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2nd Lt. Elsie S. Ott

Brig. Gen. Fred W. Borum presents the Air Medal to Lt. Elsie Ott, who was the first woman to receive the Air Medal. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Brig. Gen. Fred W. Borum presents the Air Medal to Lt. Elsie Ott, who was the first woman to receive the Air Medal. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Winged Angels: USAAF Flight Nurses in WWII" exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Winged Angels: USAAF Flight Nurses in WWII" exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As the flight nurse on the first intercontinental air evacuation flight, 2nd Lt. Elsie S. Ott demonstrated the potential of air evacuation in January 1943. An Army nurse who had never flown in an airplane and had no air evacuation training, she successfully oversaw the movement of five seriously ill patients from India to Washington, D.C. This six-day trip would have normally taken three months by ship and ground transportation. For her actions on this historic flight, Ott received the first Air Medal presented to a woman, and she also received formal flight nurse training.

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