Nursing was a dangerous occupation for female service members during World War II. Six army nurses, including 2nd Lt. Ellen Ainsworth, died in February 1944 when the Germans attacked an Allied beachhead at Anzio, in Italy.
Lt. Aleda Lutz, originally from Freeland, Michigan, was also involved with the battle of Anzio. An ANC general duty nurse assigned to the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transportation Squadron, she took care of the wounded soldiers as they were airlifted away from the war zone. The Germans shot at her, too, but she survived.
Lutz had evacuated the wounded from various areas of the European theater, as well as Africa, ultimately logging 814 hours in the air, perhaps more than any other member of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.
On November 1, 1944, Lutz embarked on her 196th mission. She accompanied 15 wounded soldiers (some American, some German POWs) from Lyon, France to a hospital in Italy. During a storm, the plane crashed into a mountainside. There were no survivors.
Aleda Lutz was 28 when she died.She had been an army nurse for 3 years. Lutz was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1950, the Aleda E. Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center was dedicated in Saginaw, Michigan. Lutz is one of the servicewomen who deserves to be remembered on Memorial Day.
Thank you for this. My mother graduated from nursing school in 1942. Many of her classmates joined the service, the adventure. For reasons that altered the rest of her life, she did not. The regret she felt stayed with her for over half a century.
It must have been a difficult decision either way. Nurses were needed everywhere during those war years, so I imagine that wherever your mother ended up, she was needed.