the Civil War Dr. Mary Walker was held for four months in a Confederate
prison camp, accused of being a spy for the Union Army. Doctor Walker is
the only woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Major Pauline Cushman was arrested and imprisoned by the Confederacy
and sentenced to hang for being a spy. The arrival of Union troops saved
her from the gallows.
Boyd (left) spied for the Confederacy by
carrying important letters and papers across enemy lines. She was imprisoned
in a Union prison for her espionage activities.
Nancy Hart served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy, carrying
messages between the Southern Armies. Nancy was twenty years old when she
was captured by the Yankees and jailed. Nancy gained the trust of one of
her guards, got his weapon from him, shot him and escaped.
During World War One both Edith Cavell and Mata Hari were
prisoners of war and were executed for being spies.
Often ignored by history is the story of the women prisoners of war
taken captive during World War Two. Sixty seven Army nurses and sixteen
Navy nurses spent three years as prisoners of the Japanese. Many were captured
when Corregidor fell in 1942 and were subsequently transported to the Santo
Tomas Internment camp in Manila, in the Philippines. Santo Tomas was not
liberated until February of 1945. Five Navy nurses were captured on Guam
and interned in a military prison in Japan.
In Europe U.S.-born Mildred Harnack-Fish, a German Resistance
fighter was captured, interned, and executed in Berlin's Plotzense Prison
Lieutenant Reba Whittle, an Army Flight Nurse was captured by
the Germans after her hospital plane was shot down, in 1944.
Agnes Newton Keith was imprisoned in several Japanese camps from
1941 until the end of the war. Her story was told in the movie "Three
Came Home" starring Claudette Colbert.
The true story of the women who were the wives and daughters of British,
Dutch and Australian colonialists and who formed a vocal orchestra while
prisoners of the Japanese in Sumatra was portrayed in the film Paradise
Road with Glenn Close.
During the Vietnam War Monika Schwinn, a German nurse, was held
captive for three and a half years - at one time the only woman prisoner
at the "Hanoi Hilton."
The following missionaries were POWs: Evelyn Anderson, captured and
later burned to death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972. Remains recovered and returned
Beatrice Kosin was captured and burned to death in Kengkok, Laos,
1972. Remains recovered and returned to U.S.
Betty Ann Olsen was captured during a raid on the leprosarium
in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968. She died in 1968 and was buried somewhere
along Ho Chi Minh Trail by fellow POW, Michael Benge.
Eleanor Ardel Vietti was captured at the leprosarium in Ban Me
Thuot, May 30, 1962. She is still listed as POW.
Operation Desert Storm saw the capture and imprisonment of an Army Flight
Surgeon, Major Rhonda Cornum and an Army Transportation Specialist-Sp4
To be sure there are many more women who have been prisoners of war.
Military women and civilian women from nations around the world, from wars
long forgotten, and from covert operations never revealed. They have been
denied recognition, denied awards and decorations, and denied their rightful
place in history. The American military refuses to acknowledge their combat
status. The American public thinks it never happened. The righteous radicals
leave it out in their rhetoric against women in the military.
Women while serving their country, have been wounded, have been imprisoned,
and have given their lives.
In all ways, women are veterans, too!