Oct. 6th: 2000 hours

...I'm sorry to hear about the flat tire, Mildred dear. But it's good to know that Seth Wilkins fixed it for you so quickly. I wish some of the problems over here could be resolved as readily.

You know that Margaret works harder than any of her nurses (and they work hard, themselves). So, when I requisitioned a second-in-command charge nurse to help with some of the more mundane duties, in order that she could spend more time developing procedural and instructional programs, I thought Margaret would be pleased. Instead, I'm afraid I've hurt her feelings and her professional pride.

Apparently thinking that I intend to replace her, she has resisted this idea at every step. The new charge nurse's arrival didn't help matters, either. Lieutenant MacAllister rode in with an Australian outfit that was ambushed. Although injured herself, she took care of those men until they were brought here.

However, because of that injury, a severely twisted ankle---that was originally broken years ago---Margaret now has a legitimate reason to have her transferred. My doctors, on the other hand, are very opposed to that reassignment. They want her on staff here. I have to agree with them. Her credentials are impressive; her work with the Aussies was superb; and we need more good surgical nurses. Margaret has reluctantly agreed to keep MacAllister here for the time being.

Other than Margaret and Lieutenant Parnelli, I don't think there's anyone who isn't charmed by this tall Texas girl. She has an honest face, sparkling eyes and a ready smile. She has made an effort to be friendly with everyone in camp. Not just the officers. Everyone. With her cheerful ways and her abundance of good humor, she has been accepted by the people here. There is certainly more laughter being heard since her arrival. She has even managed to make snooty Winchester crack a smile.

But, even better, as far as I'm concerned: she likes and understands horses. She was raised on a ranch---grew up with cattle and horses. It's good to talk to someone who knows something about the noble ones. Her stories about her youth remind me of my younger days in Missouri. And, she also, somehow, reminds me of you. And I realize how much I miss you, dear girl. So very much.

Keep the home fires burning, Mildred. I love you.


Oct. 6th: 2000 hours

...I'll be attending a conference in Tokyo in a couple of weeks, Belinda. I would love to have you join us for a night out on the town. I'm sure that Donald won't mind. That is, I hope I'll be there...if my nurses settle down by then.

Even though, as head nurse, I have always fulfilled, and will continue to fulfill, all of my obligations, Colonel Potter insisted that I needed someone to help me with the paperwork. Ever since it has been announced, Lieutenant Parnelli was hoping to get that position. Of course, she didn't get it. And, of course, she has been telling everyone how unfair it is. (How she ever made it into the Army---or how she even made it through nursing school---I'll never know.)

I'm not sure that the person who has been assigned will be any better. She is very un-military! Very undisciplined! Very exasperating!

Before coming to Korea, Lieutenant MacAllister was a civilian---with no military training other than what little was taught at the Army Nurses Training Camp. As soon as she arrived, instead of waiting for proper escort, she hitched a ride with some Australian soldiers. They were attacked along the way. She did a good job taking care of those men but she did more field treatment than she should have---making decisions that only surgeons should make.

In addition, she wrenched her ankle...already damaged from an old break. (I'm willing to bet she didn't tell the Nursing Board about that impairment, either.) Because of this injury, I tried to have her transferred. Her ankle is weak. And we don't know how long it will take to heal. We need people we can rely on---now. Not some unknown time in the future.

However, the surgeons want her to stay. So, when we have wounded, she will be assigned to an OR team. She will also have rotating clean up and post-op duties. At other times, she will be working double shifts (1100 to 1700 and 2300 to 0500 hours). These extra shifts are to prepare her for second-in-command---if she lasts that long.

MacAllister has already shown that she has a temper. Her hair is barely within regulation length. She also talks too much. And, practically every male in this camp...from the enlisted men, to Corporal Klinger, to Major Winchester, down to Ernie, the local stray...thinks she's the best thing since sliced bread. And so does Hawkeye Pierce. It's all so irritating.

I'll write more later. Call whenever you get a chance: assuming that our company clerk can find the phone in that clutter castle he claims is an office.


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