Bataan Nurses Reach Washington On Way Home

Rita G. Palmer Table of Contents

The Hampton Union & Rockingham County Gazette

Thursday, February 1945

Lt. Rita G. Palmer, ANC, one of the liberated Bataan nurses has arrived in Washington, D. C., according to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Palmer, Winnacunnet road, who received a telegram Wednesday morning, which advised them that she would probably be home during the first of next week. The telegram was sent from a hospital en route to Washington.

On Saturday, February 24, Lt. Palmer talked to her mother by telephone from the Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif., for the first time in forty months.

The young nurse said that previous to leaving the Philippines she and the other nurses who were liberated had been promoted in rank and that she was now a 1st lieutenant. She was also awarded the Purple Heart in San Francisco ceremonies.

On the 7,838-mile flight from the Philippines to San Francisco, the plane stopped at Hickam Field, near Honolulu, where Lt. Palmer had a reunion with her brother, Ansell Palmer, AMM 2/c. He is stationed at the Naval air base at Hilo Field, T. H., approximately 200 miles from Hickam, and secured leave to go to Hickam to spend two hours with his sister.

Lt. Palmer arrived in San Francisco, February 23 on her 27th birthday. In recognition of the anniversary, she was given a birthday party and a birthday cake. She stated that she was well and that she had gained one pound each day for 20 days since she was liberated. She now weighs 105, ten pounds below her normal weight. She said that everyone is being "wonderful" to the 69 nurses from Bataan and Corregidor, in charge of Major Juanita Redmond. The nurses were excited and pleased with even the simplest services and gifts: such things as ice cream, chocolate candy and red nail polish.

Lt. Palmer is engaged to Lt. Edwin Nelson, USNR, of Huntington, W. Va., a graduate of John Hopkins university at Baltimore, Md., whom she met in the Philippines and with whom she worked in the hospital. As yet, Lt. Palmer has no information concerning his whereabouts.

A homecoming welcome is being planned by citizens of Hampton who met Tuesday evening to discuss plans for the event. Ringing of the bells in town one hour before her expected arrival will serve as a summons to congregate at the village square for a rousing reception.

Rita G. Palmer Table of Contents