FULL STORY: Honoring Our Men and Women

Monday, May 30, 2011 - 5:13pm

EL PASO - Today we remember everyone who has served our country, both on the front lines and off. Today we sat down with a World War II Navy nurse who rushed to her feet after the U.S.S. Indianapolis sank.

"I didn't want to stay in a small town like that and I was an only child and overprotected, you know," said Eva Jane Bolents, who was a small town nurse from Pennsylvania when she enlisted in the Navy Nurse Corps.

Everyday in her hospital she walked past Uncle Sam, knowing he was pointing at her.

"'We need you as a navy nurse, join the navy and see the world;' well that caught my hearing and I thought, 'Wouldn't that be something?'" Bolents said.

In her early twenties, and with the world at her fingertips, Bolents signed on the dotted line and then called her mother.

"She said, 'Eva Jane, do you know there is a war going on?' and I said, 'Yes, mother, that's the reason I joined.'"

Bolents completed her first tour in the states and remembers the day she heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"You were just 22 years old working in the operating room," she said, speaking from experience. "It came to my mind though, I wish I were there."

She eventually did get there, but not until 1942. Then her service took her to Guam.

"We didn't even know where Guam was, so we got the map out," Bolents said.

But it was no vacation.

"Just amputation after amputation," she said of her time there.

Shortly after Bolents arrived in Guam, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a cruiser that transported parts of the first atomic bomb, was hit by a Japanese torpedo and sank.

"They just came in, we took care of them," she said of the wounded soldiers. Many of the men aboard died instantly, and others were attacked by sharks. Though she didn't realize it at the time, Bolents was tending to the survivors.

"It was one of the best things I ever did, to sign on the dotted line to join the Navy Nurse Corps," Bolents said.

After she was discharged, Bolents continued to help others by becoming a teacher. And along with her infectious laugh, she never lost those memories of her time serving the country she loves.

Bolents often gives lectures about her time in the Navy. She turns 90 this September.

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