“The lives of prisoners of war after they are returned is almost never discussed, never explored.” – Gideon Raff
Ruby Bradley was born on December 19th, 1907 in Spencer, West Virginia, and would go on to become one of the most decorated women in U.S. Military history. In 1934, Ruby entered the Army Nurse Corps as a surgical nurse. Just a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, she was captured and in 1943 moved to and imprisoned in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Months went by as Ruby provided medical help to the prisoners. She would often hide food in her pockets to give to the children in the camp. By selflessly doing this, Ruby often went hungry herself. Ruby dropped so much weight, the extra room in her uniform gave her a place to smuggle medical supplies into the camp. With these supplies, Ruby was able to perform 230 operations and deliver 13 babies during her imprisonment.
U.S. troops rushed the gates of the camp on February 3rd, 1945. They rescued Ruby as well as her fellow prisoners. This ended her three years of captivity. Later, Ruby became a frontline Army nurse in evacuation hospitals in Korea. In 1963, Ruby retired from her U.S. Military service. Ruby is one of the brightest examples of perseverance one can give when talking about the word. In many situations that have the power to completely undo a person, Ruby pulled herself through and demonstrated just how truly impenetrable a disciplined mind can be. We celebrate her and honor her for displaying a level of integrity and perseverance that we all should strive for.
A list of Ruby Bradley’s military promotions are as follows: 16th October 1934: 2nd Lieutenant; 18th February 1945: 1st Lieutenant; 27th October 1945: Captain; 19th August 1947: Captain (RA); 15th May 1950: Major; 23rd July 1952: Lieutenant-colonel; 4th March 1948: Colonel.