RUBY MOTLEY
US ARMY NURSE CORPS 1938-1946

Ruby Motley was born on 12-FEB 1906 in Huntsville Missouri north of Columbia, near Moberly.  Her father was Jasper Edom Motley (1870-1941) her mother was Della May Jamison (1877–1955).   Ruby had one brother and three sisters.  Ruby was reared on a farm near Huntsville. Her family moved to Columbia so they could attend the University of Missouri in Columbia.

In 1933 she graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in foods and nutrition, and entered the School of Dietetics at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, DC. After completing her internship in 1934, she remained on staff at Walter Reed for five years.

She was transferred to Sternberg General Hospital, Manila, Philippines, in February 1940. She served as a Second Lieutenant, dietician at Sternberg Hospital in Manila for two years prior to World War II.  Ruby was making plans to return home in January 1942.  Ruby recalled, she had volunteered to go to the Philippines about a year or two before her transfer because it “was the farthest you could go and I thought I would see more of the world that way. I had an opportunity to go to Hawaii before that, but I turned it down because I was fixed in mind for the Philippines.”

The Philippines were balmy green islands and a paradise for liberty, and the ratio of patients to medical personnel ensured a reasonable work schedule for the nurses assigned to the various Army medical installations on the islands.  For the Army nurses there, it was a time when duty hours were often shortened and they worked half shifts because of light patient load, and liberty opportunities were unlimited. Many of the nurses took advantage of their abundant free time to develop their golf or tennis game. Night life might consist of dinner and drinks at the Army-Navy Club in Manila, followed by evening gowns, dress uniforms, dancing, and entertainment at the popular Manila Hotel. In such a carefree atmosphere, romances flourished.

Then on 7-DEC 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Ruby was about to become one of the first U.S. Army nurses assigned to a battlefield.  For the rest of her story, click on the link below:

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Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at sccvetsmuseum@gmail.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.