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Wounded Men Good Patients, Says First Denison War Nurse  
Home from Overseas

Denison's first war nurse home from foreign service is Second Lt. Eileen Badgett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Badgett, 218 West Heron, who spent a year in an army station hospital in Australia.
A severe cut on the left hand, suffered in the accidental breaking of a medicine bottle, sent the Denison girl back to the States early this month.  Now a convalescing patient at Ashburn General Hospital at McKinney, Lt. Badgett spent the week-end with her parents here.
Enlisting as an army nurse in April, 1941, Lt. Badgett spent two years on general duty in this county and went overseas in September, 1943.  She was with an evacuation unit, headed for service close to the front, but the outfit was assigned to detached service at the Australian station hospital where the Denisonian remained until returning to the States.

"The American boys not only are good fighters - they're also good patients," Lt. Badgett says of the many soldiers and marines she administered to while serving in the hospital surgery department.  "They don't worry much about their injuries and keep in high spirits."
Lt. Badgett said that the marines especially, most of them very young, were a carefree lot at the hospital.  She described them as "chipper little fellows".  
After treatment the wounded were to the United States.  Lt. Badgett said that coming home meant so much to the men that they didn't find time to worry about their injuries.
On the boat bringing the Denisonian home were a number of Australian brides of American servicement, many of them with young babies.  She described the Australian women as "nice girls" and agreed that Australian wives for American soldiers "are all right if they want them."

Even before World War II, Lt. Badgett had something of an international background.  She was born in Hull, England, after her father, an American sailor during World War I, married an English girl.  The family came to Denison when Eileen was a small child.
After graduating from Denison High School in 1937, Lt. Badgett entered nurse's training at St. Joseph's Hospital, Fort Worth. where she graduated in 1940.  She became an army nurse eight months before Pearl Harbor.
Lt. Badgett trained at Ft. Wolters and spent five months with the troops in the field during the Louisiana maneuvers.  Even after oversea duty, she still winces at the memory of the field maneuvers.
At Camp Barkeley, the nurses went through commando training along with the men preparatory to going overseas.
She still remembers her first patient in Australia, a Negro soldier who had been burned severely in a gasoline explosion., who finally returned to the States after much skin grafting and the amputation of a leg.
Lt. Badgett gives assurance that American wounded are receiving every possible attention in army hospitals.  She explains that the hospitals are fully equipped and staffed with top medical talent.
The Denison girl doesn't know where she will be sent after her release from the McKinney hospital, but it likely will not be overseas again.

Courtesy of Sharon L. Ward, niece of Eileen Badgett Olson, the first Denison War Nurse - she was actually cut on her hand and sent home; she is still crippled to a degree with that hand. She is almost 90 now and lives in Indianapolis.


Elaine Nall Bay