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August 4-8, 2021

Flight Nurse Training

Thanks for the memories of drilling in the sun... and making it seem fun!

Our training this year was a tribute to World War II flight nurses. Last week we time-traveled to late 1943 at Bowman Field, Kentucky. This is where a selected group of Army nurses completed their air evacuation course. This special training allowed them to perform nursing duties onboard transport planes in all theaters of operations.

Our 3-day program covered lectures on the history of air evacuation, defense against chemical attack, map reading, aero-medical nursing and transportation of wounded. We learned how to read and fill in the Emergency Medical Tag, load the litters and tuck the patient with 1, 2 or 3 blankets. During the gas mask drill we learned how to put on a gas mask, check for gas and remove the mask. The map reading course was a mystery at first but now we all know how to use it with a compass and provide coordinates. We also spent some time at the shooting range where we learned how to safely load and unload the M1911A1 Remington Rand, M1 Garand and M1 Carbine. Then we emptied all the magazines.

There was drilling, swimming, morning calisthenics and a lot of singing. But the highlight of the event was definitely the hike which was a simulation of an emergency landing in the Pacific. Our task was to find the missing crew. En route we were surprised by a gas attack, had to cross the river 4 times, set up the pup tents, camouflage our helmets and faces, learn the hand signals, phonetic alphabet and the radio procedure. After dark we continued the march in pairs – equipped with flashlights, maps and compasses. The final task was to obtain a call sign from the wounded pilot and contact the rest of the crew via SCR-536 "Handie Talkie" radio. The crew provided us with the coordinates of their location which we had to find on the map. Fortunately, all groups managed to find the missing members of the crew! We got soaked in the pouring rain but were very happy to complete the hike.

On the last day of the training all nurses took a final exam. The best results were achieved by 2nd Lt. Parker and 2nd Lt. Limp. During the graduation ceremony, all nurses were presented with their wings. We sang the Army Air Force song and posed for a group photograph. A graduation dinner in a local restaurant followed the ceremony.

Big thanks to:

🔹 1st Infantry division - Czech reenacting group for delicious meals, vehicles, insightful lecture on map reading and help with setting up the camp
🔹 KVH 4th Armored Division US Army for the GMC, transporting our equipment and helping us with the preparation of other materials.
🔹 82nd Airborne Division, 505th PIR, Fox Company - Czech Reenactment - KVH44 for letting us use your Pyramidal Tent for the duration of the event
🔹 Lise Zurné for your great company and documenting the whole event
🔹 Carole Cny for getting here all the way from France and being a great friend and reenactress
🔹 Joey Delrez for your acting skills and being a great lost pilot
🔹 Jan Češpi Češpiva for having us at the shooting range and the best fried cheese
🔹 Amanda Ware for the copy of the original flight nurses' schedule which helped us plan the whole event

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