Welcome to the Legends of the Flight Nurses of World War II, where many stories have never been heard. You will find a one of a kind resource on all Flight Nurse of that era. Let me give you a short story how and why this website was born. I am Melinda Errair Bruckman, daughter of the National President Dorothy White Errair of the World War II Flight Nurse Association. I became involved many years ago when Mother needed help in traveling to her meetings and reunions. When the Flight Nurse Members health started to weaken, I told them I would run their beloved association if they would hold the offices... and it began. I wrote their newsletters and accompanied them to reunions; they shared their stories and their wishes for their stories to be heard. As time went on and we started to loose officers the reality hit that I needed to come up with an idea to get their stories out there for the world to hear... I considered a filming crew to document the stories but they were not interested, I considered an author, but that didn't work either. I also considered a single Museum to hold all the stories, but all would have to know the stories are housed in that one single town, so that wasn't a good idea.
One day in the summer of 2010 while sitting at my kitchen table with my 2 grandsons, AJ 17 years old and Andrew 14 years old, AJ said "Grandma create a website and put all the stories there for the whole world to read" and Andrew said "and call it The Legend of the Flight Nurses of World War II, since they were the first ones"
So that is how this ongoing project started. If you find your family member's name here on this site and you have updating information, please contact me. If you find incorrect information, please contact me. AND most important if your family member is a Flight Nurse from World War II and the name is not listed PLEASE contact me. Since we do not have a complete list of WWII Flight Nurses names, back in 1974 the government building housing their military records was destroyed by fire, so this list is complied by researching many lists, old books and old paperwork.
Thank you for showing your interest and please let me hear your comments.
USA Record Center
9700 Page Blvd, St. Louis, MO
July 1973 Fire
On a hot Wednesday night in July 1973, the fifth floor of the USA Record Center, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis. MO was on fire. A fire started by an employee who was smoking in the fifth floor record stack earlier that day, rather than in the designated smoking area. The incident was compounded when the employee put the un-smoked part of the cigarette in between two files, thinking by pressing the files together it would extinguish the fire on the end of the cigarette. The cigarette was not extinguished but started a fire later that evening after all employees that would consume most of the World War II records on the fifth floor along with the offices housed on that floor. It was a fire that would be fought for three days before it was totally extinguished.
The seriousness of the fire can be measured by the total damage to the “Records Center”. Many files were destroyed, mostly World War II and I records housed on the fifth floor, and some Vietnam records. The entire fifth floor of the “Records Center” was eventually bulldozed off making the center only four stories high. The reconstruction of the records that were not totally burned took years, requiring the center to contact discharged service member to provide copies of records from their own personal files. Water soaked files were put in a “quick” freeze to dry thereby preserving those records. Families can get information regarding World War I and II about a loved one from the “Records Center”, if it is available. Also, if you have a relative’s personal records you can help in the reconstruction of the file by asking the “Record Center” if they need the information you have in the service member’s personal file.
Colonel, then LTC, Arnold J. Habig, USA, was the Commander of the Enlistment Eligibility Center at the time and commanded it from January 1980 to July 1971. He experienced the fire first hand as his activity had to reconstruct some 73 records obtained from the “Record Centers” storage files, move his operation to another building, relocate his office to another part of the center when it was safe to return, and rebuild his office. He finally finished all these tasks in July 1975. He says it was an interesting experience, which took a lot of effort on the part of the military and civilian employees to get the center fully operational again.