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encore
A Very Close Call
This U.S. Army nurse stationed in Germany questions her
purchases from a recent vacation in Greece after her packages
unexpectedly are delivered to the hospital.
I
n the early 1970s, I was a U.S. Army
nurse stationed in Landstuhl, Germany.
While there, another nurse and I de-
cided to go to Greece for a vacation. During
our stay in Greece, we bought hand-knit
wool sweaters, rugs, etcetera, and had them
shipped back to us in Germany.
Ten days after we returned from Greece,
I received a phone call from military cus-
toms. Our packages from Greece had ar-
rived, and we were ordered to immediately
come to the customs offi ce to sign for them.
I was the only nurse on my ward at
the time, and my friend was the head
nurse in the ICU, so I explained that we
couldn’t come right then. After several
terse exchanges, I said if we had to sign
for the packages immediately, someone
from the customs offi ce would have to Goodbye career.
come to the hospital. After digging through both bags, the
A half hour later, two MPs, an unfriend- MPs found nothing. I breathed a huge
ly looking dog, and two big burlap bags sigh of relief.
fi lled with our packages from Greece were However, several days later, the chief
by the nurses station on the second fl oor nurse of Europe came to the hospital for
of the hospital. an inspection. While waiting in the buffet
“Get that dog off the ward,” I demand- line at the offi cers club, I heard a voice
ed. The MPs didn’t budge, and we were behind me say, “Oh, so this is the nurse
directed into the ward master’s offi ce. involved in the drug search.” I turned
The MPs searched through the burlap around and was face to face with the
bags while my fellow nurses walked by, chief nurse of Europe and the chief nurse
clearly enjoying the spectacle. and CO of the hospital.
What possibly could be wrong with our My face defi nitely turned scarlet, but at
packages? I thought. least they were smiling! MO
I started getting an awful feeling:
What if the vendor in Greece slipped
— Susan Jayne Johnson is a retired Army
something extra into our packages for
major. She currently lives in Viroqua, Wis. For
being such good customers? submission information, see page 18.
1 1 2 M I L I T A R Y O F F I C E R M A R C H 2 0 0 9 ILLUSTRATION: ELWOOD SMITH
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