World War II Army Flight Nurses
Jenevieve (Jenny) Boyle Silk, who died in June 2017, was the last living of the 25 World War II US Army flight nurses whom I interviewed in 1986 for what became Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II. I clearly remember each of my interviews with these remarkable women and still can picture them and hear their voices when I think of them.
Twenty of these interviews are now digitized and available as audio recordings on the Imperial War Museum website. Access the interviews here:
My short remembrances are in the order in which I interviewed these former flight nurses.
Sara Ann Jones Sharp (1915–2002)
812 MAES, Pacific
Sally (Sara Ann) Sharp née JONES (Temple University School of Nursing, Philadelphia, 1936) worked initially at Mount Sinai Hospital, then at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital after earning her nursing diploma, followed by private duty nursing for several years. During that time she was a member of the Civilian Air Patrol. When war was declared, Jones entered the Army, but ‘went with the Air Force’, because she wanted to be a flight nurse. Her first assignment was at a station hospital in Richmond, VA. Eight months later she was sent to Bowman Field, KY for flight nurse training, graduating on 1 October 1943. Jones was a squadron mate of Jo Nabors and Elizabeth Pukas in the 812 MAES assigned to the Pacific.
For Sally, who was a pragmatist, flight nursing was ‘just a job to be done’ – but one she enjoyed. She was ‘absolutely’ glad she’d made that decision. One of her flights out of Saipan was featured in ‘Flight for Life’, written by Patricia Lochridge for Woman’s Home Companion in January 1945. At the end of the war, Sally had hoped to fly into Japan to bring out the POWs as a fitting conclusion to her flight nurse duties overseas, but the nurses in her squadron were told that they had been flying long enough. New flight nurses made the coveted trips instead, while Sally and her squadron mates waited in Hawaii for orders returning them to the States. Sally died in 2002 at age 87.
To listen to my interview with Sally Sharp, click on the link:
Interviewed 21 May 1986, Winter Park, FL
Learn more about my interview with Sally on the Blog for 2 Apr 2016.
To be continued