“Nursing,” by Brittney Mejia, with Pauline Pepper, WWII-077
“Nursing,” Pauline Pepper (WWII-077)
By Brittney Mejia, Intern
Listen: Oral history interview clip at UFDC with Pauline Pepper 02:17
Pauline Pepper is a Gem. She served as a nurse in the war on the European front, mostly going back in forth the Atlantic to the English Channel on boat. She moved to Lake City Florida after completing her three year nursing course in Saint Mary’s in Philadelphia where she grew up. She was the thirteenth child of sixteen children. Five of her brothers had served in the military: Three served in the Army and two in the Air force which may have inspired her to join the fight as well.
Although she did not fight in the war, her job of taking care of wounded soldiers play a pivotal role in war and our success. She explains that she remembers seeing many wounded soldiers with missing limbs, bullet wounds, broken bones and even lice.
Mrs. Pepper is a woman proud of her experiences and role in the war effort. She recalls carrying a legless soldier to the edge of a ship with the rest of the soldiers so he could wave to his spectators. She also remembers giving an appendectomy on board a ship. That time the other nurses refused to take on the task exclaiming “not me, not me!” but she volunteered herself, prepared for surgery and successfully delivered her patient from certain death.
Pauline Pepper’s role in the war is just a piece to a life in a larger context. She is a daughter, wife, and mother. She is a woman who dedicated her life to serve our country and our people.
Photos donated by Pauline Pepper to the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. Pictured bottom right: Pauline with her husband, Herbert (WWII-030). For additional information about these and other histories, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.