Old Fort MacArthur Days - and My New Hobby!

Thursday, July 12, 2018
My get-up for the day, before my hair wilted and my makeup melted.
This past Sunday Alex and I went to Old Fort MacArthur Days at...you guessed it...Fort MacArthur.  the Fort is alllllll the way in San Pedro and every summer they have a living history event featuring different military activity across time and spanning many different cultures.  We saw military gatherings from Romans, to Vikings, to British Redcoats all the way to Vietnam soldiers.  And of course, my favorite period of history, WWII.  I don't come from a military background, I've never served, and don't really know a lot of people who have, but for some reason WWII military history has always been a big source of inspiration and something I've read a lot about.  That's even the whole reason why I got into one of my favorite shows, Outlander, in the first place.  In the first episode (and frequently throughout the first season) Claire is shown in the 1940s and we see her background as a combat nurse for the British army (though not in as much detail as I would have liked).

I'll back up just a bit -  A few weeks ago I stumbled upon some girls overseas who were in a living history / WWII reenacting group.  I loved their Instagram feeds and spend way more time that I would like to admit devouring everything.  On a whim, I decided to do a google search to see if there was anything like that in SoCal (spoiler: there are a LOT).  I stumbled upon the website for the California Historical Group and looked at a list of units to join.  I wrote to the 45th Field Hospital, and honestly did not expect a reply.  A few days later I received the warmest reply from the leader of the 45th, asking me to come meet them at the event at the Fort.  I instantly cleared my schedule to be able to go and check it out, and meet the gals.

45th Field Hospital equipment
WWII surgical instruments.
The event itself was incredible, and I had never seen anything like it.  The 45th Field Hospital encampment was set up right near the entrance and I met the gals before I did anything else.  Alex also came in the tent and met everyone (and I think they tried to recruit him as well...). Everyone was so warm and friendly, and I'm always so worried about meeting new people and being weird and awkward.  Everyone looked great and period appropriate (I'm a stickler for historical accuracy), and I was instantly excited to get started.  I'm pleased to say, I will be joining the unit for their next event, and purchased my insignia for my uniform yesterday! I'm on my way to becoming a member of the 45th. I also can't wait to share my journey with everyone, and also my trials and tribulations of being vegan in a WWII reenactment group...(which should be interesting). I also dropped by the WLA tent and learned to milk a cow (which was not a real cow, don't worry) and they also tried to recruit me.  It was very tempting...but I think my heart belongs to the nursing unit.

From the WLA (Women's Land Army) setup. So cute.

Further reading:
American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy
Reading this now, it's incredible.

And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II

From the WAC encampment. Didn't meet these girls - as you can see there's no one in there. Just missed 'em!
Alex (not period appropriate) in front of the beautiful view from the bluff.

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