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Walcher Beulah Greenwalt “Peggy”

Beulah Greenwalt “Peggy” Walcher
Second Lieutenant
Serial Number:
United States Army Nurse Corps
Date of Death:
Bronze Star Medal

Beulah Greenwalt “Peggy” Walcher was born on December 6, 1911. She was barely out of nursing school when a friend urged her to join the Army to "see the world." She arrived on Corregidor, an island off the Bataan peninsula, in June 1941 and was a general-duty nurse at the military hospital there when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

"After Bataan fell, the Japanese started bombing and shelling day and night," she recalled for a 1983 article. "It was horrible." Most military operations on the island moved to Corregidor's Malinta Tunnel, and it was there that the nurses and more than 1,000 patients were captured in May 1942. "They didn't know what to think about us," she recalled of her Japanese captors. "They didn't expect any women."

Walcher was imprisoned for 33 months and nearly died of starvation before an American infantry division liberated the nurses in February 1945. She was married Bruce Walcher, who was also a prisoner of war, in 1946. They did not meet while prisoners. She met him when both were transferred to a Denver hospital. She was made a heroine in a William L. White book, "They Were Expendable." The book became a 1945 movie in which Donna Reed played "Peggy" and starred with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery. "It's a good story, but it's not me at all," Walcher said in a January 1946 interview. "The romance -- well, I guess the movie and books always have to have some love interest."

Beulah died on February 22, 1993 at the age of 81 in California but her current burial place is unknown.

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