From New York City, and fresh out of nursing school, Yetta Moskowitz enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in June 1943. As she recalled, "fever was running high for nurses to serve in the military." Deciding to become a flight nurse, Yetta was trained at the Air Force School of Air Evacuations in June 1944. Sailing to New Guinea to serve in the South Pacific, Yetta was soon called upon to evacuate the many combat casualties, taking them fresh from the battlefields, and straight into regional area hospitals. Yetta's many responsibilities took her to the war zones of Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon and the Southern Philippines. All told, she cared for approximately 7,000 troops as a flight nurse between July 1944 and December 1945 including the first contingent of WACS sent overseas. Her amazing performance under fire earned her a promotion to chief nurse of her squadron, the 804th MAES.
When Yetta flew, she and the other nurses were required to wear the same flight uniforms as the pilots. This included carrying .38 caliber revolvers in case planes were shot down and the crew needed to bail out over enemy territory (often comprised of vast jungles inhabited by wild animals). Tragically, Yetta's best friend and roommate was killed while evacuating the wounded.
Yetta Moskowitz was discharged from the Army Air Force as a 1st lieutenant in December 1945. She received an air medal for flying over 100 hours above combat territory to evacuate wounded in New Guinea and the Philippines. Reflecting on her wartime experiences, Yetta says, "The world should be made aware of what the flight nurses did. We started air evacuation medicine, which helped save thousands of lives."
Sources: Courtesy of the Jewish Women's Archives and Jewish War Veteran