Kinkela Keil, Lillian, Capt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Primary Unit
1950-1953, 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron
Service Years
1941 - 1955

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Mae Moss (MayDay) to remember Kinkela Keil, Lillian, Capt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Date of Passing
Jun 30, 2005
Location of Interment
Riverside National Cemetery - Riverside, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 20A Site 1235

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Post 8620, West Covina Post
  1960, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 8620, West Covina Post (West Covina, California) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Lillian Kinkela Keil, Captain, U.S. Air Force. Air Force Flight Nurse Pioneer.

She flew on 425 combat missions and took part in 11 major campaigns that included the D-Day invasion and Battle of the Bulge in World War II and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korea War. (250 air evacuations throughout Europe and 25 trans-Atlantic crossings during WWII. 175 missions during the Korean War.)

She was one of the earliest Flight Nurses trained during WWII at the School of Air Evacuation at Bowman Field, Kentucky. Upon graduation, she joined the 810th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron that sailed to Europe in preparation for D-Day. Even prior to D-Day, she participated in picking up wounded troops all over England, Scotland, Iceland and the Azores. She landed in France aboard a C-47 during the battle.

During the Korean War she participated in 175 missions, including during the Battle of Chosin as part of the 801st Military Air Evacuation Squadron. She also served with Operation Little Switch with the 801st MAES accompanying 36 POWs on a C-124 to Tachikawa, Japan.

One of the most decorated women in American military history, she was awarded 19 medals, including a European Theater medal with four battle stars, a Korean service medal with seven battle stars, four air medals and a Presidential Citation from the Republic of Korea.

Between the wars, she flew with United Airlines. She was the inspiration for the 1953 movie, "Flight Nurse" serving as technical advisor for the film.

She passed away in 2005 at age 88. She was interred in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California, Section 20A, Site 1235.

1. "Despite opposition from the Army Surgeon General, the designation 'Flight Nurse' was created for specially trained members of the Army Nurse Corps assigned to the AAF Evacuation Service. In February 1943, the first class of Flight Nurses graduated from a four-week training course at Bowman Field, KY, that taught aeromedical physiology, aircraft-loading procedures, and survival skills. Flight nurse duty was voluntary, requiring strenuous work and sometimes exposure to enemy fire, but the risk was justified by the reduced death rate and increased morale among the wounded."

2. Even for the C-47 hospital ships used for medical evacuation: "The impracticality of changing aircraft markings before such medical flights meant the aircraft bore no identification as a hospital ship so the crew and patients on board had no greater degree of safety from enemy attack than if the aircraft was hauling combat supplies."
Other Comments:

A history of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, by Mary T. Sarnecky (a detailed history of the Medical Evacuation units)
G.I. Nightingales: The Army Nurse Corps in World War II, Part 807,"by Barbara Brooks Tomblin (detailed history)
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Flight Nurse Badge

 Unit Assignments
Air Corps Ferrying Command 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron
  1941-1945, Air Corps Ferrying Command
  1950-1953, 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Normandy Campaign (1944)
  1950-1953 Korean War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
C-47 Skytrain/Dakota  C-124 Globemaster II  C-54 Skymaster  
  1944-1945, C-47 Skytrain/Dakota
  1950-1953, C-124 Globemaster II
  1950-1953, C-54 Skymaster
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