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Saturday, October 5, 2013

HEROIC MEASURES debuts worldwide in print and digital!

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      In 1917, more than 10,000 American nurses volunteered to go abroad to nurse American soldiers in the Great War. With more than 28 years of interest and primary document research in the records, I am delighted to give you the dramatic tale of these courageous women in Army Nurse Corps.

                                * * * * *       
      Honoring those who have served their country in war, most focus on those who have fought on the battlefields. But one group’s heroics under fire have slipped through the pages of history, a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured.
            For nurse Gwen Spencer, fighting battles is nothing new. An orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt, Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making.
            Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos, she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with.
            But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

Excerpt: Copyright, Jo-Ann Power, 2013. All rights reserved.
After a blissful minute of silence, Gwen faced Pearl. “So you really are thinking of volunteering?”
Pearl stared over the rims of her glasses. “I am. Want to come? It’s a set of uniforms, an overcoat, two pairs of boots, a trip to France and all the work you can get until the war ends and all the men in the entire world are dead. Oh, and especially for you, Spencer, a raincoat. The one you never afforded for yourself because you gave half your pay to that ungrateful aunt of yours.”
“A raincoat. Golly,” Gwen mused half-seriously. “A worthy reason to join. Plus, if I go with you, I could listen to you complain all the time.”
Markham threw a pillow at her.
“I might look into this, just to learn what it’s got to offer,” Gwen teased her, but inside a seed of interest grew roots.
“Ask Dalton. She knows more.”
“She’s going. O’Bryan persuaded her.”
“Doc is going to France?” Gwen couldn’t believe it. O’Bryan didn’t seem like the adventurous type, nor the noble type, either. She misjudged him. Why would he volunteer?
“For a million soldiers,” Anna chimed in. “You need thousands of doctors and nurses. Dentists, too.”
“Of course,” Gwen murmured. How many people do you need to care for millions of men? How many scalpels and needles? How much ether and debridement solution? How many sterilizers and…just how do you get all that where it’s needed to save lives of men in pain and bleeding? “I want to learn more.”

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

18+ Days in A.E.F.'s footsteps: Day 9, St. Mihiel Battle and Montsec Memorial

     St. Mihiel is a little town along a peacefully flowing river in eastern France. South of Verdun, the town was vital to that city and to all points west for its control of train traffic. When the German Army attacked the town and held it in a tight grip in 1918, General Pershing decided to attack their fortifications and open communications and transportation before attacking the Germans in the Meuse River-Argonne Forest region to the north.
     In only 3 days, the Americans fought fiercely taking the ridges and the valley near St. Mihiel.
Today, the area consists of small villages and many farms.
American engineers march into St. Mihiel after taking the area within 3 days fierce fighting in September 1918.
The Montsec Memorial to those AEF forces who took this ridge and the towns below within 3 days is a beautiful tribute to the men who fought here. With a commanding view of the valley that they struggled to take, this Memorial offers a panoramic view—and inspires you to marvel at the feat these men accomplished.
In these few photographs, I attempt to show you a glimpse into their efforts–and their victory.
Montsec Memorial to AEF's 3 day battle of St. Mihiel
A closer view
A panorama into the valley near Thiacourt
Inside the rotunda sits a relief map of the valley that the AEF had to take from entrenched German Army.
Official description of the Battle of St. Mihiel at Montsec Memorial. Do enlarge to read.
Army Medical Corps cadeusus. Atop each pillar of Montsec is the insignia of a corps unit
contributing to the AEF's victory in this valley.
Atop Montsec, this floor map shows the villages AEF soldiers took in the 3 day offensive.
Dedication on steps up to top of Memorial.
To show the irony of both world wars, this plaque details how this land was once again a battleground.