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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Forgotten People in History -- Happy Birthday 2LT Ruth M. Gardiner

I am hoping to start a segment on my blog of forgotten people in history. 

I am starting to shape some research projects that will include some of these people. 

Today, I want to start by celebrating someone I stumbled across when I was tracking sources. 

Happy 106th birthday to Ruth M. Gardiner. She was born May 20, 1914. 

Why is she a forgotten person in history? 

Ruth Gardiner is important to history. I had never heard about her until I stumbled across women buried in Arlington. (As stated above, I was looking at sources at another book that I was reading and that lead me down a bunch of rabbit holes) 

Ruth was born in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) She and her family had attempted to move to the United States and were denied entry. Ruth was eventually able to gain access in 1917 when she was 3 years old. 

Ruth grew up living with an older sister in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School. After graduation she enrolled in a nurses training program at White Haven Sanitorium located in White Haven, PA. She graduated this program in 1934.

In January, 1942 Ruth joined the United States Army. She trained for air evacuation at Bowman Field, KY. After completing this training program, she was assigned to the 805th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron. This is fascinating since she was only one of six Army nurses that would aid in evacuating wounded soldiers from the Aleutian Islands. She was now a Lieutenant that this time. 

On July 27, 1943, during a medical evacuation the plane she was flying on was not able to clear the top of a ridge and crashed  around Naknek, AK. All 11 people on board were killed. Lt. Gardiner is the first US Army nurse that was killed in the line of duty during WWII.

Lt. Gardnier is currently buried in Arlington National Cemetery

A Military hospital was named in her honor in July 1944. The former Chicago Hotel, that was converted to an Army hospital was named in her honor.
(Photo source: Wikipedia) 

Sources Consulted

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