Veteran's Reflections: Volunteers Who Join the Fight
(November 12, 2010)
Former Navy hospital corpsman and World War II veteran Jessie Clark discusses her military service during an interview July 21, 2010. Clark joined the Navy after college and served from 1943 to 1945. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Selby
||WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2010 – Like
many young people in the 1940s, Jessie Clark didn't
think of the military so much as an option after
college, but rather as an obligation.
When she enlisted after graduating from Lasell
College in Newton, Mass., there was no questioning
her motive or reasoning.
“Well, everybody was going to war,” Clark said. “At
that time that's what you did, I thought, so when I
graduated from college, I joined the Navy.”
Clark was stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in
Corvallis, Ore., near a naval auxiliary air station.
As a hospital corpsman, the young petty officer
cared for troops who were ready, or almost ready, to
be released from care.
“They had to go through a period of observation and
rehabilitation before they could be sent home,” she
|During her service, she learned a
lot about nursing and medicine, a skill set that
would help her later on in life when her late
husband, himself a pilot and veteran of World War
II, became sick in his later years.
“I learned a lot about medicine and about taking care of
patients,” she said. “It was very helpful for me, because my
husband became ill, and it didn't bother me to care for him.
I took care of him for 20 years.”|
Clark said her husband was the more admirable of the two of
them – though the patients who stayed in Corvallis may
disagree. He flew some 30 missions over Germany, and
survived being shot down once while he was based in Italy.
“To me, he was more of a hero than I was,” she said.
During a recent visit here, Clark visited the World War II
Memorial for the first time. Though the Cuyahoga Falls,
Ohio, resident had visited the National Mall previously, she
had yet to see the memorial dedicated to her service and the
service of her peers.
“It's this massive thing!” she exclaimed. “It brings back
memories. You can see people. The Atlantic, I think of my
husband. The Pacific, I think of my brother. You see the
states, and you think of people you knew from those states.”
Clark said it's important for people to keep in mind that
today's conflicts aren't fought by everyone; they're fought
by a group of volunteers who signed up to join the fight.
Servicemembers, she said, should be proud of that.
“Servicemembers should feel honored to be able to serve the
country,” she said. “And people should honor those who do
serve. They volunteer, it's what they want to do, and they
should be allowed to. They should be honored, every day.”
By Ian Graham|
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
American Forces Press Service
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