U.S. Army – World War II
A humanitarian at heart, Ann (Deluchie) Jarocki went into nursing after graduating from Farrell High School in 1936. After completing her training, she joined the Red Cross “because they would send nurses to flood areas and hurricanes and tornadoes and I always wanted adventures.”
In 1941, she jumped at the chance to join the army, despite strong objections from her family. Lt. Deluchie served as a nurse in military hospitals in Ft. Lee, VA, and Ft. Benning, GA. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she was among the first to volunteer for overseas service.
On March 1, she and her fellow nurses boarded a 17 ship convoy in New York without knowing where they was headed. When they arrived at the Panama Canal, they knew they were going to the Pacific. Six weeks later they were setting up hospitals on the northeastern coast of Australia.
The American army was fighting the enemy who occupied most of New Guinea, less than 100 miles to the north. Casualties were flown in to the hospitals in Australia. Then, as U.S. forces advanced, Lt. Deluchie volunteered for transfer to a hospital on New Guinea. Although the enemy was being pushed back, they still had the capability of conducting air raids – sometimes even at night when the moon was full.
“The moon was so bright that when we were on night duty we would sit outside the tent and make our notes out there. I never saw such a beautiful moon in all my life.”
But because it was so brilliant, it made targets easily visible for air raids, so they called it the Bombers’ Moon.
After two and a half years in Australia and New Guinea, Lt. Deluchie was discharged from the army. Return from the war brought an end to her military service, but it didn’t diminish her commitment to humanitarian service. She became involved in the Mercer County Association of the Retarded (MCAR), serving as its first president, as well as a member of many committees.
She also volunteered continually wherever she was needed. She did blood pressure screenings at various locations in the Shenango Valley; was a ‘Polio Volunteer’ in 1954 with Dr. Jonas Salk, administering vaccinations and medications to control polio; was a school aide at Monsignor Geno Monti Elementary School, Farrell; and was a camp nurse for many years at summer camps for the mentally challenged.