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Ann A. Bernatitus
Ann A. Bernatitus
First American recipient of the Legion of Merit (legionnaire)
Born (1912-01-21)January 21, 1912
Died March 3, 2003(2003-03-03) (aged 91)
Place of birth Exeter, Pennsylvania
Place of death Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Place of burial St. Casimir's Cemetery, Pittston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States United States Navy
Service/branch United States Navy Nurse Corps
Years of service 1936–1959
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Battle of Bataan
Battle of Corregidor
Battle of Okinawa
World War II
Awards Legion of Merit
Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
American Defense Service Medal {with star}
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Ann Agnes Bernatitus (January 21, 1912 – March 3, 2003) was a United States Navy nurse who served during World War II. In October 1942, she became the first American recipient of the Legion of Merit (legionnaire) for her heroism during the siege of Bataan and Corregidor from December 1941 through April 1942. She was among the last group of the "Angels of Bataan" to be evacuated from the Philippines just prior to the fall of Corregidor aboard USS Spearfish (SS-190) and was the only Navy nurse stationed there to evade capture. She served at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Naval Hospital Great Lakes then as in November 1944 as Chief Nurse aboard USS Relief (AH-1) during the Okinawa campaign. She retired from the United States Navy Nurse Corps as a Captain in 1959.[1]

She donated her Legion of Merit medal to the Smithsonian Institution in 1976.[2] She died at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on March 3, 2003 and was interred at St. Casimir's Cemetery Pittston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.[3] A monument in her honor was dedicated June 23, 2007 at the Exeter Borough Building in her home town.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Navy Medicine. In Memoriam, Ann A. Bernatitus. Jan Kenneth Herman. May – June 2003. p. 32-32.
  2. The Times Leader. (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). A heroic salute. Monument to honor World War II nurse. Genelle Hoban. January 7, 2007. Page 4A.
  3. The Times Leader. (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). Ann Bernatitus, obituary. March 4, 2003, Page 7A.
  4. The Citizens' Voice. Monument will honor Ann Bernatitus. Robert Kalinowski. December 27, 2006. The Times Leader. (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). In brief: Legion Post in Exeter to honor the late Capt. Ann Bernatitus. June 23, 2007.

External links[edit | edit source]

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