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital and postponed her marriage to a soon-to-be doctor to volunteer as a surgical nurse in the major battle theaters of the war. Radawiec’s first-person history recounts her wartime experience as a lieutenant with the Army Nurse Corps with sharp detail and grace and sets the stage for a you-are-there experience.
Before World War II most Americans did not believe that the average woman could fly professionally, but during the war more than a thousand women pilots proved them wrong. These were the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), who served as military flyers on the home front. In March 1944 one of them, Ann Baumgartner, was assigned to the Fighter Flight Test Branch at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. There she would make history as the only woman to test-fly experimental planes during the war and the first woman to fly a jet.
Helmets and Lipstick is the first-hand account of Second Lieutenant Ruth Haskell, chronicling her time spent as a combat nurse with U.S. troops in North Africa during Operation Torch. From deployment to the journey to North Africa via Scotland and London, Lt. Haskell tells her story with a dry wit and humor, perfectly portraying the comradery between the nurses and the Allied soldiers fighting in North Africa at the time. Helmets and Lipstick, which was first published at the height of the war in 1944, is a classic account of combat nursing in World War Two.