Topics - Women (Military Personnel & Civilian)
Who Served Their Country During the Korean War
A Tribute to the Female Patriots Who Made
Contributions and Sacrifices to the War Effort in Korea
|Most recent update to this page, October 21, 2022
Wilma Ledbetter, fatality of the
sinking of the USS Benevolence
(Click picture for a larger view)
According to government records, there were 22,000 women in uniform when World War II ended and there were
some 120,000 on active duty during the Korean War. Roughly one-third of them were health care providers.
Female patriots volunteered for service in the Women's Army Corps (WAC), Women in the Air Force (WAF), Women
Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of Navy Women's Reserves (WAVES), and Women Marines. Those
who were medical personnel served in Korea in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH units), onboard hospital
ships, in MEDEVAC aircraft, and in hospitals in Japan, Hawaii, and the USA that were receiving the wounded
In June 1950 there was only one Army nurse (Capt. Viola B. McConnell) on duty in Korea.
By August of 1950 there were 100 Army nurses in Korea and by 1951 there were 400 of them. In 1950
there were only 1,950 regular and 440 reserve nurses on active duty in the Navy. That number peaked
at 3,200 on active duty in July 1951. Air Force nurses pulled their weight in Korea, too, and were
responsible for evacuating 350,000 patients from Korea by war's end. Stateside, mobilization of women
Marine reservists took place in August of 1950. Peak active duty women Marines during the Korean War
was 2,787. They stepped into leadership and administrative roles in non-combat areas to free up male
Marines for combat duty. For instance, in 1952, SSgt. Hazel A. Lindahl, a reservist from Boston, was
Camp Sergeant Major of more than 40,000 Marines at Camp Lejeune--the top enlisted post.
By 1952 the government deemed it safe to send WAC personnel to the Far East. About a dozen WACs
served in Pusan and Seoul in secretarial, translator and administrative positions in 1952-53, and there
was a WAC support system in Japan and Okinawa. In 1950 there were only 626 WAC personnel in the Far
East. By 1951 there were 2,604; 1952 - 1,791; and 1953 - 1,764. After the war (by June 30, 1954),
the number of WAC personnel in the Far East had dropped to 972.
Twenty American women lost their lives in the Korean War.* Not in uniform were female war
correspondents, some of whom went along with male troops to the front lines to cover combat action.
Several civilian women also died in the Korean War. Although
some female veterans rightly received decorations for their heroism, not all who deserved them got them.
All were volunteers, and all deserve our heartfelt thanks for acting on their patriotism by
joining their chosen branch of military service to help the war effort in Korea.
To add information or photographs or make corrections to this page of the Korean War Educator, contact
Lynnita Brown, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, Illinois 61953; ph. 217-253-4620 (home), 217-253-5171 (her
store); or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
*[KWE Note: Some references indicate that seventeen
women died while in service during the Korean War.
However, 20 died that the KWE can verify. There
is a common (and totally incorrect) "fact" as to who two of those female
fatalities were. Commonly listed as female
fatalities are two service personnel (SN Doris Frances Brown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and AB3 Kay Sherill Olatt of
Dexter, New Mexico) whose male gender was
mistaken for female gender due to their first and middle
names. Often online (and published book) lists for female Korean War casualties
mistakenly include Doris Brown and Kay Olatt. Doris "Dave" Brown, a World War II and Korean War veteran,
was a seaman on the USS Bairoko CVE 115 when he died May 13, 1951 in an accident.
He left a widow. Dave is buried in Great Lakes Naval Base Burial Ground, Lake County,
Illinois. Kay Olatt was an aviation boatswain's mate on the USS Kearsarge CV33 when
he died January 22, 1953. He was mortally wounded when an F9F aircraft discharged one
round of 20mm ammunition upon making a normal landing on the Kearsarge. Olatt was a
plane director on the flight deck when he was hit by that round.]
Table of Contents:
- Korean War 60th Anniversary Committee Statement
- Army Nurses during the Korean War
- Civilian Female Fatalities
- Bastin, Sister Therese
- Chang, Sister Agneta
- Clare, Sister Mary
- Devriese, Sister Mechtilde
- Edouard, Sister Beatrix
- Funderat, Mrs.
- Orchestraia, Helene
- Female Armed Forces Personnel - Decorated in Korean War
- Bronze Star recipients
- Brandvold, Capt. Florence Clara
- Cohen, Lt. Ruth M.
- Lange, Lt. Cdr. Estelle Kalnoske
- Lewis, Sgt. Margaret B.
- Liberty, Col. Frances Mary (WWII, Korea, 3 tours
- McConnell, Capt. Viola B.
- Thurness, Elizabeth Jane
- Torp, Capt. Mary Jane
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Distinguished Service
- Navy/Marine Corps Medal for Heroism
- Female Military Dentists/Surgeons/Doctors
- Female Armed Forces Personnel - Notables
- Air Force - Female
(Non-Nurse) Fatalities during the
- Nurses - Fatalities in the Korean War
- C-47D Crash, Haneda, Japan - July 1950
- USS Benevolence Tragedy - August 1950
- Kwajalein Airplane Crash - September 1950
- Beste, Eleanor Clara (USN)
- Boatman, Marie Margaret (USN)
- Clarke, Jeanne Elizabeth (USNR)
- Eldridge, Jane Louise (USN)
- Esposito, Constance R. (USN)
- Giroux, Alice Stella (USN)
- Goodwin, Calla Virginia (USNR)
- Heege, Constance Adair (USNR)
- Kennedy, Margaret Grace (USNR)
- Liljegreen, Mary E. (USN)
- Rundell, Edna June (USN)
- C-54D Skymaster Medical Aircraft - September 1950
- C-47 Skymaster - December 1952
- Cessna - Twin Engine (civilian) - September 04, 1951
- Nurses - USS Benevolence Tragedy
- Brennan, Marie Rita
- Deignan, Mary
- Dyer, Mary Eileen
- Fralic, Jean C.
- Harkins, Catherine Nina
- Harrington, Eleanor Elizabeth
- Karn, Patricia Ann
- Ledbetter, Wilma
- Lipuscek, Marie
- Martin, Ruth Whitmell
- Matthews, Gail Celeste
- McCarthy, Josephine Elizabeth
- Neville, Rosemary Clare
- Venverloh, Dorothy J.
- Wallis, Helen F.
African-Americans in Korean Theatre & Elsewhere
- Cleveland, Maj. Nancy Leftenant
- Decker, Capt. Evelyn
- DeVoe, Lt. Edith Mazie
- Hicks, Lt. Mattie Donnell
- Peace, Lt. Nancy Greene
- Richardson, Lt. Claudia
- Hospital Train Nurses
- The "Lucky Thirteen"
- Original 121st Evacuation Hospital Nurses
- Add-A-Female Korean War Veteran
- Female Military Dentists/Surgeons/Doctors/Technicians
- Women's Medical Specialist Corps
- Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO)
- Special Services
- Post-War Korea
- Reference Material - Women in Korea
- SPARS in the Korean War
- WACs in the Korean War
- African-American Servicewomen in the Korean War (COMING
- War Correspondents
- News Clippings
(Click a small picture for a larger view. If you want, click the first picture, or any picture, and sit back and watch a slideshow... pictures will automatically change in 10
Back to Page Contents
Korean War 60th Anniversary Committee Statement
"As the nation commemorates the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended formal
hostilities on the Korean peninsula, we pause to remember the critical role of women in the Korean War.
Just two years before the North Koreans invaded South Korea, on June 12, 1948, President Harry S. Truman
signed Public Law 625 which opened the door for women who wanted to serve their country in peacetime,
establishing a permanent place for women in all branches of the military, primarily in nursing and non-professional
Women’s integration into the Armed Forces had grown during World War II when there were shortages
of qualified males. From the earliest days of World War II, they had contributed at all levels. They
had been POWs; they had been wounded; they flew planes, planned strategies, nursed the casualties and
died for their country. The basic training regimen for women during World War II included full-kit (i.e.,
four-pound helmets, combat boots, 30-pound packs, mess kit and gas mask), 20-mile hikes, poison gas
and lethal chemical identification; small arms training, and basic combat survival skills, such as navigating
obstacle courses under enemy fire, digging fox holes, and dismantling or detonating incendiary devices.
This rigorous training prepared them to serve in a myriad of roles, ranging from airplane pilots and
mechanics, to control tower operators, truck drivers, aerial gunnery teachers, logistics chiefs, cryptographers
and intelligence officers. After World War II the country shifted its focus from war to peacetime and
the military began to downsize. At the same time, societal norms governing the role of women reverted
to pre-War attitudes. This role-reversal was not lost on the military which implemented policies that
channeled women into non-professional positions and subjected them to classes in etiquette and make-up.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, there were just 22,000 women in uniform. The military rushed
to draft, call up and recruit needed manpower. When these efforts came up short, the services asked
American women to leave their homes and jobs and families and serve their country in its time of need…just
as in previous wars. This time, however, they were steered into clerical and administrative positions,
so-called “pink-collar” jobs: All that is, except the nurses.
When President Truman ordered troops into South Korea, within a few days the Army Nurse Corps was
also there. When General MacArthur landed at Inchon, Army Nurse Corps officers also went ashore
on the very same day of the invasion. The 13 Army nurses of the 1st MASH and those
of the 4th Field Hospital made the landing and by the end of 1950 over 200 Army Nurse Corps
officers were in Korea.
Anna Mae Hays and Lillian Kinkela Keil are just two of the thousands of military nurses who were
on active duty when the Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. More than 700 Army nurses served in the MASH
units; more than 4,000 Navy nurses served on hospital ships; dozens of Air Force nurses served on MEDEVAC
Army Nurses During the Korean War
[KWE Note: This section is not the work of the Korean War
Educator. It is material from an Army military website.]
25 Jun 1950 Capt. Viola B. McConnell was the only Army
nurse on duty in Korea at the start of hostilities. Assigned to
the United States Military Advisory Group to the Republic of
Korea, Captain McConnell escorted nearly seven hundred American
evacuees, mostly women and children, from besieged Seoul to
Japan aboard the Norwegian freighter Rheinhold, a ship which
normally had accommodations for only twelve passengers. The crew
members gave up their quarters for the infants and children.
Captain McConnell assessed priorities for care of the evacuees
and worked with a medical team organized from the passengers,
including one United Nations nurse, one Army wife (a registered
nurse), six missionary nurses, and one medical missionary (a
woman doctor described by Captain McConnell as "magnificent-and
she worked long hours. . . we will be ever grateful to her for
her assistance"). Captain McConnell requested assignment back to
Korea from Japan. She later returned to Taejon to aid in the
care and evacuation of the wounded men of the 24th Division.
Captain McConnell was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her
heroic performance of duty in assisting with the evacuation of
Americans from Seoul and, later, the Oak Leaf Cluster to the
Bronze Star Medal for her outstanding service in Korea.
27 Jun 1950 President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. air
and naval forces into the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
1 Jul 1950 The first U.S. Army combat units landed in
Korea after U.S. ground forces were ordered into the fighting in
South Korea on 30 June 1950.
5 Jul 1950 Fifty-seven Army nurses arrived in Pusan,
Korea. They helped set up a hospital and were caring for
patients by the following day. Two days later, on 8 July 1950,
twelve Army nurses moved forward with a mobile Army surgical
hospital (MASH) to Taejon on the perimeter. By August, more than
one hundred Army nurses were on duty in South Korea in support
of United Nations troops. During the first year of the Korean
conflict, the strength of the Army Nurse Corps increased from
3,460 on 15 July 1950 to 5,397 in July 1951.
Throughout the ground fighting until 1951, and during the
prolonged peace negotiations that lasted until 27 July 1953,
approximately 540 Army Nurse Corps officers served throughout
the Korean peninsula. They served in twenty-five medical
treatment facilities, such as mobile Army surgical hospitals;
evacuation, field, and station hospitals; and hospital trains.
Army nurses supported combat troops during the amphibious
attack and landing on Inchon in western Korea, well behind the
Pusan beachhead line; the advance across the 38th Parallel
toward North Korea in the west; the amphibious landing on the
east coast of Korea pushing toward the Yalu River, the northern
boundary of Korea; and the disastrous defeat when they were
forced to retreat well below the 38th Parallel. Their support
continued as allied forces pushed back the Chinese, regaining
practically all of South Korea plus a few hundred square miles
north of the parallel. Maj. Gen. Edgar Erskine Hume, Surgeon,
United Nations Command and Far East Command, paid tribute to
Army nurses in Korea:
"Members of the Army Nurse Corps have all distinguished
themselves by their devotion to duty, their utter disregard of
working hours, and their willingness to do anything that needs
to be done at any time. They have displayed courage, stamina and
determination. They have completed every task with which they
have been confronted in a superior manner."
No Army nurse was killed due to enemy action in Korea, but
the story of the Army Nurse Corps in the Korean War would not be
complete without mention of the tragic and untimely death of
Maj. Genevieve Smith of Epworth, Iowa. Major Smith, a veteran of
World War II, was among the victims of a C47 crash while en
route to her duty assignment as Chief Nurse in Korea.
Aug 1950 The Army Nurse Corps was exempted from the
Army-wide requirement that all commissioned officers hold or
achieve a baccalaureate degree. The majority of registered
nurses nationwide were graduates of a three-year hospital
(diploma) program. By August 1950, only two years had passed
since the last of 124,065 Cadet Nurse Corps participants had
Relatively few degree-completion programs were
available for diploma graduates. Nonetheless, the goal set in
1950 was for Army Nurse Corps officers to complete an accredited
program leading to an undergraduate degree, preferably in
5 Sep 1950 The first course in nursing administration,
which later became the Military Nursing Advanced Course, was
established at the U.S. Army Medical Field Service School, Fort
Sam Houston, Texas. The twenty-week course included principles
of nursing administration, current trends in nursing, principles
of supervision and teaching, hospital organization and
functions, personnel administration, psychology of leadership,
and orientation to all departments of an Army hospital.
Maj. Elizabeth Pagels became the first Army Health Nurse to
be assigned to the Preventive Medicine Division, Professional
Service Directorate, Office of the Surgeon General, to assist
with issues related to the practice of Army health nursing.
2 Feb 1951 The fiftieth anniversary of the Army Nurse
Corps was observed throughout the world.
26 Jun 1951 The American Red Cross awarded the
cherished Florence Nightingale Medal to Col. Florence A.
Blanchfield (Ret.), seventh Superintendent of the Army Nurse
Corps, "for exceptional service on behalf of humanity rendered
through the Red Cross."
29 Jun 1951 Department of Defense (DOD) Directive
750.041 (renumbered 1125.1) established a definitive policy on
the utilization of registered nurses in the military services.
Registered nurses were to be relieved of custodial and
housekeeping duties and clerical, food service, and other
nonnursing functions in patient care areas. The DOD directive
also instructed the various military medical services to
institute programs to train and utilize more practical nurses
and other nonprofessional nursing service personnel in staffing
for patient care.
Even before the Department of Defense policy was established,
plans were being developed and projects had been initiated under
the aegis of management improvement which would work toward
solving the problems of defining and staffing the nursing
service. The studies ultimately resulted in the reorganization
of nursing service in Army hospitals. Duties and functions of
registered nurses were defined. A 48-week pilot course of
instruction for enlisted personnel on the practical nurse level
had already been instituted in 1949. On-the-job training
programs were developed for both professional and
nonprofessional nursing personnel. As a result of concerted
efforts to comply with the DOD directive, Army Nurse Corps
officers were authorized, after 8 September 1953, technical
control of enlisted personnel assigned to nursing service.
11 Aug 1951 The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in
the Services (DACOWITS) was established by the Secretary of
Defense to interpret to the public the role of women in the
services and to promote acceptance of military service as a
career for women.
30 Sep 1951 Col. Mary G. Phillips retired. Colonel
Phillips was the first Chief of the Army Nurse Corps to complete
the statutory four-year appointment as Chief of the Corps. Among
the honors received by Colonel Phillips was the Legion of Merit
on 23 October 1945 for her outstanding service as First
Assistant to the Superintendent, Army Nurse Corps.
1 Oct 1951 Col. Ruby F. Bryant became the ninth Chief
of the Army Nurse Corps. Colonel Bryant was the second graduate
of the Army School of Nursing to serve as Chief of the Corps.
Jun 1952 A career guidance program for Army Nurse
Corps officers was established in the Office of the Surgeon
General. Capt. Harriet H. Werley was assigned as the first
career guidance counselor.
Civilian Female Fatalities
Countless female Korean and Chinese women died in the Korean
War, but their names are not known and thus not listed in this
section of the KWE's Women In Korea page. The following
women were each taken prisoner of war and died while in
captivity. It should be noted that the fate of Helen
Orchestraia is not officially known.
Died in Captivity
- Bastin, Sister Therese - She was a a Carmelite
Nun from Viton, Belgium. Born in 1901, she was 49 when
arrested in July 1950 and perished November 30, 1950 at
Hanjang-ni North Korea. When World War I broke out she was
just 13 when the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914. She became
a member of “La Dame Blanche” a secret underground group.
Several were executed by the Germans and she was arrested in
1918 but released for lack of evidence. She made socks for
others as a prisoner in North Korea but her health kept
declining and she knew her end was near. She was with the
Carmelite Convent in Seoul when arrested. She is included in
a military museum in Belgium.
- Chang, Sister Agneta -
Born September 25, 1906, Korea. Sister Mary Agneta Chang
came from a Korean family which had been Catholic from the
time of persecution in the 19th century and included at
least one martyr among her mother’s ancestors. Her father
spoke Korean, Japanese and English fluently and provided
education in the United States for two of his daughters as
well as his sons. He was a friend of the Maryknoll Fathers
from their foundation in Korea in 1923, as well as the
Maryknoll Sisters. Her brother, John Chang, served as
delegate to the United Nations, ambassador to the United
States for the Republic of Korea (RIJK), and as
Vice-President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
for brief terms. Sister Agneta was assigned to Korea in
1925, after completing novitiate training at Maryknoll, NY.
She did parish and catechical work in Uyju and taught Korean
language to her Maryknoll Sisters. She had natural gifts for
art and music, sewing and embroidery, and became proficient
in English. She was attracted to the Scriptures and
contemplative Saints and authors. After five years in Uyju,
she went to Japan to the College of the Religious of the
Sacred Heart for further study, obtaining a A.B. degree in
1935. The Korean community of the Sisters of Our Lady of
Perpetual Help (OLPHS) was started in the Maryknoll Diocese
of Pyong Yang in 1931. Four Maryknoll Sisters were involved
in the formation of this group and Sister Agneta joined them
on completion of her studies. Sister Agneta remained with
this community until her death. Early in the 20th century,
Japan had annexed Korea. After the outbreak of war between
Japan and the United States in 1941, the American Sisters
were repatriated. Sister Agneta was left alone to continue
the work as novice mistress to the young community. During
these years she found herself cut off from Maryknoll and in
charge of 29 women with insufficient funds in a time of food
shortages and high inflation. For a short time between the
surrender of the Japanese to the Americans in Seoul in 1945
and late 1948 she again had contact with Maryknoll,
receiving letters and supplies through her family in Seoul.
Russian troups had entered northern Korea before the end of
World War II, accompanied by an army of Korean Communists.
When the Russians pulled out in 1948, the Communists
remained in control. The Sisters, middle-class and educated,
attracted their enmity and experienced their more intensive
use of investigations, inspections and residence checks.
Sister Agneta, because of her American ties and her brother
John’s position as diplomat, merited special suspicion.
Sister Agneta did not risk appearing in public. On May 14,
1950, the last building used by the Perpetual Help Sisters
was taken over by the government, and each Sister, dressed
in lay clothes, left for home. Sister Agneta’s health was
poor, she had previous back surgery. Sister Peter Kang,
OLPHS. accompanied her as she took refuge in various
villages, the last being Songrimri, about 25 miles from
Pyong Yang. On June 25, it is alleged that the DPRK invaded
the ROK with initial success. By October, the United Nations
forces began to drive northward, reaching the 38th parallel.
On October 4, 1950, a representative of the Communist
military mobilization office came for Sister Agneta,
demanding that she help care for wounded soldiers. Sister
Peter pleaded in vain that Sister Agneta was ill and unable
to walk. Neighbors were forced to help load her bed on a
waiting ox cart. Sister Peter tried to follow, but was
turned away. Sister Agneta’s final moments remain unknown,
but a group of women were said to have been executed and
hastily buried in a mass grave. The site was never located. [Source:
- Devriese/Devrise, Sister Mechtilde -
Carmelite nun from Belgium. Born 1888, she was captured July
15, 1950 and died in captivity on November 18, 1950 at
Hanjang-ni, North Korea. She was serving in the St.
Paul de Chartress Orphanage in Seoul, South Korea. She was
born Godelieve Devriese in Ypres, Belgium. She is included
in a Military museum in Belgium. While a prisoner she taught
the children with that group several languages.
- Edouard, Sister Ann Marie Beatrix -She
was a Carmelite nun from France who served in the St. Paul
de Chartres Orphanage in Seoul. Born in 1874, she was 76
years old and in frail health when she was captured at Seoul
on July 17, 1950. She
was shot to death on the Tiger Death March on 3 November
- Funderat, Mrs. -
She was a White Russian living in South Korea. She was a
widow and 69 years old when arrested in July 1950. She was
born in 1881. She was shot to death on the Tiger Death March
on November 3, 1950. Commissioner LORD, Salvation Army of
England, was actually pulling her along with a rope and was
told to leave her by the roadway.
- Orchestraia, Helene - She was a Polish Korean
arrested in July 1950. She worked for the Foreign Traders
Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. The North Koreans used her
as an interpreter. She was last seen in Pyongyang, North
Korea and disappeared never to be seen again.
- Whitty, Sister Mary Clare (Mother Mary Clare).
She was an Anglican nun born in Ireland on May 30, 1883 at
her grandparents' home, Fenloe House, near Newmarket-on-Fergus,
County Clare. Her birth name was Clare Emma Whitty.
Her family moved to England when she was a young child.
Clare Whitty worked as a teacher in England before joining
an Anglican religious order, taking the name Sister Mary
Clare when she professed. She came to Korea in the
mid-1920s and established the Order of the Holy Cross, of
which she became Mother Superior. She was captured on
July 2, 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War and was shot
to death on the Death March, November 6, 1950.
Back to Page Contents
Female Armed Forces Personnel - Decorated Korean War
Air Medal recipients
- Brown, Capt. Vera Maude (posthumous)
Captain Vera Maude Brown, AN763137, distinguished herself
while performing the duties of Flight Nurse on unarmed
transport aircraft airlifting urgently needed military
supplies and personnel into the battle area of Korea and
airlifting sick and wounded personnel from Korea to Japan.
Despite adverse weather conditions, hazardous terrain, and
threat of enemy attack, Captain Brown successfully completed
ten (10) missions from Japan to Korea and return. By
her courage, ability, and devotion to duty, Captain Brown
has brought great credit upon herself and the United States
Bronze Star recipients
- Brandvold, Capt. Florence Clara
A member of the Army Nurses Corps, Captain Brandvold was born April 13, 1908 to L.H. and Karen Amundson
Brandvold in Waseca County, Minnesota. She graduated from Waseca High School and then the
Swedish Hospital School of Nursing. Florence enlisted in the Army in 1944 and served until
she retired in 1964. She was awarded the Bronze Star medal for her service with the Mobile
Army Surgical Hospital, 8067th Army Unit, in Korea from July 24, 1950 to May 1951. She completed
three overseas duty tours, including a 13-month tour of duty in the Korean combat zone. After
Korea she was assigned a duty station at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. She died January 26, 2005 at
Austin (Minnesota) Medical Center at the age of 96, and is buried in LeSeuer River Cemetery.
She was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and two sisters and was survived by one
sister Evelyn Luella Marquardt of Austin, Minnesota, and nieces and nephews.
- Cohen, Lt. Ruth M.
Navy nurse Lieutenant Cohen was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service from September 1950
to July 1951 onboard the hospital ship USS Haven. She received her nursing degree from
Mt. Sinai Hospital, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Teachers College,
Columbia. Immediately after serving on the USS Haven she was assigned to the U.S. Navy
Hospital Corps School at San Diego.
- Coleman, Maj. Eunice - See Lucky Thirteen
- Cubria, Maj. Mercedes O.
Mercedes O. Cubria, a WAC, was promoted to Major and
deployed to Japan, where she continued to work in
military intelligence. When the Korean War ended in 1953
Cubria was given a medical discharge, and was awarded
the Bronze Star Medal for "meritorious achievement in
ground operations against the enemy". "Mercedes O.
Cubria was born in 1903 in Guantanamo, Cuba. Her family
moved to the United States when she was young. In 1924
she became an American citizen. Cubria worked as a
nurse, rancher and interpreter before America’s entry
into World War II. Cubria joined the Women’s Army Corps
in 1943 and earned a commission as a second lieutenant.
She traveled to Oxford, England, to train in
cryptography. She served as a codes and ciphers officer
and security officer in the 385th Signal Company. Cubria
served later in the 322nd Signal Company until the end
of the war. She supervised dozens of men and women in
her code room and set up other code rooms, facilitated
the withdrawal and re-coding of compromised information,
and determined personal requirements for coding
equipment. After World War II, Cubria promoted to
captain and served in the U.S. Army’s Strategic
Intelligence Division in the Caribbean. She was the
first woman to serve in active duty in the Panama Canal
Zone. She promoted to major after America’s entry into
the Korean War, and deployed to Japan to serve as an
analyst in the Intelligence Division at the Far East
Command. Cubria medically discharged from the Army in
1953 and received a Bronze Star Medal. After the Cuban
Missile Crisis in 1962, Cubria was recalled to active
duty in the Army to help debrief the many refugees
fleeing Cuba. She prepared reports for military
intelligence that would assist the Army and Central
Intelligence Agency, and also helped many refugees find
housing, employment, and education over the next 11
years. Her work with the refugees earned her a Legion of
Merit, and she promoted to lieutenant colonel. She
retired from service in 1973 before earning a second
Legion of Merit. She spent the rest of her life in
Miami, Florida, where she passed away in 1980. In 1988,
the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame posthumously
inducted her. We honor her service." [Source: VAntage
Point, website of the VA, published October 15, 2020.]
- Ladner, Col. Goldie M.
Born July 05, 1929, she was a colonel in the US Air
Force Nurse Corps in Korea and Vietnam. She
received the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.
Colonel Ladner died March 14, 2009 and is buried in
Alexandria Memorial Gardens, Woodworth, Louisiana.
- Lange, Lt. Cdr. Estelle Kalnoske
Navy nurse Lange was born December 06, 1904 and was trained at St. Agnes School of Nursing in Philadelphia.
She received the Bronze Star for service between August 1950 and March 1951 onboard the
After her assignment on the Consolation she was assigned to duty as assistant chief nurse at the
US Naval Hospital, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. She died July 21, 2002
and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- Lewis, Sgt. Margaret B.
Margaret Burns Lewis was born April 17, 1930, a daughter of Clarence
B. Lewis and Carolyn A. Lewis. She graduated
from Media High School in the Class of 1948 and then joined the Women's Army Corps, where she served
in the 71st Signal Service Battalion. In April 1951 she was the chief clerk in General Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan, and married Navy veteran John Robert Snelling that same month in Tokyo. John
(1929-2004), was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Arthur Snelling of Florence, Kansas. During the years
of their short marriage (Margaret Snelling died of
cancer at the age of 26 in 1957), they were the parents
of three children: John R. Snelling Jr., Marjene Snelling Neve, and Nadine Snelling Boiling. Margaret
is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Aston, Pennsylvania. Following her death, her husband John
remarried and he and his wife Elizabeth had two more children, BethAnn Snelling Penner and William
R. Snelling. John R. Snelling died July 25, 2004 and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Florence,
Kansas. Peggy served as a WAC from October 09,
1948 until August 28, 1951.
- McConnell, Capt. Viola B.
She was the only Army nurse in Korea when the war broke out in June 1950. It became Captain
McConnell's job to arrange and manage the evacuation of hundreds of people from Korea to Japan.
Many of the children were suffering from health conditions which required regular nursing care,
and our women were pregnant and near their due dates. For helping to evacuate nearly 700 Americans
to Japan, Captain McConnell was awarded the Bronze Star.
- Thurness, Elizabeth Jane
See "The Lucky Thirteen" section of this web page
for further details.
- Torp, Capt. Mary Jane
Mary Jane Torp was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on
December 31, 1922. She was the second daughter of Klemet
Olesen and Anne Sutherland (Guthrie) Torp. She was the
recipient of a Bachelor of Science in Education from
Northern State T.C. in Aberdeen. Captain Torp was
employed at Kabat-Kaiser Institute, Washington, D. C.,
from June 1948 to June 1950. She was a veteran of World
War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Recipient of the
Bronze Star in 1954, she retired from the Armed Services
in 1969. She served as Assistant Professor and
instructor of Physical Therapy at the University of
Oklahoma from 1970-1972, and after that time served
numerous volunteer community tasks including docent at
the Oklahoma City Zoo from 1972-77. She authored,
"Poliomyelitis: Functional Progress Report of Fifty
Cases Approximately 5 Years-Post Onset.", Physical
Therapy Rev. 33: 351-358, July 1953. In 1954
she was awarded a Bronze Star. Her siblings were
Thaddeus L. Torp (1931-1997), Louise Amanda Torp Redman
(1928-2019), Elizabeth Torp Hinkle, and Guthrie L. "Bud"
Torp. Captain Torp died May 27, 1988 and is buried
in Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis,
Back to Page Contents
Silver Star Recipients
Distinguished Flying Cross Recipient
Bonham, Jonita Ruth
Jonita (Bonnie) Bonham at Pusan, Korea, 1950
(Click picture for a larger view)
Lieutenant Bonham was born on April 2, 1922 in Bennington, Oklahoma, and joined the Army Air Corps,
where she was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Medical Corps. She served in the Philippines
and Japan after World War II, and then returned to the United States, resigning from active military
When the Korean War broke out she rejoined the military, this time as a 1st Lieutenant in the United
States Air Force. On September 26, 1950, she was serving as a flight nurse with another nurse,
Vera Brown, in a C-54 cargo plane that had been converted into an emergency hospital. Bonham
and Brown were two of three medical team members on the flight that day. About a half mile
from shore the plane stalled, descended, and slammed into the Sea of Japan, breaking into three
pieces and sinking.
Bonham, who was completely submerged in the aircraft, managed to fight her way to the surface, where
she found herself swimming for her life in a sea churned up by high winds. She hung onto a
floating barracks bag until she was able to grab a life raft rope. She stayed in the water,
grabbing other survivors and guiding them to the rope. It was not until 17 of them were safe
that she allowed herself to be pulled into one of two available rafts. Although she was seriously
wounded, she forgot about her own injuries as she encouraged panicked survivors to stay in the raft
until rescue. Unfortunately, nobody at base operations knew that the plane had crashed.
Once rescued, Bonham spent nine months in the hospital recovering from a broken cheek bone, skull
fracture, broken shoulder and broken left wrist. She was transferred to Maxwell AFB for further
recovery, and there she became the first female recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Soon thereafter she was promoted to Captain.
The Cavalcade of America radio program aired a story, "The Nurse Who Forgot Fear"
about her on April 9, 1952, and articles about Jonita appeared in Everywoman's Magazine and
Reader's Digest. Jonita Bonham later married Col. Clifton Willard Bovee (1913-2007) and they
had children Tony Bovee, Greg Bovee, and Renee Bovee. She lived for many years in Colorado
Springs, spending the last six months of her life in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her daughter.
She died of cancer there on December 24, 1994.
[See also: "Extraordinary People in Extraordinary Times: Heroes, Sheroes, and Villains" by
Patrick M. Mendoza."]
Bonham's Distinguished Flying Cross citation:
Autographed photo of Jonita receiving DFC by Gen. George Stratemeyer, Tokyo
(Click picture for a larger view)
First Lieutenant Jonita R. Bonham performed meritorious service and distinguished
herself while acting as Flight Nurse in medical air evacuation flights totaling one hundred seventy
(170) hours from 25 July to 26 September 1950. Lieutenant Bonham flew in unarmed cargo type aircraft.
On many occasions these aircraft were operating in and out of advance airfields which were being
subjected to enemy fire; transporting ammunition, rockets, bombs and other types of high explosives
and inflammable material, under adverse weather conditions and over hazardous terrain. Despite these
conditions, Lieutenant Bonham carried out her missions willingly and without complaint, continually
comforting and caring for her patients. By her courage, ability and unselfish devotion to duty,
Lieutenant Bonham has reflected great credit upon herself, her profession and the United States
- Brown, Vera M.
The posthumous awarding of a Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Brown is mentioned in
A Fit, Fighting Force: The Air Force Nursing Services Chronology
(Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, Washington,
D.C. 2005). The Korean War Educator located the
citation for her award in copies of her records sent
from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
On 18 October 1950, Headquarters, 801st Medical Air
Evacuation Squadron issued the following posthumous
"During the period 10 August 1950 to 26
September 1950, Captain Brown flew a total of 146 hours
in order to attend sick and wounded personnel in aerial
flight. Both in Japan and in the Korean Combat
zone, Captain Brown flew in unarmed cargo type aircraft.
On many occasions these aircraft were transporting
ammunition, rockets, bombs, and other types of high
explosives and inflammable materials, leaving no margin
for air crew error. Despite adverse weather
conditions, hazardous terrain, and at times, the threat
of enemy attack, Captain Brown carried out her missions
willingly and without complaint, continually comforting
and caring for her patients, many of whom were on their
initial flight. Because of her devotion to duty,
loss of life and limb was appreciably reduced.
While departing from Ashiya Air Force Base, Japan, on 26
September 1950, Captain Brown was fatally injured in an
The award was presented on January 11, 1951 to
Captain Brown's mother by Colonel Thomas H. Holbrook,
Commanding Officer, 2587th Air Force Reserve Training
Center, Birmingham Municipal Airport.
Navy/Marine Corps Medal for Heroism
- Barnwell, Barbara Olive
Born in 1928, she was the first female Marine to be awarded
this medal for saving a fellow Marine from drowning in the
Atlantic Ocean near Camp LeJeune in 1952. She received
the award on August 7, 1953.
Female Military Dentists/Surgeons/Doctors/Medical
- Adams, Fae M. - 1st Lieutenant Adams was the
first woman physician appointed to the Regular Army Medical
Corps. She was appointed in March 1953.
- Bowen, Clotilde Dent - She went on to became the
U.S. Army’s first black female physician to attain the rank
of colonel in 1955.
- Ethier, Bernice - She spent three years of her
life as a WAC during the Korean War as a dental technician.
She grew up on a family farm in West Virginia. She met
Donald Ethier, a fellow dental technician, at Ft. Dix. Two
weeks later they married. Bernice was the first woman and
Korean War veteran to serve as commander of the Brockton
Veterans Council in 1900. She was a longtime volunteer at
Brockton VA Medical Center. Bernice died in May of 2016 and
Donald died in 1994.
- Krout, Sara Gdulin - Sara Gdulin studied dentistry
in the Ukraine and Latvia before moving to Chicago,
Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois
College of Dentistry and obtained her dental license in
1924. She married a psychologist, had a daughter, and
then opened a private practice in Chicago. She joined
the WAVES as a Lieutenant. She was an active duty
dentist at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station from
1944-46. She remained in the US Naval Reserve until
retiring as a commander on December 01, 1961. After
serving in the WAVES she served on the staff of the Women
and Children's Hospital of Chicago. She was a member
of the Association of Military Surgeons.
- Myers, Dr. Helen E. - She was the first woman to
serve as an Army dental officer. She was commissioned
into the Army Dental Corps with the rank of Captain.
A 1941 graduate of Temple University, she reported for duty at Fort Lee, Virginia, on March 21,
Back to Page Contents
Female Armed Forces Personnel (serving during the Korean War) - Notables
- Abdellah, Faye Glenn
- Abdellah was a professor of nursing arts,
pharmacology, and medical nursing at the Yale University
School of Nursing from 1945 until 1949. From 1950 until 1954
she served in active duty during the Koran War, where she
earned a distinguished ranking equivalent to a Navy Rear
Admiral, making her the highest ranked woman and nurse in
the Federal Nursing Services at the time. Following the war,
she served as a visiting professor at the University of
Washington; the University of Colorado, Boulder; and the
University of Minnesota. In 1981, she was appointed deputy
to Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, making her the first
nurse and woman to serve as Deputy Surgeon General of the
United States. As Deputy Surgeon General, she
frequently served as an alternate ex-officio member of the
Board of Regents at the United States National Library of
Medicine (NLM), and contributed to policies that shaped NLM
programs, services, and NLM's Long-Range Plan for 1986-2006.
She served as Deputy Surgeon General until her retirement in
1989. Following her retirement, Abdellah taught as a
professor at the College of Nursing at the University of
South Carolina; and established and served as the acting
dean of the first federal graduate school of nursing at the
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).
[Source: Wikipedia]. Born March 13, 1919,
she received her nurse's degree from Fitkin Memorial
Hospital in Jew Jersey. he was the recipient of five
Distinguished Service Medals. She retired in 1989
after a 40-year career in the United States Public Health
Service. She died February 24, 2017.
- Blake, Esther M.
- Staff Sergeant Esther M. Blake was the first woman in
the Air Force. Enlisting the first minute of the first hour
of the first day the Air Force authorized women’s
participation, she remained on active duty until 1954.
Sergeant Blake served almost 10 years in the military during
World War II and the Korean War. Initially spurred to join
the US Army Air Forces when both of her sons were listed as
missing in action, she remained in the military due to her
strong sense of patriotism.
- Blatt, Margaret Erdsman -
At the time of her retirement on July 31, 1962, Margaret Blatt was stationed at Murphy Hospital in Waltham,
Massachusetts and became the highest ranking woman to be cited for the 1st
Oak Leaf Cluster for the Army Commendation Medal for
exceptionally meritorious service during the period April
1956 to July 1962. She
was also the recipient of seven Bronze Stars and nine
overseas stripes for combat service. Born on December
20, 1911, a daughter of William H. and Grace Blatt of
Freedom, Pennsylvania, Margaret graduated from high school
around 1929 and entered the Army Nurse Corps
on January 4, 1941, in Rochester, Pennsylvania. She served in World War II from
March 1942 to September 1945 in the southwest Pacific area
from Australia to the Philippines. She first served in
Australia, then New Guinea. After that she served one
and a half years in Manila, leaving there August 30, 1945 to
report to New Jersey for future assignment. From March to
September 1946 she was engaged in transport duty from New
York to Southampton and LeHavre, France, making a round-trip
every month with a complement of 15 nurses and 15 WACS to
bring back groups of war brides and their babies, and
orphans. She served in the Korean War from August 1950
to February 1952 at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Korea.
In October of 1950 she was promoted to the rank of major.
In June of 1952 she was a member of the Defense Advisory
Committee for Women in the Service, and was decorated at Ft.
Myers, Virginia with an Army Commendation Ribbon and medal
pendant for meritorious service while serving as the
assistant chief nurse and administrative supervisor of the
nursing staff at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Korea from
September 25, 1950 to February 9, 1952. After duty in Korea and then completing the administration
course at the Army Medical School at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas,
Margaret served from April of 1956 to April of 1958 as
assistant chief nurse, 5th General Hospital, US Army, in
Europe. She also served as chief nurse during the
absence of that officer in Stuttgart, Germany. In
September of 1961 she was serving as Chief of Nursing
Service, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Aberdeen, Maryland. She
ended her long career as an Army nurse during a ceremony at
the Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1962, and then retired to
her new home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her siblings
included a sister Mary Blatt of Freedom, Pennsylvania
brother Richard B. Blatt (1906-1974) and his wife and daughter
Christine of Brighton Township, Pennsylvania; and retired
colonel and brother Dr. John Frederick Blatt (1902-1967) of
Scottsdale, who had served in the
US Army Medical Corps for 30 years, was the recipient of the
French Croix de Guerre and Legion of Merit, and was an
orthopedic surgeon. John's wife was Maryetta L. Blatt
(1912-1982). Margaret E. Blatt
died April 3, 2002, and is buried in the National Memorial
Cemetery of Arizona at Phoenix.
Col. Ruby Bradley
One of the most decorated women in US military history was Col. Ruby Bradley. Born December
19, 1907, Colonel Bradley died May 28, 2002 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery. She entered the
Army Nurse Corps as a surgical nurse in 1934. She served in World War II and then in Korea she
served as chief nurse for the 171st Evac Hospital before being named Chief Nurse for the Eighth Army
in 1951. She supervised over 500 Army nurses throughout Korea. She was promoted to the rank
of Colonel in 1958. She was the recipient of 34 medals and citations for bravery, 2 Legion of
Merit Medals, 2 Bronze Stars, and other awards. Bradley began her service in the Army Nurse Corps as
surgical Nurse in 1934. Her risky service followed on 1941,
while assigned at Camp John Hay, Philippines. Only three
weeks after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Bradley was
captured, and tended to fellow captives after being moved to
Santo Tomas Interment Camp on 1943, in Manila. There, she
and several other nurses were given the name “Angels in
Fatigues” for feeding starving children and risking their
lives in smuggling surgical equipments into the POW camp so
as to provide medical aid. The U.S. Army liberated Bradley
and the rest of the captives from the Japanese three years
later, and then, she headed back home to West Virginia.
However, military service has not yet ended in the
Philippines for Bradley. She went back to the battlefield as
chief nurse of the 171st Evacuation Hospital during the
Korean War only after 5 years. In 1951, Bradley became chief
nurse for the Eight Army, shouldered the responsibility of
supervising 500 Army Nurses all over Korea, wherein she had
to face near-death situations while ensuring the sick and
wounded were safe. Ruby Bradley managed to escape 100,000
Chinese soldiers holding guns on her back, and ambulance
exploding right after she’s gone off it.
Col. Bradley’s military service lasted three decades, and
retired in 1963. Her life ended on May 28, 2002 due to heart
attack, but her courage and valor remain. [Excerpted from
the website "25 Famous Nurses".]
- Brewer, Margaret A.
Born in 1930 in Durand, Michigan, Brewer joined the United States Marine Corps in January of 1942 after
receiving a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of Michigan. By March of 1952 she
was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, making her the first Woman Marine to attain
flag rank. [Source: A Few Good Women, page 266.]
- Carroll, Sallie Laura Elmira - Born in Washington
on June 14, 1932, Major (Retired) Carroll was a pioneering
female competitive pistol shooter from the mid-1950s through
the early-1970s. After tours with the Air Force and Marines
(1952 to 1960), she joined the U.S. Army in 1960. While in
the Marines, she started shooting NRA three-gun pistol
competition. In 1964 she was stationed in Orleans, France,
and was a member of the COMZ Team that competed in the
USAREUR Pistol Championship Matches. Major Frank Conway,
Commander of the USAREUR Marksmanship Unit, selected her to
become a member of the USAREUR Pistol Team that competed in
the “All Army” Matches at Fort Benning, Georgia. She
continued on to the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio,
where she was the 1964 NRA Ladies National Champion--the
first of four National Women’s Championship titles. In
1965, she was the first female pistol shooter assigned to
the Service Pistol Team of the U.S. Army Marksmanship
Training Unit (USAMTU) at Fort Benning, Georgia. The
following year, Major Carroll began competing in
International style pistol events. She had the distinction
to be the only American woman to beat the women of the
Russian Pistol Team during the 1970 World Shooting
Championships. Major Carroll won a total of 17 International
individual and team medals during her shooting career.
Additionally, Major Carroll was awarded the United States
Distinguished International Shooter Badge in 1970 and the
U.S. Army Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge in 1971. She
retired after a tour in Vietnam, followed by an extensive
hospital stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
Washington, DC and a brief tour at Fort McClellan, Alabama.
Major Carroll was a 1994 charter member and a Life Member of
the Military Marksmanship. Major Carroll died
September 11, 2014 in Arizona and is buried in Ash Fork
- Clark, Mildred Irene
- Born January 30, 1915 in Elkton, North Carolina,
Mildred I. Clark graduated from Baker Sanatorium Training
School for Nurses in Lumberton, North Carolina in 1936.
She enlisted in the US Army in March of 1938 and then
trained and graduated from the Jewish Hospital in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1940 as a nurse anesthetist.
She was assigned to Pearl Harbor and was there during the
infamous Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. She set
up a nurse anesthetist training program in Hawaii before
being rotated back to the States. She was then
assigned to Korea as Director of Nursing in the Army of
Occupation. She initiated a training program for
Korean nurses there. She was promoted to Chief Nurse
of the Far East Command in Tokyo. When the Korean War
broke out she and Maj. Edgar Hume established the 8054th and
8055th MASH units. In 1955 she was assigned as the
Procurement Officer in the Surgeon General's office.
In 1963 she was appointed Chief of the Army Nurse Corps.
She was promoted to Colonel and retired in 1967. She
died in 1994.
- Cochran, Jacqueline
- After developing a successful line of cosmetics,
Jacqueline Cochran took flying lesson in the 1930s so that
she could use her travel and sales time more efficiently.
She eventually became a test pilot. She helped design the
first oxygen mask and became the first person to fly above
20,000 feet wearing one. She set three speed records and a
world altitude record of 33,000 feet -- all before 1940. She
was the first woman to fly a heavy bomber over the Atlantic.
She volunteered for duty as a combat pilot in the European
Theater during World War II, but her offer was rejected. She
trained American women as transport pilots in England for
the Air Transport Auxiliary of the Royal Air Force. Upon
return to the United States, she oversaw flight training for
women and the merging of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying
Squadron into the Women's Airforce Service Pilots in July
1943. She was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in
1945 for her service in World War II. After the war, she was
commissioned in 1948. She became the first woman to break
the sound barrier in an F-86 Sabre Jet in 1953 and went on
to set a world speed record of 1,429 mph in 1964. She
retired from the Air Force Reserve as a colonel in 1970.
[Source: US Army, Donald Wagner, April 13, 2017]
- Conder, Maxine
- Rear Admiral Conder was born April 22, 1926 in Bingham
Canyon, Utah. She earned her nursing diploma in 1947
from St. Marks Hospital School of Nursing, Salt Lake City,
Utah. She served in the US Navy from 1951 to 1979.
During the Korean War she served aboard the hospital ship
USS Haven off the Korean coast and in a naval hospital on
Guam. She also had several stateside assignments and
was promoted to Captain in 1970. She was director of
the Navy Nurse Corps from 1975 to 1979. She was the
second woman promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the
- Cuddy, Susan Ahn
- Born January 16, 1915 in Los Angeles, she was the
daughter of Dosan Ahn Changho, a a key member in the
founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of
Korea in Shanghai in 1919. Ahn Chang-ho is considered to be
one of the key moral and philosophical leaders of Korea
during the 20th century. Ahn is the family name; Dosan was
his pen name, by which he was also known. Ch'i-sam was his
birth name, later changed to Changho aka Chang-ho. Dosan Ahn
Changho and his wife Hye Ryon "Helen" Lee were the parents
of noted Korean-American actor Philip Ahn, US Navy aerial
gunnery officer Susan Ahn Cuddy, actors Philson Ahn, and
Ralph Ahn, and Soorah (Sarah) Ahn Buffum. Susan was
the first Asian-American woman to join the United States
Navy during World War II. She became a Link Trainer,
instructing aviators in air combat tactics. She became
the first female gunnery officer in the US Navy, teaching
naval aviators how to fire 50-caliber machine guns.
worked for the US Navy Intelligence, the Library Cf
Congress, and the National Security Agency (NSA). She
retired as a Lieutenant.
She died June 24, 2015 in Northridge, California and is
buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery.
- Dewitt, Winnie Gibson Palmer
- Winnie Gibson was born December 15, 1902 in Itasca,
Texas, daughter of Emmett Reeves Gibson (1864-1938) and Mary
Elizabeth Mayfield Gibson (1871-1905). She graduated
from Seton Hospital, Austin, Texas, in May 1923 and worked
in civilian hospitals for seven years. She became a
registered nurse in December 1930. After joining the
United States Navy Nurse Corps in 1930, she served at Naval
Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Naval Hospital,
New York City. In January 1934, she attended the School of
Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine at University of
Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for instruction in anesthesia.
In May 1934 she was assigned as Operating Room Supervisor
and Anesthetist at Naval Hospital, New York City, and was
subsequently assigned to the same duties at Quantico,
Virginia. In 1937, she was assigned to the USS Relief(AH-1).
After her tour on the Relief, she was assigned as
Anesthetist at Naval Hospital, Mare Island, California, and
then as Anesthetist and Operating Room Supervisor at Naval
Hospital, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She was at Naval Hospital,
Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941. In following tours, she
was assigned as Chief Nurse at the Naval Hospitals in
Jacksonville, Florida; Annapolis, Maryland; and Houston,
Texas. Her last tour before being selected as Director was
as Chief Nurse, U.S. Naval Hospital, Naval Medical Center,
Guam, Marianas Islands. She served as the second
director of the US Navy Nurse Corps from 1950 to 1954.
During the Korean War, Captain Gibson presided over a Nurse
Corps that was required to involuntarily recall Reserve
nurses at the rate of 125 per week and "freeze" those on
active duty. She retired from active duty on 1
May 1954, and the same year she married Horace Dutton Palmer
(1893-1972). Captain Gibson retired to Ohio, then to
Texas. She died on 21 July 2000, and is buried at Restland
Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas. Her siblings were John
Stafford Gibson (1891-1948), Dulcie C. Gibson Beedy
(1893-1970), Mayfield Gibson (1896-1982), Bennie Gibson
(1898-1929), Dona Virginia Gibson Covington (1900-1958),
Wayne Gibson (1902-1998), and Mary Elizabeth Gibson Shorter
- Dicks, Jeannie
- This former Sacramento,
California meter maid was a co-founder of one of the
nation's first advocacy groups for female veterans.
Founded under the name "WAVES National" (Women
Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1978,
the organization was created to bring women together
from all sea services. The name later changed
to "Military Women Across the Nation". Born in
1934, Jeannie graduated from Gustine High School in
Merced County, California, and then joined the Navy
in 1952. She took boot camp training in
Bainbridge, Maryland and became a Navy cryptologist.
After her marriage to Edgar Elledge in February
1953, she became pregnant with her first child and
had to leave the military service that summer.
At that time in history pregnant women could not
remain in the military. Jeannie later married
Joe Palermo and Ralph Dicks, both of whom died
before her. At her death (age 82) on December
31, 2016 in San Diego, she was survived by her
husband Ralph Dicks.
- Duerk, Alene Bertha -
Born March 29, 1920 in Defiance, Ohio, Alene Duerk was in the Navy Reserve when she was recalled to
active duty in March 1951. For three months she was a
nurse on a ward for head injury patients at Naval Hospital,
Portsmouth, Virginia. After that she was asked to
teach in corps school on the Portsmouth Naval Hospital
compound--a duty she held for five years
throughout the Korean War. A veteran of World
War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, Duerk was
the first woman to be appointed Rear Admiral in the U.S.
Navy (1972). She died July 21, 2018. Among her many achievements
• Ohio Governor's Award, 1973
• First Nurse Corps Officer assigned as Special Assistant to
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health and Environment,
• Chief, Nursing Service, U.S. Naval Hospital, Great Lakes
• Director of Navy Nurse Corps, 1970-1975
• Director, United Services Life Insurance Company
• Director, Visiting Nurses Association, and Foundation,
• Member, Navy Nurse Corps Association
- Galloway, Irene Otillia - "Quiet-spoken and more
conservative than her predecessor, Irene Otillia Galloway
had a strong personality and a reputation for sincerity and
skilled performance of duty. She had graduated with the
second WAAC OCS class, September 1942, and had served at
WAAC headquarters at the Pentagon; at Headquarters, Army
Service Forces; and with the G-1 Career Management Group.
From June 1948 to October 1952 she was assigned as WAC Staff
Adviser, U.S. Army in Europe. In November, she was selected
to replace the commander of the WAC Training Center, who was
resigning her commission to get married.52 Colonel Galloway
reported to Fort Lee on 24 November 1952 and within two
weeks was notified she had been selected to be the new WAC
director. On 3 January 1953, in Secretary Pace's office, she
was sworn in as the director of the WAC and promoted to
temporary colonel." [Source: Army Historical Series,
The Women's Army Corps, 1945-1978 by Bettie J. Morden,
Chapter 4. Center of Military History, US Army]
- Griffin, Sarah -
LTJG Sarah Griffin was recalled to duty making history as the only Navy nurse amputee serving on
active service. Throughout the Korean War, LTJG Griffin served as a physical therapy nurse in Naval
Hospital Oakland’s amputee center. LTJG Sarah Griffin’s work at Naval Hospital Oakland served
as the inspiration for an episode of the CBS television series
Navy Log in 1956. The episode, entitled,
“Not a Leg to Stand On”, featured actress Veda Ann Borg as LTJG Griffin.
Sarah Josephine Griffin was born in Alabama. She
graduated from West End Baptist Hospital in Birmingham in
1943. She joined the Navy Reserves on January 5, 1944
and received orders to North Africa the next year. She
transferred from the Reserves to regular Navy after the end
of World War II. After a stay in the States she
receive-d orders to Guantanamo, Cuba. Part of her left
leg had to be amputated after she fell 25-30 feet down a
cliff. She was discharged from the Navy and then was
reactivated to the active Navy in order to help amputees in
the Naval Hospital Oakland (California) Physical Therapy
Department. She served there from October of 1950 to
January of 1953. She was married in November of 1952
and retired from the Navy in January 1953.
- Hallaren, Mary A. - By the end of 1952, Col. Mary
A. Hallaren had completed almost six years as director of
the WAC. She had led the effort to obtain Regular Army and
Reserve status for WACs. She had directed the procedures for
assimilating WACs into the regular and reserve components
between 1948 and 1950; supervised the revival of WAC
recruiting and the opening of the WAC Training Center; and
led the Corps through most of the Korean War. After leaving
the directorship, she served on active duty for another
seven years before retiring in 1960 at age 53.49 At Colonel
Hallaren's retirement, Col. Mary Louise Milligan, then the
director of the WAC, summarized: "She had symbolized the
highest traits of character and service which I am certain
General Marshall visualized when he planned for American
women to serve in our Army. It was due to her outstanding
leadership and service that our organization was made a
permanent part of the Regular and Reserve forces of our
Army. [Source: Army Historical Series, The Women's
Army Corps, 1945-1978 by Bettie J. Morden, Chapter 4.
Center of Military History, US Army] Colonel
Hallaren was born in 1907 and died in 2005.] She was
the first woman to join the WACS in 1952 and served as
- Hamblet, Julia Estelle - Born on May 12, 1916 in
Winchester, Massachusetts, Julia joined the Marine Corps
Women's Serve in 1945. By 1945 she was commanding
2,600 women in an aviation group at Cherry Point, North
Carolina. She became the director of the Marine Corps
Women's Reserve 1946-48. In 1953, at the age of 36,
she became the new Director of Women Marines, taking the
place of retired colonel Katherine A. Towle. She
served in that capacity from 1953 to 1959. She retired
from the Marine Corps in 1965 and died April 17, 2017 in
- Hancock, Joy Bright - Captain Hancock was born in
1898 and died in 1986. She joined the Navy in World
War I and then the WAVES in 1942. She became the
director of WAVES 1946 to 1953. The following bio
appears on the Arlington National Cemetery website:
"Commissioned as a lieutenant in the Navy's Women's Reserve
(commonly known as WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer
Emergency Service) in 1942, Capt. Joy Bright Hancock became
one of the first women to be sworn into the regular Navy
following the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act of 1948.
She served in both world wars and became the director of the
WAVES in 1946 and was promoted to captain shortly
thereafter. When Capt. Hancock retired from active duty in
1953, she received the Legion of Merit for her contributions
to the WAVES. The following year, she married Vice Admiral
Ralph A. Ofstie (with whom she is buried) and accompanied
him on his 1955-'56 tour as commander of the Sixth Fleet.
She published her autobiography, "Lady in the Navy," in
1972. (Section 30, Grave 2138-RH)"
- Hartington, Pauline - "A pioneering leader in the
Navy. A much-loved aunt. A golfing enthusiast. Dog lover.
Friend. Pauline M. Hartington was a disciplined commanding
officer for much of her 87 years. She was born in
Providence, RI. On July 14, 1931, to Augustine and Katherine
Hartington. A graduate of Classical High School and the
class of 1953 of Rhode Island College of Education, where
she received an honorary doctorate in 1983. Pauline joined
the Navy as an Ensign after graduating from R.I.C.E. and had
a long and illustrious career living and working in many
different parts of the U.S. She loved her work in the Navy
and was a frequent speaker on the importance of work,
character, and the great gift of being an American. Always a
patriot, she passed away on the Fourth of July. She was the
first woman to attend the National War College in D.C., the
first woman to work as Secretary to the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and was commissioned as Rear Admiral in 1981, the
second woman in the history of the Navy to rise to that
rank. Her last command was leading the Naval Training Center
in Orlando, Florida. Pauline retired from the Navy in 1984
and spent many years enjoying Orlando, the Orange Tree Golf
community (where she was known as the “Sheriff of Orange
Tree”) and her beloved dogs. Always active, she did her own
yard work until two years ago and enjoyed giving everyone
orders until the end. She is predeceased by her parents, her
sister Frances, and her brothers Leo, Raymond, and Albert.
Surviving her are her sister Rita Denton (nieces and nephews
Emily, David, Jenny, and Mark); her sister Evelyn and
brother-in-law John Boatwright (nieces and nephews Laura,
Chris, John, and Tim), and Frances’ children (Bob, Judy,
Peter, and Jeff) and 16 great nieces and nephews. She is
also survived by her dear friend and companion Donna R.
Martin. The family would like to thank Vesta Harlow and the
staff of Solaris Healthcare Windermere for their care during
the last two years and the Hospice staff over the past two
weeks. A burial service will be conducted at Arlington
National Cemetery in Washington D.C. at a date to be
determined." [Source: Obituary]
- Hartley, Lillian - Lillian May Hartley was born
September 2, 1914 in Iowa. She moved to Washington,
D.C. where she worked at the Pentagon while the Pentagon was
being built. She enlisted in the Marine Corps on
February 24, 1943 and served in the Accounting and Paymaster
Division of the USMC. In 1953 she and Ruth Wood became
the first women to enter the Marine Corps warrant officer
program. She retired with the rank of Warrant Officer
in February 1965 after 22 years of service. She died
in June of 2013 and is buried in Iowa Veterans Cemetery.
- Hays, Anna Mae V. McCabe -
Commissioned in the Army Nurse Corps in 1942, Anna Mae
Hays served in a hospital unit during World War II. When War
broke out in Korea, she mobilized with the 4th Field
Hospital in 1950 and participated in the Inchon Landing. The
hospital unit cared for more than 25,000 patients during the
next 10 months, one night receiving 700 wounded men. On June
11, 1970, she became the first woman in military history
to attain general officer rank. On March 12, 2013 she was inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation
Hall of Fame. [Source: Korean War 60th Anniversary website. See also VFW Magazine
special edition, "Women at War From the Revolutionary War to the Present", 2009, page 14.]
Brigadier General Hays died in January 2018 at the age of
97. Included in her obituary was this reference to the
Korean War: "She went to Korea after war broke out there in
1950, serving with the 4th Field Hospital, one of the first
medical units to arrive at Inchon after the U.N. invasion of
the Korean peninsula’s west coast. “I think of Korea
as even worse than the jungle in World War II because of the
lack of supplies, lack of warmth in the operating room,”
Hays told an interviewer at the Army Military History
Institute in 1983. In particular, she remembered the
intensely cold weather and “the many, many patients who were
severely wounded and those patients who were so acutely ill
from hemorrhagic fever.”
- Hoisington, Elizabeth Paschel - General
Hoisington was born November 03, 1918 in Newton, Kansas.
Army General. One of the first two female soldiers to become
general officers. In 1940 Hoisington graduated from the
College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In 1942 she enlisted in
the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs), later called the
Women's Army Corps (WACs) and was assigned to the Aircraft
Warning Service in Bangor, Maine. After completing Officer
Candidate School and receiving a commission, she deployed to
Europe, serving in France after D-Day. She remained on
active duty after World War II, commanding WAC units in
Japan, Germany and France, and serving in staff assignments
in San Francisco and at the Pentagon. In 1966 she became
Director of the Women's Army Corps, serving until her 1971
retirement. On June 11, 1970, Hoisington and Anna Mae Hays,
Director of the Army Nurse Corps, both received promotion to
Brigadier General, making them the Army's first two women
generals. General Hoisington's awards and decorations
included the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the
Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and the Army
Commendation Medal. She was the sister of Air Force Major
General Perry M. Hoisington II (1916-2006). Elizabeth
P. Hoisington died August 21, 2007 in Springfield, Virginia,
and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- Holm, Jeanne M. - The following bio appears on
the Arlington National Cemetery website: "U.S. Air Force
(1921-2010): The first woman to serve as a major general in
the U.S. armed forces, Maj. Gen. Holm had a long and
distinguished career in the Air Force. She enlisted in the
Army in 1942, soon after the establishment of the Women's
Army Auxiliary Corps (WAC). She transferred to the Air Force
in 1949 and was appointed director of Women in the Air Force
(WAF) in 1965. During her tenure as director, policies
affecting women were updated, WAF strength more than doubled
and job and assignment opportunities greatly expanded. Her
awards include the Distinguished Service Medal and the
Legion of Merit. (Section 45, Grave 245)"
- Hopper, Grace Murray - Rear Admiral Hopper joined
the US Naval Reserves in 1943 during World War II, becoming
a member of the Bureau of Ordinance Computation Project.
She became the third programmer of the Mark I, the world's
first large-scale computer. That computer was 51 feet
long, 8 feet high and 5 feet deep. "Amazing Grace"
rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in November of 1985.
She died in 1992 and is buried in Arlington National
Cemetery. Her bio on the Arlington National Cemetery
website reads: "U.S. Navy (1906-1992) — Rear Admiral Grace
Hopper was a mathematician and a pioneer in computer
science. At a time when few women pursued science or
engineering degrees, Hopper earned her Ph.D. in mathematics
from Yale University in 1934. She was a professor of
mathematics at Vassar College (her undergraduate alma mater)
until 1943, when she joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a
lieutenant. Assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation
Project at Harvard University, Hopper worked on Mark I, the
first large-scale automatic calculator (a precursor of the
computer). After the war, she remained at the Harvard
Computation Lab for four years as a research fellow. In
1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation,
where she helped to develop the UNIVAC I, the first
general-purpose electronic computer. Throughout her postwar
career in academia and private industry, Hopper retained her
naval commission. From 1967 to 1977, she directed the Navy
Programming Languages Group in the Navy's Office of
Information System Planning. When Rear Adm. Hopper retired
from the Navy in 1986 at the age of 79, she was the oldest
officer on active U.S. naval duty. (Section 59, Grave 973)"
- Johnson-Brown, Hazel W. - Her bio on the
Arlington National Cemetery reads: "Hazel W. Johnson-Brown,
U.S. Army (1927-2011) — The first African American woman
general in the U.S. Army, Johnson-Brown became chief of the
Army Nurse Corps, and received a promotion to brigadier
general, in 1979. She joined the Army as a nurse in 1955,
and served as a staff nurse in Japan and chief nurse in
South Korea. From 1976 to 1978, she directed the Walter Reed
Army Institute of Nursing. (Section 60, Grave 9836)"
- Keil, Lillian Kinkela
One of the women who served was Captain Lillian Kinkela Keil, a member of the Air Force Nurse Corps
and one of the most decorated woman in the U.S. military. Captain Kinkela-Keil
flew over 200 air evacuation missions during World War II as
well as 25 trans-Atlantic crossings. She went back to
civilian flying with United Airlines after the war, but when
the Korean War erupted she donned her uniform once more and
flew 175 more missions as a flight nurse in Korea.
She flew on 425 combat missions and took part in 11 major campaigns that included the D-Day invasion
and Battle of the Bulge in World War II and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Captain
Kinkela-Keil was the inspiration for the 1953 movie "Flight Nurse" and served as technical advisor to
the film. Her 19 decorations include the European Theater of Operations with Four Battle Stars; The
Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters; The Presidential Unit Citation with One Oak Leaf Cluster; The
Korean Service Medal with Seven Battle Stars; The American Campaign Medal; The United Defense Medal;
and Presidential Citation, Republic of Korea. Captain
Kinkela-Keil has been honored several times in her
home town of Covina Hills, California. Captain Kinkela-Keil died in June 2005 at the age of 88.
- Kelly, Charlee L. - The position of deputy
director had officially been vacant since September 1952
when Colonel Milligan left for Germany to relieve Colonel
Galloway. Lt. Col. Charlee L. Kelly had performed the duties
without being appointed to the position by Colonel Hallaren,
who wanted her successor to be free to select her own
deputy. Colonel Galloway selected Lt. Col. Emily C. Gorman,
then the WAC staff adviser at Headquarters, Second Army,
Fort George G. Meade, Maryland; she was sworn in by the
adjutant general, Maj. Gen. William E. Bergin, on January 3,
1953. [Source: Army Historical Series, The
Women's Army Corps, 1945-1978 by Bettie J. Morden,
Chapter 4. Center of Military History, US Army]
- Keys, Sarah Louise - on August 1, 1952, Pvt. Sarah
Keys was en route from Fort Dix, New Jersey to her family's home
in Washington, North Carolina, on a Carolina Coach Company Bus.
During a bus change stop, the bus driver ordered Private Keys to
give up her seat to a white Marine. Sarah refused, was put
in jail for 13 hours, and forced to pay a $25 fine for
disorderly conduct. Her parents encouraged her to file a
lawsuit against the bus company, which she did. Her
attorney was former WAAC and African-American lawyer Dovey Mae
Johnson Roundtree (1914-2018). Attorney Roundtree
graduated from Howard University Law School in 1950. Miss
Keys won her case, resulting in an Interstate Commerce
Commission (ICC) ruling prohibiting segregation on interstate
buses. The ruling was made public on November 25, 1955,
six days before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus.
The ICC did not enforce its own ruling until 1961. Sarah
Keys married George Evans in 1958 and became a hairdresser in
Harlem. On August 1, 2020, a plaza with eight
chronological murals and two bronze plaques was dedicated to
Sarah Keys Evans in the MLK Park, Roanoke Rapids.
- Knowle, Katherine Amelia - Born in California on
April 30, 1898, Katherine Knowles was one of the first women
to join the Marine Corps. By 1945 she held the rank of
colonel. She was the first woman line officer to
retire from US military service upon reaching the mandatory
retirement age of 55. Although she was discharged in
1946, she was recalled to active duty in 1948 as Director of
Women Marines. She held that position until 1953.
After her retirement she became Dean of Women at UC Berkeley
from 1953 to 1960. She died March 02, 1986.
- Lyons, Catherine J. - In January of 1953 Major
Lyons was WAC Career Management Officer.
- May, Geraldine Pratt - Geraldine Pratt May
transferred from the Women’s Army Corps to become the first
Women in the Air Force Director in June 1948, on a reserve
commission. As director, May was promoted to colonel,
becoming the first woman in the Air Force to hold the rank.
As the top Air Force woman, she advised the Chief of Staff,
Air Staff, and commanders on plans and policies for
integrating women into the regular and reserve forces. Each
service maintained a women’s branch after the signing of the
Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. Colonel May is
seated to the right of the other services’ women's branch
- McKee, Fran - "Alabama native Fran McKee
(1926-2002) became the first woman unrestricted line officer
in American history to achieve the rank of rear admiral in
the U.S. Navy. Until 1967, no woman, by law, regardless of
her abilities, contributions, or accomplishments, could be
promoted to flag rank (rear admiral or higher). It was not
until June 1, 1976, that McKee became America's first
unrestricted female admiral (an officer who can command both
men and women across naval bureaus). McKee was born on
September 13, 1926, in Florence, Lauderdale County. She was
the oldest of the three daughters of Thomas Walker McKee, a
special investigator for the Southern Railroad Company, and
Geneva Lumpkins McKee. Because of her father's work
assignments, the family moved several times during her
formative years, and McKee lived in a number of communities
in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Tennessee. McKee graduated from Phillips High School in
Birmingham at the age of 15. In 1950, she earned a bachelor
of science degree in chemistry from the University of
Alabama. That same year, she was commissioned as an ensign
in the U.S. Navy. McKee's original goal was to serve in the
military for two years, save her money and earn GI Bill
benefits, and then attend medical school. But McKee soon
decided to make the Navy her career. She was promoted
through the ranks, rising from lieutenant in 1952 to rear
admiral in 1980. In 1951, McKee served in Washington, D.C.,
as an aide to the Chief of Naval Research, as the
procurement officer for Women Personnel at the Naval
Recruiting Station in Boston in 1954, as Training
Coordinator for the Naval Damage Control School in 1958, and
as Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Women Officers School in
1965. She completed studies at the General Line School and
the Naval Postgraduate School in 1957 and was one of the
first two women to graduate from the Naval War
College/School of Naval Warfare in 1970. After graduation,
she served at the Bureau of Naval Personnel as head of the
Special Inquiries and Publication Section and as Assistant
Chief of Naval Personnel for Human Goals. Also in 1970, she
earned a master of science degree in international affairs
from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. As
she moved through the ranks, McKee became the first woman to
serve in many of her assigned commands, such as the Naval
Security Group (1973), Chief of Naval Education and Training
(1976), and the Navy-wide Director of Human Resources
Management (1978). Tours of duty abroad included service as
the personnel officer at both the U.S. Naval Air Station in
Port Lyautey, Morocco, North Africa, in 1957 and the U.S.
Naval Air Station in Rota, Spain, in 1967. McKee served as
the senior female naval officer on the Committee to Study
Equal Rights for Women in the Military that resulted in new
opportunities for women in the armed services in 1972. She
became an advisor to a variety of governmental bodies on
issues dealing with women in the military. McKee's military
awards include the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, the
Meritorious Service Medal, and the National Defense Service
Medal with Bronze Star. Some of her community honors include
her induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1979 and
the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 2007; she was awarded
the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor in
1982. Her public service activities included chairing the
Legislative and Employment Committee of the Women's Advisory
Committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs, service on
the National Advisory Committee for the Women in Military
Service Memorial Foundation, serving as a Board Member of
the Armed Services YMCA National Committee, and being an
active member of the Episcopal Church. McKee retired from
active naval service on June 1, 1981. She died of a cerebral
hemorrhage on March 3, 2002, in Annandale, Virginia, and was
buried, with full military honors, at Arlington National
Cemetery in Washington, D.C." [Source: Encyclopedia of
- Myers, Helen E. - A 1941 graduate of Temple
University, Helen Myers was commissioned in 1951 as the U.S.
Army Dental Corps' first woman dental officer. Her
first assignment in the Army was at Ft. Lee, Virginia.
She also had duty assignments in Italy and Japan.
After her military service she practiced dentistry with her
father in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A lifelong pilot
and member of the Lancaster Civil Air Patrol, she died in
1962 when her plane crashed after equipment failure.
- Nelson, Yzetta L. - Yzetta L. Nelson joined the
Women's Army Corps in 1944. In 1966, she was promoted to the
rank of sergeant major. On March 30, 1968, she became the
first WAC promoted to the new rank of command sergeant
major. She continued to serve in the WAC until her
retirement in 1970. [Source: US Army, Donald Wagner, April 13, 2017]
- Nielubowicz, Mary Joan - "Admiral Nielubowicz
(pronounced neel-uh-BOH-vitch) led the Nurse Corps from 1983
until her retirement in 1987 and was the sixth woman in Navy
history to achieve the rank of Admiral. She had about 2,600
nurses under her command worldwide and supervised an equal
number of reserve nurses, whom she sought to bring more
fully into the Navy's system. While directing the Nurse
Corps, she was also the Navy's deputy commander for
personnel and, later, deputy commander for health-care
operations. Admiral Nielubowicz -- often called "Admiral
Niel" by her subordinates -- became a beloved figure in the
Nurse Corps for defending the corps from budget cuts and
reorganization efforts and for championing the role of women
in the military. As director, she successfully resisted
efforts to reorganize the corps under the Navy's general
medical command. She demanded that her nurses receive the
same privileges and respect as any other officers. "She had
to fight for the corps," said retired Navy Captain Anita
Sheehan, who was Admiral Nielubowicz's deputy director. "She
was very considerate and very compassionate, and was
tenacious in her efforts to protect the Navy Nurse Corps."
During her 36-year Navy career, Admiral Nielubowicz served
as a nurse and sometimes a personnel officer. "She was
considered a giant among our Navy nurse leaders," said Jan
Herman, a historian with the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and
Surgery. "She was truly a nurse in everything she did. She
took care of people." Mary Joan Nielubowicz was born
February 5, 1929, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Her father
was a coal miner who died of black-lung disease. "From a
young age, she always wanted to be a nurse," a niece, Mary
Vitale, said. She received her nursing training at
Misericordia Hospital (now Mercy Hospital) in Philadelphia
and joined the Navy on a two-year enlistment in 1951. "After
twelve years of Catholic schooling, to follow orders and
wearing a uniform was not very difficult," Admiral
Nielubowicz said in "In and Out of Harm's Way," a history of
the Nurse Corps by Doris M. Sterner. Early assignments took
her to California, Cuba, Annapolis and Philadelphia. She
received a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado
in 1961 and a master's degree in nursing from the University
of Pennsylvania in 1965. She was a recruiter during the
Vietnam War, then became senior nurse at a hospital in
Iwakuni, Japan, where the Marine Corps operates an air
station. After serving as chief nurse at naval hospitals in
Cherry Point, North Carolina, Guam and Long Beach,
California, Admiral Nielubowicz was in Washington from 1975
to 1979 as a personnel officer and deputy director of the
Nurse Corps. She then was director of the nursing service at
the Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia.
In September 1983, when she was named the 15th director of
the Nurse Corps, she became the first and last woman in the
Navy promoted to the rank of Commodore, which was
reclassified as Rear Admiral lower half in 1985. In addition
to her Nurse Corps duties, Admiral Nielubowicz became deputy
commander for Health Care Operations in 1984. As the first
non-physician to hold the job, she managed the Navy's 31
hospitals, 11 major medical clinics and 174 branch clinics
throughout the world. Her military decorations included two
awards of the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service
Medals and three Navy Commendation Medals. After her
retirement in 1987, Adm. Nielubowicz was chairman of the
Veterans Administration's Committee for Women Veterans. She
served on the board of directors of the Women in Military
Service for America Memorial Foundation and helped lead the
effort to build a memorial for female veterans, which was
dedicated in 1997. "She was an outstanding leader," said the
foundation president, retired Air Force Brigadier General
Wilma L. Vaught. "She was very committed to seeing that
women in the military were recognized in some way." Once,
after a speaking engagement at the U.S. Naval Academy in
Annapolis, she was mobbed by female midshipmen. "She really
was a role model for women in the military," said Paula
Barnes, a former Navy commander who was an assistant to the
admiral. "We felt lucky to have her." Admiral
Nielubowicz, who had renewed her nursing license in
February, will be honored at ceremonies next month
commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Navy Nurse Corps.
From the early 1970s, the admiral's mother, Ursula
Nielubowicz, lived with her at her various Navy assignments.
The two women could often be found in the kitchen, making
Polish and Lithuanian dishes and cookies. Adm. Nielubowicz
cared for her mother until her death at 93 in 1999. Admiral
Nielubowicz served on the board of directors of Vinson Hall,
a military retirement community in McLean, and was a member
of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax. Survivors
include two sisters. The Admiral was laid to rest with full
military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on 21 May
2008." [Source: Arlington Cemetery website]
- Parks, Rebecca Stuart - Rebecca Stuart Parks was
born August 08, 1902 in Obion County, Tennessee. She
attended Humphreys County schools until 1916 at which time
she was enrolled in St. Bernard Academy, Nashville,
Tennessee, graduating in 1921. Rebecca attended Cumberland
University, Lebanon, Tennessee, graduating from both the
Liberal Arts College and the Law School. She taught and was
Assistant Principal of the Rayville High School in Rayville,
Louisiana for several years. She took a sabbatical leave in
1939, and earned a Master's Degree in Government from
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1942
when the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was established by the
United States Army, she joined the Corps and served
throughout World War II. She was sent by the Army in 1945 to
Japanese Language School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, finishing the course four days after the end of
the war. She served 1945-1947 in Tokyo, Japan. In 1948 when
the Corps was integrated into the regular U.S. Army she
remained, and attained the highest permanent grades the
bestowed upon women, a Lieutenant-Colonel. She was retired
in 1957. In 1961 she attended London University, London,
England, acquiring a Certificate of Merit in the School of
English. Rebecca moved back to Humphreys County in 1962 to
reside at "Parks Place" her family farm on the Buffalo
River. She died April 23, 1973 in Waverly,
Tennessee, and is buried in Marable Cemetery, Waverly.
- Pateman, Yvonne "Pat" - A pioneering female
pilot, Pateman volunteered for the Women Air Force Service
Program (WASP) during World War II. She was one of
1,074 women who earned their wings at women-only military
flight school at Avenger Field, Sweet Water, Texas.
WASP pilots ferried fighters, bombers and transport planes
from manufacturers to military bases. The WASP program
was disbanded in December of 1944. In 1949 Pat Pateman
accepted an Air Force Reserve commission as a 1st Lieutenant
and was assigned to a Volunteer Air Reserve Squadron.
During the Korean War, a time when female pilots were not
allowed in the Air Force, she was assigned to the 78th
Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Hamilton Air Force Base in
Georgia. She became an intelligence officer and served
in the Philippines and Japan. During the Vietnam War
she was assigned as chief of the 7th Air Force Warning
Division from 1969 to 1970 at TanSonNhut Air Base, Saigon.
Before retiring at a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971, Pat was
chief of the China Air and Missile Section of the Defense
Intelligence Agency. Yvonne Pateman died April 04,
2004 in Laguna Woods, California. [Source: Dennis
McLellan, Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2004]
- Raines, Hazel - Born in Waynesboro, Georgia, in
1916, Hazel graduated from Wesleyan College in 1936 and
became the first woman in Georgia to receive a pilot's
license. She began her flying career as a stunt pilot
with the Georgia Air Races and Show, and then joined the
Civilian Pilot Training Program as an instructor. She
trained pilots for the Army and Navy Air Corps through March
of 1942. During World War II she joined the British
Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), which was responsible for
transporting military aircraft to the war zone. While
in Europe she survived flying in a snowstorm (she had not
been in snow before) and an airplane crash. After
World War II she participated in the Korean War in the 3rd
Air Force as a recruiter for the Women's Army Corps (WAC)
and Women's Air Force (WAF). She was inducted into the
Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. She died of a heart
attack at the age of 40 in 1956. [Source:
Allison Hutton, Georgia Humanities]
- Shea-Buckley, Frances T. - "Rear Admiral (RADM)
Frances Shea Buckley, Nurse Corps, United States Navy, was
born in Chicopee, Massachusetts February 26, 1929 to John
Edward Shea and Katherine Teresa Warburton Shea. She passed
away on July 8, 2015. She received her Bachelor of Science
Degree in Nursing from Saint Joseph College, West Hartford,
Connecticut in 1950. Later academic accomplishments included
post-graduate work in Operating Room Management at the
University of Chicago and a Master of Science Degree in
Nursing Service Administration from DePaul University,
Chicago, Illinois, in 1960. She was a member of Sigma Theta
Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and Phi Kappa
Phi. In July 1951, during the Korean War, Frances Shea was
commissioned an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps and assigned
to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia. She was
released from active duty in July 1954 and remained active
in the reserves while attending graduate school. She
returned to active duty from 1960-1983. Her numerous
assignments throughout her career included: Portsmouth,
Virginia; St. Albans, New York; Rota, Spain; Chelsea,
Massachusetts and recruiting duty in Richmond, Virginia.
During the Vietnam War, then Commander Shea served as
Operating Room supervisor on the USS Repose (AH-16) where
thousands of casualties were cared for during the ship's
mission off the coast of Vietnam's northern station. Prior
to her selection to flag rank, she served as Director of
Nursing at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda,
Maryland and Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA. In 1979,
she was selected to be the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps
with the rank of Rear Admiral and assigned to the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) in Washington, D.C. She served
concurrently as the Deputy Commander for Medical Department
Personnel, Commanding Officer, Naval Health Science
Education Training Command as well as the Director of the
Navy Nurse Corps. She was the first Navy Nurse Corps Officer
and second woman to be promoted to the two star flag officer
rank. She retired from the Navy on October 1, 1983. RADM
Shea Buckley is the recipient of the Legion of Merit Award,
Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy
Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal with star,
Vietnam Campaign Medal with 4 stars; Armed Forces Reserve
Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam (RVN)
Campaign Medal with device, RVN Service Medal, RVN Gallantry
Cross Unit Citation and RVN Civil Action Unit Citation. Upon
retirement, she married Captain Emanuel Navarro Buckley,
Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy and they returned to San
Diego. Captain Buckley predeceased her in July 2000. Her
survivors include her brother, Donald Shea, (wife Dorothy)
of South Carolina, nieces Catherine Shea, (husband Dr. Greg
Petrie) of North Carolina, Cindy Desroches, (husband Wayne)
of Massachusetts, Chrys Machado, (husband Carlos) of New
Jersey and nephew John Shea, (wife Caryn) of Massachusetts.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held on July 25th at
10 a.m. at Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church where she
was a longtime parishioner. A reception will follow the
service at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar golf course
pavilion. RADM Buckley will be buried with her husband at
Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of
flowers, donations may be made to Holy Angels Byzantine
Catholic Church, 2235 Galahad Road, San Diego, California
92123, or to a charity of one's choice." [Source:
- Shelly, Mary Josephine - "Mary Josephine Shelly,
former Bennington College administrator who took charge of
the Navy's education for women in World War II and commanded
the Women in the Air Force in the Korean War, died yesterday
at New York Hospital. She was 74 years old and resided at 10
Mitchell Place. At Bennington, a progressive college for
women, Miss Shelly helped to organize dance programs and the
Bennington American Dance Festival as well as the Bennington
School of the Arts. She left the college in Vermont in 1954
to become director of public relations for the Girl Scouts
of the U.S.A. in New York, a post from which she retired
about 10 years ago. A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Miss
Shelly taught in the public schools of Battle Creek before
becoming an instructor at the University of Oregon, where
she earned her B.A. degree. In 1929, she received her
Masters's degree at Teachers College, Columbia University.
She taught there and at Columbia's New College until her
appointment, in 1935r as associate professor of physical
education and assistant to the dean of students at the
University of Chicago." [Source: Obituary] Colonel
Shelly was born in 1902 and died in 1976. She served
as the second director of the Women's Air Force from 1951 to
- Wilde, Louise K. -
Wilde was born in Concord, New Hampshire. She
graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1931 and became
assistant to the president and freshman dean at Rockford
Colleg, Rockford, Illinois. She served in the Navy
from 1942 to 1965. From 1945 to 1946 she was stationed
at Pearl Harbor, where she rose to the rank of commander.
She was assistant to Capt. Jean T. Palmer, the second WAVES
director, and then assistant to Capt. Joy Bright Hancock.
In 1952 she was transferred to San Francisco, California,
where she was assistant director of the shipping control
division. Captain Louise K. Wilde served as Assistant Chief
of Personnel for Women from 1953 to 1957. As a retired
officer, Wilde began writing a history of the WAVES program.
Two preliminary chapters in that work were completed. She
died in December of 1979.
- Williams, Betty Jane - Born in 1919 in Kingston,
Pennsylvania, Williams got her pilot's license six months
before the attack on Pearl Harbor. She got instrument
flight training at the University of Vermont, then taught
Navy and civilian pilots instrument flight techniques.
In January 1944 she joined the WASPs and later told a
reporter that she "flew wrecked planes that had been
repaired to make sure they were airworthy." She was
stationed in San Antonio until WASP was disbanded in
December 1944. After the war she became a commercial
pilot, flight instructor, and head of the instrument ground
school for New York airports in the late 1940s. She
also produced and hosted an early television program in 1946
about aviation. The program aired on CBS and NBC.
During the Korean War Betty Jane served in the Air Force as
a writer-producer for a video production squadron. In
California she worked for North American Aviation and spent
20 years at Lockheed Aircraft as a technical writer and
in-house filmmaker. Betty Jane Williams died at age 89
in December of 2008. [Source: Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2008]
- Wood, Ruth L. - WO Wood was born September
13, 1916 in Ticonderoga, New York. A former school
teacher, she joined the Women's Marine Corps Reserve during
World War II and made a career of the USMC. In 1953
she and Lillian Hartley were the first women to enter the
Marine Corps Warrant Officer program. Ruth died March
12, 1986 in Ticonderoga
Back to Page Contents
Air Force Female (Non-Nurse) Fatalities during the Korean
C-47 Skytrain 47-76266, December 30, 1951
- Garafalo, Jeanne J.
WAF Sgt. Jeanne J. Garafalo, 20 years of age, Plainfield, New Jersey, was assigned to the 4th
Weather Squadron, Continental Air Command. While a passenger on C-47 Skytrain 47-76266, the
aircraft crashed in the Armer Mountains, Central Arizona, on December 30, 1951, killing Sergeant
Garafalo and 27 others on the plane. The full story of
this crash can be found on the Airplane Crashes Topics page
of the KWE. Jeanne was the daughter of James Garafalo
(1905-1983) and Lillian Garafalo (1909-1995). She is
buried in Saint Gertrude Cemetery and Mausoleum, Colonia,
Back to Page Contents
C-54G, November 28, 1952
While en route to the United States mainland from Fairbanks,
Alaska, a C-54G transport plane crashed in South Tacoma,
Washington in thick fog on November 28, 1952. Of the 39
persons onboard, 37 were killed, including numerous women and
children. According to newspaper accounts, included in the fatalities were two female Air
Force personnel. To read details about the aircraft
accident, go to this
Airplane Crash page of the Korean War Educator.
- Bentley, Patricia Jean
Airman 3C Patricia Jean Bentley was born August 24, 1928 and
was a member of the 84th Air Traffic Squadron when she was
killed in this plane crash. She is buried in Park View
Cemetery, Manteca, CA.
- Swang, Marion E.*
Major Marion Swang was born March 3, 1911, a daughter of Benjamin L. Swang
Sr. (next of kin living in Porterville, California at the time of
her death) and Harriet E. "Hattie" White Swang (1875-1936). She
was the sister of Benjamin L. Swang
(1915-1932). The KWE believes that she also had a
sister Mildred, but this has not yet been confirmed.
It is certain that Mildred and Marion were the
granddaughters of Benjamin D. and Lena Swang of Oconomowoc,
Wisconsin. At the time of the aircraft accident,
Marion was returning to the States from Alaska after having
served at Ladd Air Force Base as assistant personnel officer
for the 5001st composite wing since January 1951.
Marion Swang was supervisor of health and physical education
at Watertown, Wisconsin and Rochelle, Illinois from 1936 to
1942. She attended LaCrosse State College and Peabody
College for teachers in Nashville, Tennessee before she
entered the Army Air Corps in August 1942 and attended
officer candidate school in Des Moines, Iowa. She
received instruction in personnel administration at Purdue
University in 1945, and attended an air inspector's course
at Craig Air Force Base in Alabama in 1950. In her
post at Ladd AFB, she managed personnel activities,
including career guidance, classification, assignment,
promotion and separation, effectiveness rating and transfer
for personnel at the air base. In 1952 she was named
Military Woman of the Year at Ladd, and she was active in
church work at the base. According to the Waukesha
Daily Freeman newspaper (August 11, 1952), she was the
niece of Mrs. Charles White Sr. of Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
She was also related to Gordon B. Swang (1901-1954) of
Porterville, California. Marion is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery,
*[KWE Note: Marion Swang's name is incorrectly listed on
casualty reports as Marion E. Swann, and that incorrect spelling
is also shown on her government tombstone.]
Back to Page Contents
Nurses - Fatalities in the Korean War
Eighteen nurses lost their lives during the Korean War.
None were combat fatalities, but they were all serving their
country as military nurses when they died.
- C-47D Crash, Haneda, Japan - July 27, 1950 (one nurse
- Cessna Crash - Twin Engine (Civilian) - September 04, 1951
(one Air Force nurse fatality)
- USS Benevolence - August 25, 1950 (one nurse
- Kwajalein Airplane Crash - September 19, 1950 (eleven
- Douglas C-54 Medical Transport - September 26, 1950 (one
- C-47 Skymaster - December 22, 1952 (two nurse
- Pentagon Dispensary Nurse - December 26, 1952
C-47D Crash, Haneda, Japan - July 27, 1950
Maj. Genevieve Smith
(Click picture for a larger view)
Twenty-six persons were onboard a C-47D scheduled to fly from Haneda, Japan to Pusan, Korea on July 27,
1950. The aircraft took off about 4 a.m. and became airborne at 4:05 a.m. Sixteen minutes later
the plane had difficulties and shortly thereafter the tail of the plane snapped off. The plane descended
and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, sinking to a depth of about 1500m and causing 25 of those onboard to
be lost at sea. There was one survivor, Sgt. Haru Sazaki. Army nurse Major Genevieve Smith was
the only female among the fatalities.
- Smith, Maj. Genevieve Marion
Genevieve Marion Smith was born April 25, 1905 in Epworth, Iowa, daughter of Thomas Aphonaius Smith
(1875-1947) and Mary Elizabeth Kennedy Smith (1874-1965).
In addition to her mother, Major Smith was survived by siblings Mrs. Frank (Veronica) Dagenais, Mrs.
Edwin (Catherine) Horsfield, Mrs. Alfred (Alice) Arensdorf, Joseph Smith and Thomas K. Smith.
Genevieve Smith graduated from St. Joseph Mercy
Hospital School of Nursing in Dubuque, Iowa, on August 15, 1925, and joined the Army in 1928.
After World War II she spent two years in Germany and then in October 1948 she was transferred to the
Philippines. She was later transferred to Japan, where she was serving as chief nurse of the 155th
Station Hospital in Yokohama, Japan when she was selected by General Douglas MacArthur to be chief nurse
Although the former World War II Army nurse was due to retire in January 1951 after 22 years of military
service, she accepted the position and sealed her destiny on a fatal air flight to Korea. On July 27,
1950, a three-man aircrew, twenty-two male passengers and one female--Genevieve Smith, left Haneda,
Japan for a flight to Pusan, Korea in a C-47D. Less than a half hour later the plane veered to
the right and flipped onto its back. The tail section broke off and the plane crashed into the
ocean. There was only one survivor--saved because he was sucked out of the airplane and was able
to pull his parachute ripcord before he lost unconsciousness. He was picked up out of the water
by a Japanese fishing boat eight hours later. All others on the aircraft were lost at sea. [See
A Few Good Women by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, pp. 252-253.]
Further information about Major Smith can be found in: A
Concise Biography of Maj. Genevieve Marion Smith by Mrs.
Genevieve Comeau, General Reference & Research Branch,
Historical Unit, USAMEDS, Forest Glen Section, Walter Reed
Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, published in April of
1962. Click here to read it.
Cessna Crash - Twin Engine (Civilian) - September 04, 1951
- Drake, Clara "Sully" Sullivan
Clara Drake was born January 9, 1923 in Ballston Spa,
New York. She was a World War II veteran and Captain in
the US Air Force attached to the 39th Air Force Medical
Group as a nurse stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. She
and her husband (married just days before) were among the passengers in a
twin-engine Cessna T-50 that crashed shortly after takeoff in
a suburb of Anchorage. The plane, owned by
Christiansen's Flying Service, left Marill Field and was en route to
Seward, Alaska when one of the engines caught fire,
causing the fiery plane to crash in the back yard of a
suburban home. All five persons onboard were killed.
Cessna - Twin Engine - September 04, 1951.) Clara
was married to Capt. Donald Varner Drake, who also died
in the plane crash. Clara is buried in Saint Mary's
Cemetery, Ballston Spa, New York. Her husband was
born August 01, 1920 in Pennsylvania, a son of John
Wesley Drake (1895-1991) and Lulu M. Varner Drake
(1895-1986). He was a World War II veteran who enlisted
in the Air Force on October 21, 1939. Donald was
survived by his parents and his siblings Mrs. Herbert
Glenn (Eleanor Drake) Benton (1922-2017), Wilfred "Bud"
Drake and Roger Drake. He is buried in Scrubgrass
Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Emlenton, Pennsylvania.
Back to Page Contents
USS Benevolence - August 25, 1950
On a foggy August 25, 1950, the hospital ship USS Benevolence (AH-13) was rammed by the commercial
freighter, SS Mary Luckenbach about four miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Less
than an hour later, the Benevolence had capsized with only a part of its hull and its big red cross
showing above water. Twenty-three persons on the ship were dead and hundreds more were struggling to stay
afloat and alive in freezing cold water. One Navy nurse, Lt. Wilma Ledbetter, lost her life in the
tragedy. For more information about the USS Benevolence, click
- Ledbetter, Lt. Wilma (USN)
Wilma Ledbetter was born April 27, 1912 in Chillicothe, Texas. Her father, William L. "Bud" Ledbetter
moved to Chillicothe with his brothers George Mitchell, Henry, Hiram and Dick Ledbetter in the early
1900s. Bud later became mayor of Chillicothe for a number of years and also served several years as
a city councilman. He was the last surviving member of the original Chillicothe Volunteer Fire Department
that was organized in the early 1900s. Bud also had a feed and seed store for years and was manager
of the Kell Mills for years.
There were five girls in the Ledbetter
family. The eldest three, Lucretia (1907-1996), Edith (1909-1982), and Wilma
(1912-1950), were the daughters
of William Luther "Bud" Ledbetter (died 1978) and Christina Hale Ledbetter. Christina Ledbetter
died of influenza in 1918. The youngest two Ledbetter sisters, Jacqueline
"Jackie" (1923-2000) and Emily, were
the daughters of William and Emma Jane Powell Ledbetter (died 1961). Wilma's aunt and uncle were
Davidson Victor York and Nell Pitcomb (Powell) York of Ada, Texas.
Although Emma Ledbetter was not the
birth mother of Wilma, family members told the KWE that she loved Wilma as her own daughter and
Wilma's death took a terrible toll on Emma. Wilma's sisters each married: Lucretia to a Wickliffe,
Edith to Thurman McPherson, Jacqueline (Jackie) to Bennie Emile Reynolds, and Emily to a Shoemaker.
Jacqueline had two children, Jerry William Reynolds
(1947-2011) and Jane Reynolds Howard of Collinsville,
According to her sister Emily, Wilma graduated from high school in Chillicothe circa 1929. Naval records
show that she attended Texas State College for Women, Denton, Texas, from 1929 to 1930. She then attended
Central State Teachers College, Edmond, Oklahoma in 1933 while thinking about becoming a teacher. After
deciding to become a nurse, she received three years of nurses training (1936 to 1939) at the Northwest
Texas Hospital School of Nursing in Amarillo, Texas. The school closed in 1985. (See also: American
Journal of Nursing, Vol. 50, October 1950, page 680.)
Prior to becoming a Navy Nurse, Wilma Ledbetter was employed at Northwest Texas Hospital, Amarillo (general
duties) from 1939 to 1940. She then worked at Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, where she not
only had general duties from 1940 to 1942, but also took nine hours of nurses education (1942) at Louisiana
State University, Baton Rouge, LA. She then had general duties at Brackenridge Hospital, Austin, Texas,
in 1942. She reported for a physical examination to join the Navy Nurse Corps on March 4, 1943 in Norman,
Oklahoma, where it was found that Wilma was physically qualified for appointment in the USNR Nurse Corps.
Naval records show that she proceeded to active duty as Reserve Nurse, USN, on July 6, 1943. Her service
number was 219499. Ensign Ledbetter had duty at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, before receiving
orders to Hawaii. She sailed from the USA on the USS Antigua on September 9, 1944, arriving at Pearl
Harbor on September 15, 1944. She served as a nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Aiea Heights, Hawaii,
and then at the Naval Air Station, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, until November 8, 1945. According to her income
tax report for that year, her total taxable pay in 1945 was $2,137.25. Her military exclusion was $1,500.00.
She returned to the States on November 13, 1945 on the S.S. Monterey, and then traveled from
San Francisco, California to the U.S. Naval Hospital in New Orleans, LA. She was released to inactive
status effective May 17, 1946, but proceeded to active duty as Reserve Nurse USN again on January 14,
1947. She was assigned to a duty station at the US Naval Hospital, Houston, Texas. Records show that
she was transferred from there to the dispensary at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada.
She received permission to travel from her duty station at the US Naval Hospital, Houston, Texas, to
Hawthorne, Nevada on 14 November 1947. The orders gave her permission to travel there via an automobile
owned by Lt. Marie Edith Charron, NC, USN, and described the auto as a 1947 Kaiser Special, 4-door.
In 1948 she received a permanent appointment to the rank of Lieutenant, NC, USN.
Wilma was also a nurse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but the dates of her service there have not yet
been determined. Lieutenant Ledbetter rejoined the active Navy Nurse Corps when the Korean War broke
out and was assigned to the USS Benevolence.
Back to Page Contents
Kwajalein Airplane Crash - September 19, 1950
On September 19, 1950, an aircraft carrying 11 nurses refueled for the third time at Kwajalein
before taking off for Japan. Within 90 seconds the plane had crashed, killing all 26 onboard.
To learn more about this tragedy, click
here. View information below about the nurses
whose lives were sacrificed that day. See also News Clippings on this page.
- Beste, ENS Eleanor Clara (USN)
Eleanor Clara Beste was born February 20, 1925 in Freeport, Minnesota, daughter of Henry F. Beste (1883-1941)
and Regina G. Haselkamp Beste (1886-1968). She graduated from St. Cloud, Minnesota Hospital School
of Nursing in 1946. She was assistant head nurse before joining the Navy Nurse Corps in January
1948. She was assigned to the naval hospital at Bremerton, Washington before receiving transfer
orders to Japan in September 1950. Her siblings were: Ulric Conrad Beste (1914 - 1989), Emmeline
Mary Beste (1916 - 1968), Regina T Beste (1918 - 1990), Mary Helen Beste (1920 - 2000), Julitta Magdalen
Beste (1922 - 1997), Francis Bernard Beste (1927 - 1931), Al Beste, and Clara Beste Klobe.
- Boatman, ENS Marie Margaret (USN)
25 years old, San Antonio, Texas. Marie was born March 8, 1925 in Abilene, Texas, daughter of
Rev. Clarence Otto Boatman (1896-1969) and Ruby Ellen Clark Boatman (1894-1942). Reverend Boatman
was pastor at Government Hill Methodist Church. Marie attended Southwest University, Georgetown
for pre-med and then graduated from Harris Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Ft. Worth.
She was employed at Harris until she was commissioned in the Navy Nurse Corps on March 10, 1948.
She was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Long Beach, California, from that date until January 5, 1950.
On January 11, 1950 she reported to the US Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington, where she remained
until receiving overseas orders for Yokosuka, Japan on September 11, 1950. She was survived by
her father, step-mother Ethel May Hickman Boatman (1895-1977), and two brothers John Harvey Boatman
(1924-1990), a World War II veteran, and David Boatman. Dave (also a World War II veteran) was
in the Navy in the Korean War at that time and came home to attend his sister's funeral. Marie
Boatman is buried in Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Clarke, Lt. JG Jeanne Elizabeth (USNR)
Lt JG Jeanne Elizabeth Clarke
Image #23.E1.16. Courtesy of Providence Archives, Seattle.
(Click picture for a larger view)
Born May 12, 1918 in Oregon, Jeanne was the daughter of George Henry Clarke (1878-1939) and Eleanor
Jane Clarke (1882-1932). Her hometown was listed as Portland, Oregon. Her siblings were
Margaret C. Clarke (a WAC in World War II), George T. Clarke (also a World War II veteran), and John
H. Clarke, all of Multnomah County, Oregon.
Jeanne graduated from Washington High School and then graduated from St. Joseph's School of Nursing
in Vancouver, Washington in 1943. She enlisted in the US Navy Medical Corps on December 27, 1943.
She was commissioned in the Navy in 1944 and served until 1946. In November 1949 she volunteered for
active duty again. She had assignments at Puget Sound, Washington and San Diego, Long Beach
and Oceanside, all in California.
An article in the St. Joseph Hospital Chronicles of May 14, 1943 told about her graduation as a nurse:
"Nineteen Nurses received diplomas. Their services are greatly needed at this time both in the hospitals
and in the armed forces. They are Misses: Sue K. Aklin, Marie M. Allaire, Barbara C. Argianas, Isabelle
M. Berning, Mary K. Butler, Jeanne E. Clarke, Marian Elliott, Ann C. Gomulkiewicz, Corrine T. Hanson,
Georgean D. Haskin, Caryl E. Hewitt, Mary E. Klein, Anne M. Lulay, Ellen Lerfold, Marianne Mc Cullough,
Martha E. Partanen, Joyce B. Reed, Rufina C. Parish, Helen E. Steyaert."
- Eldridge, ENS Jane Louise (USN)
The daughter of Harold and Lillian Eldridge of Detroit, Michigan, Jane entered Providence Hospital School
in 1943 when she joined the U.S. Cadet Nurses Corps. She remained for a year as a nurse at Providence
Hospital after graduation and then entered the U.S. Navy Nurses Corps in September 1947.
She reported to the US Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington on December 10, 1947, and Jane was still
stationed there when she came home on leave September 2, 1950. Four days later her leave was cancelled
and she returned to Bremerton, where orders transferring her to the Naval Hospital at Yokosuka, Japan
awaited her. On the trip to Japan the plane stopped three times for fuel. After the final
stop, the plane crashed after leaving Kwajalein Island. See also: The Michigan News, November
1950, pg. 148. Her hometown was listed as Detroit, Michigan. She was 27 years old.
An article about Jane's death appeared in The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin (September
21, 1950), stating: "The fiancee of Lt (jg) Arpad Masley, Madison Navy doctor, and 25 other persons
were killed Tuesday in the crash of a Navy transport in the Pacific Ocean near Kwajalein. Lieutenant
Masley, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Masley, 3626 Spring Ctr, was to have been married to Ensign Jane
L. Eldridge, daughter of Mrs. Lillian Eldridge, Detroit, Michigan. The elder Masley is director
of physical education for men at the university. Mrs. Masley said her son and Miss Eldridge had
been engaged since June and that they planned to be married on their next trip home. Lieutenant
Masley is in Korea, and Miss Eldridge had been ordered recently to report for duty in Japan. Mrs.
Eldridge explained that her daughter was home early this month on a 30-day leave, but that she had been
home only six days when ordered to report in Bremerton, Washington, in preparation for going to Japan.
A 1947 graduate of the university medical school, Lieutenant Masley began his navy service in September
1949. He and Miss Eldridge met at the Bremerton Naval Hospital while both were stationed there."
Ens. Constance Esposito
(Click picture for a larger view)
Esposito, Ens. Constance Rita "Connie" (USN)
Daughter of Frank and Maria Carmella "Millie" Parrenzi Esposito, Brockway, Pennsylvania, Connie
was born on September 07, 1923. She graduated from Brockway High School in June 1941, and was
a 1945 graduate of the Indiana, Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing. After graduation she
was employed at DuBois, Pennsylvania Catholic Hospital before joining the Navy in 1948. She had
assignments at Bethesda, Maryland and San Diego, California. She is buried in St. Tobias Cemetery,
Brockway. Her siblings were: Gerald Esposito (died age 5), Theresa Mae Esposito Prosper, Yolanda
Geraldine Esposito (1925-2013), Anna Marie Esposito Benson, John Henry Esposito, Richard James
Esposito, Josephine Pauline Esposito Bruzga, Patricia Jean (Patti) Esposito, and Francis Joseph (Cheech)
Esposito (1930-2013). Connie was engaged to be married to a fiancé in California.
Just prior to
Memorial Day 2015, the bridge spanning Toby Creek on Route 28 near Brockway was officially named the
"Ens. USN Connie Rita Esposito Memorial Bridge". Several hundred people attended the ceremony,
organized by Parson-Marnati Post 95 of the American Legion in Brockway.
Giroux, Lt. JG Alice Stella (USN)
Lt. JG Alice Stella Giroux
(Click picture for a larger view)
Born January 5, 1910,
she was the daughter of Euclid T. Giroux (1881-1954) and Celia Langlois Giroux (1881-1927). Her hometown
was listed as Seattle, Washington. Her siblings were: Lionel P. Giroux (1905-1992), Geneive Giroux
(1907-1907), Desniega Giroux (Mrs. Ed Lick - b. 1911), Olene Giroux (Mrs. Robert Joseph Fletcher - 1913-1991)and
Lillian Giroux (Wilson - born 1923). Alice was a nurse in World War II and was in the US Naval
Reserve when she was sent to Korea to take care of the wounded. She died in the plane crash en
route. She graduated from St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota in 1932.
She had varied experiences as a nurse, including special duty at Saint Mary's a year at the American
Hospital in Paris, and civil service at the Gorgas Hospital, Ancon, Canal Zone (1940-1942). She
joined the Navy Nurse Corps, reporting for duty at the US Naval Hospital in Long Beach on November 18,
1944. After serving as a nurse at the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, she was released to
inactive duty on June 22, 1946. She was a naval reserve nurse at the US Naval Hospital in Long
Beach for over six months. In April 1947 she was at Building #102, Birmingham General Hospital,
Van Muys, California. By October 1947 she had a new address in Pasadena. After a period
of inactive duty from 1946 to 1949, she went back to active duty on January 6, 1949 at the Naval Hospital
in Corona, California. She was transferred to the US Naval Hospital in San Diego, California on
October 6, 1949.
Saint Mary's Alumnae Quarterly had an article sent in by Alice from the Canal Zone on May 17,
1942. She wrote: "I am on night duty at present, on a white men's ward, patients with pneumonia,
malaria, etc. and some surgical patients... Misses McCue ('27) and Beavan ('30) are also on the night
shift, so we often have pep fests over the supper hour. Miss McCue leaves for vacation shortly,
and may stop in Rochester. I spent thirty days of my vacation in Guatemala and the remaining thirty
here and in the interior of Panama. I greatly enjoyed Guatemala city, also Antigua, a city of
ruins, destroyed by earthquakes of 1773 and eruptions of a nearby volcano. Two other nurses joined
me on a trip to Chichicastenango, about 170 miles from in the highlands and away from Guatemala city.
There we met the famous priest Reverend Rossbach, who has lived with the Mayan Indians, educating and
teaching Christianity to them for the past thirty-seven years. He also is a noted jade collector.
He actually did all this work on his own and has a display of evacuations made in a museum connected
with the church. In this village we saw processions of pagan Indians worshipping idols, climbing
mountains and offering their prayers. Father Rossbach says he has converted many of them.
He allows them to enter his church, but without their idols. He goes about it gradually and much
remains to be done. All in all it was a most enjoyable trip. I did get some grand pictures,
and wish I had my color movie camera with me. Please give my best wishes to the Sisters."
Alice Giroux Nursing
(Click picture for a larger view)
Goodwin, Lt. JG Calla Virginia (USNR)
Lt. JG Calla Goodwin
Picture courtesy of Needham B. Broughton High School
(Click picture for a larger view)
Born on April
25, 1922 in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, her hometown was listed as Raleigh, North Carolina.
She was the daughter of Frank O. Goodwin Sr. (1895-1976) and Madelyn B. Goodwin (1900-1976), both of
whom are buried in Concord, Contra Costa County, California. She was also survived by a brother,
Frank O. Goodwin Jr., who is now deceased. Calla was a 1940 graduate of Needham B. Broughton High
School in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she was a member of Latin Club, Glee Club, Typing Club, a staff
reporter for the school radio, member of Girls' Athletic Association (GAA), German Club, and the RHS
Glee Club, and participated in school operettas and the State Music Contest.
After high school graduation she received her nursing degree from Rex Hospital School of Nursing in
Raleigh in 1943. She joined the Navy Nurse Corps on January 6, 1944, and reported for duty at
NNH in Ports, Virginia on February 16, 1944. She left there on May 15, 1945 and on May 20 reported
for duty at the Naval Hospital in Bainbridge. On July 23, 1945, she began duty at the Naval Hospital
in Charleston, South Carolina, and remained there until May 1948. On May 13, 1948, she reported
to the Naval Dispensary at the Charleston Naval Shipyard Naval Base in South Carolina, where she remained
until July 6, 1949. On August 5, 1949, she reported to duty at the US Naval Hospital in Long Beach,
California, where she remained until going on duty at the US Naval Hospital, SMR, Oceanside, California,
on February 18, 1950. She remained there until receiving overseas orders to the US Naval Hospital
in Yokosuka, Japan.
- Heege, LTJG Constance Adair (USNR)
Constance was born July 2, 1918, daughter of George Frederick Heege (1891-1983) and Clara K. Wegener
Heege (1892-1982) of Kirkwood, MO. From suburban Kirkwood, Missouri, she graduated from the University
of Missouri in 1941. She graduated from St. Louis University School of Nursing in 1947 and taught
school for two years before joining the nurses' cadet training corps at St. Mary's Hospital, St. Louis,
MO. She was formerly a staff nurse and clinical instructor at St. Louis University Hospital before
taking her oath of office as Ltjg NCR on December 3, 1948. She was stationed at the US Naval Hospital
in Long Beach, California, from January 5, 1949 until February 17, 1950. The next day she went
on duty at the US Naval Hospital, SMR, Oceanside, California, and remained there until receiving overseas
orders to the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. In addition to her parents she was survived by
sisters Shirley (Ohlson) and Mourine (Marco) and a brother George Frederick Heege III (1930-2001).
She is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Kirkwood, MO.
- Kennedy, LTJG Margaret Grace (USNR)
"First from Webster to be killed in the Korean War is a woman, Lt. (jg) Margaret Kennedy, 27, daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Kennedy, May Street. Word of the death of the Webster Naval nurse was contained
in a telegram received yesterday by the parents, states that she was one of 26 who were killed in the
crash of a Navy Transport plane Sept. 9, 1950, off Kwajalein, the Pacific's worst military air accident.
Not only is Lt. Kennedy the first woman to give her life, but the first woman in any war to be killed,
and who claimed Webster for her home. News of the death of their daughter was received by her parents
in the following telegram: "It is with deep regret that I officially report the death of your daughter,
Lt. (jg) Margaret Grace Kennedy, USNR, on 9 September, as a result of a plane crash which occurred in
Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands. When further details concerning recovery of remains are received,
you will be informed promptly. Your daughter dies while serving her country and in the performance of
her duty. Admiral John W. Roper, Chief of Naval Personnel." Miss Kennedy served as a naval nurse in
World War II, and at the end of the war, entered Denver University, graduating last year. She recently
re-entered the Naval Service, and was stationed at San Diego. She volunteered for overseas duty and
was on her way to the theater of war when the plane disaster occurred. She was born in Webster, attended
school here and graduated from Bartlett High School. She entered Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and graduated
from the training school, later entering the service in World War II. Surviving are her parents, a sister,
Helen Kennedy in California, and a brother, Thomas of Webster, who served in World War II and was a
member of L Company, which was Federalized from here." [Source: Webster (Massachusetts) Times,
September 21, 1950]
According to a 1951 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, Lieutenant Kennedy graduated from
Peter Brigham Hospital in Boston in 1944 and was a general duty nurse for a few months before joining
the NNC in 1944. She had a period of duty at Portsmouth, Virginia, Chelsea, Massachusetts, Newport,
Rhode Island, and at Long Beach and San Diego in California.
Liljegreen, Lt. JG Mary Eleanor (USN)
Lt. JG Mary Eleanor Liljegreen
(Click picture for a larger view)
Mary Eleanor Liljegreen was born on August 31, 1925, one of three children born to Carl Joseph Liljegreen
(1892-1976) and Agnes Elizabeth Wyse Liljegreen (1890-1968). A 1942 graduate of West Seattle High
School and Seattle University, she took her nurse's training at Providence Hospital School of Nursing,
graduating in 1946. After graduation she was employed at Providence Hospital until signing up
for the Navy on July 1, 1947. She reported for duty at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California,
on September 2, 1947, and remained there until December 5, 1949. On December 28, 1949, she reported
for duty at the US Naval Hospital in Bremerton, where she remained until receiving overseas orders for
Yokosuka Hospital in Japan on September 11, 1950. She was the sister of former World War II POW
LeRoy Randolph "Lee" Liljegreen (1916-1997), who was the husband of nurse Miriam Jeannette Smith Liljegreen
(1921-2012), and sister of Mrs. Timothy Hugh Harn Jr. (Elizabeth Louise "Betty") (1923-2001), who was
also a nurse and graduate of Providence Hospital School of Nursing. Mary Eleanor's hometown was
listed as Seattle, Washington.
(Click picture for a larger view)
Photos courtesy of the
Harn Family Archives
(Click picture for a larger view)
(Click picture for a larger view)
- Rundell, Ens. Edna June (USN)
Born August 1, 1926 on a farm near Stafford, Kansas, Ensign Rundell was the daughter of Lee Harold Rundell
(1891-1949) and Gladys June Vincent Rundell (1895-1983) of Stafford. Her siblings were sisters
Anna Lee Rundell Lee (1917-1989), Evelyn Rundell (Gilmer) (1922-1981), Dorothy M. Rundell Hathaway (1930-1996),
and Helen Marie Lofland (1916-2001), and brothers Harold and Jay, both World War II veterans.
Her grandmother, who was living at the time, was Mrs. J.W. Vincent of Stafford.
Edna June attended Liberty Grade School and then graduated from the Stafford High School with the Class
of 1944. In June of the same year she entered cadet nurses training at the St. Elizabeth Hospital
in Hutchinson, graduating in 1947. She worked as a nurse in the hospital at Wellington, Kansas,
and while there she enlisted as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. She reported for duty at the UN Naval
Hospital in Bremerton, Washington, on December 30, 1948 and remained there until receiving overseas
orders to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan on September 11, 1950.
She was a member of the Methodist church in Stafford. Her obituary stated: "She was a loveable
and pleasant girl, very sincere in her work of helping others. She made many friends in her work
and varied interests in life. Edna was fond of music and the piano was her constant companion.
She will be sadly missed by all who knew her, especially her family."
At the time of her death, Edna's sisters, Helen Lofland and Dorothy Hathaway, were residing in California,
and their mother had gone to California to visit them and see her daughter Edna June before she left
for overseas duty. Mrs. Rundell was still in California when she got the news of her daughter's
Photographs and news clippings relating to Edna June Rundell are located in another section of this
Back to Page Contents
Douglas C-54 Medical Transport - September 26, 1950
There were forty-three passengers and eight crew members onboard this Douglas C-54-DC (DC-54) Skymaster
medical aircraft (registration number 42-72457) when it crashed in the Korea strait one mile from the end
of the runway after taking off from Ashiya Air Base. The aircraft was assigned to the 6th Troop Carrier
Squadron of the 374th Troop Carrier Wing based in Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. Killed were eighteen passengers
and five crew members, including one of two females on the flight, Vera M. Brown.
- Brown, Vera Maude
Captain Brown, a World War II nurse from Birmingham, Alabama, was assigned to the 801st Medical
Air Evacuation Squadron and was on this air evacuation flight. According to the Office of the
Air Force Surgeon General in Washington, D.C., Captain Brown received the Distinguished Flying Cross
posthumously. She also received an Air Medal
posthumously. (See the Awards section of this page.) It should be noted that in an official preliminary accident report transmission
from Far East Air Forces headquarters, Vera Brown (Service Number 763137) was listed as flight nurse
Vera Maude Brown was born in
Cragford, Alabama on November 10, 1920, which meant that she
was 29 years old at the time of her death. She was the
daughter of Mrs. H. W. (Arizona Mackey) Boone of Birmingham, and the sister of Mrs. Virginia
(Hodnett) Covington, both of whom lived at 8605 3rd Avenue
North, Birmingham 6, Alabama. In addition to her
mother and sister, she was survived by a niece and nephew.
Her father was deceased. She was a member of the
Vera graduated from Randolph County High
School in Wedowee, Alabama in 1939, and then from the
Training School for Nurses at Norwood Hospital, Birmingham,
Alabama, on September 01, 1942. She was a nurse at the
Knight Sanitorum in Roanoke, Alabama before working as an
obstetrical supervisor at Norwood Hospital in Birmingham,
Alabama from September to December 1942. She served
one month in January 1943 as Head Nurse at Norwood Hospital.
She joined the Army Nurse Corps
In October of 1944 1st Lieutenant Brown was
transferred from the 28th AAF Base Unit, AAF Regional
Station Hospital No. 1 at Coral Gables, Florida, to the AAF
Convalescent Hospital in Miami, Florida. She was
ordered to the School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph field,
Texas, on July 8, 1945 for a course of instruction in
aviation nursing that lasted nine weeks. After she graduated from the AAF
School of Aviation Medicine on September 8, 1945, she had a tour of duty in a general hospital in Japan.
She was designated "flight nurse" in October of 1945 at
Randolph Field. On March 31, 1946, she filled out a
request for an allotment of $75-$85 per month for her
mother's living expenses. She was stationed at March
Field, Riverside, California, in 1947 in Squad M, 420th AAF
BU as a 1st Lieutenant. Records in her file indicate
that she had participated in regular and frequent aerial
flights (air evacuation) since 1 April 1949, and was
recommended for flying status as of May 1, 1949.
commander's report from March Field stated that Vera Brown
was: "An attractive, cheerful nurse, has a pleasing
personality, is extremely well liked by all her associates,
carries on her duties in an efficient manner, gives the
patients excellent care." Another similar report
stated: "This officer possesses a very wholesome attitude,
she is friendly and feels her responsibility toward her
superiors and toward those who are under her jurisdiction
and care. Accepts responsibility cheerfully and is
conscientious." Vera's job proficiency reports from
all of her commanding officers were full of high praise for
In July of 1949, at her request, Vera Brown was
transferred from Department Reserve, US Army, to the US Air
Force Reserve. She had temporary duty with the 19th
Medical Group in Guam in 1949, and then received orders for
further TDY to the 347th Troop Carrier Wing for five days in
November of 1949 for the purpose of evacuating patients.
That same November, Capt. Vera Brown certified that she
elected to remain on active duty from November 30, 1949 to
November 30, 1950. She was transferred to Japan on
February 29, 1950. On June 5, 1950, she received
orders for temporary duty with the 51st Medical Group.
While on temporary duty with the 801st M.A.E.S. in Honshu,
Japan, she received the following report from Capt. Louise
Bainbridge, her superior officer, on June 15, 1950:
"Subject officer has prerequisites of an excellent nurse.
Does not hesitate to seek advice. Conscientious,
aggressive and cooperative. This officer shows a high
degree of judgment in economical management of personnel and
resources under her supervision, commensurate with her
responsibilities. One who willingly accepts her
responsibilities toward the control, supervision, direction
and instruction of subordinates, and exacts a high degree of
conformance to standards of conduct and discipline expected
of Air Force Officers. A financially responsible,
trustworthy officer who has high moral standards. A
reserved and serious officer who has a most pleasing
personality and would be useful as a staff duty nurse or
chief nurse. This officer could easily assume a more
important position and greater responsibilities. She
endeavors to keep herself informed of new developments and
techniques in her profession."
Captain Vera Brown perished
in an aircraft accident on September 26, 1950. Her
remains were recovered following the aircraft accident and
she was taken to the 118th Station Hospital, where se was
pronounced dead on arrival. The official government
report lists cause of death as, "Drowning, secondary to air
crash." Soon thereafter, permission was granted to
remove the remains to the United States Cemetery in
Yokohama, Honshu, Japan. They were later transferred
back to the States via the USNS General Walker on October
16, 1950 to San Francisco, California, and then transported
to Alabama, where she was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery. In
her honor, in May of 1951 the Future Nurses Club of Phillips High School. Birmingham, Alabama, became
the Vera M. Brown Chapter, Future Nurses of America.
George Truman William Waters of Heflin, Alabama,
a World War II Prisoner of War and author of the book, No Thought for Tomorrow, remembers Vera
Brown because they were both graduates of Randolph County High School in the Class of 1939. Carolyn
Johnson of Roopville, Georgia wrote to the KWE in February 2014 to say, "What memories you brought back
with your mention of Capt. Vera Maude Brown. Her mother, Mrs. Boone, was a very caring neighbor
of my parents before I was born. My parents lost a child in a car accident, and Mrs. Boone was
a great help to them. Vera Maude must have been a teenager in 1937 when my sister was born.
She stayed and helped until Mama was able to do her housework. I don't know whether they paid
her. I was three and don't remember her, but have heard them speak favorably of her so many times.
Her nursing instincts must have come in early, as they told of one time they thought I had been hurt
and the care she gave me. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of her. I don't recall ever seeing
one. I would love to know more about her."
Funeral services for Capt. Vera Brown were held at
Brown-Service Chapel with Dr. Lambuth Archibald and Rev. H.O.
Hester officiating. Burial was in Forest Hill
Cemetery. Members of Irondale Post No. 160, American
Legion, were pallbearers. North Jefferson Post No. 102
of the Legion conducted graveside services.
Back to Page Contents
C-47 Skymaster - December 22, 1952
- McClure, Virginia May
Virginia May McClure was born to Edgar R. McClure (1885-1972) and Lena M. Talcott McClure (1886-1945)
on June 13, 1922, in Tabor, Iowa. She went to school there until her last year of high school,
when she transferred to Springfield, South Dakota. Her father was the former editor of the
Tabor Beacon newspaper in Tabor, and was a former co-owner of the Fontanelle Observer newspaper
in Fontanelle, Iowa. In 1938 he moved his family to Springfield, South Dakota, where he became
editor of the Springfield Times in Bon Homme County.
Virginia graduated from high school in 1939 and then went to Southern State Teachers College for a year.
After that she went to the school of nursing at Lutheran hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. Virginia graduated
from the nursing school in 1943 with a degree in nursing and x-ray technology. Before she enlisted into
military service, Virginia was employed in her field in Sioux City.
Virginia joined the Air Force nursing service in June of 1951. Lt. McClure was assigned to the hospital
at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, then applied for overseas service, and was assigned
to duty in the Far East, which allowed her to fulfill a dream becoming flight nurse. Lt. McClure was
assigned to the 801st Airborne Evacuation Service and served as a flight nurse on a C-47 Skymaster transport
stationed first at Tachikawa Air Base in Tokyo, then to Brady Air Base, southern Japan, before being
flown to Korea for a 30-day temporary assignment on December 20, 1952. In a letter home, written December
21, the day before her death, she told of her arrival in Korea and described the nurses’ Quonset huts.
Her assignment was to fly on the planes bringing the wounded from the forward areas back to the hospitals.
First Lieutenant Virginia May McClure was killed along with the eleven other occupants of their C-47
when it collided on the runway with a jet fighter plane on December 22, 1952, in South Korea. The body
of Lt. McClure was returned to the United States and was buried next to her mother at Fontanelle Cemetery,
Fontanelle, Iowa. Surviving her death was her father and her brother, Lucien McClure.
One colleague remembered that Virginia was kind to everyone she met and was generous to all. A superior
officer wrote, “…her eagerness, attention to duty, and personality were of the very best, and it was
a pleasure to have her under my command.”
Lieutenant Virginia May McClure was awarded the Air Medal, Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the
National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal.
[Source: South Dakota Korean War Memorial - A portion of this biography was respectfully submitted to
the South Dakota Veterans Memorial by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish,
South Dakota on May 11, 2004. Also, the American Battle Monuments Commission, SD National Guard Museum,
and the January 1, 1953 issue of the Springfield Times provided information for this entry.
Other material was found by the KWE online.]
Perry, Margaret Fae
Margaret Fae Perry
(Click picture for a larger view)
Born on January 31, 1923 in Morgantown, West Virginia, she was one of ten children born to Pasquel Perry
(1889-1963) and Serafina Marra Perry. Margaret graduated from University High School and St. Mary's
School of Nursing in Clarksburg. Before joining the Air Force, she was an employee of the General
Hospital as a supervisor of the second floor hall and at one time was in charge of the maternity ward.
She was also an industrial nurse at Heyden Chemical Corporation in Morgantown, West Virginia.
She furthered her education at West Virginia University and Fairmont State, completing postgraduate
work at the University of Chicago. She joined the Air Force in February 1950 and trained at Ft.
Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
After her commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, she attended a six-course program at military flight school
in Montgomery, Alabama for training in air evacuation of wounded personnel. After that she was
assigned to the 1453rd Squadron at Hickam Air Force in Hawaii. She flew numerous air evacuation
flights from Korea to Guam, Japan, Hawaii, and mainland USA while serving in the Korean War with the
801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron. She was nearing the end of her military commitment and
was scheduled to ship back to the United States after completing her final mission from Suwon Airfield
(K-13) in Korea on December 22, 1952. That day, because of confusion over takeoff instructions,
the C-47 plane on which she was aboard collided with an F80C Shooting Star fighter. The C-47 was
being flown by the Royal Hellenic Air Force. Both planes had been cleared for takeoff. When
the two planes collided there was an explosion and nurses Margaret Fae Perry and Virginia May McClure
were both killed, along with 11 others onboard.
Margaret Fae's siblings were brothers Sgt. Samuel Perry (KIA while serving with the 979th FAB in World
War II), Martin A. Perry (1914-1993), Frank Perry (1919-2006), and Jack Perry, and sisters Teresa A.
Perry (1917-2009), Pasqualyn Ann "Pat" Perry Peelish (1921-2011), Rose Perry Yedlosky, Mary Perry Baliker,
and Virginia Perry Como (died 2013).
Pentagon Dispensary Fatality - December 26, 1952
- Baker, Lillian Faustine
Major Baker served as a nurse in Italy during World War II,
During the Korean Wr she served as Officer in Charge of the
Pentagon Dispensary. She died on December 26, 1952 of
a brain tumor.
Back to Page Contents
Nurses - USS Benevolence Tragedy
|There were 15 Navy nurses onboard the USS Benevolence when she sank. One
perished. [See also
Benevolence on the KWE.] The fifteen nurses included the following:
- Brennan, Marie Rita - Born April 19, 1917 in Buffalo, New York, Lieutenant
Brennan married John Richard "Jack" Leister (1919-1998), a Navy veteran of World War
II and the Korean War. Marie died July 5, 1982 in Los Angeles, California.
She and Jack are buried in the St. Johns Lutheran Cemetery, Spinnerstown, Pennsylvania.
- Deignan, Mary - Born May 28, 1922 in Seattle, Washington,
Mary resigned from the Navy Nurse Corps on September 26, 1951. She was married
to LTJG A.P. Lesperance, US Navy. Her sisters were Therese Marie Deignan, Barbara
Deignan, and Helen Deignan. Her brothers were Joe and John Deignan. Mary
had twin daughters, one of whom is still living. Mary lives in Seattle.
- Dyer, Mary Eileen - From Cleveland, Ohio, Mary
married a Sherwin. No further information has been found to date.
- Fralic, Jean C. - born May 7, 1913 in York, Pennsylvania,
Jean died July 30, 1990 in Gulfport, Mississippi. [Her name is also found spelled
in various newspapers as Frolic]. Jean's most recent duty station before the
Benevolence assignment was at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
- Harkins, Lt(jg) Catherine Nina - From
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she was the daughter of Mrs. Margaret Harkins and sister of Margaret
Harkins, both of 2650 N. 60th Street in Milwaukee. Age 43 at the time of the
Benevolence sinking, Catherine had been in the Navy eight years. She did
not know how to swim. It is believed her father's name was Richard Harkins of
Milwaukee as the names Richard, Margaret, Catherine, Margaret and Francis (or Frances)
Harkins show up as a household on the 1930 census there.
- Harrington, Eleanor Elizabeth -
From Lowell, Massachusetts, she was born on November 3, 1911 in Rhode Island, one of
three daughters of Timothy J. Harrington of Lowell. A graduate of St. Elizabeth's
School of Nursing in Brighton, Massachusetts, she joined the Navy Nurse Corps in 1935.
She was transferred to the USS Relief in 1939, where she served as senior nurse
officer for three years during World War II. Later she survived the sinking of
the USS Benevolence, and thereafter became chief nurse on the hospital ship
USS Haven off the Korean coast. She was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1955.
Her sister Mary Dolores Harrington [believed to later be Mrs. Frank Fox] was an Army
Corps Nurse at the same time Eleanor was a Navy nurse. In 1958 Eleanor married
and her name changed to Eleanor Ritter.
- Karn, Patricia Ann - Born March 17, 1923 in
Indiana, Patricia was 27 when the Benevolence sank. She was the daughter
of Harry D. and Lucille J. Rannels Karn. She died December 17, 1997 at Point Loma,
California, at the age of 71. She was the niece of Robert Rannels and Kathleen
Carithers. (See News Clippings, Logansport Press, August 29, 1950.)
- Ledbetter, Wilma "Leddie" of Chillicothe,
TX - The only fatality among the nurses who were on the Benevolence when she
sank. After memorial services at the U.S. Naval Hospital Chapel in Oakland, California,
on September 2, 1950, her body was accompanied back to Chillicothe from California by
fellow Benevolence nurse Josephine McCarthy. Wilma is buried in Chillicothe
Cemetery, Chillicothe, next to her parents. Her sister Emily told the Korean War
Educator that Wilma was more like a mother to her than a sister. Wilma paid for
Emily to attend McMurry College in Abilene and Emily then taught school for about 30
years, retiring in 1986. Emily's daughters are Wilma Sandra and Marsha Diane.
In 2013, Emily was the last living Ledbetter sister, residing in Clyde, Texas. [See
"Tribute to Lt. Wilma Ledbetter" in the Fatalities-USS Benevolence section of
this KWE page.]
- Lipuscek, Marie - Married Frank Cassani and now
(2013) is 94 years old and lives in East Weymouth, MA. (See Eyewitness Accounts.)
- Martin, Ruth Whitmell - Born April 23, 1925
in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Ruth married Frank Siso Deus on November 25 1955 in Thibodaux
after resigning as a Naval Lieutenant. They have four children: Roderick, Frank
Jr., Karin and Pamela. Ruth currently lives (2013) in Mandeville, Louisiana.
Ruth's account of the sinking can be found in the book, A Few Good Women, by
Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee. See also on this page: Eyewitness
Matthews, Gail Celeste of Scranton, PA
- Born February 2, 1920 in Scranton, she graduated from Central High School, Scranton
and the Sherman School of Expression. She then went on to graduate from the Moses
Taylor Hospital School of Nursing in Scranton in the Class of 1941. At Moses Taylor
Gail was president of the student government. After graduating from Moses Taylor
Miss Matthews studied at Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was a member
of the American Red Cross. She joined the U.S. Navy on September 1, 1942 and was
on the hospital staff of the Monmouth Memorial Hospital at Long Beach, New York, for
six months. She was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy Nurse Corps on January
5, 1943. Her first duty was at St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York for six months.
She served in the dispensary at USNHS in Brunswick, Maine from August 1943 to September
1944. From September 1944 to March 1945 she was at the US Naval Hospital in Brooklyn,
New York. During World War II she served on the hospital ship USS Tranquility
from March to November 1945 before returning to St. Albans from November 1945 to January
1946. She was out of the service from January to March 1946, and then reentered
the service in March of 1946. She served at the naval hospital in Portsmouth,
Virginia almost two years (March 1946-March 1948) and then was assigned to Pensacola,
Florida USNHS Hospital from March 1948 until August 1950 before being transferred to
the US Navy Hospital ship USS Benevolence in August 1950. Her last duty
was at the US Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where she was a supervisor (night
duty) in the Dependents Hospital from October 1950 until she was discharged November
26, 1952. After serving in the Navy Nurses Corps during World War II and
the Korean War, Gail married Dr. Charles Fain, a Navy veteran who served with the Marines
as a dentist/physician in the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Gail died on August 13,
2011 while residing in Holly Hill, Florida. She was predeceased by a daughter,
Betsy Fain Bryant. She was survived by her husband of 60 years and a stepdaughter,
Loretta Parzenti of San Diego, California. Ironically, Gail was on a ship that picked
up many survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Her diary about
that is held in Indianapolis. Gail's mother was Elizabeth Stover Matthews and
her siblings were Carolyn, Abel S., Chester, and Edward S. Matthews.
(Click picture for a larger view)
- McCarthy, Josephine Elizabeth -
Josephine was born August 13, 1912 in Renovo, the daughter of Charles and Mary E. Russell
McCarthy. She graduated from St. Bernard High School in Bradford, Pennsylvania,
and then graduated from St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing in Erie. She served
in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was injured in the Benevolence accident.
She was later assigned duty as a Navy nurse in Italy. She retired after 12 years
as a lieutenant. She was a plank member of the U.S. Naval Memorial Association.
She married Paul J. Paparella in Bradford in 1954. He died in 1988. Josephine
died on July 22, 1991 in the U.S. Naval Hospital Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and is
buried in St. Bernard Cemetery, Bradford, PA. She had one brother Charles R. "Rick"
McCarthy, who died in 2005.
- Neville, Rosemary Clare of Omaha, NE -
Believed to be the daughter of Francis M. and Rose Neville and sister of William F.
Neville (he died 1998), Rosemary was born February 14, 1921 and died December 13, 2012.
She is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Omaha, NE.
- Venverloh, Dorothy J. - Graduated from
St. John's Nursing School in 1941. In 1947 she volunteered for the U.S. Navy Nurse
Corps. When she retired she spent the remainder of her life caring for elderly
relatives and neighbors who had no family to care for them. She died July 17,
2005 and is buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis.
- Wallis, Helen F. (could not swim) - Grew up in
Malvern, Arkansas, graduating from Malvern High School and the Baptist Hospital School
of Nursing in Little Rock, Arkansas. She joined the Navy in 1947. In 1952
she married Chaplain George L. Martin and they became one of the very first dual-career
military couples. She resigned her commission in 1957 prior to the birth of their
daughter Mary in 1958. Helen died October 20, 2009 and is buried in Hillside Cemetery,
Purcell, Oklahoma. Chaplain Martin died February 23, 2002.
Eleven of the nurses were tied together before they stepped off the sinking ship into
the frigid water. Mary Deignan swam by herself to a nearby life raft. Marie
Lipuscek and Patricia Karns stuck together until they were rescued by a tugboat. Helen
Wallis was assisted by an MSTS crew member until she was rescued by an Italian fisherman.
Hospital Train Nurses
The Korean War Educator learned about the
hospital trains used during the Korean War
through the book, 8138th Army Unit Hospital
Trains: Korean War by KB Taylor, whose aunt was
Lt. Virginia Mae Taylor, nurse on Train 105.
Information about Taylor's book is listed in
this page section. See:
sr201508hospital.pdf (nmra.org). See also:
Hospital Train Nurses
- Kropp, 1Lt. Evelyn - Train 102
- LoCicero, Capt. Josephine - Train 102
- Lanternier, Lt. Charlotte R. - Train 104
- Liberty, Col. Frances Mary
- Potocik, Lt. Elizabeth (Betty) - Train
- Taylor, Lt. Virginia Mae - Train 105
- Toole, Capt. Lena - Train 108
- Wade, Lt. - Train 101
Aynes, Edith, "Hospital Trains in Korea",
The American Journal of Nursing, February
1952, Vol. 52, Issue 2, pp. 166-167
RN Aynes explains the role of the
hospital trains in Korea through the
memories of Capt. Josephine LoCicero, an
Army nurse on Train 102. Life wasn't
easy for the nurses assigned to the hospital
trains, and Aynes explains why in great
Taylor, KB., 8138th Army Unit Hospital
Trains: Korean War
Summary: The critical role of the
hospital trains during the Korean War told
through firsthand accounts of a nurse and a
medic who cared for the wounded on their journey
from the frontlines. Until September 1950 when
the first mercy trains arrived from the States,
Korean passenger cars were used to evacuate the
wounded. By year end 1951, additional
hospital-ward cars had arrived and the 8138th
Hospital Train Unit was formed and divided
into eight trains: 101 through 108. In one
location, the hospital trains went as far
forward as 8,000 yards from the enemy lines (30
miles north of the 38th parallel). Each train's
capacity was 216, but during heavy fighting, as
many as 300 or more were transported. (General
James A. Van Fleet/Rail Transport and the
Winning of Wars stated: "Evacuation of wounded
by hospital trains (Korea) saved thousands of
lives.") Order Information: ISBN:
9781733369756 (copyright 2021); 7x10 Soft Cover,
174 pages, 200 = pictures, 70 of these in
color. Amazon.com = $14.95 (50w paper);
BarnesandNoble.com or Bookshop.org = $17.25 (70w
paper) About the Author: KB Taylor,
raised in Grays Harbor County, Washington State,
worked as a project-control manager for an
aerospace contractor in San Diego. She and her
husband now reside in Washington State. She is
an award-winning author whose previous novel is
the WILLA award winner: The Seagirls of the
Irene--a children's book based on family
history. The author's website is
The "Lucky Thirteen"
Army nurses with the 1st MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital)
landed on the beach at Inchon, Korea, on September 15, 1950.
Because mobile and evacuation hospitals followed the troops and
extremely fluid battle lines, Army nurses often found themselves
closer to the front than anticipated. As the 1st MASH moved from
Inchon to Pusan with the 7th Infantry Division, they came under
attack in the early morning of October 9, 1950. During the battle,
the nurses retreated to a roadside ditch. “The whole sky was lit
up by gunfire and burning vehicles,” reported Chief Nurse Major
Eunice Coleman. “About sun up we got out of the ditch and
started treating the wounded. All that day we worked on the
roadside operating and treating for shock. We lost eight men and
a number of supply vehicles.” After the ambush, the nurses began
calling themselves 'The Lucky Thirteen.' [Source of paragraph:
Women's Military Memorial website] The KWE is still
searching for the entire list of the "Lucky Thirteen".
if you know a nurse whose name should be added.]
- Baxter, Julia Choate - 1Lt. Baxter entered the
Army Nurse Corps in April of 1945. She arrived in
Korea with the first group of nurses and then was
transferred to Tokyo Army Hospital in Japan in late 1950,
working in an operating room. Later she served in the
Middle East and retired as a Major.
- Benninger, Marian L. - Captain Benniger was from
- Briton, ____ - Sgt,
- Cardeler, _____ - Capt.
- Coleman, Eunice - Chief Nurse Coleman was born
March 21, 1903 in Wilbarger County, Texas, daughter of
Leonard Alvin and Mary Elizabeth Coleman. She had four
siblings. She received a Bachelor of Science degree
from the University of Minnesota, and then was stationed in
Duke, Oklahoma, before the outbreak of the Korean War.
She received a Bronze Star with V. She later served at
the Kansas City General Hospital School of Nursing.
She died August 15, 1983.
- Fleming, Margaret Zane - She served in the Army
Nurse Corps from 1941 to 1945 and 1950 to 1953.
- Lain, ____ - Capt.
- Quinn, Mary C. - 1Lt.
- Smarz, Marie - As a nurse with the Army Nurse
Corps (ANC), 1st Lieutenant Smarz was one of the 13 nurses (the Lucky
13) who were deployed to Korea with the 7th Infantry
Division. She was posted to the 1st Mobile Army
Surgical Hospital after her arrival in Korea on September
15, 1950. From Inchon the Lucky 13 moved to Pusan.
They had to take cover on October 9, 1950 when they came
- Thurness, Elizabeth June - "After
graduating from Ohio State School of Nursing in 1936,
Elizabeth Jane Thurness worked as a district nurse for the
city of Columbus, Ohio. In March 1941, she enlisted in the
Army and commissioned as a second lieutenant. During World
War II, Thurness served as a nurse in Iceland, England,
Germany, France and Austria. She worked in both evacuation
hospitals and assisted victims rescued from concentration
camps. One of Thurness’s final deployment destinations in
Europe was in Austria, where she nursed prisoners from the
Nazi concentration camp in Ebensee. After World War II,
Thurness transferred to Japan to care for those injured in
the blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon her return to the
United States, Thurness received specialized Army training
to be a nurse anesthetist. In 1950, that training led her to
the Korean War, where she deployed as one of 13 Army nurses
assigned to the First Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. During
the war, Thurness helped care for 120 severely wounded
civilians in a makeshift clinic. As a specialized Army
nurse, Thurness followed the mobile hospitals along the
front lines that treated wounded soldiers. In October 1950,
she was with the 1st Mobile Army Surgical Hospital when it
came under attack following its removal from Incheon to
Busan, South Korea. Thurness was not injured during the
attack and helped other uninjured nurses with treating the
newly wounded. After the attack, in November, Thurness moved
north to the Chinese border to treat wounded soldiers from
the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. She remained there until the
evacuation of Hungnam in December. For her work during the
attack and throughout the war, Thurness later received a
Bronze Star Medal. After the Korean War, Thurness worked in
a military hospital at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, that
specialized in treating burn victims. She also served for
two years at a military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. In
1957, she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing
education from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1959,
Thurness became a nurse at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda,
Maryland. She spent the remainder of her career there
teaching doctors and working in anesthesiology. Thurness
retired from the military in 1965 as a lieutenant colonel.
In popular culture, Thurness is considered to be one of
three nurses who inspired the character Margaret “Hot Lips”
Houlihan on the television series M*A*S*H. Thurness died in
2003. She was 87. We honor her service." [Source: VAntage
Original 121st Evacuation Hospital Nurses
- Adams, 1Lt. Harriet M. - Cleveland, Ohio
- Baker, Maj. Mescal - McKeesport,
- Blatt, Maj. Margaret E. - Freedom,
- Bolinger, 1Lt. Dorothy L. - Niles,
- Budnick, 1Lt. Eve - Minersville,
- Canalas, 1Lt. Irena - Indianapolis,
- Chaponis, 1Lt. Anastasia - Manchester,
- Crowell, Capt. Thelma - Tuscaloosa,
- Donie, Mrs. Anne Prejean - Hammonton,
- Gibson, 1Lt. Margaret G. - Meridian,
- Hanley, 1Lt. Margaret M. - Lawrence,
- Hartley, Capt. Mary E. - New Bedford,
- Hawkins, Capt. Irene I. - Henderson,
- Jablunovsky, 1Lt. Anne C. - Yatesboro,
- King, Mrs. Anna Jacobs - Muskogee,
- Kingan, 1Lt. Harriet F. - Iroquois, New
- Lipham, Capt. Corinne I. - Anniston,
- Martin, Capt. Lorraine H. - San
- McManus, Capt. Helen F. - Fall River,
- Miller, Mrs. Anne Currier - Sandwich,
- Moultrie, Capt. Mary L. - Woodbury,
- Perkins, Capt. Sarah E. - Bossemer,
- Pellegrene, 1Lt. Ada D. - Jackson,
- Rachluig, Miss Clara N. - Reno, Nevada
(returned to the States first part of July
- Rainone, Capt. Lucy T. - Bronx, New York
- Robinette, Capt. A. Inez - Shreveport,
- Roderick, Capt. Edith C. - Allentown,
- Sabat, Capt. Julienna - Cleveland, Ohio
- Schneider, 1Lt. Patricia M. - Ocala,
- Steen, 1Lt. Dorothy M. - Richmond,
- Taylor, 1Lt. Wahnetta M. - Washington,
- Tesheneck, 1Lt. Marian V. - West Allis,
- Thomas, Capt. Frances - Cumberland,
- Toudouze, Capt. Mary P. - San Antonio,
- Turton, Capt. Mildred P. - Richey,
- Vencelik, 1Lt. Rosemary - Tacoma,
- Waltham, 1Lt. Janice Tucker - Waltham,
Massachusetts (arrived August 25.1950/left
December 25, 1950)
- Weeks, Capt. Grace E. - Kenansville,
- Williams, 1Lt. Lorraine L. - Lockport,
Additional 121st Evac Nurses:
- Anderson, Miss Lynn - reported for
10 days duty as relief nurse in June
- Bakita, Captain - nurse attached to
the 1st Provisional Neuro-Surgical
Detachment reported for duty June 20,
- Bartz, Lt. - reported for duty June
- Campbell, Miss Maude - Army Reserve
Corps - Reported for duty October 7,
1950. Later reassigned to the
Jutlandia hospital ship.
- Dalton, Lt. - reported for duty June
- Drake, 2Lt. Barbara F. - reported
for duty January 09, 1951
- Halls, Lt. Anna - reported for duty
May 10, 1951
- Hogan, 1Lt. Agnes - Army nurse
Corps, taught corpsmen on the operation
of the Emerson Respirator and care for
- Jansen, Captain - nurse attached to
the 1st Provisional Neuro-Surgical
Detachment reported for duty June 20,
- Jordan, Capt. Mary E. - reported for
duty January 09, 1951
- Richardson, Capt. Bertha - reported
for duty December 28, 1950
- Wardrop, Lt. Margaret - reported for
duty May 21, 1951 to serve until May 26,
1Lt. Marian V. Tesheneck of West
Allis, Wisconsin was on duty as a nurse
in Washington, D.C. when she received
orders to ship out to Korea.
Included in her interview is information
about what happened to her fellow 121st
Evac nurses after they returned to the
States. Also included is the diary
of Major Mescal Baker. See Marian
Tesheneck Wagman's memoir
Back to Page Contents
Attention: Korean War Educator readers. Do you know
about a nurse that was serving in the U.S. military during the
Korean War whose name does not already appear on this page
above or below? (Some nurses' bios are posted on the
Notables section of this page.) The KWE invites you to contact
honor that nurse on this page. All nurses posted in this
section either served in Korea, Japan and other areas of the
Pacific area, the States, or elsewhere in the world during the
Korean War time frame. The KWE salutes their dedication to
- Affleck, Marilyn Ewing - After high school
Marilyn attended nursing school at East Liverpool, Ohio City
Hospital. She joined the Navy on October 1, 1948.
She was stationed at Camp Pendleton one year (summer
1949-December 1950) and then was sent to Yokosuka Naval
Hospital in Japan during the Korean War. She worked
there for 17 months on the orthopedic ward. After
returning to the States she began working at Bethesda Naval
Hospital in May of 1952.
- Bachmeyer, Janet A. - She was born in Cincinnati,
Ohio on September 24, 1920, but grew up in Chicago,
Illinois. He attended Rockford College for two years
and then entered the three-year nursing program at
Evangelical Hospital. She enlisted in the Army in
January of 1944 and was assigned to England on April 1944.
She returned to the United States and lived in San
Francisco, California for eight years. She rejoined
active duty in the Korean War and was assigned to care for
the wounded in Korea. After that she was the chief
nurse in Saigon, Vietnam. She was later assigned to
Nuremburg, Germany and several duty stations in the USA.
She retired in 1974 and died in Denver, Colorado on
September 27, 2013.
- Baker, Marie Constance Toner - Born February 14,
1935 in Philadelphia, Marie was a WAC nurse in Germany
during the Korean War. She died September 11,
- Beeson, Zeta Hampton - Zeta was born July 07,
1911 in North Carolina, a daughter of Edward Helsabeck
Beeson (1878-1951) and Christenia Hampton Beeson
(1881-1966). Her siblings included Henry Beeson, Otis
Carrington Beeson (1902-1964), Joseph Raymond Beeson
(1914-2005), Edward Helsabeck Beeson Jr. 1917-2008) and
Ethan Conrad Beeson Sr. (1923-1995). Zeta was a
Captain in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II and the
Korean War. She died June 30, 1970 in Statesville,
North Carolina. She is buried in Crews Methodist
Church Cemetery, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
- Benning, Hilda L. "Bugsie" - Born in South Dakota
on February 5, 1928, she was a flight nurse during the
Korean War. She retired in 1971 as a major.
- Blehm, Ruth M. - Ruth received a Bachelor of
Science degree in Nursing Education from the University of
Pittsburgh. She was a nurse in the Korean War.
She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after more than 20 years
in service to her country. She died September 17,
- Bosworth, Elizabeth "Beth" Chang - Beth was born
in Honolulu and died April 10, 2020. She graduated
from Roosevelt High School and the University of
Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
After graduation she was a U.S. Army officer and MASH unit
nurse during the Korean War.
- Bradley, Mary Lee Lance - Mary was born February
11, 1915, daughter of Luther William Lance (1884-1967) and
Cora Lou Peden Lance (1892-1974). Mary Lance Bradley,
101, passed away peacefully with her family on Wednesday,
September 28, 2016. Mary was the oldest daughter of 13
children, raised on a farm in Chillicothe, Texas. She had
also lived in Crownsville, Md., for four years. Mary became
a registered nurse in 1939 and later an anesthetist,
practicing until her retirement in 1978. She served 15 years
in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps; stationed in the Pacific
theater during both World War II and the Korean War. She was
a loving mother, devoted wife and active member of her
church family, Oakhurst United Methodist (later merged to
become Faith United Methodist). Her faith was always her
strength and light, which guided her care and service to
others. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern
Star. Mrs. Bradley was preceded in death by her husband of
35 years, retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles J. "Brad"
Bradley. She is survived by her beloved son, Charles
Lance Bradley and his wife, Marsha A. Bradley, of
Crownsville, Maryland; and her most precious granddaughters,
Cora A. Bradley and Jessa K. Bradley. She is also survived
by her loving brothers, Raymond Lance of Bethel Park,
Pennsylvania, and Larry Keith Lance of Plainview; and many
devoted nieces and nephews.
- Britton, Janice Feagin - "Janice Feagin Britton
of Spanish Fort, Alabama, died February 20, 2014, at age 92
after a lifetime of service and adventure. Britton served in
the U.S. Army Air Corps’ 801st Medical Air Evacuation
Squadron from 1945 to 1948 and then in the U.S. Air Force
from 1948 to 1952, achieving the rank of captain. At the end
of World War II, she was stationed in the Pacific, where she
witnessed the aftermath of Hiroshima’s destruction. Britton
saw the start of the Korean War in 1950 and was among the
first group of flight nurses to bring wounded soldiers back
from the front lines. She earned a master’s degree in
nursing administration at Boston University and studied at
Columbia University in New York City. Britton developed a
two-year associate degree nursing program at Pensacola
Junior College, the first in the state of Florida, and a
two-year nursing program at Kellogg Community College in
Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1966 she was commissioned by the
Board of World Missions of the Presbyterian Church to serve
as a medical missionary in Brazil from 1967 to 1970. A few
years after the death of her husband, Francis, she
volunteered at age 78 for the U.S. Peace Corps, serving in
Zambia from 1998 to 2000. In recent years she had been an
active member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Korean War
Veterans Association and American Legion Post 199. She is
survived by two nieces, several great-nieces and
great-nephews, and many cousins." [Source: Obituary,
- Brooks, Helen Louise - Born September 20, 1918 in
Lowell, Massachusetts, Helen joined the Navy Nurse Corps in
1944. She served onboard the USS Consolation during
the Korean War. She was a chief nurse onboard Naval
Support Activity (NSA) DaNang in 1968-69 during the Vietnam
War. She retired in 1971 after serving 30 years in the
Navy/Navy Reserve. She then worked in the Panama Canal
Zone. She died April 26, 2013.
- Burley, Mary T. - She was a nurse in Korea's 11th
Evacuation Hospital's Renal Insufficiency Center.
- Cannon, Erin - Born July 17, 1923 in Augusta,
Georgia, Erin received her nursing degree from the
University Hospital in August in 1944. She enlisted in
the Army in 1945. During the Korean War she was a
nurse in the 8063rd MASH. She landed with the 1st
Cavalry Division at Pohang-Dong in 1950. Erin was
Chief of Nursing at the 29th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam.
She died November 26, 2001 and is buried in Fort Logan
- Carper, Phyllis - During World War II she worked
as a Rosie the Riveter, welding copper boxes used on
bombsights. After the war she joined the Army Nurse
Cadet Corps and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the
Army in 1950. She spent three years as a triage nurse
stationed in a hospital in Japan.
- Chicken, Grace E. Lt. Colonel Chicken was born
July 06, 1914. After becoming a registered nurse she
joined the Army Air Corps on July 1, 1942. She became
an aeroevac nurse during World War II, stationed in the
Azores and later a hospital at Hickham Field in
Honolulu, Hawaii. After discharge from the Air
Corps she attended Northwestern University in Chicago on the
GI Bill. She received a Masters degree in pathology.
When the Korean War broke out she was recalled to the Air
Force and sent to Japan. She assisted in flying
patients from the battlefield in Korea to a tent hospital at
Pusan or Japan. The nurses flew from Japan to Korea in
a C-47 with a load of equipment and supplies and then
returned with wounded. After her military service she
became an office nurse for orthopedic doctor Bob Wingo in
Punta Gordo, Florida. [Source: Charlotte Sun
newspaper, December 25, 2017]
- Choate, Julia - Julia was born in Raleigh, North
Carolina on August 29, 1920. She entered nursing
school through the US Army Cadet Nursing Corps on September
20, 1943. Upon graduation she entered the US Army Nurse
Corps from Asheboro, North Carolina in April 1945 as a
Second Lieutenant. Before Korea, her assignments included
hospital operating rooms in the US, Germany and Japan. She
entered Korea as a First Lieutenant and was later promoted
to Captain. She was one of 12 nurses to set up
the first MASH unit in Korea. US Army nurses stationed in the
Korean War served six month rotations. Choate moved from
Korea to the Tokyo Army Hospital in Japan in the winter of
1950-51. For the remainder of the war she worked in an
operating room on soldiers needing more extensive surgery
that could be provided in Korea. Her next posting was Iran.
There Choate met and married her husband, Daryle Baxter,
another Army officer. Due to her pregnancy the following
year, Baxter was discharged from the military as pregnant
nurses were not allowed to serve.
- Cino, Sally - She was a nurse in a military
hospital during the Korean War.
- Coleman, Eunice Strange -
Chief Nurse Major Eunice Coleman was born March 21, 1903 in Wilbarger County, Texas,
daughter of Leonard Alvin and Mary Elizabeth Coleman.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the
University of Minnesota, and prior to the
Korean War she was a nurse in Duke, Oklahoma. She
received a Bronze Star with V from the Army Nurse Corps for
her service in the Korean War.
After the war she served in the Kansas City General Hospital
School of Nursing. She died August 15, 1993.
- Conder, Maxine - Born and raised in Utah,
Maxine trained as a nurse from 1944 to 1947. She
joined the Navy Nurse Corps as an Ensign in 1951. She
spent two years at stateside naval hospitals and then at the
end of 1953 she joined the staff of the USS Haven hospital
ship during the Korean War. she served on Guam and
then served in a Navy hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts
during the polio epidemic. In 1975 she was promoted to
Admiral and put in charge of 2,600 Navy nurses in the Navy
- Crumpler, Mary Jane Wilcox - Born in Iowa, Mary
Jane was commissioned at Philadelphia Naval Hospital in
Philadelphia, caring for wounded Marines. She served
from 1952 to 1955 during the Korean War. She later
married Air Force pilot Carl Crumpler. Her husband's
plane was shot down on July 05, 1968 during the Vietnam War.
She was reunited with him in 1973 at Maxwell Air Force Base.
- Daly, Mary - Mary was from Drexel Hill,
Pennsylvania and in 1952-53 she was serving at the 8228 MASH
in the western sector in Korea.
- Demming, Lois C. Boleyn - Lois was born December
17, 1926. She graduated from Peter Bent Brigham
Nursing School in 1949 and became a registered nurse in
January 1950. She entered the Navy as a nurse in
September 1950 and served in naval hospitals in
Jacksonville, Florida and Portsmouth, Virginia.
- DeVoe, Edith Mazie - Born October 24, 1921, she
was the second black woman to be admitted to the US Navy
Corps in World War II. She was also the first black
nurse admitted to the regular Navy. She was a World
War II and Korean War veteran.
- Dozier, Mildred A. - She was a captain and nurse
in the US Air Force during the Korean War.
- Drake, Cathy McDonough - Cathy was a native of
Shelby, Montana. She enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps
in 1949 and was first dispatched to Korea to the 8076 MASH.
Attaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant, in Mary of 1951 she
was briefly assigned to a MASH unit at Daejeon in South
Korea. She was transferred to a tent-based hospital
located near the 38th parallel--the 8055 MASH, located 10
miles behind the front line. There she met Dale Drake,
an anesthesiologist at the 8055 in 1951. McDonough
shipped out of Korea in April of 1952 and began work at
Walter Reed Hospital. When Dale left Korea the couple
married on June 6, 1953 and settled in Indiana. They
were parents of two daughters and one son.
- England, Ethel M. Horn - Born September 3, 1927,
Ethel was a US Army nurse who served in Japan during the
Korean War. She died February 10, 2020.
- Esslinger, Edith Clara Roderick "Roddy" - Edith
was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, daughter of
John and Bertha Guernsey Roderick. She graduated from
Allentown High School in 1936 and from Reading
(Pennsylvania) Hospital School of Nursing in 1939. She
enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1942 and was sent to
Fort Belvoir, Virginia. From there she was sent to
Needles, California and then O'Reilly General Hospital in
Springfield, Ohio. In 1944 she was sent to England's
91st General Hospital, Headington, Oxford. She was
promoted to Lieutenant in England. Back in the States,
she was promoted to Captain. From 1945 to 1950 she was
a nurse anesthetist at Walter Reed Hospital. In August
of 1950 she was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, then San
Francisco, California. From there she went to
Yokohama, Japan, and then to the 122nd Evacuation Hospital
in Hamhung, North Korea. There she helped care for
veterans being evacuated from the Chosin Reservoir.
Back in the States she was sent to the army hospital in Fort
Eustis, Virginia, and then Brooke Army Medical Center at
Fort Sam Houston in Texas. She was discharged in 1955,
but continued nursing as a civilian until 1984. She
died in September of 2019 at the age of 99.
- Graham, Annie Ruth - Born on November 7, 1916,
Annie Ruth served 26 years as an Army nurse. She was a
General Duty Nurse from January 1951 to September 1952 at
the US Army Hospital in Camp Rucker, Alabama. She was
then a General Duty Nurse from October 1952 to September
1954 in the US Army Hospital, Camp Yokohama, Osaka Army
Hospital, Japan. She served in the Second World War,
the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In Vietnam she
was chief nurse at the 91st Evacuation Hospital in Tuy Hoa.
She suffered a stroke in South Vietnam and died in August of
- Haley, Agnes "Aggie" - Lieutenant Haley was raised on a
farm near Edgeland, North Dakota. She graduated from
St. John's Nursing School in Fargo, North Dakota, and then
joined the Navy Nurse Corps in 1952. She had duty at
St. Alban's Naval Hospital, Great Lakes Naval Hospital near
Chicago, and then in Japan. She served on the USS J.C.
General Breckinridge and was then stationed at a base in
Bremerton, Washington. She married Gary Haley, a
dentist at the same base in Bremerton, on January 31, 1958. Lieutenant
Haley served in the Navy from 1952 to 1958.
- Hankey, Lorraine - Lorraine Hankey lived a
fulfilled life having served in the US Navy as a nurse and
leader. Commissioned in 1942, Lorraine served in three wars:
World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, retiring
as a Commander in the Navy Nurse Corps. Lorraine traveled
extensively; however, she lived on Lake Alexander, Cushing,
Minnesota. It was there she enjoyed her retirement years.
She was a role model and mentor for several of her nieces
and will be greatly missed. Born in Grand Forks, North
Dakota in 1914, Lorraine passed away at 104 years old on
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at the Jones Harrison Residence,
Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is preceded in death by her
parents, George and Minnie (Kobberbig) Hankey; Alice Miresse,
sister; Robert Hankey, brother; Meredith Dahl, sister; and
an infant brother; and two nieces and two nephews. She is
survived by six nieces and four nephews, and 24 great-nieces
and nephews. Lorraine Hankey’s burial and memorial service
was planned for Sunday, July 28, 2019 at the Evergreen Hill
- Hennessey, Helen M. - "Air Force Lt. Col. Helen
M. Hennessey retired January 31, 1967, after 27 years of
military service. Hennessey was the last remaining active
duty Air Force nurse to have been amongst those who served
at the Battle of Bataan in 1941. Hennessey joined the
Army in November 1940 and was assigned to the Sternberg
Hospital in Manila. She, along with the other nurses there,
relocated to Bataan in the last week of December 1941 as
U.S. forces withdrew in face of a Japanese assault. Here
they endured another three months of attacks while caring
for their patients in open air wards designated as Field
Hospital #1 and #2. The Army evacuated the nurses again on
April 9th, along with a handful of other personnel, just
before Bataan fell. The estimated 70,000-75,000 U.S. and
Filipino troops left behind surrendered later that day and
were subjected by their captors to a 60-70 mile forced march
that become known as the Bataan Death March. Historians
estimate that 5,000-18,000 Filipinos and 500-650 Americans
perished due to physical hardships and executions during
this ordeal. Once on the island of Corregidor, which itself
had been under attack for over three months, Hennessey began
caring for the sick and wounded in the 1,000-bed underground
hospital that was part of the complex known as the Malinta
Tunnel. Once again, the Japanese attacks were relentless,
but this time there was no escape. Hennessey and the other
nurses found themselves amongst the 11,000 prisoners of war
when the island’s defenders surrendered on May 6, 1942. The
Army nurses were taken to Santo Tomas civilian internment
camp in Manila where they did their best to care for the ill
and starving inhabitants. The camp was finally liberated by
U.S. Army forces on February 3, 1945. Hennessey remained on
active duty and transferred to Randolph Field, Texas, to
begin flight nurse training. Subsequent assignments took her
to Japan as a flight nurse in the late 1940s, as well as to
Lackland, Barksdale, Carswell, and Westover Air Force Bases,
and later to Bitburg, Germany. She finished her career as
the Chairman of the Department of Nursing at USAF Hospital
Keesler, Mississippi. Her awards included a Legion of Merit,
Bronze Star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Army of
Occupation Medal, Philippine Defense Medal, Philippine
Liberation Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation. Hennessey
passed away September 16, 1997, at age 83." [Source: Air
Force Medicine website]
- Hibbeler, Glee - Glee was a nurse in a recovery
hospital in Hawaii in 1952. She worked on a
post-surgical ward for vets who were injured in Korea but
couldn't make the whole trip back to the U.S. at one time.
After the war she was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital, Blue
Island, for 52 years--mostly in the emergency room.
- Hicks, Mattie Donnell - She was an
African-American nurse in World War II and the Korean War.
She was from Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Hix, Carmela (AN) - Captain Hix was a Korean War
- Hixon, Alice Griffin - Alice joined the Navy
after graduation in 1947 and then worked in Bethesda and
Norfolk Naval Hospitals. In October of 1950 she joined
the staff of the hospital ship USS Response, serving on it
14 months. She then served in naval hospitals in
Newport, Rhode Island; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Corpus
Christie, Texas. After eight years, nine months and 11
days in the Navy, Alice married USMC Captain Wes Hixon in
1957 in Corpus Christi.
- Hood, Thelma - She was a nurse in a military
hospital during the Korean War.
- Hyltin, Mabel Ethel - Mabel Ethel Hyltin
(1907-1999) was a Major in the U.S. Air Force. She graduated
from Austin High in 1926 and Trinity Lutheran Hospital in
New Orleans, Louisiana. She worked as a registered nurse in
Austin, at the U.S. Steel Hospital in Alabama, and later was
the supervising nurse at Memorial Hospital in San Marcos. In
1941 she entered the military service. She had a
distinguished career and retired as Major in 1957. She
served as Chief Nurse in the South Pacific and European
Theatre of Operation during World War II. During the Korean
War, she served as Emergency Flight Nurse. She was a member
of the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Austin.
- Katenai, Kachinas Shabazz - Born January 14,
1935, Kachinas received her RN from Providence Nursing
School. In 1951 she joined the Army and was a
lieutenant nurse during the Korean War. She died
January 1, 2010.
- Kelly, Vera S. - Born April 13, 1930, Vera was a
Korean War nurse in the Army. She died January 16,
- King, Margaret Belva Mizelle - Born on June 28,
1918, Lieutenant Colonel King was a World War II and Korean
War nurse in the Army Nurse Corpsw. She died August
- Kircher, Pauline "Pat" - From Saginaw, Michigan,
Pat served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 801st Medical Air
Evacuation Squadron during the Korean War.
- LaConte, Phyllis - Captain LaConte was an 8055
MASH nurse during the Korean War.
- Lanthier, Evelyn "Evie" - She was an active duty
nurse during the Korean War.
- Losack, Daisy - She was a USMC Sergeant and
supply clerk during the Korean War. She met her
husband, a Chosin veteran, at Camp Pendleton.
- Lovelady, Marjorie Montgomery - Born in
Springfield, Missouri, she joined the Army and had basic
training at Ft. Lee, Virginia in 1950. She received
her wings during paratrooper training with the 82nd Airborne
of the 3rd Army Unit 3420 at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
From 1950 to 1954 she worked with MASH units at Pusan,
Seoul, Chosin, and other sites. She was discharged on
February 16, 1954. Her Cherokee name was "Many Tears".
- Malokas, Victoria Frances - Born February 25,
1926, Victoria was the daughter of Anthony Malokas
(1894-1958) and Anella Riskavicius Malokas (1894-1962).
Her siblings were Eleanor, Helen Grace died 2003), and John
Thomas (died 2000). Victoria was a 1st Lieutenant
flight nurse in Korea in 1952. She died April 11, 1995
and is buried in All Souls Cemetery, Chardon, Ohio.
- Matthias, Charlotte E. "Charlie" - Lt. Colonel
Matthias was born and raised in Littlestown, Pennsylvania.
He attended Littlestown High School and graduated from Bryn
Mawr Hospital School of Nursing in 1946. What followed
was a 22-year military career as medical surgical nurse and
later chief nurse in the Army Nurse Corps. She served
two tours of duty in Frankfurt, Germany; Tripler Army
Hospital in Honolulu, the Korean War, the 3rd Surgical
Hospital in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, and Valley Forge
General Hospital. The recipient of an army Legion of
Merit award, she retired in 1973. Lt. Colonel Matthias
died September 26, 2018.
- Matz, Dorothy L. - She served in the Navy Women's
Reserves (WAVES) from October 1943 to June 1946 and the US
Navy from December 1948 to August 1966. In 1951,
Dorothy L. Matz was one of five Navy women selected to serve
on General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Advanced Planning Group
staff, at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)
Headquarters in Paris, France. In 1963, she became the first
enlisted Navy woman assigned to Australia.
- McCormick, Helen L. - Born June 13, 1920, Helen
graduated from Inglewood High School and then the nursing
school at South Shore Hospital. Colonel McCormick retired
from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps with the rank of colonel
after a 30-year career that took her to Utah Beach on D-Day,
France and Luxembourg, Germany during World War II.
She was a nurse for five years at Hines VA Hospital.
During the Korean War she served at army bases and hospitals
in Indiana, Michigan, and Colorado. During the Vietnam
War she took care of Vietnam War-wounded. She was chief nurse of the Pacific Theatre, including
Hawaii, Thailand, Japan and Korea from 1972 to 1975.
She was promoted to Colonel in 1970. . She retired from
active duty on June 30, 1978. She died December 4,
2020 at the age of 100.
- McLean, Genevieve - She graduated from Rumford
Hospital School of Nursing in 1943 and joined the Army Nurse
Corps in 1945. She was stationed at Ft. Williams, Cape
Elizabeth, after World War II. She was later
transferred to Manilla and then to an army hospital in
Kyoto, Japan. When the Korean War broke out she
was sent to Korea, arriving at the 8055 MASH on Thanksgiving
Day 1950. She served six months in Korea and was then
sent to Murphy Army Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts.
She completed eight years active duty before leaving the
military to begin a family.
- McNeil, Esther Jane - After graduating from the
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1940, she
joined the Army Nurse Corps. She entered active duty
in February 1942. She served as a nurse in Arizona,
Colorado and Texas in the States and then Ledo, India and
Okinawa before being discharged in November 1945. She
worked in the D.C. Health Department, Washington, D.C. and
joined the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps. Later she
rejoined the Army Nurse Corps and served at Ft. Hood, Texas
and later in southern France. During the Korean War
she served one year in a field training school in Deggendorf,
Germany and then to Landstuhl. She received a Master's
Degree from the University of Minnesota and then went to
Fort Houston where she became a nurse at the base's health
school for two years. She briefly served in the Korean
War and became a chief nurse at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.
She was then a nurse in Stuttgart, Germany. Esther
Jane McNeil retired as a colonel in 1971.
- Meijza-Tew, Helen Theresa - Born August 03, 1928
in Boston, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of William F.
and Helen M. Sullivan of Malden, Massachusetts. She
graduated from Malden Catholic High School in 1947 and
received her RN degree from Carney Hospital in Boston
(1950). She joined the Navy in 1951 and was discharged
in 1952. Following was a 47-year RN career. She
married Conrad Charles Meijza, a US Navy master chief.
He died in 1992. She then married USN LCDR (Ret.)
Louis M. Tew in 2000. Helen died April 09, 2021.
- Melvin, Jacqueline Marie Jacquet -
Jacqueline M. Melvin, 99, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, died
peacefully at her home on Sunday May 23, 2021. The former
Jacqueline Marie Jacquet was born September 25, 1921 in
Racine, Wisconsin, the daughter of Edward and Bertha (Olsen)
Jacquet. She graduated from Edgerton High School in
Edgerton, Wisconsin, and then from Ravenswood Hospital
School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois. On August 12, 1950
in Santa Ana, California, she was united in marriage to Col.
Martin J. Melvin Jr. USMC: He precede her in death on August
21, 1997. She was a veteran of the United States Navy
serving as a nurse during World War II and the Korean War.
During World War II she was one of 108 flight nurses. She
was involved in the evacuation of wounded Marines injured in
the battle of Okinawa to safety She was a member of the Navy
Nurses Corps Association. She was a very talented
self-taught artist. Jacqueline is survived by: 7 children;
Maureen (the late Dick) Christopher of Lafayette, Colorado,
Karen (Russ) Lehman of Milton, Wisconsin, Colleen (LeRoy)
Goff of Villa Park,. Ilinois, Michael (Julie) Melvin of
Manassas, Virginia, Thomas (Yeter) Melvin of North
Charleston, South Carolina, Stephen Melvin of Lake Geneva,
Wisconsin, and Susan (Robb) Bromley of Cary, Illinois, 14
grandchildren and 13, great-grandchildren. She was preceded
in death by her parents, a son Martin J. Melvin III and a
brother Edward Jacquet and his wife Helen. Private family
services with Military Honors will be held. Burial will be
in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
- Monus, Betty Ann Cook - Born July 17, 1929, Betty
Ann was an Air Force nurse in Korea, stationed out of Vance
Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. She served in Korea
1953-55. She was known as "Dusty the Singing Nurse" or
the "Oklahoma Singing Nurse". She died April 08, 1976,
and is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Apache, Oklahoma.
- Neville, Catherine E. - She was a nurse in World
War II and Korea.
- Newton, Eleanor - She was an Air Force flight
nurse stationed at Berkeley, California and Edwards Air
Force Base in 1953. Prior to that she was a
nurse in Veterans Affairs hospitals.
- Nichols, Barbara Jean - Lieutenant Colonel
Nichols was the daughter of Bernard and Esther Nichols. From 1945-47 she was with the
US Cadet Nurses Corps, receiving her nurse's credentials in
1947 from Everett General Hospital School of Nursing.
During World War II she bolted nose cones on B-17 bombers.
She was chief nurse at the Army's 3rd
Field Hospital on the outskirts of Pusan. She had
overseen more than 10,000 patients by 1951, many of whom
were prisoners of war. She received her captain's bars in
Korea. After serving in Korea she served in Vietnam,
where she received a Bronze Star. She retired in 1969.
- Owens, Mary Joan Baxter - Born February 2, 1927
in Charleston, West Virginia. She received a
Registered Nurse degree from Fairmont State College and then
joined the Army in 1949. She was stationed at Brook
Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. She joined the
Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force. She
attended Flight School in Montgomery, Alabama. After
that she received orders to Hawaii and then to Japan.
She was a flight nurse who helped take patients from holding
stations in Korea to Japan for further treatment. In
1952 she married Kenneth Norwood Owens, an obstetrician who
served in Korea and Japan. The couple had three
children. Both left the military in 1959. Joan
Owens died February 24, 2019 in Mount Pleasant, South
- Panasik, Mary Elizabeth Farber - Mrs. Panasik was
born November 4, 1922, and passed away on May 2, 2014.
She was married to Paul Panasik (1929-1996), and was the
mother of Mary Ann Skok (Keith), Paul (Carol), Susan and
Stephen (Cathy), and grandmother of Veronica and
Elizabeth Skok. Her sister was Anna Marie Macatician and her
brother was Joseph Farber. She was a veteran US Navy
nurse in the Korean War. She is buried in Holy Cross
Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be
made to USO, 20637 Emerald Parkway Dr. 44135 Cleveland, OH
or the Salvation Army, 12645 Lorain Avenue Cleveland, OH
44111. [Published in The Plain Dealer from May 6 to
May 7, 2014]
- Porter, Eleanor - She joined the army's Women's
Medical Specialist Corps in 1952. She was in its
physical therapy program. She was stationed at Fort
Sam Houston, Texas, where she worked with burn patients and
those with traumatic head injuries and amputees.
Eleanor met her future husband while caring for him.
He had lost both of his legs due to injuries in the Korean
- Pugh, Alma - She was a Korean War nurse.
- Quinn, Mary C. - She was a 1st Lieutenant at the
1st MASH unit in Korea.
- Reddy, Mary Conroy - Mary was born March 13, 1931
in New Jersey. She was a 1948 graduate of Washington
High School and was an Army nurse at Ft. Dix during the
Korean War. She died November 20, 2020 in New Jersey.
- Reid, Mary Elizabeth - Born April 9, 1927 in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she enlisted in the Cadet Corps in
1945 and was a member of the last class of the Cadet Corps
at Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.
She graduated in 1948 and from November 7, 1950 to 1951 she
was a nurse at the 10th Station Hospital, Pusan and Inchon,
- Richmond, Mary Jane Beecher - Born July 8, 1927,
Mary Jane attended St. Joseph Mercy College of Nursing at
the University of Iowa. She did post-graduate surgery
work at Cook County Hospital, Chicago and was a Lieutenant in
the Air Force Nursing Corps during the Korean War. She
remained in the Reserves after the war.
- Schiffman, Regina H. - From the Veterans History
Project website: "After three years of neurosurgical nurse
work at a New York hospital, 24-year-old Regina Schiffman
decided to make a career in the U.S. Army. A year after she
enlisted, the U.S. was at war in Korea, and in the summer of
1951 she found herself working in the operating room of a
MASH unit. Conditions were primitive in both the O.R.
(litters were balanced on saw horses, a pot-bellied stove
was the sole source of heat in the frigid winter) and in her
tent (she bathed most of the time out of her helmet). But
Schiffman drew strength from the selflessness of her mission
and the camaraderie of her fellow nurses and the
physicians." Schiffman served from 1949 to 1970.
She was with the Army Nurse Corps in Korea 1950-53 and
Vietnam beginning in 1961.
- Schneider, Catherine A. - Born January 13, 1917,
in Brooklyn, Catherine moved to Bellmore in 1928. She
graduated from The Mary Immaculate School of Nursing,
Jamaica, New York and did her Post Graduate work in Public
Health Nursing at St. John's University, Brooklyn.
Former Supervisor of surgery at the South Nassau Communities
Hospital, Oceanside, New York, she was appointed as a Public
Health Nurse with the Nassau County Department of Health.
Catherine entered the Army Nurse Corps as a Second
Lieutenant and reported to England General Hospital,
Atlantic City, New Jersey for basic training. She was
assigned to Mason General Hospital, Brentwood, NY as Head
Supervisor of Neuropsychiatric wards and was promoted to
First Lieutenant. She was assigned to the Sixth Station
Hospital at Fort Lewis, Washington and later she served at
Okinawa and Korea. Upon returning from Korea, she married
Lieutenant Ernest J. Schneider of North Bellmore, a teacher
in Mepham Central High School, North Bellmore who remained
active in the Bellmore Fire Department, was Ex-Chief, past
Grand Knight, Eucharistic Minister at St. Barnabas Church
until his death in 1999. She gave birth to her daughter
Patricia in 1951. In later years, she was elected Commander
of Nassau County Veteran's Women's Post 1147 for three
years. On a county level, she was appointed Chairman of
Women's Veterans of Nassau County. She died after a long
battle with Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 91. She was
buried in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale. [Source:
Newsday (Long Island, New York) - Wednesday, April 16,
- Scott, Ethel R. Kovich - Colonel Scott was the
fourth chief nurse of the US Air Force. She was instrumental
in writing the first flight nurse manual which, with
periodic revisions, still serves as the basic guide for
flight nurses. She established the first course for
aerospace nursing at Patrick Air Force Base in FL, which
prepares nurses to support the preflight and post-flight
programs of the manned spaceflights. Born in Yonkers, New
York on August 23, 1916, her family moved to Ohio and then
settled in Bad Axe, Michigan, while she was still young. She
and her twin sister graduated from Owendale High School in
1934, and attended St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in
Detroit. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in
Nursing from Catholic University in Washington, DC. She
entered the Army in February 1942 and was assigned to the
Army Air Forces at Chanute Field in Illinois. Her
experiences with flight nursing duties aboard C-47 aircraft
began when she was transferred to a temporary camp at Noumea,
New Caledonia. Returning to the United States, she attended
a flight nursing course and received her wings. She was
assigned to Palm Springs, California, as Chief Flight Nurse
in November 1944, then to Stockton, California, as Chief
Nurse, and then to Ferrying Division of the Domestic Air
Evacuation Command in Cincinnati, Ohio, as Command Flight
Nurse. She was assigned to the first aeromedical evacuation
unit to enter the South Pacific later that year. In August
1946, she transferred to Guam as Command, West Pacific Chief
Nurse of Western Air Training Command. She returned to
Hickam Air Force base in Hawaii as Chief Nurse. She served
as Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Command Nurse in Japan, and
was selected as Chief Nurse of Army Air Forces Nursing
Corps. She attempted to gain higher rank for nurses and
Nurse Corps finally got a general slot when Colonel Hoefly
was promoted. From her experience evacuating combat victims
from the field, often under harrowing circumstances, she
returned to the US as instructor of the flight nurse course
at the School of Aviation Medicine at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
In 1955, she was made the officer responsible for the
worldwide assignment of more than 3,000 nurses. Later, she
was assigned to the Pentagon as deputy chief of the Air
Force Nurse Corps. In 1960, she was assigned as command
nurse for the Pacific Command and after three years returned
to the Pentagon as chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps in
1963. She retired from the Air Force in 1968. She received
her master's degree in nursing administration from Catholic
University in the early 1970s. After her military
retirement, she resided in Silver Spring, Maryland, and
became a stockbroker and financial planner. She was a member
of the National Federation of Business and Professional
Women's Clubs. She was also past president of the Fairfax
County Business and Professional Women's Club and a
recipient of its Woman of the Year award. She was director
of the Air Force Nurse Corps Foundation and a charter member
of the Aerospace Medical Association. She was a member and
officer of many other military organizations, including the
Military Order of the World Wars, the American Legion, the
Society of Retired Air Force Nurses, the World War II Flight
Nurses Association, the Military Order of the Carabao and
the Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans. Among her awards were the
Legion of Merit and the Air Force Commendation Medal. She
was predeceased by her parents, Louis and Susan (Kriston)
Kovach, and six brothers: Alonzo, Joseph, Frank, Louis,
William, and George Kovach. Survivors include her husband of
37 years, Colonel Winfield W. Scott USAF (Ret) [deceased
6/2006]; her sisters: twin sister, Helen K Spaulding
[deceased 11/2005], and Margaret P Haslett [deceased
5/2012]; a stepson; a stepdaughter; and three grandchildren.
- Shurr, Agnes - "Agnes G. Shurr, retired Professor
of Nursing, died Saturday, January 10, 2015, in Valley
Memorial Home Eldercare, Grand Fork. Agnes Shurr was born on
October 18, 1915, to Fredrick and Helen Shurr, on a farm in
Elmo Township, Bottineau County, North Dakota. She graduated
from high school in Glenburn, North Dakota. After graduating
from Glenburn High School Agnes began her life of service to
others. She entered St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing,
the same nursing school her mother had attended. Upon
receiving her degree, she worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in
Rochester, Minnesota. Agnes enlisted in the United States
Navy Nurse Corps on March 1, 1937. She was on the Hospital
Ship Solace stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during the
Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She
became a flight nurse during the Korean War, airlifting
badly injured military personnel from various military
hospitals in Japan, to Tripler Hospital in Hawaii then to
Travers Air Force in California. In 1947 she completed an
anesthesia program at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas,
and served as anesthetist at naval hospitals in Houston and
Bethesda. In 1950 she earned her bachelor’s degree in
nursing at Columbia University, and then completed a flight
nursing course. She served as flight nurse to evaluate
wounded servicemen from Korea. In 1954 she was transferred
to the hospital ship Haven in Long Beach, California,
and became Chief of Nursing Service and anesthetist in 1956.
When she retired in 1958 she had earned the rank of
Commander in the Nurse Corps. While in the Navy she was
trained as a nurse anesthetist. Upon retirement from the
navy, she returned to Grand Forks, to start a school for
nurse anesthetists at St. Michael’s Hospital. Agnes left St.
Michael’s in 1963 to join the World Health Organization. She
was sent by WHO to Afghanistan for two years. Agnes then
attended Columbia University and earned her master’s degree.
In 1967 she accepted an appointment ot the faculty at the
College of Nursing, where she was later promoted to
professor. She served as curriculum consultant, coordinator
of the sophomore nursing course, and represented the College
and faculty on numerous committees. She retired in 1977.
After her retirement from UND, she spent time volunteering
in the Same Day Surgery at Altru Hospital. Her life was
spent in loving service to this nation, her family, and
educating young people to also serve in medicine. Living in
Grand Forks or stationed around the world, “Aunt Aggie” was
always a vital, loving, supportive, member to her large
extended family. Her love, kindness and support will be
truly missed by all the members of this family. Many thanks
for the years of care and kindness shown to Aggie by her
niece Marion Hahn and the Hahn family. She is survived by a
sister, Mary Jane Gall and 14 nieces and nephews. She was
preceded in death by her parents, sisters Hazel O’Connell,
Harriet Shurr, brother Raymond “Pug” Shurr, and two nephews,
Edward O’Connell and Joe O’Connell. Funeral services will be
2 p.m. Saturday, January 17, in Amundson Funeral Home of
Grand Forks. Visitation will be for the hour before the
service in the funeral home. Military honors will be
conducted by representatives of the U.S. Navy and the North
Dakota Army National Guard. Burial will be in the North
Dakota Veterans Cemetery of Mandan." [Source:
University Letter, University of North Dakota: Remembering
- Smarz, Marie - As a nurse with the Army Nurse
Corps (ANC), 1st Lieutenant Smarz was one of the 13 nurses (the Lucky
13) who were deployed to Korea with the 7th Infantry
Division. She was posted to the 1st Mobile Army
Surgical Hospital after her arrival in Korea on September
15, 1950. From Inchon the Lucky 13 moved to Pusan.
They had to take cover on October 9, 1950 when they came
- Sneed, Virginia Rosebud - Virginia Rosebud Sneed
Dixon, age 101, died Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 at the North
Carolina State Veterans Home in Black Mountain. She was a
member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the
daughter of the late Cam and Minda Sneed of Cherokee.
“Boss”, as she was called by family and friends, was born
and raised in Cherokee and attended the Cherokee Boarding
School through 6th grade. She graduated from Cherokee High
School in 1938 and went to nursing school in Knoxville,
Tennessee. In 1942, she joined the Army Nurse Corps and was
stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia, then assigned to Walter
Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. during World War II. She
was later assigned to a field hospital on the Burma Road in
China. After three years of civilian life, she rejoined the
Army Nurse Corps and was assigned to the 171 Evac Hospital
during the Korean War. She returned to the States in 1952
and was married in Fort Benning, Georgia in 1954. Virginia
is survived by her son, Earle C. Dixon of Cherokee, his
wife, Rosamond Dixon of Albuquerque, New Mexuci; daughter,
Pegge M. Dixon of Leicester; and grandson, Matthew D.
Hollifield of Asheville. She was preceded in death by her
husband, Col. David. W. Dixon, and also by all of her
siblings: Carrie, Ernest, Pokie, Patrick, Claudie, Marie,
Sonny, Hooter, and Priscilla.
- Snowden, Hazel I. - Lt. Col. Hazel I.
Snowden was from Harmony, Mass. She joined the Army Nurse
Corps in April 1942 and served for over 20 years. She served
as a chief nurse in Korea during the war for a 60-bed Mobile
Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). She noted that the work she
saw done by both doctors and nurses, without full hospital
equipment, was miraculous. She died July 8, 2005. [Source:
US Army Women's Foundation]
- Sweeney, Agnes E. - Captain Sweeney (AN) cared
for the wounded in World War II and the Korean War.
- Visnovsky, Helen - Major Visnovsky was born
February 16, 1919 and died July 20, 1987. She is
buried in Saint John Cantius Catholic Church Cemetery,
Windber, Pennsylvania. She was an Air Force flight
evacuation nurse in World War II and the Korean War.
- Wall, Arline H. - Cpl. Arline H. Wall was born in
Brooklyn, New York. She was a graduate of Northwestern
University with a degree in education. She enlisted in the
WAC during the Korean War and was trained in the medical
field. She qualified as a licensed practical nurse.
She served in Okinawa and Japan where she met her husband.
was a proud veteran who assisted others. She died at the
Armed Forces Retirement Home, Washington, D.C. on May 15,
2006. [Source: US Army Women's Foundation]
- Waterhouse, Marian - Col. Marian Waterhouse, US
Army Nurse Corps, Retired, passed away peacefully at the age
of 97 on July 30, 2019 from age-related illnesses. She was
born July 6, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from
Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in 1945.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education in
1955 at the University of Minnesota, and her Master of
Education degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX
in 1958. After receiving her RN in 1945, she immediately
joined the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Marian
served in Italy, Korea, and two tours in Germany, as well
many stations within the United States. She started and
developed the nurse anesthetist program for the military.
She authored a book, "Practical Mathematics in Allied
Health" that was published in several editions. Marian
served as the Director of the Army Medical School of
Anesthesiology for the Army Nurse Corps Officers during the
final six years of her 30 year military career. She received
multiple military awards during her career, including the
Legion of Merit award. She was respected throughout her
career by her colleagues, and the many students who
benefited from her teaching, and the example that she set.
Following her retirement, she lived in San Diego, California
caring for her parents. Following their death, she returned
to San Antonio and served as a volunteer keeping medical
records for Sisters Care of San Antonio. Marian touched the
lives of her retired military community, the Presentation
Sisters, neighbors, and the many friends that she made
through St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church and
elsewhere. Her warm smile, many stories, and sense of humor
will be missed by all of those who knew her. Marian was
preceded in death by her parents, Merrill and Margaret
Waterhouse; her sisters, Jean Walther and Harriet
Waterhouse; her brother, Merrill C. Waterhouse; and her
nephews, Jonathan Waterhouse, and John Walther. She is
survived by her nephew, Merrill Waterhouse of Escondido,
California, and several great nieces and nephews. [Source:
- Watson, Frances Fay - Born August 11, 1916 in
Richmond, Virginia, she was a daughter of Arthur Dexter
Watson (1885-1960) and Opal Fay Harshbarger Watson
(1888-1977). She was a World War II veteran and in the
Korean War she was a Lieutenant Commander on the hospital
ship USS Consolation. She married Charles Amos
Etheridge, who was also in the Navy. Frances died June
29, 1998 in Richmond and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery,
Richmond. Her sister was Ruth Lydia Watson, a Korean
- Watson, Ruth Lydia - Ruth was born April 21, 1923
in Richmond City, Virginia. She was a Hospital
Apprentice First Class during the Korean War. She
married Abraham Lincoln Boyd (1922-1997) in 1949. Ruth
died September 23, 1997 and is buried in Stanley Cemetery,
- Weinstein, Alice - Major Weinstein was a nurse in
San Francisco's Letterman Army Hospital caring for Korean
- Wilson, Valedda "Val" A. - "Valedda "Val" A.
Wilson, 92, died Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at home. She was
born October 9, 1928, in Bijou Hills, South Dakota, to the
late Frederick and Therese (Polenz) Kiehn. Val was a
graduate of Chamberlain High School in South Dakota. After
high school, she graduated from nursing school in Sioux
City, Iowa. Val joined the U. S. Air Force in 1950 and
served as an operating room nurse in Korea during the Korean
War. After the war, she remained in the Air Force and
studied anesthesia in Texas. In 1959, she married a pilot,
Donald Lloyd Wilson (Abrams, WI) in California. Three
children were born with lots of relocating afterward. In
1970, they and their children moved to Wisconsin. From 1973
until her retirement in 1990, Val worked as a CRNA at Bellin
Hospital. She was a very dedicated mother and helped her
children get higher educations. She was a member of the
National 20&4 Honor Society of Women Legionnaires, the
Women's VFW Post #539, and helped to make upgrades to the
Altrusa House. Val loved spending her time sewing,
crocheting, knitting and tatting. She enjoyed cooking and
working in her yard. During her retirement, she took
Elderhostel programs and traveled around the country. She
also babysat her two grandsons in Wisconsin for the first
two years of their lives. Valedda is survived by her
children, Eric Wilson (FL), Delano (Nickie) Wilson (CO), and
Genevieve (Glenn) Tisler (WI); her grandchildren, Nicole
(Chris) (FL), Logan(IL), Peter (CO), Hannah (CO), Casey
(WI), and Steven (WI); a great-grandchild, Jameson (FL),
(and one more on the way); many nieces, nephews, other
relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her
brother and sister, Virgil Kiehn (SD), Ethel (Darrell) Naber
(MI), and her former husband, Donald (TX). Friends may call
at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason Street, on Sunday,
June 20th from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be
held at 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Entombment
will be in Allouez Chapel Mausoleum. On-line condolences may
be given at www.prokowall.com. In lieu of flowers donations
may be made to benefit local veterans' groups and the
Altrusa House." [Source: Obituary]
- Zeller, Verena M. - Colonel Zeller was
commissioned as a general duty nurse in the Army Medical
Department's Nurse Corps at Fort Riley, Kansas in June of
1936. She was transferred to Sternberg General
Hospital in Manila in July 1939 and remained there until
October 1941. She was the last nurse to leave the
Philippines before the Japanese invasion. In June of
1946 she completed the US Army Air Force' School of Aviation
Medicine's Flight Nurse Course at Randolph Field in San
Antonio, Texas. She later served with Military Air
Transport Service. She was promoted to captain and in
January 1949 she was assigned to the Air Surgeon's office.
Six months later she was transferred from the Army to the
Air Force. In 1949 she became the first chief of the
Air Force Nurse Corps and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
in April 1950. In August of 1951 she was promoted to
Colonel. She retired in 1956 and died in 2007.
Add A Female Korean War Veteran
- Conkling, Margaret (Peggy) Harnois - Conkling
died September 13, 2002 of cancer. Mrs. Conkling was born on
December 21, 1922 as Margaret Harnois, of French-Canadian
descent. Her goals were education and travel. She joined the
U.S. Navy at the age of 29. During the Korean War, Mrs.
Conkling became an ardent "Poster Girl" for the WAVES. She
realized her dreams for travel and spent over three years
attached to the U.S. Embassy in London. Returning to the
U.S., she left the Navy with honors. Remaining in D.C., she
joined the staff of the Republican Policy Committee. She met
and married Raymond Conkling, a lawyer with the Ways and
Means Committee. The marriage ended in divorce, but produced
one daughter, Tracy Barbara. By her early 50's, while
working at COMSAT, she entered the University of Maryland,
graduated with honors in journalism. Peggy was active in her
church, condo assn, and her daughter's school. She was a
member of MENSA and Order of the Eastern Star. As a single
parent, she was an advocate on Capitol Hill to get attention
to the plight of single parents. Her years of involvement
with Parents Without Partners put her in the forefront,
becoming the first female President of PWP's D.C. chapter.
She also served on PWP's International Board of Directors as
Public Relations VP. As a lover of cultural events and
performing arts, in late 1970, Ms. Conkling did theater
reviews for a PG County newspaper. This led to work first as
Writer then as Assignments Editor for Intermission Magazine.
Peggy was a huge supporter of keeping performing for kids of
all ages. She exposed her grandson Kyle to theater, serious
music and dancing. He absorbed it readily and eagerly
accompanied her to many events. Peggy's wish is that Tracy
continues to give Kyle and his sister Kyra these advantages.
Survivors include daughter Tracy, grandchildren Kyle and
Kyra, brother Robert Harnois and family, the Knudsen-Harnois
family of Florida, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Service to be held at Arlington National Cemetery February
6, 2003 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent
to Breast Cancer Research or Montgomery County Hospice.
- Erno, Ruth L. Rothberg - Ruth L. (Rothberg) Erno
joined the Navy WAVES on November 16, 1942 from her hometown
of Boston, Massachusetts. After basic training at Hunter
College, Erno trained as an aviation metal smith in Norman,
Oklahoma; she later served in Radio Communications in
Boston, MA. In January of 1944, Erno was selected for
Midshipman School of Women’s Reserve at Smith College where
she received her commission in April of 1944. She
subsequently served as Base Communications Officer at the
Naval Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and as Communications
Superintendent in Portsmouth Naval Yard. In 1951, Erno
transferred to the Pentagon Office of Naval Operations where
she remained on active duty until 1954. Erno remained with
the Navy Reserves until her retirement in 1977.
- Evans, D'Anne Aultman - She attended WAVE Officer
Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, graduating in May
1952. Her rank was Ensign, USNR.
- Harford, Diana Lily - Born on October 24, 1934,
she was the daughter of Stanley H. Harford (1904-1955) and
Viola Agusta Harford (Grosberger). Diana joined the
WAVES after high school graduation in 1953. During the
short time she was in military service she was stationed in
Florida. Diana married Albert Joseph Bunyak
(1932-1990). She died on August 24, 2005 in Towanda,
- Hipple, Betty Claire - Private Hipple was born
March 22, 1923. She served in Korea (Pusan and Seoul)
in 1952-53. She died November 25, 1992 and is buried
in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
- Johnson, Donna F. - From Portage, Michigan, she
was in the Army during the Korean War. She died
September 18, 2003.
- Johnson, Patricia - Patricia Johnson of Sterling,
Virginia, served as a navy recruiter.
- Knisely, Elizabeth 'Bette' - Elizabeth 'Bette'
Knisely (1929 - 2013), 83, passed away May 25, 2013, in
Inverness Fla., near her home in Floral City. She was born
the youngest of six children to a northern Minnesota family
at the start of the stock market crash, October 6, 1929, a
year that is easy to remember in a historical context. She
took the adventurous and independent step of enlisting in
the Navy as a WAVE during the Korean War, after being
recognized in her teens as a competition level swimmer.
While stationed in Seattle, Wash., she met an honored Army
veteran who became the father of her three daughters,
Kathleen (aka Deborah), Bridget and Gretchen. Kathleen is
very proud of her mother's service and grateful for her
support and inspiration in becoming a WAF in the U.S. Air
Force. Many years after his death from Korean War-related
injuries, she met Navy Chief Dean Knisely, a career Navy
veteran, who became not only her husband and partner for the
remainder of her life but the true love of her life.
Survivors include her husband, Dean; three daughters,
Kathleen, Bridget and Gretchen; siblings, Laura, Josie, R.
George and Chuck. Her family and friends remember her as a
woman committed to the service of her country, women's
rights as the first female postal carrier in the town her
daughters went to high school in and a supporter of the
Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Her husband
and children are proud of the woman she had the courage to
be. [Source: Obituary]
- Kothe, Elaine Klappert - Born in 1921, she was
the daughter of William and Edith Klappert of Cincinnati.
She served in the Army on Okinawa in 1950. She later
married Army veteran Harry Willis, who also served on
- L'Ecuyer, Eleanor C. - "Eleanor C. L’Ecuyer
rejoined the Coast Guard after serving as a SPAR during
World War II. Prior to her rejoining, she earned a law
degree, and was commissioned as an ensign upon her reentry
into the Coast Guard Women's Reserve. She was assigned to
Washington, D.C., and became the first female attorney hired
by the Coast Guard, although she did not directly serve in
that role. Her legal training served her – and future
generations of female Coast Guardsmen – very well. She wrote
successful challenges to several policies that would
increase career potential for women in the Coast Guard. One
was her determination that being pregnant was not a
disabling condition and therefore, should not be grounds for
discharging women. Another was that couples should be
allowed to co-locate. Another challenge she filed questioned
the policy limiting women to serving only 20 years. She
served until 1971, rising to the rank of captain. She holds
the distinction of being the longest serving SPAR."
[Source: Coast Guard website]
- Littman, Jean - From Shirley, Long Island, Jean
joined the Marines in 1952 and was stationed in California
and Virginia 1952-1955.
- Matz, Dorothy L. - Dorothy Matz served in the
Navy Women’s Reserve (WAVES), October 1943 to June 1946, and
then in the US Navy, December 1948-August 1966.
"Opportunities for overseas service expanded for Navy women
during the Korean War. During World War II, the only
“overseas” billets to which Navy women could be assigned
were then territories Hawaii and Alaska. After the war,
however, those opportunities were withdrawn and Navy women’s
overseas assignments were limited to a small number of bases
in Europe with available housing for women. As the need for
women’s service overseas increased during the Korean War,
the Navy found acceptable quarters. Navy women were then
assigned to Alaska, Hawaii, France, and to bases in Italy,
England and the Philippines. In 1951, Dorothy L. Matz was
one of five Navy women selected to serve on General Dwight
D. Eisenhower’s Advanced Planning Group staff, at Supreme
Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Headquarters in
Paris, France. In 1963, she became the first enlisted Navy
woman assigned to Australia.
- Miller, Janie - Lt. Colonel Miller was a career
WAC who served in Korea and Vietnam.
- Mayers, Cesina - Korean War veteran who married
- Perkins-Carpenter, Betty - Betty joined the Air
Force after high school and served during the Korean War.
She was stationed in Florida where she taught troops about
water survival before being shipped to Korea.
- Rhodes, Pauline Juanita Lasseter - Woman after
God's own heart. Pauline Juanita Lasseter Rhodes, 83, born:
03/08/1933; died: 01/14/2017. Born in
Conway, Arkansas. She served as a Navy Wave during Korean
War. Survived by husband Thurman Rhodes, siblings: William
B.Lasseter, Bonnie Lasseter Lake, Ruby Lasseter Pruitt and
Patsy Lasseter Sellers, Billy Lasseter; 6 children, Jeffery
Rhodes, Jacqueline Rhodes Carswell, Juanita (Suzie) Rhodes
Anderson, Joyce Rhodes Bowers, Tasha Rhodes, and Jerald
Rhodes; 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. She
loved and prayed for her family daily. Pauline enjoyed
teaching children throughout her life, Club Scouts, Sunday
School:life skills, nature, gardening and quilting. We truly
will miss her but; in her own words, I am ready to see
Jesus. Instead of cut flowers, please send cards and
plants/seeds to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren to
plant in her memory. Memorial Services March 25th, 2017, 1
pm at Bethesda Cemetery, Bethesda Church, Rosebud, Arkansas.
- Ridenhour, Jean - She joined the WAVES at age 18
after graduating from Jefferson High School in Roanoke.
She became a Navy communication technician 2nd Class,
working for the NSA in Washington, D.C. She
transferred to Hawaii during the Korean War. After her
Navy service she taught school for 27 years.
- Summerville, Darlene "Dot" - Darlene was
born December 28, 1935, a daughter of Fred and Esther
Beardsley Summerville. She graduated from Vicksburg
High School in 1953 and immediately joined the army, serving
her country for two years. She was stationed in
Germany and worked for the Pentagon. She married
William "Mack" Lard on July 05, 1968 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Their children include Phil, Robin and Kelli, and they have
six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her
siblings were Ruth, Edna, Jack, Bud and Bruce. Darlene
Summerville Lard died January 17, 2006.
- Tempesta, Marie E. Conley - Marie E. (Conley) of
Quincy, Massachusetts, died suddenly on Saturday, December
12, 2009. She was 81. Born in 1928, she was the
daughter of the late Julia (Burchell) Conley. Marie
was the beloved wife of the late John M. Tempesta. She was
the cherished mother of Regina M. Tempesta and Sheila of
Scituate, Lauren A. Tempesta - Gonsalves and Richard of
Milton, John M. Tempesta and Donna of Saugus and Christine
Clark of Hingham. She was the sister of the late Anne
Conley, and grandmother of Anthony Christopher Clark,
Giovanni and Richard Gonsalves, Jr. Marie grew up in South
Boston and after her high school graduation she enlisted
into the United States Air Force, where she achieved the
rank of Staff Sergeant. She served during the Korean War
years. Marie married and began raising her family in
South Boston. She moved to Quincy back in 1964. An avid
reader, she also enjoyed crafts and gardening. She had an
deep appreciation of opera music. In her earlier years,
Marie volunteered at an elementary school for special needs
students, where she helped them with sign language. In her
later years, Marie moved into 91 Clay Street, where she
began many special friendships. She will be remembered as a
devoted mother, a great listener and a dear friend. She will
be sadly missed by all those who were blessed to have known
her. Marie is buried in Pinehilll Cemetery, Quincy,
- White, Betty Sutton - Betty (Sutton) White of
Pennsylvania was one of the first group of women from all
service branches to recruit for Women Officer Procurement.
She served with Headquarters Marine Corps Northeastern
Recruiting, out of the recruiting office in Boston,
Massachusetts. She served in the US Marine Corps from
1950 to 1952.
- Yonker, Joyce - Joyce was a WAC stationed in
Yokohama, Japan, 1949-1950. She worked at the Yokohama
train station loading troops onto trains to go to other
points on the way to Korea. She married Duane O'Neal,
a veteran of the Korean War who served in an engineer unit.
- Young, Doris L. - Born March 19, 1932 in
Pennsylvania, she was a 1950 graduate of Wilson High School.
She served with the Navy WAVES during the Korean War.
She died February 10, 2021.
Women's Medical Specialist Corps
Public Law 36, 80th Congress, 1st Session, April 16, 1947,
was legislation which authorized the establishment of the
Women's Medical Specialist Corps and Regular Army status for
nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, and occupational
therapists. Major General Norman T. Kirk, who later became
Surgeon General of the Army, was the "mover and shaker" behind
this important legislation not only for nurses, but also for
female dieticians, physical therapists, and occupational
therapists. The Women's Medical Specialist Corps members
were an important part of the Korean War effort. According
to the US Army Medical Department's Office of Medical History,
"For the first time during a war effort, dietitians, physical
therapists, and occupational therapists were serving with the
Army Medical Service as a corps."
To add names and information about members of the Women's
Medical Specialist Corps who served during the Korean War,
Known Korean War Personnel
- Accountius, Patricia L. - Col. Patricia L.
Accountius passed away 7 November 2006 in San Antonio,
Texas, after an eight-month battle with lung cancer at age
75. She was born December 16, 1930, in Lima, Ohio, to the
late William and Margaret (Faze) Accountius. Survivors
include her sister Barbara Wies and husband James; brother,
Gaylord Accountius; nieces, Sandra Bush and husband John,
Terri Haithcock and husband Anthony, and a host of other
family and friends. She also leaves behind her two beloved
dogs Jetta and Megan. Colonel Accountius served on the
board of Directions for the WAC Foundation. She graduated
from the University of Ohio and was commissioned a 2nd
Lieutenant in 1952 in the Women's Medical Specialist Corps,
which later designated in 1957 as the Army Medical
Specialist Corps. She was assigned to Walter Reed Army
Medical Center and served in hospital and staff positions in
the US and overseas. She completed the Dietetic Intern
Program at Walter Reed. In 1966 she was the first Army
dietician assigned to Vietnam where she did ground breaking
work establishing the hospital food service program. She
served as Chief, dietitian section, for the Office of the
Surgeon General and also Health services command in San
Antonio Texas. When she retired she continued to work as a
dietitian and was a member of many professional and military
organizations, including the state and American Dietetic
associations, Windcrest American Legion Post 612, Women's
Overseas League where she served as secretary at the
national level, Golden K Kiwanis club, and WAC veteran
association Heritage chapter 62. Graveside services will be
held at 9:45 a.m. Monday, November 13, 2006 full military
honors at the Ft Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio
Texas. A memorial service will follow at 1:30 p.m. at the
Army Residence Community, with Chaplain James Taylor of the
Windcrest American Legion Post officiating. [Source:
Find a Grave/San Antonio Express-News (TX) - Sunday,
November 12, 2006]
- Aquino, Maria Emiliana - "In 1948, Lt. (j.g.)
Maria Emiliana Aquino of San Pueblo, New Mexico, was
commissioned as both the first OT in the Regular Navy and
the first OT in the Medical Service Corps. Aquino also holds
the additional distinction as the first woman of Native
American ancestry to serve in the Medical Service Corps."
[Source: "The First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by
Andre Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Beard, Genevieve S. - Captain Beard was Assistant
to the Chief, Physical Therapist Section from September 1950
to October 1951.
- Berteling, Mary K. - Captain Berteling was listed
as Chief Occupational Therapist in 1952.
- Bettinger, Pauline - Major Bettinger was
assistant to the chief, Occupational Therapist Section from
July 1950 to October 1951.
- Chappell, Nancy Anne Smith - Mrs. Chappell died
on December 27, 2007 at home in Alexandria, Virginia. She
was the beloved wife of John G. Chappell; loving sister of
Robert Smith; loving mother of Susan Colby Hedrick (Jim),
Wendy Colby, Alyce Colby Horwat (Steve) and seven
grandchildren: Matthew, Melissa, Jacob, Jennifer, Andrew,
Courtney, Chandler. Reiki Master and teacher, author of
The Cousins Discover Healing Energy (also published in
Spanish in Argentina). Served as an occupational therapist
in the Women‘s Medical Specialist Corps (U.S. Army, 1st
Lieutenant) during the Korean War. Also survived by four
stepdaughters: Virginia Chappell, Carol Chappell Shipley
(Michael), Jane Chappell Singleton (Win), Patricia Chappell,
and three step-granddaughters: Lindy, Erica, and Rebecca.
Service 1 p.m., January 1, Cunningham Funeral Home, 811
Cameron St., Alexandria. Memorial celebration pending for
early spring, Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church.
- Cousins, Amilia H. - She was a Red Cross worker
at Ascom City in Korea in the early 1950s. She was
from Forest Park, Illinois.
- Dautrich, Helen A. - Major Dautrich was a
dietician in the European command during the Korean War.
- Davis, Helen M. - Major Davis was assistant to
the chief of the dietitian section beginning in August 1949.
- Diehm, Margaret May - "Lt. Cmdr. Margaret May
Diehm of Reading, Pennsylvania, was the most senior of these
newly commissioned Medical Service Corps officers. Diehm
entered the Navy in 1942 as a WAVES officer, over a decade
after earning her PhD in biology from the University of
Pennsylvania and serving a biology professor at what was
then known as the Drexel Institute (later university) in
Philadelphia. In World War II, she was attached to the Navy
Medical School where she taught bacteriology and
parasitology. Diehm would remain a pivotal figure in the
Navy’s tropical medicine and laboratory training programs
throughout her career. On January 1, 1950, Diehm and Mary
Sproul were promoted to Commander, becoming the first women
to reach this rank in the Medical Service Corps." [Source:
"The First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Donaldson, Marian M. - Captain Donaldson was
assistant to the chief of the dietitian section from March
1948 until March 1952.
- Dure, Mary L. Ben - Captain (later Lieutenant
Colonel) Dure was a physical therapist in the European
command during the Korean War.
- Ehlers, Catherine - "Maj. Christine Ehlers and
1st Lt. (later Capt.) Winifred Nesbit, on 30-day tours in
1953, worked with the Armed Forces Assistance to Korea
Program in Taegu and Pusan. They instructed a total of 13
Korean medical personnel in basic principles and practices
of physical therapy."
- Erhardt, Rhoda P. - She received a Bachelor of
Science in occupational therapy after studying at the
University of Illinois at Chicago 1949-54. She became
chief occupational therapist, Burn Center, Brooke Army
Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, from March 1954 to March
1956. Beginning in September of 1978 she was a
consultant in pediatric occupational therapy in the Twin
- Friedman, Lorraine - "Microbiologist
Lieutenant (j.g.) Lorraine Friedman made important
contributions to the field of infectious disease research
while based at the Naval Medical Research Unit No. 1 at the
University of California, Berkeley. After leaving the Navy
in the 1950s, Friedman helped to establish the field of
medical mycology at Tulane University." [Source:
"The First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Gearin, Helen B. - Major Gearin served as
assistant to the chief of the Women's Medical Specialist
Corps from March 1951 to July 1952.
- Girard, Evelyn M. Captain Girard was a dietician.
- Goll, Miriam E. Perry - Born May 16, 1909, Miriam
attended Simmons University from 1927 to 1930. A
dietician, she was Chief of the Medical Specialist Corps
from 1949 to 1956. She married Lt. Col. Moxie Goll
(1899-1992), who served in World War II and the Korean War.
Colonel Miriam Perry Goll died January 27, 1979 and is
buried in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Hann, Emmy - Emmy served from 1952 to 1956.
She was a dietician at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
- Hicks, Clarissa - "Late in 1950, 1st Lt.
(later Maj.) Clarissa Hicks, assigned to the 118th Station
Hospital, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, found herself in the midst
of an epidemic of the newly identified Japanese B
encephalitis.29 Approximately 280 patients with this
diagnosis, all of whom had been on duty in Korea, were
treated in this hospital. Forty of these patients were
treated in the physical therapy clinic over a 3-month
period. Patients with Japanese B encephalitis demonstrated
generalized paresis, often with superimposed localized
paresis of either upper or lower motor neuron origin.30
Muscular rigidity, incoordination, tremor, poor posture, and
limitation of joint motion due to muscle shortening were
some of the symptoms which responded to physical therapy
measures. Lieutenant Hicks, never having encountered the
disease before, was permitted to treat patients
symptomatically as there was no precedent for her to
follow." [Source: Army Medical website]
- Horne, Catherine Owen - Catherine served in the
Women’s Medical Specialist Corps/Army Medical Specialist
Corps as a Physical Therapist from August 1948 to February
1961 "During the Korean War, the Army Women’s Medical
Specialist Corps assigned most women (physical therapists
and dietitians) stateside, but small numbers received
assignment to station hospitals in Europe and Japan. In
December 1950, the first brutal winter of the war in Korea,
the Army established a special cold injury center affiliated
with Osaka Army Hospital in Japan and treated more than
4,000 soldiers. The winter program resumed in 1951. Physical
therapist Catherine (Owen) Horne, of California, treated
frostbite cases and United Nations troops. Horne remembered
that she and other physical therapists treated as many as
225 patients a day." [Source: Military Women's Memorial
- Huston, Nancy L. - Captain (later Major) Huston
was a dietician.
- Jones, Elizabeth C. - "In September 1953, a
poliomyelitis epidemic broke out in Japan. The victims
included many United Nations troops as well as United States
military personnel. To provide physical therapy for these
patients, a special program was set up at Tokyo Army
Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, under the supervision of Maj. (later
Lt. Col.) Elizabeth C. Jones, chief physical therapist."
[Source: Army Medical History website]
- Keating, Catherine "Kay" - "Keating first
enlisted in the Navy in 1942 as a radioman in the WAVES.
After the war she left the Navy and obtained a B.S. in
Pharmacy with the hope of returning to the Navy and serving
either as Hospital Corps or Pharmacy officer. In 1948, she
re-enlisted in the Navy, however, instead of medicine she
was again assigned as an enlisted radioman. She continued to
serve in this role until 1950 when she was permitted to
transfer to the Hospital Corps. Two months later she was
commissioned as an Ensign in the Medical Service Corps and
was now only the second commissioned female pharmacist in
the Navy. Over the next two decades Keating continued to
collect accolades and distinctions while earning the respect
of her peers in Navy Medicine. In 1953, she became the first
female pharmacy officer and first woman Medical Service
Corps officer assigned to a ship (hospital ship USS Haven).
When she retired in 1972, Keating earned the distinction as
the first woman in the Navy to have served in the rate of
seaman and the rank of Captain. [Source: "The First
Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre Sobocinski, US
Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Keener, Mary - "Aviation physiologist Mary Keener
was one of 21 women selected for a regular commission in the
Medical Service Corps under the Women’s Armed Services
Integration Act. The Attalla, Alabama native had originally
entered the Navy in 1942 as a WAVES (Women Accepted for
Volunteer Emergency Service) officer and attended Smith
College in Northampton, Mass., for indoctrination and
training in communications. In January 1943, Keener was
assigned to work the “Secret Code” room for the Chief of
Naval Operations, Adm. Ernest King. She later recalled, “We
were essentially cryptographers, breaking various codes,
some of which Eleanor Roosevelt used to communicate to
President Franklin Roosevelt when she travelled. When we
decoded a message that started out ‘For the eyes of the
President only,’ we were not allowed to read the message,
but had to call a senior officer to stand over us as we
typed out the code.” Over the summer of 1944, a family
friend stationed at the Bureau of Personnel offered Keener a
chance to go to Pensacola where the Hospital Corps was
opening a new field for WAVES officers—aviation physiology.
Keener jumped at the opportunity and reported to the School
of Aviation Medicine at the Naval Air Station Pensacola,
Fla. There she spent the remainder of the war serving as an
“oxygen officer,” taking new recruits on “altitude runs” in
low pressure chambers, demonstrating the effects of hypoxia
and giving lectures on the dangers of high altitude. Not
long after the war, Keener briefly left naval service and
continued her education. After returning in 1948, Keener
helped initiate programs for high altitude training and
launch the first ejection seat training for jet aircraft.
Over the next two decades, Keener had a front row seat in
the new developments in aviation and aerospace medicine. And
because of her experience in physiological training, the
Navy selected Keener in the 1950s to serve as a Special
Medical Expert for the development of the full pressure
suit. During the 1960s, Keener was assigned to the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). Since there was not yet an
aviation physiology billet at BUMED, Keener was technically
assigned to the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI—the
forerunner to today’s Naval Medical Research Center). As she
later remembered, “When I was first assigned to BUMED, I had
no desk, no telephone and no parking place. I was assigned
to the Aviation Medicine Operations Division and was the
first woman officer to be assigned there.” At BUMED, Keener
took on the task of recruiting new physiology candidates,
producing training films, reviewing aircraft handbooks,
writing policy, inspecting the 19 different training
activities, approving training aids and overseeing
maintenance of training devices. Keener helped institute an
annual inspection program of training devices like ejection
seats and low pressure chambers to ensure safety. In 1965,
Keener was promoted to the rank of captain making history as
the first woman in the Medical Service Corps to hold this
rank. At the time of her promotion, she had purportedly
trained more aviation personnel in night vision, ejector
seat procedures, and low-pressure chambers than any other
aviation physiologist in the Navy. Her collection of
“firsts” was not yet complete and in April 1967—when the
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations granted "naval aviation
physiologists" the permission to wear aviation wings—Keener
was the first to adorn this crest and was designated
“Aviation Physiologist No. 1.” [Source: "The First Women of
the Medical Service Corps" by Andre Sobocinski, US Navy
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Lee, Harriet S. - Lieutenant Colonel (later
Colonel) Lee was Assistant Chief of Corps, Chief of the
Physical Therapist Section beginning in April 1952.
Prior to that she was an assistant to the chief of the
physical therapist section from August 1948 to October 1950.
- Lott, - "Physical therapist Lt. (j.g.) Virginia
J. Eager Lott of Lemon Grove, California was commissioned in
the Regular Navy in 1948, becoming the first PT in the
Medical Service Corps." [Source:
- Lovett, Hilda M. - Lt. Colonel Lovett served as
assistant chief of corps, chief, dietitian section beginning
in July 1952.
- Lund, Margaret - 1st Lieutenant Lund was an
- Lura, Edna - Lieutenant Colonel Lura was
Assistant Chief of Corps, Chief of the Physical Therapist
Section from August 1948 to March 1952.
- Meadow, Selma Liebman - Selma Liebman Meadow died
Wednesday, October 12, 1994, at her home. She was born in
Brooklyn, New York, and had been a Williamsburg resident for
eight years. A graduate of New York University, she held a
Bachelor of Science degree in food and nutrition, was a
registered dietician, and a member of the American Dietetic
Association. She served in the U.S. Army during World War II
and Korea as a member of the Women's Medical Specialist
Corps. She is survived by her husband, Col. (Ret.) Seymour
Meadow; son, Andrew of Washington, D.C.; son, Stephen and
his wife, Margaret, and two grandsons, Collin and Garrett of
Downington, Pennsylvania; and a brother, Martin Liebman of
St. Louis, Missouri. Burial was in Arlington National
Cemetery. [Source: Obituary]
- Mitchell, Eleanor L. - Lt. Colonel Mitchell
served as assistant chief of corps, chief, dietitian section
from August 1948 to July 1952.
- Moeller, Ruth - "Lt. Ruth Moeller to fill this
need. Moeller had originally entered the Nurse Corps as a
reservist in 1939. During the war she served aboard the
hospital ship USS Solace (AH-5) and at the Navy’s
Convalescent Hospital (or Special Hospital) at Sun Valley,
Idaho. In 1946, Moeller was one of 18 nurses the Navy sent
to the Baruch Center of Physical Medicine of the Medical
College of Virginia for physical therapy training. Between
1946 and 1953, fifty three Navy nurses graduated from this
program, most would eventually transfer to the Medical
Service Corps in the 1950s, among them was Ruth Moeller.
Moeller later earned the distinction as the first physical
therapist to achieve the rank of 0-6." [Source: "The
First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Nesbit, Winifred - "Maj. Christine Ehlers and 1st
Lt. (later Capt.) Winifred Nesbit, on 30-day tours in 1953,
worked with the Armed Forces Assistance to Korea Program in
Taegu and Pusan. They instructed a total of 13 Korean
medical personnel in basic principles and practices of
physical therapy." [Source: Army Medical History
- O'Malley, Elizabeth - "As a Medical Service Corps
officer, Lt. Commander O’Malley would hold the distinction
as the first woman to be appointed as the head of the
Women’s Specialist Section, and in turn the first woman
assistant to the Chief of the Medial Service Corps. O’Malley
was originally commissioned in the Nurse Corps in November
1943. Over the next 14 years she served as a Nurse-Dietician
at Naval Hospitals at Great Lakes, Key West, Portsmouth,
Sampson, San Diego, and St. Albans, as well as aboard the
hospital ship USS Consolation. On June 9, 1957, she resigned
from the Nurse Corps; the very next day she executed her
oath as a Medical Service Corps Officer." [Source: "The
First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Porter, Eleanor "Elle" - A physical therapist from
Springfield, Virginia, she was stationed at Fort Salmon,
Texas, when she met her future husband, a double amputee
from the Korean War.
- Reilly, Mary A. - Captain Reilly was Assistant to
the Chief, Occupational Therapist Section from May 1947 to
- Robinson, Ruth A. She was a Major, later Colonel
in the Women's Medical Specialist Corps. She was
Assistant Chief of Corps, Chief, Occupational Therapist
Section from August 1948 to June 1952.
- Sacksteder, Mary E. - Captain (later Major)
Sacksteder was chief physical therapist assigned to Osaka
Army Hospital, Osaka, Japan, during the Korean War.
- Sheehan, Helen R. - Lieutenant Colonel Sheehan
was Assistant Chief of Corps, Chief, Occupational Therapist
Section beginning in June 1952.
- Spear, Frances - "Serologist Lieutenant Frances
Spear and microbiologist Lieutenant (j.g.) Lorraine Friedman
made important contributions to the field of infectious
disease research while based at the Naval Medical Research
Unit No. 1 at the University of California, Berkeley. After
leaving the Navy in the 1950s, Friedman helped to establish
the field of medical mycology at Tulane University.
- Spelbring, Lyla - Born and raised on a farm in
Central Illinois, Lyla Spelbring served in the military
during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. She served in
the Marine Corps for six years. As a division leader,
she worked in motor transport in Hawaii in 1943, overseeing
the transport of workers and supplies. During four of
her six years in the USMC she was on inactive status
while working at a federal reformatory for women who were
assigned to a farm crew. After leaving the Marine
Corps she when to Western Michigan University on the GI
Bill, receiving a Bachelor's degree in occupational therapy.
During the Korean War she joined the Army's Women's Military
Medical Specialty Division. She was commissioned as a
2nd Lieutenant and implemented projects such as a
psychiatric clinic for war veterans in North Carolina.
She remained on active duty until 1953. After that she
joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University, where she
was promoted to head of occupational therapy at EMU.
She retired from the Army Reserves in 1982 and from EMU in
- Sproul, Mary Thornton - "Lt. Cmdr. Mary Thornton
Sproul of Washington, D.C., entered the Navy in 1942 after
several years as a blood plasma researcher at the old City
Hospital in Washington, D.C. She continued this work in the
field and up until 1965—when she retired from service—Sproul
was one of the leading blood technologists in the world and
helped ensure the purity of whole blood, and blood
substitutes like plasma and serum albumin used by military.
In the Korean War, Sproul oversaw the shipment of blood into
an active combat zone and helped the South Korean Army
establish a blood bank. During the 1950s and 1960s, Sproul
was stationed at the Naval Hospital Chelsea, and later the
Navy’s Blood Research Laboratory in Boston, where she
researched methods for long-term preservation of blood and
spearheaded the nascent frozen blood program." [Source:
"The First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Stack, Mary E. - Captain Stack served as
assistant to the chief of the Women's Medical Specialist
Corps from November 1948 to May 1951.
- Theilmann, Ethel M. - Major Theilmann was a
physical therapist and part-time consultant to the Surgeon,
8th U.S. Army, Yokohama, Japan, as well as to the Surgeon,
Far East Command, Tokyo, Japan.
- Threash, Eileen Witte - Eileen Witte Treash was
born in Newark, New Jersey on November 14, 1927. While
growing up, she attended Clinton School from 1932 to 1939
and then South Orange Junior High from 1939 to 1942.
Afterwards, she went to Columbia High School from 1942 to
1945, eventually enrolling and entering the New Jersey
College for Women (NJC, now Douglass Residential College) in
1945. During her time at NJC, she majored in Home Economics,
specifically in Nutrition and Institutional Management, and
graduated in 1949. Following this, she joined the Army,
becoming a second lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corps
in the Women's Medical Specialist Corps on July 12, 1949.
Treash went on active duty on September 3, 1949 and attended
basic training at the Medical Field Service School at Fort
Sam Houston, Texas, which she finished on November 3, 1949.
She then immediately started her dietetic internship, which
she completed on November 5, 1950. She served as a dietitian
in Korea during the Korean War and then obtained her
Master's degree at Baylor University in 1958 through the
Army-Baylor Program. She served continuously until her
retirement on June 30, 1977 at the rank of colonel. For her
service, she received the Army Commendation Medal with the
Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the
Legion of Merit. Treash passed away October 20, 2005. [Source: Rutgers Oral History Archives, interview by Sandra
Stewart Holyoak, May 1, 1999]
- Towle, Paula - "In December 1948, Lt. Paula Towle
of Sacramento, Calif., became the first woman pharmacist in
the Medical Service Corps. Towle had been a practicing
hospital pharmacist in the 1930s after earning a degree in
pharmacy from the University of California, San Francisco.
On March 19, 1943, Towle was commissioned in the WAVES as an
officer of the line and did not serve in her profession
again until after the war. She left the service at war’s end
and returned in 1948. Over the next 22 years, Towle served
as the Chief Pharmacy Officer at Naval Hospitals Bremerton,
Pensacola, St. Albans, Chelsea, as well as aboard the
hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) during its deployment to
Vietnam. Until her retirement in 1970, Towle was one of only
two female pharmacists in the Navy. The other was Katherine
“Kay” Keating of Pueblo, Colorado." [Source:
"The First Women of the Medical Service Corps" by Andre
Sobocinski, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery]
- Vogel, Emma E. - Emma Vogel was a native of
Mankato, Minnesota. She graduated from Mankato State
Teachers College and then received physical therapy training
at Reed College in Oregon. She enlisted in the army in
1919. Three years later she was named supervisor of
the Army's first training course for physical therapy aides
in the USA. During World War II she was director of
physical therapy aides in the Army Medical Department,
receiving a Legion of Merit award for her work. From
1947 to 1951 she was chief of the Women's Military Specialist
Corps. She retired from active duty in November of
1951. She died in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- Wickliffe, Nell - Colonel Wickliffe was dietetic
consultant to the Surgeon General, Far East Command
beginning December 1951.
Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO) "Donut
[KWE Note: This section of our
website's Women in Korea page would not have
been possible without referencing the extensive
history of SRAO written by Sue Behrens. To add
more information to this section, contact
When the Korean War broke out, the staff of the American Red
Cross stepped forward to bring memories of the home front and
hospitality to American soldiers, sailors and marines serving in
the Far East Command. Red Cross clubs and clubmobiles
began to make their appearance in Korea as early as September of
1950. Red Cross club staff members opened their first club in an
abandoned schoolhouse at Pusan, and it became the base for
clubmobile operations. After the first club opened, five
others opened at various airfields. The clubmobiles
traveled to air strips, triage areas, replacement depots and
debarkation points throughout Korea.
The clubs provided games, spaces to write letters home, and
eating areas for snacks. Staff members organized participation
activities and provided all sorts of entertainment--including a
spectacular show by remnants of the Seoul Symphony Orchestra.
The Red Cross girls hosted a weekly radio program on Armed
Forces Korea Network Radio, distributed about 600 birthday cards
to servicemen in Korea, and served 11,000-15,000 freshly-baked
donuts per month. After Korean bakers supplied them with
donuts, the Red Cross "Donut Dollies" traveled throughout Korea,
distributing the donuts to disbelieving men who were happy to
see a female face in the war zone. North of the Imjin
River, the girls put on their flak jackets and helmets and
traveled closer to the front lines in sandbagged trucks.
Their duties went beyond distributing donuts and entertaining
homesick servicemen, too. For instance, they met ships
carrying troops that were carrying troops being evacuated from
the Chosin Reservoir area, serving over 10,000 men each day, and
they were on hand at the DMZ to wave a huge welcome to the
returning crew of the captured USS Pueblo, later greeting
the men while they were receiving medical care. The last
Red Cross club was turned over to Special Services on June 15,
1952 at the Seoul airfield where it was located. Then known was
the American Red Cross Clubmobile Service, the name changed to
Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO).
Operations continued for the remainder of 1952 under the new
name, but the women who worked there were still called Donut
The American Red Cross Headquarters received a request on
June 18, 1953 to reinstate the Red Cross clubmobile operations
in Korea and the program restarted in October 1953. The
first clubmobile unit (with five staff members) began near
Inchon at the Army Support Command (ASCOM) on October 3, 1953.
The 3rd Infantry Division requested a clubmobile unit on October
21, 1953 and it opened three days later. These requests
were followed by 8th Division and 45th Division requests for
clubmobile units. Well before Christmas that year there
were 10 SARO units with 75 staff members in operation. By
December 1960, Behrens noted that there were six clubmobile
units making 360 military locations on a weekly basis.
Clubmobile operations in Korea ended in March of 1973
From 1953 to 1973 there were 899 Donut Dollies in South Korea.
Two of the girls were seriously injured while traveling in the
Pusan area and hospitalized at the 121st Evacuation Hospital.
In far-away Korea, SARO staffers listened to the devastating
Armed Forces Radio news about the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy. When the Vietnam War broke out, some of
the veteran Red Cross workers who were in Korea were transferred
over to Vietnam to help improve the morale of the men serving in
that bloody war. At the end of 1965 and into early 1966, the
first clubmobile units in Vietnam were mostly staffed by
transfers from Korea. The SRAO program also opened clubs
in Europe, but the girls in Vietnam and Europe never served the
famous Donut Dollie donuts to servicemen in those theatres.
According to Sue Behrens: "Over the years of the program, 899
young women served in Korea. Through those years they
traveled 2,900,000 miles over Korea's rugged terrain. None
of them would ever forget the roads, nor at the end of them, the
appreciation of the men they reached."
Known Staff Members by Alpha Order*
*Dates shown are dates the Red Cross worker was known to be
- Babraitis, Rita - 1967 - She was from Boston.
- Barksdale, Mary Kennon
- Barnes, Harriett - She served with the 7th Division,
arriving December 17, 1954. She was from Grinnell,
- Berry, Nadine
- Brown, Lillian "Rusty" - In 1951-52 she was stationed at
5th Air Force Advance Headquarters, Seoul, Korea. For
more about Lillian Brown, see Black Americans Topics page on
- Calcese, Nancy - July 1969 to September 1970 she was a donut dolly for
the 2nd and 7th Divisions at Camp Cloud, Korea. She
was an assistant director of SARO at Saigon from May 1971 to
- Chapin, Jean
- Cherry, JoAnna - Camp Pelham
- Crawford, "Mike" - She was serving as a donut dolly in
- Cromwell, Mary Jane - This African-American woman served
in Korea in 1953, and then went on to serve in SRAO in
Europe and then Stateside USA.
- Cruise, Ella - first assistant supervisor in Korea
- Custer, Pat
- Davidson, Marie - Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois,
this former professional figure skater served in the Red
Cross for 10 years and then switched to Army Special
Services. She was stationed in Korea numerous times,
one year in Japan working in hospitals, six months in
Verdun, France, 18 months in Turkey, 20 months in Vietnam in
five locations, and Alaska. In all, she had 38 years
of military recreation program history.
- Deason, Mildred Ella - "Mildred Ella Deason, 95, of
Parrish, passed away Thursday, February 4, 2021, at Walker
Baptist Medical Center. A graveside service will be held on
Monday, February 8 at 1 p.m., at Zion Church of Christ
Cemetery of Parrish, with Kilgore-Green Funeral Home
directing. John Thomaston will officiate. Mildred was born
in America, Alabama, and is a graduate of Parrish High
School, Alabama College for Women “University of Montevallo”
Columbia University of New York City. She taught physical
Education at University of Montevallo, University of
Mississippi and Austin Peay University of Clarkesville,
Tennessee, where she was Dean of Women. She served in the
American Red Cross in Korea, Vietnam and Europe and North
Africa. After Mildred retired, she worked as a security
officer at Drummond Company in Jasper. Her favorite hobby
was bird watching and spending time with family and friends.
She was a member of Zion Church of Christ. She was preceded
in death by her parents, Elbert B. Deason Sr. and Edith J.
Deason; siblings, Edith Deason, Thomaston Short and Elbert
B. “Ebb” Deason Jr. She is survived by her brother, Pick
Deason, sister-in-law wife of Ebb, Wadene and a host of
nieces, nephews, cousins and friends." [Source:
- Denney, Betty - 1967
- Dixon, Sue - 1967
- Doherty, Pat - Korea 1955. She was from Arlington,
- Draper, Barbara - 1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- Drosdick, Liz - 1967/68
- Dumbrigue, Cece - Korea and Vietnam
- Edmondson, Pat Prince - DMZ
- Fearing, Donna - 1959 1st Cavalry
- Fields, Claudia - 1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- Gardner, Val
- Garvin, Eva - served from winter 1959 to 1960
- Goplerud, Ann - During World War II she served in the
Red Cross and sang at hospitals and for troops moving out.
She became incredibly popular and even earned the name “Ann
of Iowa.” She also served in the Red Cross during the Korean
War. Her papers are housed in Special Collections and
Archives, Grinnell College. [Source: Grinnell College
- Greene, Mary Alice - one of the girls who met the
returning Pueblo Crew. She also sang Ave Maria
in a memorial service for a deceased Pueblo crew
- Griffith, Virginia "Ginny" - Red Cross club supervisor
- Grigas, Judy - injured (back injury) in a jeep accident
in September 1971
- Gulley, Margaret - World War II and Korea - "Margaret
(Marge) O. Gulley was born in LaSalle, Illinois in 1920, the
sixth child of Vincent and Theresa O'Bid. Although she was a
child of the depression era, her family supported her
education and she graduated from the University of Chicago
with an AB in 1942. She taught school for two years in a one
room country schoolhouse. Marge contributed to the war
effort by serving in the American Red Cross (A.R.C), first
in France where her group was named "Noah's A.R.C.," and
later in Nuremberg where she was responsible for troop
recreation and also aided townspeople displaced by war. She
attended some of the Nuremberg Trials. She continued her
service in the Far East and at the Swedish Red Cross
Hospital during the Korean Conflict. Her Red Cross career
positioned her to attend the coronation of the King of Siam
and to have a private audience with Pope Pius XII. She moved
to Chapel Hill in 1955 and began her long and distinguished
career in the University of North Carolina Pathology
Department. She received a Master's degree in Recreation
Administration and Counseling from the University of North
Carolina in 1966. Except for an 18-month interval to have a
child, she was on Department staff until her retirement in
June 1990. She served as departmental business manager and
was recognized with the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service
Award for 33 years of exemplary service to the University.
Upon her retirement, the annual Margaret O. Gulley award was
established to honor a Department of Pathology
administrative staff member for outstanding performance.
After retirement, Marge was a proud Grandma, and she
remained active with the American Red Cross Overseas
Association (ARCOA) and in volunteer organizations. She
loved to cook treats for her family and to tell stories of
her adventures. In the past year she continued morning
swims, attended a White House Ceremony honoring Red Cross
Volunteers, and was awarded the Korean Ambassador for Peace
Medal for her Korean War volunteer service. She died
peacefully at Carol Woods Health Center on May 11, 2016 and
donated her body to science. She is survived by her daughter
Margaret (Peggy) L. Gulley, MD who is married to John W.
Williams Jr, MD and their children, Kate and Meg. Her legacy
is reflected in Peggy and Meg who carry on the family
tradition as pathologists and Kate, who is a member of ARCOA
and an international education coordinator. Memorial gifts
may be made to the UNC Pathology Department or to ARCOA. A
Celebration of Life will be held Monday, May 23 at 4pm at
the Carol Woods Retirement Community, 750 Weaver Dairy Rd.,
Chapel Hill." [Source: obituary]
- Haas, Edith Joan - Red Cross aide - later married Henry
R.C. Elser - She was born June 24, 1923/died February 1994
in West Chester, Pennsylvania
- Hayes, Vivian - one of the girls who met the returning
- Heinzelman, Susie - 1967
- Herman, Joyce - 1967
- Hines, Shirley - She arrived in Korea on March 16, 1970
as the first black Donut Dolly. From Korea she went on
to serve in Vietnam.
- Hopkins, Judy - 1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- Hunter, Jessica - first assistant supervisor in Korea.
She had been a World War II WAC in the Far East.
- Jones, Nancy - SRAO assistant director in Korea
- Kessler, Harriet Smoak - She was a Red Cross staff
member in Pusan (and later Japan) during the Korean War.
Born October 24, 1922 in South Carolina, she died in June of
2021. " Harriet Smoak Kessler, 98, of Piney Flats, passed
away at her residence following a recent hospitalization.
She was born on October 24, 1922, in Colleton County, South
Carolina. She was a daughter of the late Gilbert Leonardus
Smoak and Adelphia Ritter Smoak. Harriet joined the American
Red Cross following earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at
Furman University. She served her country during the Korean
War, being stationed in what is now Busan, South Korea, as
well as in Japan. Upon returning stateside, she continued to
serve veterans returning from combat, working on different
military bases and at VA hospitals. She earned her Master of
Social Work degree at the University of Tennessee, Memphis,
in 1957. It was in Memphis that she met her beloved husband
of 57 years. In 1967, she moved with her family to Wise,
Virginia, and began work at the Mental Health Clinic. She
cherished this work, developing a deep affection for the
people of Southwest Virginia. To her final days, Harriet
often spoke of the open hearts and great generosity of the
Mountain Community. In her retirement, she was still active
for many years in the management of the rental business now
known as Kessler Properties. As a strong Christian woman,
Harriet knew there was only one brief life in this world
before being united whole in the next. This did not,
however, keep her from living each day with great
enthusiasm, strong conviction, and a lasting sense of humor.
Many of her conversations began, “If I only had 100 lives to
live, I would…” or ended in sidesplitting laughter. In
addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her
husband and constant companion, Dr. William A. Kessler, with
whom she shared life from their marriage in 1958 until his
passing in 2015, and several siblings. She is survived by
her daughter, Cynthia S. Kessler; grandson, Martin William
Convers; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and
great-nephews. The family of Harriet Kessler will receive
friends from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 15, 2021,
at Morris-Baker Funeral Home. A funeral service will follow
at 5:00 PM, officiated by Pastor Sean Glenn. Immediately
following the service, a committal will be held at the St.
Paul United Methodist Church Cemetery, 1655 Allison Road,
Piney Flats, Tennessee 37686.
- Klaiss, Beth
- Kotcher, Joann Puffer - Served in Korea and then arrived
in Vietnam in 1966.
- Kresbach, Helen - 1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- Lascola, Linda - 1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- LeGrande, Joyce - Korea and Vietnam. She was one
of the first five Red Cross staf members to be sent into
Vietnam after that war started.
- Lewis, Sue - March 1962, 1967
- Macdonald, Bennett
- Mace, Barbara - She arrived in Korea February 1959 and
served with the 1st Cavalry.
- McCann, Billie - 1961
- McCaskill, Penny - I Corps
- Meares, Anne - 1968 - 2nd Division
- Meyner, Helen Day Stevenson - She arrived in Japan on
November 3, 1950 and was assigned to the 5th Station
military hospital at Johnson Air Base, Iramangawa, Japan.
In April 13, 1951 she arrived at the ARC club in Pusan until
October 1951. At that time she was transferred to a
club at K13, Suwon Air Base until returning to the States in
January 1952. She married Robert B. Meyner, who became
the governor of New Jersey. As such, Helen was the
First Lady of New Jersey from 1957 to 1962. Helen was
the Democratic U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1975
to 1979. Born March 5, 1929, she died November 02,
1997. [See the Meyner Papers, Skillman Library,
- Michaels, Zelda - 1968 - 2nd Division
- Miller, Janet - She served with the 7th Division,
arriving in Korea December 17, 1954.
- Mitchell, Connie - unit head when the girls met the
returning Pueblo crew
- Moore, Gay - 1967
- Moorehead, Helen - 1968 - 2nd Division
- Moran, Patricia (later Pat Lorge) - Korea 1969-70 and
1972-73. She was the last assistant director and
doubled as program supervisor.
- Morey, Linda - 1967
- Neal, Kathi - served with the 7th Division 1967
- Nichols, Cissy - 1968
- Niedenthal, Mary - arrived in Korea straight from
- O'Connor, Cathy - SRAO assistant director. She met
and married Army captain Dennis Berrean who was stationed in
the Seoul area. On December 1968 Cathy completed her
tour in Korea, married Denny, and became a Red Cross
volunteer in the Seoul SRAO office.
- O'Fiaro, Suzanne - December 1969 she was a Donut Dollie
for the 2nd Division
- Olifant, Amber "Cindy" - arrived in Korea Spring 1960
- Olson, Diane - DMZ with 2nd Division
- Paro, Helen - 1959 - 1st Cavalry
- Patson, Penny
- Petrillo, Lynn - March 1962
- Pettigrew, Barb - 1966
- Printz, Joanne - 1967
- Reher, Toni - December 1969 she was a Donut Dolly for
the 2nd Division
- Reynolds, Joanne "Jody" Ahrold - She arrived at Munson-ni,
Korea in support of the 1st Cavalry in June 1965. In
October 1965 she was the new Program Director in Taegu,
Pusan, supporting the 2nd Infantry Division. She went
on to serve with the Red Cross in Vietnam (Cam Ranh Bay) in
January 1966. She was from Des Moines, Iowa in 2019.
- Robeson, Laurie - 1968
- Rose, Jenny - stationed at Camp Saint Barbara
- Schrader, Esther - one of the girls who met the
returning Pueblo crew
- Schweitzer, Edna - SRAO director in Korea to close the
program and hospital field director in Vietnam
- Scotchmer, Mazie - 1967
- Shackleford, Brenda - injured (fractured collarbone) in
a jeep accident in September 1971
- Sherrard, Dorothy "Duf" - I Corps Artillery, Camp Saint
- Simpson, Melinda - one of the girls who met the
returning Pueblo crew
- Smith, Diane - Vietnam Donut Dolly and then Korea Donut
Dolly - She was a recreation director at RC#2 Service Club.
She was from Georgia.
- Smith, Quinn - She served 18 months in Korea as SRAO
director and then served in the same role in
Vietnam.Eventually there were 10 SRA0 units in Korea
providing staff for clubs, canteens and mobile vehicles.
- Storey, Elizabeth Ann - 1967/1968 - 2nd Infantry Division
- Sturm, Mele - 1968
- Sutton, Cindy
- Takell, Etta - This African-American woman served in
Korea 1953 and then a second tour in 1955.
- Tennyson, Jane - program supervisor at Seoul
- Tibbot, Gladys - She replaced Quinn Smith for her second
tour as SRAO director. Gladys was diagnosed with
cancer, was medically returned to the States, and died the
- Toombs, Pat (later Green) - She arrived at Camp Pelham,
1st Cavalry Division, ASCOM City, in Korea November 1962 and left in
February 1964. Her nickname was "Toombsie". Back
in the States, she worked for the Red Cross as a recreation
worker at the US Naval Hospital (Balboa). After her
Red Cross career she worked as a medical social worker in
hospitals until she retired.
- Trask, Joanna - served with the 7th Division
- Van Vechten, Marie-Louise "Metzie" - The first
supervisor in Korea
- Varn, Lib - two tours in Korea and the second assistant
- Watson, Katie - 1953 - She was from Denton, Texas.
- Wendler, Wendy - 1968 - 2nd Division
- Woods, Jan Small - ASCOM Depot, Korea, June
1966-November 1966; Dian Vietnam, 1st Infantry - November
1966-May 1967; Phu Loi Vietnam, May 1967-July 1967
- Wilkins, Joanne - program director when the girls met
the returning Pueblo crew
- Wren, Kate
- Wriston, Jane - 1961 - She was a recreation supervisor in Tokyo
that trained staff before they went on to Korea. She
was from Albany, New York.
- Anderson, Norman, The Donut Dollies: A Documentary.
Anderson was the writer and director. Members of the
cast were former Donut Dollies.
- Behrens, Sue, The SRAO Story, 1986.
Behrens served in the SRAO and wrote a history of the
program in all three theatres (Korea, Vietnam and Europe).
She was a clubmobile staff member in Korea in 1953.
- Collins, Elizabeth M., Donut Dollies at the
- Kotcher, Joann Puffer, Donut Dolly: An American Girl's War in Vietnam.
Joann was a Donut Dolly in Korea and Vietnam.
- Norris, Ann, "Red Cross Girls Train Here for Work in
Vietnam, Korea," The Daily Progress, June 27, 1968.
- Stewart, Kathleen A., Coffee, Doughnuts, and a Witty
Line of Chatter: The Korean War Letters of Helen Stevenson
Meyner, university thesis, 1998.
- Vuic, Kara Dixon, The Girls Next Door, Bringing the
Home Front to the Front Lines
Army Special Services
- Gang, Jeanne (Hamby) - Gang, a Piedmont,
California, native wanted to join the Navy Women’s Reserve
(WAVES) during World War II, but was told that she was “too
near-sighted.” Instead, she joined the American Red Cross
but was considered “too young” for overseas assignment, so
she served as a recreational and social staff aide in Army
and Navy hospitals in her home state. When the Korean War
broke out, she volunteered for the Army Special Services and
was sent to Germany for two years, where her first
assignment was at the 7th Army Headquarters’ Pyramid Service
Club. Gang then helped open the service club at Wharton
Barracks in Heilbronn. [Source: Military Women's Memorial
- Balcombe, Jeanne M.
- Gloria, Marissa Jo
- Lott, Damionia
Balcombe, Jeanne M.
While on duty
on August 21st 1999, Balcombe's quick thinking and selfless response safeguarded and protected others
at the Troop Medical Clinic at Camp Red Cloud, Korea. She placed herself in harm's way between three
soldiers and an armed gunman.
News-Register, McMinnville, Oregon, August 28, 1999
- A funeral for former McMinnville resident Sgt. 1st Class Jeanne M. Balcombe of Lakewood,
Washington, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the chapel of Macy & Son Funeral Directors,
McMinnville. The Rev. Steve Ross of McMinnville United Methodist Church will officiate. Vault
interment with military honors will be held in Evergreen Memorial Park, McMinnville. Mrs. Balcombe
died August 21, 1999, in Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, after being mortally wounded in the line of duty
as an Army military police officer. She was 32. Born November 8, 1966, in Fort Lewis, Washington, she
was the daughter of Willard Edward and Alice Anne Robinson Hamilton. She moved to North Carolina as a baby,
then to Sheridan when she was three years old. She attended first grade in Sheridan. Her family moved
in August 1973 to McMinnville, where she was raised and educated. In 1984, she joined the Army. She
was stationed at Camp Red Cloud at the time of her death. She and Mike Balcombe were married April 9,
1989, in McMinnville. Mrs. Balcombe loved to play softball and soccer. She was an avid bowler and
liked to bike with her family. Survivors include her husband, of Lakewood, Washington; two daughters,
Alice Balcombe and Kristin Balcombe, both of Lakewood; her parents, of McMinnville; four brothers, Dave
Hamilton, John Hamilton and Tom Hamilton, all of McMinnville, and Rick Hamilton of Nevada; and a sister,
Jennifer Wolfe of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
On September 1, 1999, Sgt. 1st Class Jeanne M. Balcombe, of the 1st Platoon, 55th Military Police Company, was
posthumously awarded the Soldiers Medal for heroism in the face of danger.
Citation: "Sergeant Jeanne Balcombe was shot and killed at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, by one of her own soldiers.
The suspect, who was drunk at the time, was upset that Sergeant Balcombe had ordered a blood test on
one of the suspect's friends. He then overpowered a South Korean soldier stationed at the base and took
his sidearm. He shot Sergeant Balcombe three times, including once in the head, before fleeing the base.
He was captured later in the day by Korean National Police officers with the murder weapon still in
his possession. The suspect was convicted of capital murder by General Court Martial and sentenced to
life in prison. Sergeant Balcombe was a member of the 55th Military Police Company. She is survived
by her husband and two daughters."
Gloria, Marissa Jo
Marissa Jo Gloria, age 20, Moorhead, Minnesota, was found
dead in her barracks on March 21, 2020. She joined the Army
in January of 2019. After completing her training she
arrived at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, in April 2019.
Marrissa was a combat engineer with the 2nd ID sustainment
brigade. Born on October 12th, 1994 in Fargo, ND,
Marissa Jo Gloria lived an all too brief 25 years. She
passed on Saturday March 21st, 2020 while serving her
country in the U.S. Army.
Marissa is survived by Lisa Gonzalez (mother), Robert
Gonzalez (father), Ruben [Janice] Gloria (father), Marvin
Glaser (grandparent), Candy Glaser (grandparent), Dolores
Gloria (grandparent), Robert Gonzalez Sr. (grandparent),
Gloria Gonzalez (grandparent), siblings: Brayden Gonzalez,
Alexandrea Gonzalez, Tommy Gonzalez, Ruben Jr. Gloria,
Miranda Gloria, Jacob Wentz (nephew), many aunts, uncles,
nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, Zach Stankovich
(special friend) and many, many other loving friends. She is
preceded in death by Ralph Gloria (grandfather),
great-grandparents, Marvin and Winifred Glaser and Arnold
and Nora Esterby. and Albert Gloria [Tony Montana] (uncle).
Marissa attended West Fargo High, and continued her
education at M/State Community College obtaining her
Associates Degree in Accounting. She loved Moorhead, MN and
called it home, but had a special place in her heart for
Kansas City and the Fargo/West Fargo area. She entered
Active Duty on January 2nd, 2019 and got her castle pinned
April 2019. It was one the proudest moments of her life. She
was most recently stationed overseas on Active Duty as a
Private First Class (PFC), and served as a Combat Engineer
at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
She loved her family and friends hard, and unconditionally.
She had a smile that could lift the heaviest of fogs and a
sense of humor that at times could seem peculiar, but could
lift the heaviest of spirits. True to her character, she
never let the many obstacles in her life hold her down.
Marissa was the sister we all wanted, the daughter every
parent longed for and the feminine role model every girl
should aspire to become. She was not an easy kid by any
definition, but against all odds, became an inspiration to
us all. She spent a lot of her time cultivating strong
relationships with family and friends. She loved the
outdoors and camping, and was always in the mood for a good
country song. Her laughter and smile was contagious, and her
presence caring and sweet. She showed us how to persevere,
triumph, and how to endure. Marissa above all cared and
loved each and every one of us with her whole heart and with
all of her energy, even if there wasn't enough left for her.
The Memorial Service will be held privately and by
invitation only. A Celebration of Life is to be determined
at a later date. For extended family and friends, the
service will be available to view online on Boulger Funeral
Home's website after it takes place. Marissa will be laid to
rest at the Fargo National Cemetery. She will be given
military honors at the funeral home after the service. We
would like to extend our gratitude for your continued
support and understanding. Arrangements entrusted to the
care of Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center,
MOORHEAD, Minn. — An Army soldier from Moorhead was found
dead in her barracks last weekend in Seoul, South Korea,
according to an article published Tuesday by the military
newspaper Stars & Stripes. Pvt. 1st Class Marissa Jo Gloria,
a combat engineer with the 2nd Infantry Division sustainment
brigade, was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the
scene by emergency medical staff, according to Stars &
Stripes. Gloria's death Saturday at Camp Humphreys remains
under investigation, according to the article, which also
cited a military spokesman who ruled out any connection to
the coronavirus pandemic. "There was no illness, and she did
not present any COVID-19 related symptoms," Lt. Col. Martyn
Crighton told Stars & Stripes. Gloria joined the Army in
Fargo, N.D, in January 2019, and she was assigned to the
sustainment brigade after completing training at Fort
Leonard Wood, Mo. Gloria arrived at Camp Humphreys last
April, according to Stars & Stripes, which cited an Army
news release. According to Stars & Stripes, Lt. Col. Robert
Dion, commander of the brigade's 11th Engineer Battalion,
expressed condolences: "Marissa was a key member of the
Jungle Cats Battalion. We are all deeply saddened by the
loss and will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers
during this difficult time." Source: Pioneer Press
A female U.S. soldier who was stationed near the border
with North Korea died earlier this month. Sgt. Damionia Lott
died at an off-base hospital in South Korea on September 19,
Stars and Stripes reported. She was a supply sergeant
with the 70th Brigade Support Battalion, 210th Field
Artillery Brigade at Camp Casey, the command said in a
statement on Wednesday. The command said her death wasn't
attributed to a training incident, but declined to provide
additional details, according to Stars and Stripes.
Today, the Thunder Family is deeply saddened by the loss of
our sister in arms, SGT Damionia Lott," the post said. "She
was an outstanding NCO in 70th Brigade Support Battalion and
she truly will be missed." Lott, who was from
Louisiana, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2016, but joined
the Army four years later. She arrived at the battalion in
South Korea over the summer. In a statement to Stars and
Stripes, her unit said it was "deeply saddened and
shocked" by her death. "Sergeant Lott was an excellent
non-commissioned officer who always set the example and made
coaching and mentoring others her top priority," said
Command Sgt. Maj. Tiffany Montgomery, the support
battalion's senior enlisted leader. Montgomery added: "She
was well respected and greatly admired by the entire chain
of command." Lott has been posthumously awarded the
Army Commendation Medal.
Back to Page Contents
Reference Material - Women in Korea
- Baron, Scott and James E. Wise Jr. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Conflicts. Naval
Institute Press, 2006. References Margaret Fae Perry and Vera M. Brown, who died in the Korean
- Bellafaire, Judith. Called to Duty: Army Women During the Korean War Era.
Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History 52 (2001), pp. 19-27.
- Cherpak, Evelyn M., compiler. A Guide to Research Source Materials on Women in the Naval
Historical Collection. Naval War College, Newport, RI. 2005. Although most of
this material is related to World War II, Dr. Cherpak lists references for the following female Navy
personnel who served in non-combat areas during the Korean War: Eleanor Landgraff Gustafson, Lola Krueger,
Helen Martin, Barbara Flaherty, and Florence Job.
- D'Amico, Francine and Laurie Weinstein, editors. Gender Camouflage: Women and the U.S.
Military. New York University Press, 1999.
- Feller, Carolyn M. and Constance J. Moore, editors. Highlights in the History of the Army
Nurse Corps. U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., 1995. See pp. 24-26.
- Frank, Lisa Tendrich. An Encyclopedia of American Women at War. 2013.
- Higgins, Marguerite. War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat Correspondent.
1951. The Country Life Press, New York. A 223-page book with photo illustrations by Life
photographer Carl Mydans, War in Korea highlights the experiences of correspondent Marguerite Higgins
from the time she arrived in Korea in June through December 1950.
- History and Museums Division Headquarters. A History of the Women Marines 1946-1977.
United States Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. See Chapter 4 - "The Korean War Years".
- Mendoza, Patrick M. Extraordinary People in Extraordinary Times: Heroes, Sheroes, and Villains.
- Nanney, James S., Donald G. Smith, Jr., and Mary C. Smolenski. A Fit, Fighting Force: The
Air Force Nursing Services Chronology. Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, Washington,
D.C. 2005. See "The Fifties", pp. 13-15.
- Neidel-Greenlee, Rosemary and Evelyn Monahan. A Few Good Women: America's Military From
World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Harpswell, ME: Anchor Publishing, 2010.
- Omori, Frances. Quiet Heroes: Navy Nurses of the Korean War 1950-1953, Far East Command.
Smith House Press, 2000.
- Paananen, Eloise. Dawn Mission: a flight nurse in Korea. New York, John Day Co.,
- Sarnecky, Mary T. A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Philadelphia: University
of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.
- Soderbergh, Peter. Women Marines in the Korean War Era. Praeger Publishing, 1994.
- Stiehm, Judith. It's Our Military, Too!: Women and the U.S. Military. 1996.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars. Women at War From the Revolutionary War to the Present.
VFW Magazine, 2009. See "Flight Nurse Put Others First", p. 11; "Nurses in Korea
Prove Their Skills", pp. 12-13; and "Anna Mae Hays: Army's First Female General Office",
- Witt, Linda, editor. A Defense Weapon Known to be of Value: Servicewomen of the Korean
SPARS in the Korean War
Semper Paratus Always Ready
During World War II there were 11,868 enlisted women and 978
female officers in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve. In
1947, the Women's Reserve of the Coast Guard was inactivated.
World War II was over and there was no campaign to encourage
women to enlist as SPARS. The Coast Guard's women's
volunteer reserve was reactivated in January of 1950 and opened
to all eligible veteran officers. In April of that year
the Coast Guard announced that former enlisted women of the U.S.
Coast Guard Reserve could apply for enlistment in the Women's
Volunteer Reserve, or SPARs. Enlistments would be for a
three-year period with written agreement to serve on active duty
in time of war or national emergency.
Eleanor C. L'Ecuyer
Eleanor C. L’Ecuyer rejoined the Coast Guard in 1951 after
serving in as a SPAR during World War II. Prior to her
rejoining, she earned a law degree, and was commissioned as an
ensign upon her reentry into the Coast Guard Women's Reserve.
She was assigned to Washington, D.C., and became the first
female attorney hired by the Coast Guard, although she did not
directly serve in that role. Her legal training served her – and
future generations of female Coast Guardsmen – very well. She
wrote successful challenges to several policies that would
increase career potential for women in the Coast Guard. One was
her determination that being pregnant was not a disabling
condition and therefore, should not be grounds for discharging
women. Another was that couples should be allowed to co-locate.
Another challenge she filed questioned the policy limiting women
to serving only 20 years. She served until 1971, rising to the
rank of captain. She holds the distinction of being the longest
Elizabeth Frances "Betty" Splaine
Elizabeth Frances "Betty" Splaine of Massachusetts joined the
Coast Guard in 1942 and worked in the personnel department until
the end of World War II. She was discharged, but then
became the first former SPAR from World War II to re-enlist in
the Coast Guard. From 1953 until 1971 she was a warrant
officer in the reserve affairs department in the Coast Guard
Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She was the Coast Guard's
first female warrant officer.
Other women served as Coast Guard SPARS during the Korean
War. In November of 1952 there were 215 SPAR officers and 108
enlisted women in the SPAR reserves. In addition, there were 18
officers and 19 enlisted women on active duty in the SPARS
during the Korean War. The majority of these women served
at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Korean War Educator is searching for the names of SPARS
who served during the Korean War. To add information to
this section, contact
Back to Page Contents
- Bourke-White, Margaret
Born June 14, 1904 in New York, New York, Margaret White attended Columbia University, University of
Michigan, Western Reserve University and Cornell University. She began her career as an industrial and
architectural photographer in 1927 and in 1929 was hired by Fortune magazine. She became one of the
first four staff photographers for Life magazine in 1936. She covered World War II for Life and became
the first woman photographer attached to the United States Armed Forces.
During the Korean War she worked as war correspondent and traveled with South Korean troops. She was
stricken with Parkinson disease in 1952, but continued to photograph and write, retiring from Life magazine
in 1969. She died August 27, 1971 in Stamford, Connecticut.
- Higgins, Marguerite
Born in Hong Kong on September 3, 1920, Higgins was educated at the University of California, from which
she graduated in 1941. She received a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University. In 1942
she was hired by the New York Tribune and 1944 she became a war correspondent in Europe. She covered
the Nuremberg Trials.
She was a war correspondent in Korea from June through December 1950 and covered the Inchon landing
in the 5th wave at Red Beach. In 1951 she published the book, War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat
Correspondent. That same year she won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting and was voted Woman
of the Year by the Associated Press news organization.
She covered news stories in Vietnam in 1953, the Soviet Union in 1955, and then made repeated trips
to Vietnam. Her book, Our Vietnam Nightmare, was published in 1965. She was in Vietnam in 1965 when
she came down with the tropical disease leishmanasis. She returned to the United States for recovery
but died on January 3, 1966. In honor of her career as a war correspondent, she was buried in Arlington
Photo courtesy of
Born on June 22, 1927 in Honolulu to Choonha and Shinbok Park, Sarah was a Korean-American journalist.
She studied at American University in Washington, D.C. and the University of Hawaii and then began living
and writing in Asia for the International News Service and Reuters agency of Great Britain. She was
hired by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1950 and then sent to cover the Korean War from the winter of
1952 through spring 1953. "Park reported that it was necessary for troops to use candles in areas around
the frontline, as there was no electricity at that time. From this report, Hawaiian residents started
a campaign, 'Candles for Korea' which saw approximately 150,000 candles sent to troops to boost morale."
In January 1953 she was made an honorary member of the 7th Division and later Col. Arthur B. Chun wrote
to the Star-Bulletin, “Undaunted and without flinching, she stood side-by-side with men of the 3rd Battalion,
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, all under intense fire from the enemy on the Korean frontier.
She walked their trails, their trenches, their rugged hills and witnessed their agonizing, perilous
moments. She was more than a war correspondent or an observer: she was the understanding ‘buddy’ from
home who appreciated everything anyone did.” Sarah Park died at the age of 30 when the small plane she
was aboard crashed into the Pacific Ocean on March 9, 1957 while covering a tsunami warning. Also killed
was Paul Beam, owner of the plane, who died the next day. Surviving the crash was photographer Jack
Matsumoto. Sarah Park is buried at Diamond Head Memorial Park in Oahu next to her mother.
Back to Page Contents
5 Local Navy Nurses in Ocean Plane Crash that Snuffed Out Lives of 26
[KWE Note: The source and date of this news clipping is unknown, but was sent to the KWE by the family
of Edna June Rundell, a victim of the crash. The article appeared in a Bremerton area newspaper on pages
1 and 5.]
Navy reports identifying the 26 persons killed Tuesday when a four-engined transport crashed into
the sea near Kwajalein were especially shocking to personnel at U.S. Naval Hospital here. Five
of 11 navy nurses aboard were detached from the local hospital last week. They were Lieut. (jg)
Mary Eleanor Liljegreen and Ensigns Eleanor Clara Beste, Jane Louise Eldridge, Marie Margaret Boatman
and Edna June Rundell. The other victims were eight navy men who were passengers and the seven
crew members. Only four bodies were recovered.
Today the navy sent a special plane to drop 26 Hawaiian leis on the waters, two miles from Kwajalein
Island where the transport had refueled on a flight from Hawaii to the far east.
There was hurried excitement among the five nurses and their friends at the naval hospital here 10
days ago. The five had received dispatch orders for overseas assignment.
One of the most excited was Lieutenant Liljegreen whose promotion to that rank came simultaneously
with her orders. As such she became senior officer of the group reporting to San Francisco by
commercial air. The dark-eyed, 25-year-old brunette from Seattle was serving on her second station,
having been indoctrinated at the naval hospital at Oak Knoll, California. She had reported here
during the Christmas holidays of 1949. Among her friends and among the patients in the dependents
ward where she last worked, Lieutenant Liljegreen was known as "Mary". Her surviving parents are
Mr. and Mrs. Carl J. Liljegreen of Seattle.
Most outwardly pleased with prospect of her overseas assignment was Ensign Beste, 25, a vivacious
blue-eyed blonde from Freeport, Minnesota. Beginning with her arrival here 20 months ago for indoctrination,
Ensign Beste became well-known for her many interests and popularity. Ensign Beste wanted to be
a doctor. So, last year she attended Olympic college by day and worked evenings at the hospital.
In addition, she studied foreign languages through correspondence courses. "Ensign Beste was extremely
popular with dependents," Lieutenant R.J. Mitchell, assistant chief nurse, recalls.
Ensign Eldridge, 28, was on leave and vacationing at her Detroit, Michigan home when her orders came.
She returned to hurriedly pack her personal and professional belongings. Bremerton also was her
first navy station: she reported here in December of 1947 and served largely in hospital wards.
The tall, slender brunette was engaged to a navy doctor who left recently for assignment aboard a military
Ensign Boatman, a jolly Texan who seemed younger than her 25 years, was the only other member of
the group able to visit home before departing overseas. She visited San Antonio briefly before
her final flight. Ensign Boatman, a tall, strawberry blonde, had been here only since January
of this year, having received her indoctrination at the Long Beach naval hospital. Her duties
had been in the outpatients clinic and on the enlisted wards and her Texan humor had always been welcome.
The last of the group, Ensign Rundell, had reported here in January of 1948 for indoctrination and
her duties had been on medical and surgical wards. The tiny, 24-year-old brunette from Stafford,
Kansas, had only recently learned of the death of her father.
Lieut. (jg) Alice Stella Giroux of Tacoma, and Lieut. (jg) Jeanne Elizabeth Clarke of Portland are
among the other nurse victims. Others are Lieut. (jg) Call Virginia Goodwin of Raleigh, North
Carolina; Lieut. (jg) Constance Adair Heege of Kirkwood, Missouri; Lieut. (jg) Margaret Grace Kennedy
of Webster, Massachusetts; and Ens. Constance Rita Esposito of Brockway, Pennsylvania.
Plane crewmen were Lieut. Comdr. S.L. White, Barber's Point, Hawaii; Lieut. Comdr. I.S. Best, Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii; Lieut. W.L. Watkins, Palo Alto, California; and Lieut. (jg.) W.G. Spangle, Williamsport,
Pennsylvania. Also, Chief Machinist A.G. Sessoms, Charleston, Tennessee; E.A. Sauer, aviation
electronics man third class, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and A.J. Johnson, aviation electronics man third
class, Beaumont, Texas.
Passengers were Lieut. J.J. Kilthau, Portland; Lieut. (jg) W.L. Horter, Balboa, Canal Zone; Lieut.
(jg) F.G. Palmer, Newport, Rhode Island; Ens. E.F. Englehardt, Cincinnati, Ohio; Ens. R.A. Harsh, Clinton,
Michigan; Ens. D.J. Jackson, Jr., Berwick, Pennsylvania; Ens. H.K. Smith, Los Angeles; and Ens. A.E.
Thrall, Colton, California.
Back to Page Contents
Edna June Rundell News Clippings
Click HERE to view the newspaper clippings (PDF)
Edna June Rundell
Edna June Rundell
Back to Page Contents
U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Uniform Booklet (donated to the KWE courtesy of the family of Edna June Rundell)