In early wars from the Civil War on, women served as nurses helping tend to the wounded. Even during the Vietnam War, women were helping the military as nurses, and many of these women were often in dangerous situations. One nurse, Sharon Ann Lane, served in Vietnam and was the first woman killed during that war.
Heading To Vietnam
On April 18, 1968, Sharon Ann Lane became a 2nd Lieutenant with the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve. She went to the Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where she was promoted.
She went to Travis Air Force Base en route to Vietnam. When she reached Vietnam, Lane worked with the 312th Evac Hospital in Chu Lai. She worked in the Intensive Care Ward.
She was moved to the Vietnamese ward 4, working 12-hour shifts, five days a week. However, Lane did not want to be transferred because she also was working in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, voluntarily taking care of the American soldiers who were critically injured.
The hospital had been attacked on multiple occasions, but Lane was very reassuring with her patients. She told them it was “still very quiet around here… haven’t gotten mortared in a couple of weeks now.”
Attack On The Hospital
However, the peace was short-lived. The hospital was hit by a rocket on June 8, 1969. The attack killed two people and injured 27.
Lane was killed at the age of 25 due to fragmentation wounds in her chest. She was given the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for her care of the wounded soldiers.
She was honored in 1969 by the Daughters of the American Revolution and named Nurse of the Year. In addition, her Alma Mater, Aultman Hospital, placed a statue of her in front, reminding everyone of her sacrifice.