The Jenkins Sisters: “Angels of Bataan & Corregidor”
Three daughters of John Solomon and Martha Caledonia (née Smallwood) Jenkins, of Cocke County, Tennessee, graduated from KGH School of Nursing: Janie Univieve, Class of 1925; Ressa, Class of 1927; and Geneva Elizabeth, Class of 1930.
Ressa and Geneva became U. S. Army Nurses during World War II. They were stationed at Bataan in the Philippine Islands. Just prior to the fall of Bataan on 9 Apr 1942, nurses were ordered to Corregidor. When the Japanese invaded, some nurses were evacuated to Australia — Ressa was among them.
Geneva was not so fortunate. On 6 May 1942, she was captured along with other nurses. On 2 Jul 1942, they were transferred to the Santo Tomas Interment Camp. Under the command of a captured Captain, they maintained regular schedules of nursing and continued to wear their khaki uniforms on duty.
In January, 1944, the camp came under Japanese Army control. Food was curtailed, and the nurses lost — on average — 30% of their body weight, leading to service-connected disabilities. The Captain’s weight went from 156 to 80 pounds.
The nurses were liberated on 3 Feb 1945. They were awarded the Bronze Star and a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism in action. The Army and Navy nurses who endured inhuman conditions for three years, yet maintained their dignity and professionalism, are now considered role models for military nursing.
More information is available at the Angels of Bataan Wikipedia page. Click here to read it.
Geneva Jenkins (right) was photographed with actress Patricia Neal and an unidentified soldier after the War. The photo was in the archives of the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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