The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines
When 26 Army nurses and medics boarded a cargo plane for transport in November 1943, they never anticipated the crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania that would lead to their months-long struggle for survival. A drama that captured the attention of the American public, the group and its flight crew dodged bullets and battled blinding winter storms as they climbed mountains and fought to survive, aided by courageous villagers who risked death at Nazi hands to help them.
An evacuation plane could be loaded and airborne within 10 minutes, usually with one flight nurse and one medical technician. A flight surgeon briefed the nurse on each patient's condition prior to takeoff, and during the flight she was responsible for the safety and comfort of the patients. Here, Lt. Katye Swope checks patients being evacuated from Sicily to Africa for further medical treatment in July 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)