Treva Green, A Nurse From World War II, A True Heroine: We always use the phrase, “greatest generation” when we talk about the World War II veterans. Tune in now to hear a story from a nurse who served in World War II. This Memorial Day don’t forget to honor all who served and the sacrifices they had to make. We are very very blessed in America to have what we have, and it’s because of them that we are able to keep it.

Air Date: 05/29/2017


Guests: Treva Green, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian. Tim Barton, he’s WallBuilders president, national speaker, and pastor. And my name’s Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author.

Find out more about us at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com, you can get some of our archived programs there at WallBuildersLive.com and you may want to do that after you listen to today’s program. It’s one of our veterans programs. David, Tim, I don’t know if we done this before, we’ve actually got to a World War II veteran that was a nurse, a female nurse. World War II vet and man she’s going to share some cool stories with us.

This Has Never Been Before By WallBuilders Live

David:

Yeah, that is going to be fun. A lady who is in World War II, there’s not many of those. As a matter of fact, there’s just not many World War Two folks left around. A year or two ago we were losing about fifteen hundred a day, World War II folks were dying off because of age.

And so in order to have any of them at this point in time, much less the ladies who served, and on top of that it turns out that she served in multiple branches during the war which is pretty remarkable as well.

Tim:

It’s impressive, multiple branches, and by the way, speaking multiple branches, as we’re doing this Veterans interview today it’s really because of the veterans that are out there right now. Because of the current and active military, all the different branches, and you know, I have two brothers that are serving, cousins, family, we’ve got so many people connected with us that are in the military.

And we are so grateful for the people that serve. That’s why it really is such an honor to be able to talk to a hero, or in this case be a heroine, from a war that now, I mean for my generation, seems like so long ago.

And dad, as you mentioned, there just so few of these World War II veterans left. But but especially because I don’t think in all the veterans interviews I’ve ever done I’ve ever interviewed a woman. So this is really neat that we have a female nurse from World War II who’s going to be with us today.

Rick:

Of course it’s Memorial Day today and we got one story today. But there’s obviously a ton of other ones and we’ve had the privilege of interviewing quite a few of these veterans, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, you know, just a lot of neat stories.

And actually, there’s some of those on our website if you go to WallBuildersLive.com today there’ll be a link to our warrior heroes. You can find out more information about those interviews there. But really neat story today that we’re going to be sharing with folks.

I think it’s, we all agree on this, it’s so important for this generation to hear these stories so that they know the sacrifice that was made so we aren’t a spoiled generation just enjoying the blessings of liberty and freedom and not realizing that there’s a heavy price paid for this.

Honoring Our Vets This Memorial Day

David:

Well, in addition to that, it also puts a face on history. All of history has a face. But the way we teach it today it does not have a face. But when you can talk to someone who is alive that lived through what you’re studying in the textbooks. And like Tim said, in his generation World War II, he was born decades after World War II. So there are so many folks that just never get to meet someone who is actually part of that history. But we get to do that today and that and that’ll be fun as well.

And by the way, I mean this is Memorial Day. Tim mentioned that and that’s a day where we look at the veterans but we especially look at those who gave much more than just their service. And so since we’re going to be interviewing someone from World War II, let’s just put it kind of in context.

There were 405,399 folks killed in World War II, nearly half a million killed in World War II, on top of that you had six hundred and seventy-one thousand that were wounded. So we’re talking about 1.1 million folks that were either killed or wounded in World War II.

Let’s add to that, 130,000 POW’s. A lot of those guys lived through what happened to them but they still gave a whole lot more than those who might just be serving today and going service. So we honor all those who serve. But on Memorial Day we particularly honor those who gave their life for what the rest of us enjoy.

And so here’s someone, I’m sure it’s going to come up, what she saw and the way of those deaths because she is an Army nurse an Air Force nurse. And that means she dealt with this kind of stuff. So to hear from her is going to be really special.

Rick:

In fact, some of the some of the worst of the worst. She went in enlisted as an Air Force nurse but then moved over to the army and actually was attached to Patton’s commander in the Battle the Bulge.

So she did see some pretty horrific things. Her name is Treva Green. And we’re honored to have her on our program today. Stay with us we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!

Moment From American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The key to a self-governing nation is self-governing people. And the key to personal self-government is to live by the standards in God’s word. If someone cannot control himself by those standards then our Constitution certainly will be unable to restrain him.

Understanding this, John Adams declared, “We have no government armed with power, capable of continuing with human passions, unbridled morality, and religion. Greed, ambition, revenge, or seduction would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is holy and adequate to the government, of any other.”

John Adams believed that successful government rested not upon our great Constitution but rather upon moral and religious people. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

What It Was Like To Be A Nurse In World War II

Rick:

Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Treva Green is our guest today no relation to me but I would be honored if we were related. Thank you so much for your time and your service. You were an Army nurse in World War II  and went all over Europe.

Treva:

Well, I was with the 21st *** hospital.

Rick:

And what year did you join?

Treva:

I joined in October of ‘43 and I was discharged in December of ‘45

Rick:

And you went to England in ‘44?

Treva:

Well, actually, it was just before Christmas, I was with the Air Force first. I was in the Air Force for *** but they sent me *** and I went down and that nurse that was there had just gone for their *** program and they said, “Now if she doesn’t pass you will be next in line.”

However, she passed and I still at *** in the Air Force but 354th from Denver Colorado sent down a request for nurses. The operating room nurses overseas. So that’s how I got overseas. They pulled me from the air force and put me in the Army as a surgical nurse. ***.

Rick:

And that ended up taking you all over Europe?

Treva:

Yes, we landed at Helen’s fishing village in Fleetwood England. It was cold and raining. We had no supplies, they didn’t catch up with us, but we had Christmas dinner at the bottom part of a theater over there. And it was put on by another unit where their supplies had caught up with them so they invited us to dinner. Needless to say, we had ham with, raisins, salt, and an mashed potatoes, and they were just as gritty as they could be. We had cold tea for lunch and that was my Christmas dinner.

Rick:

Did you spend long in training before you actually went out in the field?

Treva:

Well, yes, we did. We did some there in England and then we were sent to *** France. We went over on the Queen Elizabeth and were treated royally but they brought us back on a cattle bus. I don’t know whether they were disappointed in our work.

Rick:

I bet they weren’t disappointed. In fact, you ended up attached to Patton during the Battle of the Bulge I heard.

Battle Of The Bulge

Treva:

I was assigned to him because of the injuries they were expecting and we were assigned to him through the Battle of the Bulge. And then later we were put on call for her. We went around, we were sent to the different hospitals. We went to France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.

Rick:

How old were you at this point?

Treva:

I was 20 something.

Rick:

So in your 20’s and you’re traveling, you’re going to all these different places.

Rick:

That’s exactly right. Yeah. We were sent to *** to do a duty. We were in a monastery and that was a scary situation, needless to say. And we were in a general’s home over there. But our general, he wasn’t a general,  he was a colonel but he was a pole rock. Needless to say, we had a rough time.

In any rate, we all stood it. And I didn’t see many American casualties because we were in the thick of another country. But you know, we saw a lot of Germans and Russians.

Rick:

Well, it sounded like you all sometimes had to go in and take over hospitals-

Treva:

We did. And I was with a Russian doctor. I had one station and I was scared to death. Because at that time we weren’t even speaking to them. But anyway, he drew the duties to be there at that particular place and I was with him and we would get the snipers in the trees. We had a whole room full of snipers and we’d have to go around and give them a shot of penicillin every 12 hours. That was one various things we had a lot of German and Checks.However, we went into austria on one occasion and the boys went in to check the patients and they were all dead in there. They had the monitors in their mouth.

Rick:

In the hospital?

Treva:

Yes, feces on the floor. It was a makeshift hospital. It’s just where they had put them, you know? And we went in there and left Austria. And I didn’t get to keep a diary which I’d like to have done because I was always busy on the war taking care of patients.

***.

Rick:

I was told you actually got to tour Hitler’s mansion while you were there?

Treva:

Hitler’s Tunnel

No, I did not go to his house, I didn’t take the elevator to go to his house because I wanted to go see the tunnel that they had dug from his house over to where he usually came for breakfast.

And so I stayed there and I was going down in the tunnel and I got so far and there was a guard there said, “You can’t go any further due to falling debris.” The army had someone stationed there to keep me going in. But I did get a couple of souvenirs there.

I stood before the window inside where they used to stand and plan his attacks. At one time we had a day off to visit and they took us to a camp to see on ta 20 ton truck I was able to secure a book that had a lot about the different nations that were there, you know. And so I thought, “I’m going to keep this and bring it back to Frankfurt. I’m going to turn in their headquarters so it might be he’s planning another attack.” I headed toward the *** on the truck and  when I came back somebody had lifted it, somebody had taken it.

And the weather was just terrible over there. It rained a lot. We did have a little light moment once in awhile. I know that we were going from one station to another and the train stopped to let one unit prepare their meals for their soldiers in their car. But we were on ***. So when we stopped the train stopped. We were right beside the supply train and there was a soldier guarding that. And this friend of mine said, “Now, we’re going to crawl under this train and then when he’s on the other side you go grab one of those green bins and see what’s in it.”

Rick:

So you didn’t even know what it was going to be?

Treva:

No, I didn’t know what was going be. So when he came down to my end she ran up and grabbed a green can. So we walked under the train to get to our cab. So we had a fit trying to open those cans but we got them open and I had a one gallon can of ketchup. And she had a one gallon can of pineapples. But needless to say, it went good with K-rations.

Rick:

That made those K-rations a little better.

Treva:

Yeah. American soldiers are deep in my memory. There was a young boy that was sawed in the throat *** and I pedaled all night long until the plane could get there to carry him back to a general hospital.

When the plane landed and they got the word he drew his last breath, that was 3 a.m. in the morning. Yeah, we had a lot of burns, head injuries, and legs. We did the immediate surgeries, we just did what was necessary to get them back to a general hospital. And we just did the immediate thing and sent them back. Have you ever watched mash?

Rick:

Yes, ma’am.

Treva:

Well, that was the tent I was in at first. Then we were sent out for TDY and then we ran more as a substantial place.

Sent On Temporary Duty

Rick:

Explain what TDY.

Treva:

Temporary duty.  

Rick:

Ok, so sometimes you would get pulled out to go with other teams?

Treva:

Yeah, well, actually I was deferred a day or two, or a week at a time, whichever. I was pulled up to go with the unit. And then come back again of course. At one time we were four miles behind the lines and that was very frightening. We got out of that place in a hurry.

Rick:

You were you were behind the lines?

Treva:

Yeah, we ended up four miles behind them. And that’s when we were traveling from one station to. And so they scooted out of that place in a hurry. And another bright thing, I did get to go. I got to ride the Danube. I got to go through Danube, it was a short ride, at least I was on it, I could say I was there.  

Rick:

Have you ever gone back?

Treva:

No, I said, “The only reason I want to go back would be when I can go and come on my own.”

It was an experience I’ll never forget. I was disappointed because *** is where I want to go and do something. I actually tried to get in the Navy first and they started their program so they suggested that I try of the Air Force and I did.

Rick:

Did you end up with the other nurses that you spent a lot of that time and went through your entire tour with them?

Treva:

No, everybody was completely new. Nobody, I knew nobody. The girl that I became friends with, she was Chastain, and she was from a place up north I forget where she was. We became buddies.

Rick:

Did you all stay together very long during the-

Treva:

No, well, except when we were sent ***. We were never sent TDY together. She would be sent in one place and I’d be sent in another. But anyway, when we were traveling a lot of times you’ll see houses where they would be bodies stacked out of the window and looked like cordwood. And it was bodies of where humans had been killed, you know.

You wouldn’t believe it was all human. But needless to say, when they sent the girls over to *** they asked me to volunteer and I said, “No. I have volunteered enough. I’m going home.” So I did not go.

The Men Of World War II

Rick:

Yeah. You had already had enough. Two years is a long time.

Treva:

Oh yeah. It was devastating. But Germany’s terrain and land- everything was more like the United States than any place. We camped along the Autobahn. You know that’s where the traffic went from Autobahn to Frankfurt.

Rick:

Do people find that when you talk about your service and you talk about being a veteran of World War II are they surprised because they think of the guys and they forget we had so many of you serving as well?

Treva:

Right. That’s right. It’s like I said, when you called for an interview I said, “Nobody wants to hear about what nurses did.”

Rick:

Sure we do.

Treva:

Because it was all the men, and I have great respect for everyone I see because there was always something nice.  They were a nice bunch of boys. They just were very very respectful to the ladies. And they were perfect gentleman. It just hurt us to see sometimes the trouble they had to go through with.

Rick:

Well, do you ever get to have any kind of reunion with the other nurses you served with?

Treva:

No, I’m sure they have. I have talked with some. But haven’t yet.

Rick:

Yeah, well tell me what you did when you came home, when you came back to the States?

Treva:

Well, I went to work for a doctor who was in my hometown and he was there long before I went but I went back to work and I worked there until I got married. And we moved away to Florence, South Carolina and worked with Charlie Womack. He was a big *** back then. He sent my husband down here to Conway. That’s how I came to Conway in March of 1948. That’s where my son was born in Florence and we moved to Conway in ‘48. And the first thing I heard, “You’ll never want to leave this place.”

Rick:

And you haven’t.

Treva:

They were about right, I’m still here. I’ve been here now ever since ‘48. And my husband died in 1990.

Rick:

How old are you today?

Treva:

I’m 96. I’m showing my age. It’s telling on me a little bit, a little hard of hearing. But anyway, I can truly say that it was an experience and I think the boys deserve everything they’ve got and more than what they’ve got.

Rick:

Well, I know from the ones we’ve talked to that they’re very thankful for you as well.

Treva:

Well, I tell you, we were certainly thankful for them and nobody knows what they went through with. I can tell you one experience we were to be moved from one section to another. And the boys were warned a day ahead of time so they were able to go out and set up their pup tents, the area where we were to occupy.

And it was pouring down rain. When we moved in when they went to set up the tents it was dry. And when we got out of destination it was pouring down rain and you know our colonel made those boys go out and move their pup tents off of dry land. He was cruel, it’s like I said he was bucking for full colonel. And he was relieved of command before I left.

Rick:

Oh, really?

Treva:

Yes, he was.

Rick:

You were glad to see that it sounds like?

Treva:

His name was ***. And like I said, we went over like a queen he came back on cattle boat. They told us that thing they had.

Submarine Encounters

Rick:

It was ok because you wanted to get home I would imagine?

Treva:

Oh yeah, oh yeah. The first night we went over to ***, they told us we had to sleep in our life jackets. And I said, “Well, there’s no need for me to sleep in a life jacket if I hit the water I’m going anyway.” But they insisted we all sleep in the life jackets. So when they surrounded the bus to come on the deck next morning and give us instructions for the day they informed us that we were in a nest of submarines as we were crossing over. That was very frightening.

Rick:

I would think so, yeah.

Treva:

Yeah, and I think the hardest thing for me to do was to abandon ship on a rope ladder.

Treva:

Well, fortunately, you didn’t have to.

Treva:

No, I just had to practice. But I told them, “If I get hit I’ll be going anyway.” Anyway, it was an experience I’ll never forget and I’ll never want to see it again.

Rick:

Well, I know those boys were thankful for you then but I also want to tell you we’re thankful for you now and we appreciate you being willing to serve.

Treva:

Well, and what I did was in an earnest. I just couldn’t do it enough when I was over there because I felt like every day would bring me closer to home.

Rick:

Well, I’m glad you made it home and I’m glad you were willing to share your story with us and we just want to say, “Thank you, and God bless you.”

Treva:

Alright, and I appreciate your calling me. And I hope it goes over alright for you.

Rick:

Yes ma’am, very well, and we appreciate your time.

Treva:

Alright.

Rick:

Mrs. Green, God bless you. Stay with us folks. Back in a moment with David and Tim Barton.

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.  Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.

You have friends and family that also served.  If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected]  Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

Giving Honor To Whom Honor Is Due

Rick:

Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! We’re back with David and Tim Barton. Guys, it’s another great veteran story and like we said at the beginning, it’s the first time we’ve had a female from World War Two pretty remarkable story and you could tell she saw a lot.

David:

She did and you know even she acknowledged that they had bodies stacked up like cordwood outside the windows. I mean, the fact that you have that many deaths and you listen to her and it’s like just nonchalant. I mean that’s the thing that’s always struck me about some of these war veterans is, “There’s nothing special about what we did.” Yeah, but today we look at that and say, “Boy, none of us have ever seen anything like that. And for them to see what they saw, handle what they handled, and come through and served the way they did, I mean it’s a real testament, it’s a real example for all of us that they just don’t consider themselves special. And yet, do what they did we considered to be very special.

Rick:

And of course we always use the phrase, “Greatest Generation” when we talk about the World War II veterans. But on this Memorial Day I mean, obviously, every war in American history where so many sacrificed. And even you know of course the forgotten war, the Korean War, and we’ve had several incredible veterans on from the Korean War, the Vietnam War where when they came home we did not treat them well. And thankfully, I think after Desert Storm, there was a different attitude in America so that has gotten better in terms of our respect in the way that we honor those that serve and come home.

But obviously, Memorial Day as you pointed out at the beginning of the program David, just so many numbers from World War II and then, of course, the other wars as well. We are very very blessed in America to have what we have.

David:

We are blessed, and these are people we do appreciate. And the Bible says you give honor to whom honor is due. And while today we especially give honor to those who lost their lives, you know what? We give honor to all those who are also willing to lose their lives. And that’s everybody in the military. They take an oath when they go in and they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for all of us. So we honor all of them on Memorial Day.

Rick:

If you’d like to hear some more of those amazing stories check it out at our website today Warrior Heroes by Land, by Air, by Sea. For more information visit our website WallBuildersLive.com. Thanks so much for listening today to WallBuilders Live!