The Navy Cross
Lenah S. Higbee, Superintendent, Navy Nurse Corps
Marie Louise Hidell (posthumously)
Lillian M. Murphy (posthumously)
Edna S. Pierce (posthumously) The Silver Star
Mary Roberts Wilson was the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in combat for her action during the battle of Anzio during World War II. With her Army evacuation hospital under German shellfire, Wilson continued supervising her nursing staff of 50, allowing the hospital to continue functioning. Tom Brokaw devoted an entire chapter to Wilson's exploits in his best-selling paean to World War II-era Americans, The Greatest Generation.
When the Germans bombed the field hospital at Anzio beach, Italy during WWII medical personnel evacuated forty-two patients by flashlight without incident, and for their bravery four nurses:1st Lt. Mary Roberts, 2d Lt. Elaine Roe, 2d Lt. Rita Virginia Rourke, and 2d Lt. Ellen Ainsworth, received the first Silver Star medals awarded to women in the U.S. Army. Ainsworth, who was killed during the attack, was awarded the medal posthumously. The Distinguished Flying Cross
On December 28, 1944, the Distinguished Flying Cross was posthumously awarded to 1st Lieutenant Aleda E. Lutz. Lt. Lutz had flown over 800 hours when the C47 hospital plane evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefront near Lyons, Italy, crashed killing all aboard.
As an Army Flight Nurse she flew 196 missions evacuating over 3,500 men. She earned six battle stars and was the first military woman to die in a combat zone in World War Two. Lt. Lutz was awarded the Air Medal four times, the Oak Leaf Cluster, The Red Cross Medal, and the Purple Heart. She was the first woman awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in a World War.
A VA Medical facility located in her home state of Michigan has been named after her - ironically it was built in 1950 and not so named until 1990 - the first VA facility to be named for a military woman. An Army Hospital Ship and a C-47 plane have also been named in her honor.
During World War II, Roberta Schilbach Ross served as a 1st Lieutenant Army Flight Nurse, flew over 100 missions, over the Himalayas, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.The Air Medal
The first woman to receive The Air Medal was Lt Elsie S. Ott, Army Nurse Corps, awarded for her actions in 1943 as an air evac nurse en route from India to the U.S..
Lt Reba Whittle, (later Tobiason), Army Nurse Corps, was flying on an air evac mission when the plane was shot down by the Germans. She and her crew were captured and imprisoned. Lt Whittle was wounded yet performed nursing duties for the prisoners in the camp. They were repatriated to Switzerland. Lt Whittle was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
F. Rosalind Westfall was a Red Cross nurse and was drafted in 1942. She elected to go into flight training and was trained at Harding Field, LA. and Bowman Field, KY. She started actively flying in May 1944 from Newfoundland to NY and then the Azores. She flew into Prestwick, Scotland, Iceland, Bermuda, Bangor ME, London, Paris and Miami. She flew a total of 1,299 hours and was awarded the Air Medal April 6, 1946 at Keesler Field, Mississippi. The Bronze Star
One of the first women to receive The Bronze Star was 1Lt Cordelia E. Cook, Army Nurse Corps, during WWII in Italy. Lt Cook was also awarded The Purple Heart. The Purple Heart
The first woman to receive The Purple Heart as a result of combat was 1Lt Annie G. Fox, while serving at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7 1941. Lt Fox was later awarded the Bronze Star.
Two nurses were awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received when the Japanese bombed their hospital on Bataan Rita Palmer, Hampton, New Hampshire, and Rosemary Hogan, Chattanooga, Oklahoma. Army Nurse Mary Brown Menzie received the Purple Heart as a result of injuries on Corregidor. Several other military women were awarded the Purple Heart during WWII. Over 1600 women were awarded medals including the DSM, Air Medal, DFC, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Soldiers Medal, Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart.
Lt Edith Greenwood was awarded The Soldiers Medal in 1943 for heroism during a fire at a military hospital in Yuma Arizona - the first woman to receive this award.
Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, the first Director of the WAC, was the first woman to receive The U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal in 1945.
Barbara Olive Barnwell was the first woman awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for heroism in 1953. Barbara Barnwell , a SSGT from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and a member of the Marine Reserve, saved a soldier from drowning in 1952.
Colonel Ruby Bradley is America's most decorated military woman. She served in WWII - and was a POW for 37 months in a Japanese prison camp. Later she was a frontline U.S. Army nurse in Korea on the day 100,000 Chinese soldiers overran American troops and started closing in on her hospital tent. Col. Bradley has earned 34 medals and citations for bravery, including two Bronze stars. She retired from the Army in 1963, but remained a nurse all her working life. According to Arlington National Cemetery upon the death of Col. Bradley in 2002 at age 94 -
"On December 1, 1999, then 91 years of age, Col. Ruby Bradley received more than a dozen military awards to replace those she had lost over the years. She is the nation's most highly-decorated female veteran. Senator Rockefeller presented the medals and ribbons to Bradley, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, who lives in Spencer, West Virginia. She was a U.S. Army nurse and a POW for two years in the Philippines and was known as the "Angel in Fatigues" at Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila. The replacement awards reportedly included the Legion of Merit medals, the Bronze Star, two Presidential Emblems, the Meritorious Unit Emblem, The American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army Occupational Medal with Japan clasp, three Korea Service medals, the Philippine Liberation Medal, the Philippine Independence Ribbon and the United Nations Service Medal.
Edited by teufelhunde.ret, 28 March 2011 - 10:00 AM.