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February 8, 2013
Oroville Mercury Register
November 14, 1952
Army Nurse Wins Admiration of GIs

By Fred Painton
Somewhere in Korea (UP) The wounded soldier opened his eyes and took a long, wondering look at the tall brunette at his bedside. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an American girl,” he said. “I never thought they had ‘em this far forward.” Army nurse Lt. Mary L. Vondal, of North Chelmsford, Mass., grinned and went brusquely about taking care of the soldier just returned from surgery. “Don’t talk too much,” she told him. The slim, 28-year old nurse has been in Korea for eight months. She volunteered for it. Miss Vondal said she was “happy” with her role but admitted the stream of broken and smashed bodies that passed through her life gave her a constant shadow. “Some things you don’t forget,” she said. “I remember one especially. He’s the only one that really stands out. He was burned from head to toe, and he knew he was going to die. “He kept saying ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die’ and nobody could stop him from talking. Even when I tried to interrupt and talk about music or something, he would start up again. He seemed to know and he died that night.” ‘Another night, Miss Vondal said, three severely wounded men died in her ward. “I felt so helpless it took me a long time to get over that,” she said. “Before I went into this section, I never knew how bad the Korean War was.” Most of the time Mary would kid with the wounded men in her charge. If one seems depressed, she tells him he’s lucky compared to another man with both arms gone. “At least you’ve got an arm,” she told one man. At first the wounded shocked her when she saw them carried into the ward. But the men themselves talked her out of it. “If you think we’re bad,” one double-amputee told her, “you should see the ones who didn’t make it down here.”
(Stu-“The Doctors and Nurses were the heroes of many soldiers in Butte County.)

Oroville Mercury Register
November 14, 1952
News From Oroville Men In the Service

Army PFC Leland Thelander, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Thelander of Route 4, Paradise, Calif., recently spent a five-day vacation from Korea on a rest and recuperation leave in Japan. A member of the 7th Infantry Division, he stayed in one of the finest hotels in Japan and enjoyed many luxuries unobtainable in Korea. The leave is part of the Army’s policy to give the fighting soldier a rest from the rigors of combat. Thelander, who arrived in Korea last April, has been serving as a member of the 13th Engineer Combat Battalion, 7th Division. Before entering the Army in September, 1951, he was employed as a tree surgeon in San Francisco. USN seaman, Joel R. Brown After seven months in the Far East, the battleship USS Iowa has arrived in Long Beach with Joel R. Brown, seaman, USN, son of William H Brown of Myers Street, aboard. The battleship has been operating with Carrier Task Force 77 off the east coast of Korea. There, she participated in gun strikes and coordinated air-gun strikes against Community supply lines and centers, transportation facilities and enemy troop concentrations.

Stu’s Notes:
I thought a lot about doing the Nurse’s story and hope it doesn’t offend any of my readers, but I think some of their stories should be retold. They had such a hard part in every war we have been in or will be in. during the ‘40s and 50’s and on there were not too many of these stories and since I’ve read two different newspapers for years, I think I can say a story like that above is just not done very often. But war is terrible and so is the job of the “Doctors and Nurses. They are the unsung heroes of wars. The most famous being Florence Nightingale.

I’m really getting excited now about a year ago our committee voted to accept a grant to build too beautiful landscaped parking lots on our memorial site. Bill Connelly and Butte County worked hard to get this Grant. I’ve been told it comes from the Federal Government. Who’s the Federal Government? We the taxpayers of America, at least we foot the bills. Remember that Doug L. He’s a friend so I can say that. A few years ago he looked me in the eye and said. “Your Memorial will be built.” I have never minded paying my share of taxes to the country I love. Oh, yes, I gripe like most other tax payers but I proudly sign that check every year and I have since 1959.

Well, Bill tells me the Parking lots will be built this Spring and I just saw an Almond Blossom on my side of the river. How about that Rex, the Famous River Watcher. Have yours started to bloom yet, Rex? Being from Missouri probably calls them Almonds, but us long time Orovillians call them "Amonds" because some of us knocked the "L" out of them. Anyway, to me when they bloom I say it is Spring.
Lets build those parking lots.