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The First Navy Flight Nurse on the Battlefield


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I came across this story on the Navy History website- http://www.navyhistory.org I was actually blown away by the wholesome beauty of the young nurse in the photograph. I was even more impressed to read about the lady, Ensign Jane Kendeigh. Here is what was written about her on the website-

"When the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) R4D broke through the clouds of volcanic dust and smoke to land on Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945, it carried more than whole blood and medical supplies for the wounded.

On board this flight was a 22-year old Navy nurse named Jane Kendeigh 1, marking the first time in history that a Navy flight nurse appeared on an active Pacific battlefield. Kendeigh may have become a symbol for casualty evacuation and high altitude nursing on that day, but she was far from alone in this daring mission.

From 6 to 21 March 1945, Kendeigh and her fellow flight nurses air evacuated some 2,393 2 Marines and Sailors from Iwo Jima. Pictures of these first combat nurses show them offering encouragement and comfort to the rows of littered patients along the battlefield runways. For these physically and psychologically wounded warfighters, flight nurses served as the military equivalent of Dante’s Beatrice 3, appearing at a critical moment in their lives and escorting them from the pits of hell to the safety of forward operating hospitals. It’s little wonder why a special bond often developed between these patients and nurses."

- See more at: http://www.navyhistory.org/2013/05/angels-of-the-airfields-navy-air-evacuation-nurses-ww2/#sthash.rC9fNUy4.dpuf

 

Allan

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Very interesting article. Especially about their accomplishments on Okinawa. It is a shame that these brave women remain just a footnote in history and never received any medals.

 

“Owing to the enormous casualty totals, Okinawa was the largest combat casualty evacuation operation in U.S. military history and marked the first time the Navy evacuated more casualties by air than sea. Unsung heroes in this campaign, the Navy flight nurses, now using larger R5D which could accommodate up to sixty patient litters, would help evacuate some 11,771 to Guam.

 

Today, the story of the brave women of Iwo Jima and Okinawa remains a footnote in most histories of military nursing; they never achieved any medals for their service let alone much notoriety. Then again, most would say that they were just happy doing their jobs.

 

As ENS Jane Kendeigh would remark about her service: “our rewards are wan smiles, a slow nod of appreciation, a gesture, a word—accolades greater, more heart-warming than any medal.”

 

 

 

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She was born in Oberlin, OH and she graduated from Nursing School in Cleveland, OH. Jane Kendeigh was a member of the first class at the Navy School of Air Evacuation in 1944. She became the first Navy Flight Nurse to fly into IWO Jima and into Okinawa to fly air-evac patients back to Guam. She married Lt. Robert Cheverton, USN, an air-evac Pilot, on 14 Feb 1946. They had 3 daughters. Jane continued to pursue her nursing career after leaving the Navy, and was well thought of in the San Diego Medical Community Jane died from cancer in 1987 in San Diego.

 

 

Bio on Ens. Kendeigh from Legends of Flight Nurses. Only 65 when she passed - too young. R.I.P.

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Very interesting article. Especially about their accomplishments on Okinawa. It is a shame that these brave women remain just a footnote in history and never received any medals.

 

“Owing to the enormous casualty totals, Okinawa was the largest combat casualty evacuation operation in U.S. military history and marked the first time the Navy evacuated more casualties by air than sea. Unsung heroes in this campaign, the Navy flight nurses, now using larger R5D which could accommodate up to sixty patient litters, would help evacuate some 11,771 to Guam.

 

Today, the story of the brave women of Iwo Jima and Okinawa remains a footnote in most histories of military nursing; they never achieved any medals for their service let alone much notoriety. Then again, most would say that they were just happy doing their jobs.

 

As ENS Jane Kendeigh would remark about her service: “our rewards are wan smiles, a slow nod of appreciation, a gesture, a word—accolades greater, more heart-warming than any medal.”

 

 

 

attachicon.gifFlight nurse guam.jpg

 

Kat,

 

Not everyone gets a medal. These women did their job and did it well as did thousands of other men and women in WW2. Ens Kendeigh was entitled to and probably got if she desired a ATO, PTO and WW2 Victory medals. The army air corps air evac nurses in the ETO were awarded Air Medals for missions flown like their male counterparts but the naval services did not do that. Ens Kendeigh would have been entitled to the USN Flight Nurse wings,

 

Garth

The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement.

A night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time.

 

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ASMIC Secretary

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