Rossford army nurse describes her medals from WWII

Elsie Perch, now 88, remembers the patients whom she helped, and she honors the patients she couldn't. (The Blade/Andy Morrison)
Elsie Perch, now 88, remembers the patients whom she helped, and she honors the patients she couldn't. (The Blade/Andy Morrison)
Posted by LS

From our media partner the Toledo Blade

ROSSFORD - Eighty-eight years old now, Elsie Perch of Rossford keeps mementos of her experiences near the battlefront in World War II between the pages of scrapbooks.

There are many black-and-white photos of hospital tents and soldier friends, and dozens more of her female compatriots in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, in which Mrs. Perch served from 1942 to 1945.

And on a page with ribbons and medals honoring her service, there is a 2 1/2-inch piece of dark, jagged metal that one night in 1944 dropped from the sky above the Anzio beachhead in Italy, tearing a hole through the tent where she slept.

Three feet - the difference between where she laid her head that night and where the shrapnel landed - is what allowed Mrs. Perch to later become one of the nearly 75,000 U.S. Army and Navy nurses who returned home from the war.

But 215 Army nurses were not so lucky.