Unsung Heros

Mildred Manning

Mildred Manning served as a nurse during World War II. While stationed in Corregidor, she and seventy-six other nurses were captured by the Japanese and sent to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila. She spent three years as a POW.

QUESTION: How many nurses were stationed with you in the Philippines?
MILDRED: I think there were 68 Army and 12 Navy.

QUESTION: How did men react to having women there?
MILDRED: They were glad to have us especially the sick people. They were nice, always wonderful.

QUESTION: What was your job?
MILDRED: Taking care of the bodies injured, I didn’t do surgery but I was on Bataan where the guys were on carts under the trees and they were very, very ill. I stayed there until the Japanese came in and we just looked after the patients.

QUESTION: Why did you join the Army?
MILDRED: Oh, I was a nurse from Georgia, I was a farm girl and I had to borrow the money to get through nursing school. When I got through nursing school they gave me a job. I was 3rd in my class of 15 and they made a job for me. They made me head nurse of the med surgical ward. I stayed there for two years and I had friends out at Fort McPherson. We used to go visit them and they said they had such a wonderful time. They only worked half a day, they had a month off, and was paying for all this stuff. I said, boy, that’s me, I want to see the world and I asked to go to the furthest place I knew about, the Philippines. So, they called me and I joined and was shipped over.

QUESTION: You were there when the American Army surrendered, were you afraid?
MILDRED: Of course I was afraid, scared to death. Scared to death you could be killed or be raped or what not. I mean anybody says they’re not scared, they’re crazy.

QUESTION: What was life like for you there before you were captured?
MILDRED: I got there six weeks before the war started so I didn’t see anything but the fort until the war started. I had gone up to have some boots made, I wanted to learn to ride. When I was coming home somebody yelled at me, our fort had been bombed and we couldn’t believe it. So, I went into lunch and put on my uniform to go on duty and as I left my place, the bombs started falling right on to us.

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