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From: The News Journalhttp://www.news-journal.com/news/content/news/stories/09_232...
'A GI's nurse all the way': Former female POW dies at 90
By CHARLOTTE STEWART Saturday, September 23, 2006
Heaven has another angel. Lt. Col. Hattie R. Brantley of the much lauded and highly decorated Angels of Bataan died Wednesday [September 20, 2006] at the age of 90. Known as "H.R." to friends and family alike, she survived an agonizing two years, 10 months and 27 days as a prisoner of war in the Philippine Islands in 1942 when captured by the Japanese. "She was a GI's nurse all the way," said youngest brother Stanford Brantley. "She enjoyed working in a military hospital and taking care of the GIs. She felt they deserved the best comfort and care available â€” she did her best to give it to them. Her priority was good medical care for the GI."
H.R. Brantley would go on to make the Army her career, devoting 28 years to medical care for soldiers. The female counterparts of the famed "Battling Bastards of Bataan," the
99 Angels remain the only group of American military women captured and imprisoned by the enemy, according to the book "We Band of Angels" by Elizabeth Norman.
According to H.R. Brantley's friend, Bill Keith, this angel was "tough as nails yet gentle as a lamb." Keith, author of "Days of Anguish, Days of Hope," a book about prisoners of war in the Philippines, said he had heard of nurse Brantley before he met her. While ranching near H.R. Brantley's hometown of Jefferson, Keith said he finally had the pleasure of meeting her. She and brother Stanford became beekeepers, using Keith's ranch to grow the hive.
"She was really very quiet and unassuming," Keith said, "but she was absolutely brilliant and a very determined woman."
Most of her days as a POW were spent caring for fellow prisoners in the prison camp, which the Japanese had established at The University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Keith said. "I believe she saw to it they had as good of care as she could give them," he said, "and I believe she could
give them better care than most."
H.R. Brantley might have developed her stamina as a child growing up on a farm near Jefferson. She worked as hard as any of her brothers on the 112 acres, said Stanford Brantley, knowing all the while that she would one day become a nurse.
"She decided to be a nurse at a very young age," her brother said. Later the young woman who "loved to ride horses and wanted to see the world would end up eating horses," he said.
Above all else, Brantley said his sister was devoted to the art of nursing. Together with her college roommate, CeCile Bledso, she co-established the Bledso-Brantley endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund at their alma mater, Baylor University. "I want to stress that she was devoted to the field of nursing," Stanford said. "This was her lifelong dream, and she achieved it. She wanted to help other nursing students achieve that same dream."
The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Bledso-Brantley Endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund, in care of the Baylor University Gift office, 1 Bear Place No. 97050, Waco, TX 76798.