War and P
At the time the US was drawn into the war in 1941 the country was on the tail end of the Great Depression. In truth, it was the war that put the country on the path to financial recovery.
But it sent thousands to their death, many in island places we call exotic paradises, and hope to visit one day for vacation. We can visit these places having been vaccinated to hopefully protect us from any virus or disease we might confront.
But that wasn't true for the soldiers in WWII. In 1942 the US Government vaccinated all personnel for tetanus, thyphoid, smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever, which help eradicate many of the disease and kept outbreaks of the disease from spreading through the ranks like in prior wars.
Having prepared their army with every medical advance in their arsenal, the government sent them to war. Some headed to Europe to fight against the Nazis and others headed to the islands of the Pacific to face the Japanese.
Those fighting in the South Pacific, soon found out it was nothing like home. At home they fought Tuberculosis, and Polio, Flu, and other diseases that scared them, but diseases they understood and knew some precautions to take. In the South Pacific, they marched into jungles ready to fight the Japanese unaware they'd battle extremes of heat and incessant rains that would give them rashes and jungle rot so bad they itched and bled profusely and could become gangrenous
They fought all kinds of bugs and disease carrying vermin and ended up with; dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, dysentery, Leishmaniasis (black fever, sand fly disease), cholera and Scrub typhus (brought on by mites).
Living conditions, and tainted drinking water caused cholera and dysentary, which would inflict the already fatigued soldier with diarrhea and cause dehydration. Canvas water bags (lister bags) treated with clorine were hung around camp to give a fres supply of water, and many soldiers learned (some the hard way) the importance of a clean canteen and a clean mess kit.
Some soldiers got Dracunculiasis, or guinea worm disease, from drinking water infected with water fleas carrying the the guinea worm larva. The soldier would have no systems initially, but after about a year they would develop a painful burning feeling, usually on their lower limbs. The worm would then come out of the skin over a the next few weeks. This disease was usually deadly, but could you imagine trying to figure out why your skin was blistering only to learn it was from a drink of water you took almost a year before.
We know about these diseases, but people today can still get them from visiting countries where these diseases persist.
But in WWII many hadn't even heard of Dracunuliasis and for every two men saved on the battlefield two or more might die from disease.
Soldiers especially if taken prisoner and fed a staple of rice, also fought Beriberi, a vitamin B1 deficiency that caused a loss of feeling in hands and feet, vomiting, coma and even death.
Those who contracted Malaria carried it for years after, as their wasn't much to then to stop the disease from revisiting when it wanted.
Another disease that lasted years after the war, was PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or Syndrome,) even then we didn't talk about it as much as we do today. Like a mental malaria PTSD hung around and attacked uninvited long after the soldier had returned home, leaving soldiers to relive the atrocities of war over and over again. Pulling them from their now quiet existence back to the battlefield. And yes, like to today, there were those who took their lives to kill the echoes of war in their heads forever.
In Betrayed -- Trail of the Sandpiper Book #1, I talk about some of the pests and bugs on the island of New Guinea. And show some of what Trauma does. Lieutenant Tyler Merrick lives with reoccurring dreams from child hood and Pearl Harbor. And Justine Whitcomb is haunted by her own memories. Remember PTSD doesn't just hit a soldier who's been to war.
Justine Whitcomb, who, after the missionary compound where she lives is attacked, is left to get herself and several children off the island of New Guinea. Escaping might be easier done if she didn't have to get through Japanese lines and fight Lieutenant Tyler Merrick of the US Navy in the process.
Lt. Merrick is on a mission to find a rogue spy and Justine's independent nature and knowledge of the island has him believing she just might be the spy he's after. Were it not for the children she's protecting, he would've followed his instincts and taken her prisoner already.
Now she wants him to follow her through the jungle. He not certain he's ready to trust her. But, if they can't put their fears aside and learn to trust one another, they might not get off the island alive.
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Justine has seven children to get through enemy lines. Does she have to fight the US Navy too? Betrayed http://tiny.cc/BetrayedAM #ChrisFic