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K. Sue Roper

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Commander K. Sue Roper, USN (ret.) is a twenty-one-year veteran of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.  While on active duty she served at various duty stations within the continental United States and overseas, specializing in the fields of psychiatric nursing and education management. Commander K. Sue Roper is the editor in chief of the NNCA News, the official news magazine of the Navy Nurse Corps Association, and is the author of numerous magazine articles. Commander K. Sue Roper is Ruff’s War: A Navy Nurse.


According to the book description of Ruff’s War: A Navy Nurse, “Twenty-five years in the U.S. Navy had made Cheryl Ruff an independent, resilient, strong woman and a master at providing patient care in naval hospitals around the world. But nothing had prepared her for what she experienced on the frontlines of the 2003 war in Iraq as a member of Bravo Surgical Company. Known as the “Devil Docs,” they followed directly behind the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as they entered Iraq at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Right along with the Marines, Commander Ruff, the only female nurse anesthetist at the front, and the rest of her surgical team learned to endure the brutal conditions of the desert while regularly confronting questions of life and death.

Ruff's War: A Navy Nurse on the Frontline in Iraq
Cheryl Lynn Ruff  More Info

Working in temperatures well over 100 degrees in full MOPP gear, Ruff and her team set up mobile hospital tents in the sand wherever needed. As Black Hawk helicopters brought in steady streams of the wounded, Bravo staff found it impossible to maintain basic sterilization procedures, and cleanup often amounted to shoveling blood-soaked sand out of the tent. During surgery they frequently wore lighted helmets so they could continue operating when the generator failed and donned gas masks when warnings were issued. These horrific conditions, coupled with the gruesome images of shredded bodies and the cries of wounded children, became Ruff’s world. This is her story of the war, up close and personal. It is a story of sacrifice, survival, and courage, movingly written by women unconditionally dedicated to the life-saving mission of the United States Navy Nurse Corps.”

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