Veteran's History Project: Nan Barron - - Jackson, MS

Veteran's History Project: Nan Barron

By Jennifer Martin - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Nursing wasn't always what Nan Barron planned for her future, but while she was in college she decided it might be a good fit.

"So many of the people in my class had been nurses, you know, some of my friends. So I sort of went that route because they had," said Barron.

She went to nursing school with a close friend, then they joined the working world together.

"We worked at the hospital for a couple of years and then we decided we'd go in the service. She had orders for Japan. I had orders for Germany. I didn't want to go to Germany because she was going to Japan," said Barron.

She asked a major to have her orders changed. When she met resistance she called Washington.

"And I got the nicest man, some sergeant, and he said sure we'll rescind those orders. You can go to Japan," said Barron. 

When the new orders came through, the major couldn't believe it.

"She nearly fainted, poor lady. I felt so... I didn't mean to hurt the lady. I really didn't. You just don't tell me 'no'," said Barron. 

She was reunited with her friend. It was 1951. They would work at hospitals in Japan, treating soldiers injured in Korea.

"It was so crowded... And it was just so busy; you would just fall over yourself... We had some of the sweetest boys. And they would be so mangled, just so bad. And they were the nicest things. You wouldn't think they had a pain.

In Korea we picked them up from the lines and brought them back to Japan.

They had stories to tell too. But they really didn't want to linger on it. You'd be surprised. They wanted to talk about home. Which is why I went in the service, mainly, to serve the boys. I really wanted to help them.

You know, you could talk to them, hold their hands, relax them when they were in so much pain," said Barron.

She still remembers one soldier and the extensive injuries he suffered.

"His name was Paulo, and every bone in his body was broken. And he was in traction, even the joints in his fingers and his legs. Every part of him was mangled. And he had the best outlook on life, you'd be surprised," said Barron.

She looks back on her time in the Army Nurse Corp as a positive experience.

"I was young and not married. I had a good time. Everybody was nice to us. They treated the nurses much differently than they treated the WACs. We were not looked down on or anything," said Barron. 

After two years, she left the service. She worked as a VA nurse for a few years, then married her longtime sweetheart.

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