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"I started thinking, Well, I think it would be interesting to do something different. And I liked the look of that pretty white hospital ship." (Audio interview, 8:40)

   Dorothy Tidwell Rhoades
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War: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Navy; Navy
Service Location: San Diego, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; Corpus Christi, Texas; Inchon Harbor, Hospital Ship, Korea; also: San Diego, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; Corpus Christi, Texas; Inchon Harbor, Hospital Ship, Korea
Rank: Commander; Commander
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Dorothy Tidwell was a small town Texas nursing student during World War II when she saw a recruiting brochure for the Navy. While most of her fellow students were joining the Army, she gravitated toward the idea of some day serving on a hospital ship. During that war, she was landlocked, first in San Diego, then in Hawaii. She went on reserve status after the war, and when she was recalled to serve in Korea, she got her wish. Aboard the USS Repose, anchored off Inchon, she and her colleagues treated the wounded and ill from the final days of the Korean War.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (63 min.)
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»Women of Four Wars
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Why she chose the Navy over the Army; her impression of San Diego, her first duty station; the Navy old guard looking unkindly on new recruits. (04:06) Pulling night duty in a San Diego museum converted to a Naval hospital; dealing with patients who were suffering from malaria. (02:29) A memorable patient from her days in Honolulu; her admiration for combat servicemen. (02:30)
Unable to settle down after WWII; recalled for service in Korea in 1951; assigned to hospital in Corpus Christi, then to hospital ship; docked in Inchon Harbor. (03:36) Description of hospital ship; rotation of healed servicemen back to action, or those still in need of treatment on to Japan. (05:56) Comparing WWII and Korea; some overlap in patients between the wars; difference between nursing in the Navy and Army; dealing with stress. (04:33)
What serving in the military meant to her; Korea was much more than a “police action;” how she learned about the world. (03:07)  

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  October 26, 2011
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