Ruby Bradley

Ruby Bradley was born December 19, 1907, in Spencer, West Virginia. Not much is known about her early life. However, she played an integral part in the Second World War.

In 1934, Bradley entered the United States Air Nurse Corps as a surgical nurse. In 1941, she was serving at Camp John Hay in the Philippines when the Japanese captured her. It had only been three weeks since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Bradley’s story is choppy. In 1943, she was moved to the Santo Thomas Internment Camp in Manila. While there, she and other nurses earned the title of “Angels in Fatigues.” She provided medical help to prisoners and shoved food in the pockets of starving children whenever she could, even if it meant going hungry herself. Starvation caused Bradley to lose a lot of weight. Nevertheless, she used this to her vantage and used the extra room in her uniform to smuggle surgical equipment into the prisoner-of-war camp. At the camp, she assisted in two-hundred-thirty operations and delivered thirteen children.

United States troops captured the internment camp on February 3, 1945. Upon rescue, Bradley weighed eighty-six pounds, thirty-nine kilograms. She was sent back to the United States and continued working for the army.

During the Korean War, Bradley served as the chief nurse for the 101st Evacuation Hospital. In November 1950, she refused to leave during a Chinese counter-offensive until she had loaded the sick and wounded onto a plane in Pyongyang. One hundred thousand Chinese soldiers surrounded the area, and she was able to jump aboard the plane just as her ambulance exploded.

In 1951, Bradley was named the chief nurse for the 8th Army and supervised over five hundred army nurses. She was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1958 and retired in 1963.

Ruby Bradley is considered to be one of the most important forgotten heroes of the military. She passed away at the age of ninety-four on May 28, 2002.[1]

[1] Dennis McLellan, “Ruby Bradley, 94; Army Nurse Was ‘Angel in Fatigues’ for POWs”, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2002.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *