Thursday, September 6, 2012

Col. Florence Blanchfield's medals being donated to hospital

Blanchfield's medals being donated to hospital
Published: September 5, 2012
The Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — Relatives of Col. Florence A. Blanchfield are traveling to Fort Campbell to donate her remaining medals and awards to the hospital that was named for her 30 years ago.

Blanchfield Army Community Hospital says Blanchfield was the seventh chief of the Army Nurse Corps from July 1, 1943, until Sept. 30, 1947, and was known as one of the most influential nurses in military history. Under Blanchfield, the corps reached its all-time peak of 57,000 nurses.
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Col. Florence Blanchfield, 87; Ex-Head of Nurse Corps, Dies
May 13, 1971
Special to The New York Times

WASHINGTON, May 12--Col. Florence A. Blanchfield, who as superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps directed 60,000 Army nurses in World War II, died today in Walter Reade Hospital. She was 87 years old and made her home with a sister, Mrs. Ruth Ordnoff in Arlington, Va.

Tribute to Heroism

Florence Blanchfield was the first woman to receive a commission in the Regular Army.

In making the presentation of her commission in a ceremony in 1947, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower paid tribute to the heroism of the Army nurses.

The War Department credited Colonel Blanchfield, who at the time had spent 30 years in the Army Nurse Corps, with being "largely instrumental in securing full military rank for nurses."

She marshaled her arguments for "full" rather than "relative" rank at hearings before a succession of Congressional committees. Full rank was won on a temporary basis in July, 1944, and was made permanent by the Army and Navy Nurse Corps Law of April 16, 1947.

Behind all the arguments was a matter of down-to-earth pay--or, in today's terms, should women earn less than men for the same work?

In March, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Mrs. Julia O. Flikke, Miss Blanchfield's predecessor as superintendent, as a colonel and Miss Blanchfield as a lieutenant colonel.

The Controller General then ruled that there could not legally be a woman colonel in the Army. He issued Colonel Flikke the pay of a major and Lieutenant Colonel Blanchfield the pay of a captain.

It took a new law to permit the rate of pay to catch up with the rank.
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