The Angels of Bataan

Elizabeth Norman, Sharon Elfried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifty years ago, the strategic Baffle 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 7942, as among the most brutal the United State 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalImage: the Journal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • historical studies
  • nurses
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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