A Nurse In Iraq

News | March 5, 2015

Ann Hochhausen deployed with the 28th Combat Support Hospital to Iraq. Her lived experiences as an OB-GYN nurse, called upon in war to be the chief nurse of a Combat Support Hospital.

She will present Sunday during the learning hour, 10:45-11:30 a.m. in the Chapel. Hear and see, through story-telling and photos, the war through this lieutenant colonel’s eyes.

Below, Ann answers a few questions in advance of her presentation.

How did your time in Iraq affect the rest of your life? The initial two years after the Iraq deployment were the hardest. After returning to Ft. Bragg from a year in Iraq, the initial readjustment was all about getting used to quiet and solitude. During deployment we slept in large tents that held 20 or more people, there was never a moment when you were alone. Hundred kilowatt generators were constantly roaring – point being, there was no such thing as quiet. So, adjusting to living alone again took a while. A saving grace was being able to be with my little dog, Scout again. She was a soothing and healing presence for me.

How did the war/military service impact your faith? While deployed I was very much aware of how God was working through us to help save lives and to be of service to God’s people – all people – soldier or civilian, American, Iraqi, Syrian, Somali, adults, children…everyone. There were a couple of times I experienced what can only be described as a mystical experience – unexplainable, but clearly God-inspired. When I returned to the U.S., I went through a lot of stress, sadness, disappointment so for a while I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to belong to any church. I knew in time however, that the stress would dissipate and I could once again engage in a faith community.

How did you end up in the Quad Cities? I moved to the Quad Cities after my retirement from the Army because my youngest sister Gina lives here. Gina had been diagnosed with a serious type of cancer, had undergone a year of treatment, and had a reoccurrence. I decided it was time to move from Hawaii, my final duty station, and be closer to family. I’m originally from Cassville, Wisconsin, one of nine children and most live here in the Midwest.

What do you do now that you are retired from the military? I teach part time for Black Hawk College, I’ve done some traveling, love to hike, spend time with family and friends when I can. I married Marlin Whitmer just last June and he and I embarked on a big building and renovation project on my house in Bettendorf. Marlin is a retired Episcopal priest and long-time hospital chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital, Davenport. Marlin and I teach some classes and seminars together about The Healing Power of Listening as well as Learning the Language of Transition. We have a motto that we truly live by, “Love and Service” – that’s what we’re all about.

Leave a Comment