Almost two million women
have served in the U.S. military and thousands more with the military forces
of other nations.
Historians seem reluctant to record
or publish the names and numbers of American women who gave their lives
in service to their country. Whether from illness, injury, disease, enemy
fire, plane crashes, or the unknown, they deserve to be remembered as having
made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us all remember that women have served
proudly since our nation began.
The Civil War
Some historical records verify the
fact that over sixty women were either wounded or killed at various battles
during the Civil War. Perhaps one of the the most poignant stories about
women in the Civil War is told in Women in War1866, by Frank Moore.
In 1863, at age 19, a woman known
only as Emily, ran away from home and joined the drum corps of a
Michigan Regiment. The regiment was sent to Tennessee and during the struggle
for Chatanooga a minie ball pierced the side of the young soldier. Her
wound was fatal and her sex was disclosed. At first she refused to disclose
her real name but as she lay dying she consented to dictate a telegram
to her father in Brooklyn. "Forgive your dying daughter. I have but
a few moments to live. My native soil drinks my blood. I expected to deliver
my country but the fates would not have it so. I am content to die. Pray
forgive me...... Emily."
After the Battle of Gettysburg,
July 1863, the bodies of two Confederate women, in uniform, were found.
A Union flag bearer, also a woman in uniform, was killed on the hill near
Picketts Charge. A young woman named Frances Day was mortally wounded
while serving as Sgt Frank Mayne in the Western Theater.
Spanish American War
Ellen May Tower of Byron,
Michigan was the first U.S. Army nurse to die on foreign soil, of typhoid
fever, in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War, and was the first
woman to receive a military funeral in Michigan. Twenty two women died
as a result of service in the Spanish American War:
Bailey, Lurecia - Army Contract
Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Bradford, T.R. - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Burke, Mary - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever - Nun
Cameron, Emma - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Campos, Anna - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Cochrane, Dorothy - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Flanagan, Elizabeth - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever - Nun
Greenfield, Margaret - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Larkin, Anne - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever - Nun
Plant, Lulu - Army Contract Nurse - Undiagnosed
Roberts, Alice - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Stansberry, Katherine - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Sweeney, Mary - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever - Nun
Toland, Irene - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Tower, Ellen - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Trioche, Margaret - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Turnbull, Minerva - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Walworth, Ruebena - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Ward, Clara - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever
Wolfe, Carolina - Army Contract Nurse - Typhoid Fever - Nun
Phinney, Dorthea - Volunteer - Malaria
Source Material graciously provided
by WIMSA - The above names came from Record Group 112, National Archives,
2nd Report, NSDAR, p. 87; 3rd Report, NSDAR, p. 50 ; Record Group 112,
"Order of Spanish American War Nurses," Trained Nurse and Hospital
Review, Vol. 23, p. 81 and ps. 208-210; same peridocal, Vol. 24, p. 423;
Vol 25, p. 447; Record Group 112, "The Village of Byron and It's Heroine,
Ellen May Tower," by Kathryn Seward.
World War One
To be added soon.
World War Two
During the battle on Anzio, six
Army Nurses were killed by the German bombing and strafing of the tented
hospital area. Four Army Nurses among the survivors were awarded Silver
Stars for extraordinary courage under fire. In the Pacific Theater a Japanese
suicide plane bombed the hospital ship USS Comfort off Leyte Island. In
the attack 6 nurses, 5 medical officers, 8 enlisted men, and 7 patients
were killed, and 4 nurses were wounded
In all, more than 400 military women
lost their lives during World War II. In 1944 U.S. Army Nurse Aleda
E. Lutz of Freeland Michigan was the first U.S. military woman to die
in a combat zone during World War II when her hospital plane went down
on her 196th rescue mission.
A little known fact is that thirty
eight WASPs gave their lives during WWII - and yet the WASP were not given
full military status until many years later.
Susan P. Clarke
Margie L. Davis
Marjorie D. Edwards
Frances F. Grimes
Kathryn B. Lawrence
Hazel Ah Ying Lee
Lea Ola McDonald
Jeanne L. Norbeck
Margaret C. Oldenburg
Marie Mitchell Robinson
Margaret J. Seip
Helen Jo Severson
Ethel Marie Sharon
Silver Betty P. Stine
Mary E. Trebing
Mary L. Webster
Bonnie Jean Welz
Betty Taylor Wood
The Korean Conflict
Ensign Constance R. Esposito,
Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Alice S. Giroux, Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Calla C. Goodwin, Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Constance A. Heege, Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Margaret Grace Kennedy, Navy Nurse Corps
Ensign Mary E. Lijegreen, Navy Nurse Corps
Major Genevieve Smith, Army Nurse Corps,
Lt. Wilma Ledbetter, Navy Nurse Corps
Ensign Eleanor Beste, Navy Nurse Corps
Ensign Marie Boatman, Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Jeanne E. Clarke, Navy Nurse Corps
Lt.jg. Jane L. Eldridge, Navy Nurse Corps
Ensign Edna J. Rundell, Navy Nurse Corps
Captain Vera M. Brown, Air Force Nurse Corps
SN Doris Frances Brown, Milwaukee,
non-hostile death Navy
AN Virginia May McClure, Sioux City, non-hostile air crash, AF
AN Margaret Fae Perry, Morgantown, non-hostile crash, AF
2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba
2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones
Lt. Drazba and Lt. Jones were assigned
to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a helicopter crash near
Saigon, February 18, 1966. Drazba was from Dunmore, PA., Jones from Allendale,
SC. Both were 22 years old.
Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander
1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski
Capt. Alexander of Westwood, NJ
and Lt. Orlowski of Detroit, MI died November 30, 1967. Alexander, stationed
at the 85th Evac. and Orlowski, stationed at the 67th Evac., in Qui Nhon,
had been sent to a hospital in Pleiku to help out during a push. With them
when their plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon were two other
nurses, Jerome E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI and Kenneth R. Shoemaker,
Jr. of Owensboro, KY. Alexander was 27, Orlowski 23. Both were posthumously
awarded Bronze Stars.
2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan
Lt. Donovan, from Allston, MA, died
of pneumonia in Qui Nhon on July 8, 1968. She was assigned to the 85th
Evac. in Qui Nhon. She was 26 years old.
1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane
Lt. Lane died from shrapnel wounds
when the 312th Evac. at Chu Lai was hit by rockets on June 8, 1969. From
Canton, OH, she was a month short of her 26th birthday. She was posthumously
awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for
Heroism. In 1970, the recovery room at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver,
where Lt. Lane had been assigned before going to Viet Nam, was dedicated
in her honor. In 1973, Aultman Hospital in Canton, OH, where Lane had attended
nursing school, erected a bronze statue of Lane. The names of 110 local
servicemen killed in Vietnam are on the base of the statue.
Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham,
Chief Nurse at 91st Evac. Hospital, Tuy Hoa.
Lt. Col. Graham, from Efland, NC,
suffered a stroke in August 1968 and was evacuated to Japan where she died
four days later. A veteran of both World War II and Korea, she was 52.
U.S. Air Force
Capt. Mary Therese Klinker
Capt. Klinker, a flight nurse assigned
to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, was on the C-5A Galaxy which crashed
on April 4 outside Saigon while evacuating Vietnamese orphans. This is
known as the Operation Babylift crash. From Lafayette, IN, she was 27.
She was posthumously awarded the Airman's Medal for Heroism and the Meritorious
American Red Cross
Hannah Crews Died in a jeep accident, Bien
Virginia Kirsch Murdered by a U.S. soldier in Cu Chi, 1970.
Lucinda Richter Died of Guillain-Barre syndrome, Cam Ranh Bay, 1971.
Army Special Services
Rosalyn Muskat Died in a jeep accident,
Bien Hoa, 1968.
Dorothy Phillips Died in a plane crash, Qui Nhon, 1967.
Catholic Relief Services
Gloria Redlin Shot in Pleiku, 1969.
Central Intelligence Agency
Barbara Robbins Died when a car bomb exploded
outside the American Embassy, Saigon, March 30, 1965.
Betty Gebhardt Died in Saigon, 1971.
United States Agency for International
Marilyn L. Allan Murdered by a U.S. soldier
in Nha Trang, August 16, 1967.
Dr. Breen Ratterman (American Medical Association) Died from injuries
suffered in a fall from her apartment balcony in Saigon,
October 2, 1969.
United States Department of the
Navy OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction)
Regina "Reggie" Williams Died
of a heart attack in Saigon, 1964.
Georgette "Dickey" Chappelle
Killed by a mine on patrol with Marines outside Chu Lai, November 4, 1965.
Phillipa Schuyler Killed in a firefight, Da Nang, May 9, 1967.
Carolyn Griswald Killed in raid on leprosarium
in Ban Me Thuot during Tet February 1, 1968.
Janie A. Makil Shot in an ambush, Dalat, 1963. Janie was five months
Ruth Thompson Killed in a raid on the leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot
during Tet February 1, 1968.
Ruth Wilting Killed in a raid on the leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot
during Tet February 1,1968.
Evelyn Anderson Captured and burned to
death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972. Remains recovered and returned to U.S.
Beatrice Kosin Captured and burned to death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972.
Remains recovered and returned to U.S.
Betty Ann Olsen Captured during a raid on the leprosarium in Ban
Me Thuot during Tet 1968. Died in 1968 and was buried somewhere along Ho
Chi Minh Trail by fellow POW, Michael Benge. Remains not recovered.
Eleanor Ardel Vietti Captured at leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot, May
30, 1962. Still listed as POW.
The following women were killed
in the crash, outside Saigon, of the C5-A Galaxy transporting Vietnamese
children out of the country on April 4, 1975. All of the women were working
for various U.S. government agencies in Saigon at the time of their deaths
with the exception of Theresa Drye (a child) and Laurie Stark (a teacher).
Sharon Wesley had previously worked for both the American Red Cross and
Army Special Services. She chose to stay on in Vietnam after the pullout
of U.S. military forces in 1973.
Mary Ann Crouch
Mary Lyn Eichen
Doris Jean Watkins
Vietnam Women's Memorial Project (Military) and A Circle of Sisters/A Circle
of Friends (Civilian). Vietnam Women's Memorial Project, 2001 S Street
NW, Suite 302, Washington, DC 20009 202-328-7253 A Circle of Sisters/A
Circle of Friends is a coalition of women who served as civilians with
various organizations in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is a private,
nonprofit, educational organization founded to create an archival collection
documenting civilian service in war, and to honor the memory of the American
civilian casualties of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Information graciously
provided with permission by: Ann Kelsey, Army Special Services-Libraries
Cam Ranh Bay 1969-1970 email@example.com
Revised November 2000:
Sources: Vietnam Women's Memorial Project (Military) and A Circle of Sisters/A
Circle of Friends (Civilian). Vietnam Women's Memorial Project, 2001 S
Street NW, Suite 302, Washington, DC 20009 202-328-7253. A Circle of Sisters/A
Circle of Friends, 1015 South Gaylord, Suite 190, Denver, CO 80209, 303-575-1311.
Revised November, 2000. This list is subject to correction and addition
as further information becomes available.
Major Marie T. Rossi was
killed 1 March 1991 in Saudi Arabia in Operation Desert Storm. She was
flying a CH-47D CHINOOK Cargo Helicopter when it crashed into an unlit
Microwave Tower in bad weather. Major Rossi was 32 and a native of Oradell,
PFC Pamela V. Gay, 19, Surrey,
PFC Cindy D.J. Bridges, 20, Trinity, Alabama
Private Dorothy Fails, Taylor, Arizona
Private Candace Daniel
Sergeant Tracey Brogdon
2Lt Kathleen M. Sherry, 23, Tonawanda, NY
Specialist Cindy Beaudoin, 19, Plainfield, Conn.
Specialist Christine Mayes, 22, Rochester Mills, Pa.
Specialist Beverly Clark, 23, Armagh, Pa.
Specialist Adrienne L. Mitchell, 20, Moreno Valley, Calif.
Staff Sergeant Tatiana Khaghani Dees, Rockland, New York.
Sergeant Cheryl LaBeau O'Brien, 24, Racine, Wisc.
Lt. Lorraine Lawton
AG1 Shirley Marie Cross
ANG Pilot CWO2 Carol McKinney,
Barbara Allen Rainey, 34,
First woman pilot in the history
of the U.S. Navy, earning her gold wins in 1974. She was killed while training
another pilot, in an air accident in Florida in 1982.
Lt. Kara Hultgreen, 29, US
Lt. Hultgreen was the first woman
to qualify in a combat-ready F-14 Tomcat, graduating third in her pilot
training class. She was a member of the Black Lions of VF-213 readying
to deploy to the Persian Gulf. As she was approaching the flight deck of
the USS Abraham Lincoln on 25 Oct1994, her aircraft began losing altitude.
Her radar intercept officer ejected successfully. Hultgreen ejected immediately
after, but the jet had already rolled. After an exhaustive search, her
body and the plane were not recovered. She received full military honors
upon her death. The Navy salvaged the plane and recovered her body, still
strapped inside the ejector seat. A four-month investigation found that
technical malfunction, not pilot error, caused the crash and that almost
no pilot could have saved the plane after the left engine stalled.
Captain Amy Lynn Svoboda,
29, US Air Force
Captain Svoboda, an Air Force jet
pilot, died on May 29, 1997, after her A-10 Thunderbolt plane crashed during
a training mission at the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona. Capt.
Amy Lynn Svoboda?s death marked the first fatality of a woman pilot in
the Air Force which has only 13 other women fighter pilots. The No. 2 training
officer in her squadron, Captain Svoboda had logged more than 1,400 hours
piloting jets and was part of a training flight with another A-10 when
her plane crashed near Gila Bend, AZ.