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McAlevey Alice May Zwicker

Alice May Zwicker McAlevey
Second Lieutenant
Serial Number:
United States Army Nurse Corps
Date of Death:
Brownville Village Cemetery, Maine

Alice May Zwicker McAlevey was born on August 6, 1917 in Brownville, Maine. She was the daughter of James Hibbert Zwicker and Mary Bartlett Zwicker. She was married twice, first to Robert Blezard Dameron then to Francis X. "Frank" Mcalevey. She served in the US Army Nurse Corps as a Second Lieutenant during World War II. Alice was one of the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor” – the US Army and Navy Nurse Corps women who served in the Battle of the Philippines in 1941-42. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, 11 Navy nurses, 66 army nurses, and 1 nurse-anesthetist were captured and imprisoned in and around Manila. They continued to serve as nurses in various POW camps until they were finally liberated in February 1945.

MacDougall, 81, who taught some of Zwicker’s nieces and nephews at the middle and high school in Milo, said he knew the story of her war experience but didn’t know much about her personal life after she returned home.

After Zwicker was diagnosed with tuberculosis twice, an aftereffect of working night shifts on the contagion ward at Santo Tomas, MacDougall wrote, doctors removed one of her lungs. While recovering, Zwicker experienced hallucinations or flashbacks from the war, he said. One time, she awoke to see a Japanese officer in full uniform, wearing a sword and staring at her from the foot of her bed, and she repeatedly saw a human heart beating in the upper corner of her room.

Her first husband, Robert Dameron, a Texan she had met in the internment camp, divorced her after her first tuberculosis diagnosis. She contemplated suicide at times, “struggling through what people call the dark hours of the soul,” MacDougall said, but she managed to turn herself around, showing the strength of her spirit.

While at the internment camp, the nurses continued to serve as a nursing unit. Although there were rumors back home of atrocities committed against the servicewomen – reports of rape and dismemberment – only one was physically molested, MacDougall said. For a while, her family didn’t even know whether Zwicker had survived the attacks on the Philippines when Japanese forces took over the country.

Alice Szwicker died on June 28, 1976 at the age of 58 in Brooklyn, New York and is now buried in the Brownville Village Cemetery, Brownville, Piscataquis County, Maine, USA.

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