World War II Army Flight Nurses – 22 Aug 2020

In Memoriam
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:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=judith+barger&filters%5BwebCategory%5D%5BSound%5D=on&pageSize=&pageSize=

 

My short remembrances are in the order in which I interviewed these former flight nurses.

 

Blanche Solomon Creesy (1918–1992)
822 MAES, 830 MAES/North Atlantic

Blanche Creesy née SOLOMON (Kings County Hospital School of Nursing, Brooklyn, 1940) worked in gynecological nursing before entering the military. She did not want to be sent overseas in the Army with a group from her hospital, nor did she want to join the Navy, because the nurses she knew who had joined were sent to Brooklyn Navy Yard. So she waited until the Army pay reached $150 a month and joined. Her first assignment at Kearns Army Air Base, UT about 10 miles from Salt Lake City, was not a desirable duty station, so Solomon put her name on every overseas roster, but to no avail. When she signed up for air evacuation duty, however, her application was accepted. At the end of January 1944, she was at Bowman Field, KY for the class of flight nurses that graduated on 11 March 1944; Alice Krieble was a classmate. Blanche was assigned initially to the 822 MAES, then to the 830 MAES as a flight nurse on the North Atlantic route in Air Transport Command planes.

Blanche’s first tour of duty was at Harmon Field, Newfoundland, where she flew with patients whose air evac flight had originated in Scotland, back to New York. She then was transferred to the Azores, where she air evac’d patients whose journey began in North Africa or France, to Bermuda on their way to the United States. Blanche recalled working hard as a flight nurse, adding, ‘but I think most of us played hard, too, in our free time’. She died in 1992 at age 73.

 

To listen to my interview with Blanche Creesy, click on the link:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80011341

 

Interviewed 23 May 1986, Cocoa Beach, FL
Learn more about my interview with Blanche on the Blog for 24 Apr 2016.

To be continued



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