World War ll Flight Nurses

Albanian rescue cropped
Author Sarah Sundin

Author Sarah Sundin

I’m excited to welcome our Guest Author, Sarah Sundin, to my blog today. Sarah has agreed to talk about some of the research she did for her latest historical novel, In Perfect Time. And she’s giving away a copy! But first, I’d like you to . . .


Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014), plus a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.


War brings change.

The chaos and necessity of wartime spurs innovation and raises up pioneers. In my Wings of the Nightingale series, I highlight some pioneering women—the World War II flight nurses.

World War II began seventy-five years ago this week—only thirty-six years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight. The development of enclosed transport planes in the interwar years made medical air evacuation realistic. But who would care for the patients in flight?

The women of the US Army Nurse Corps lobbied to train nurses for the job. They met resistance. The transport planes carried cargo and couldn’t be marked with the Red Cross, making them legitimate military targets. The planes flew into combat zones, sometimes under fire. Would the nation stand for seeing women in danger?

Even more revolutionary—the women would be in charge of the patients during the flight. Without a physician on board, the flight nurse would make all medical decisions in case of an emergency.

In late 1942, the US Army Air Forces established a training course for flight nurses at Bowman Field in Kentucky. The first medical air evacuation transport squadrons departed for the Southwest Pacific and for North Africa in February 1943, and the first air evacuation flight with trained flight nurses was flown in North Africa on March 10, 1943.

Flight Nurses loading

“Flight nurses loading” pic: “At the Army Air Force School of Air Evacuation at Bowman Field, Ky., student flight nurses learned how to handle patients with the aid of a mock-up fuselage of a Douglas C-47 transport. (U.S. Air Force photo)

During the war, the flight nurses proved the benefits of air evacuation and proved their own worth. They started IVs and oxygen, tasks reserved for physicians at the time. They treated shock and hemorrhage. One flight nurse even performed an emergency tracheotomy using improvised equipment.

They also showed their mettle in emergencies. Flight nurses and technicians successfully evacuated patients into life rafts after a ditching in the Pacific, unloaded patients from a burning plane after crash landing in North Africa, and loaded patients under enemy fire in the jungles of Burma.

One flight nurse was taken prisoner briefly by the Germans after crashing behind enemy lines, and another parachuted to safety in the mountains of China. In one dramatic incident, a plane carrying a dozen nurses from Sicily to Italy was blown off course and crash landed in Nazi-occupied Albania. With the help of Albanian partisans and Allied operatives, the crew, medics, and nurses all evaded capture and crossed snowy mountains to be rescued at the coast—a two-month ordeal. This incident inspired my most recent novel, In Perfect Time.

Albanian rescue

“Albanian rescue” pic: Flight nurses of the 807th MAETS showing off their worn-out shoes after their two-month ordeal behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Albania. 9 January 1944 (US Air Force Photo)

Through professionalism and courage, the women who served as flight nurses in World War II saved many hundreds of lives and comforted over a million sick and wounded servicemen.

Sundin - In Perfect Time

World War II flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, but C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper seems immune to her charms. Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings of the past in order to take hold of the future?


Sarah’s Website

Sarah’s Facebook Page


Congratulations to ALEX, who won the signed copy of In Perfect Time

Have you read any of Sarah Sundin’s books? Are you a World War ll fiction fan? What about it intrigues you?

81 responses to “World War ll Flight Nurses”

  1. Lynda E. says:

    Very interesting article! My grandmother was a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps, so I’m always interested in WWII nurses; this looks like a great read, especially given the inspiration behind it. Thanks for the giveaway! danandlyndaedwards (at) msn (dot) com.

  2. KayM says:

    I’m quit interested in reading about WWII. I’ve read many books through the years on this topic, but nothing recently. I do have one of Sarah’s books, but haven’t read it or any other book by her. this one sounds very intriguing.

  3. Deanna S says:

    I don’t think I’ve ready any of her books but this was such an interesting interview, WoW, would love to read this book! The Nurse’s were something special weren’t they? TY 4 the giveaway 🙂
    d_stevens310 (at)

  4. anne says:

    This is a fascinating post. I read many fiction and non-fiction about WW2 since it is my favorite era and period since I was born in the 1940’s. Also being Jewish this topic is of paramount importance, is meaningful and unforgettable. This book would be a treasure since it is a captivating subject which interests me greatly. Many thanks.

  5. Arnise Journey says:

    I absolutely love your books, and eagerly await their releases each time. God be with you and your family ( so thankful your hubby wasn’t hurt in the accident).

  6. Heather says:

    This book looks like a fascinating read! I love reading books about WWII, but I haven’t read any of them in a while, so I’d love to win “In Perfect Time.” Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Jan says:

    Loved the first two books in this series and have put a hold on it at the library but winning a signed copy would be even better. =D
    janlikessnailmail {at} gmail {dot} com

  8. Kerry Darnell says:

    I can’t wait for this book! Reading them makes me feel like I’m walking among the Greatest Generation.

  9. Mary Thrasher says:

    Love your books, can’t wait to get a copy of this one.

  10. Anita Jones says:

    This sounds very interesting! I’m an avid reader and always on the lookout for new authors!

  11. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win

  12. Kendra Whittle says:

    There’s a feeling of excitement, heroism, and romance – but also great fear and tragedy – associated with the WWII era that draws me to it all the time. Love Sarah Sundin’s books, and would love to win.


  13. Charlotte says:

    I have loved every book that I have read by Sarah. They seem so fitting of their time. My aunt was a nurse in New Caledonia during WWII. Different theater of the war, but the stories are touching and hard.

  14. Pat Johnson says:

    I very much enjoy learning & reading about this time period in history. Thanks so much!

  15. Becky D. says:

    When I was younger (they have all passed on now) I would sit and listen to my grandparents and those of my friends as well as my uncles tell stories of World War II. I listened so much to my uncle Fred that he left me his dress sweater and trench when he passed on. This has always been an era in time that intrigued me to wonder what it would have been like for me to be a nurse in those times. I can’t wait to read this new book. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

  16. Rebecca Hoover says:

    This is a wonderful article. Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite authors! I’ve always been interested in the WW2 era and I love how she brings it to life in her books. Thanks for the giveaway! My email:

  17. Sharon Timmer says:

    My Dad was in WWII so I love reading about it! I am just finishing Sarah’s 2nd book in this series, so I would love to win a copy of In Perfect Time

  18. Chris Bures says:
    I have been reading lots of WWII Historical Fiction and what interests me the most is their sheer determination/faith in God to get them through . . . mom would say their “metal”! I can’t wait to read Kay’s story. These women were very brave! Flight attendants/nurses in one . . . crazy amazing!
    Thanks for the article very interesting . . . makes me want to do more research! Blessings!

  19. Robin in NC says:

    I’ve not read any of Sara’ sbooks, but WWII stories are usually some of my favorites, so I would love to check out IN PERFECT TIME. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Morgan says:

    I love WWII fiction! I think it’s the history of it all that intrigues me. Wars in general have always held a particular fascination in my mind. They can be the backdrops of some amazing stories (fiction or non-fiction). And is seems to me that war often offers a unique way of looking at God – because I think many people realize during the hardest times that they can’t go on without Him – and they are sometimes more prone to turn to Him in distress. Sad that it takes battles and bloodshed to do that sometimes, but at least it gets people to think.
    Also, Sarah Sundin’s books are amazing!! I’ve read her Wings of Glory series, and they are my favorites! 🙂 I am very excited to read her newest Wings of the Nightingale series!

  21. Caryl Kane says:

    I haven’ t ready any of Sarah’s books. I do enjoy reading WWII era books. The tenacity of those in that era is amazing.

  22. Ellen Gray says:

    I have read all of Sarah Sundin’s other books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I am fascinated by what all the role brave men and women stepped up to fill during WWII. I am so glad they were there so we can have freedom today.

  23. Rebecca Maney says:

    I just purchased the first two books in this series and would love win a copy of the third; I have heard so many great things about this series!

  24. Alex says:

    I have not read any of her books yet, but I absolutely love WWII fiction (and historical fiction in general) so this sounds kinda perfect for me. 🙂 Thank you for the opportunity! [at] gmail [dot] com

  25. Sarah Sundin says:

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I’m glad you’re enjoying reading about these amazing women.

  26. Sara Johns says:

    I love WWII Fiction, so much history. I love Sarah Sundin’s books. I recently read On Distant Shores and have been eagerly anticipating In Perfect Time!

  27. Betsy Bumpus says:

    I am a big fan of WWII Fiction and Sarah Sundin. I have read all her books except In Perfect Time. This time in history is very special to me because of my parents. Anxious to get to read In Perfect Time and as many WWII novels as I discover.

  28. Meagan says:

    I have read several of Sarah Sundin’s books, and I have enjoyed all of them. I am excited about reading this one.

  29. Kate S says:

    Our next door neighbor served as a nurse in the Army and I only wish I had asked her to tell me more about her experiences. She was a wonderful nurse and mother.

  30. Nell Able says:

    It looks like a great story. It caught my eye b/c my mother was a nurse in the US Army Nurse Corps. I’d love to read this book, and will look for Sarah Sundin’s other books.

  31. Pen Mettert says:

    I love reading all kinds of historical fiction. The story behind this book and the book itself are both ver interesting to me.

  32. Pam K. says:

    I’ve read most of Sarah’s books, including the two previous books in this series. Sarah gives a lot of historical detail in a very natural way which makes it easy to learn more about history. One reason I enjoy reading about World War II is because several of my uncles served in the war, a couple in Europe and another in the Philippines.

  33. Beck Beck says:

    I am fixing to begin reading With Every Letter! I love the romance of the WWII era. Man dressed up and women wore beautiful dresses and makeup.

  34. Mary Struck says:

    I love World War II history and fiction. My Dad was a world war II vet and I have always wanted to know more about his role in the war. Any story about women’s contributions to the war effort has always interested me. I think they are over looked most of the time. How many know that women flew plane’s during the war. Not many I bet! Can’t wait to read this book. Sounds really interesting!

  35. Amy says:

    Wonderful blog! I love Sarah’s books! Once I start reading one, I can’t put it down. 🙂 Haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but I’m hoping to soon!

    amyputney89 [at] gmail [dot] com

  36. Melanie Backus says:

    Thank you for the very interesting post. The flight nurses were amazing and I know this book is too.
    I would love to read it!

    melback at cebridge dot net

  37. Cindy says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  38. Rhonda Lovell says:

    Would love to read this. Sure hope to win.

  39. Love reading Sarah’s books. Her writing places me in the heart of the story. Can’t wait to read this one!

  40. Hannah Petersen says:

    I’ve fallen in love with the world war ll fiction after discovering so many amazing books by Sarah Sundin. I have read all her books and cant wait to read “In perfect time” 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win! my email is: dogloverhp[at]icloud[dot]com

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