Bladen County

Region: 
Coastal

Learn more about the history of nursing in Bladin County.

Biographies

  • Col.Mildred Clark 12th Chief Nurse of the US Army Nurse Corps. Nurse Clark was from Elkton, NC.  See Biography section of this website for more information.

    Mildred Irene Clark was born on January 30, 1915 in Elkton, North Carolina.  She was the youngest of five children born to Martha and William James Clark. In 1936, Clark earned her Diploma in Nursing from the Baker Sanatorium Training School for Nurses in nearby Lumberton. Clark enlisted in the Army in March 1938, at Fort Bragg, and was sent to anesthesia school at the Jewish Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating as a Nurse Anesthetist in 1940, 2nd LT Clark was ordered to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for service at the Army Hospital at Schofield Barracks.  When the Japanese attacked US Forces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Clark ran from her barracks to the hospitals and did not leave the hospital for almost three weeks. During that time she delivered anesthesia to hundreds of men prior to their surgeries and nursed the wounded postoperatively.

    After World War II, Clark was promoted and assigned to Korea as the Director of Nursing in the Army of Occupation.  She initiated a training program for Korean nurses who later formed the nucleus of the Republic of Korea Army Nurse Corps. Clark was appointed as Chief of the Army Nurse Corps in 1963. During her four year term several programs were initiated and upgraded. Clark established the corps' requirement that all nurses earn bachelor's degrees. Under Clark’s leadership, male nurses received commissions in the Regular Army for the first time. 

    Clark received many honors and awards for her years of service to the military and the country before her death in 1994. Clark’s decorations and awards included: the Distinguished Service Medal and the Army Commendation with Oak Leaf Cluster and an award of excellence from Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society. She was honored by her hometown in the nearby county seat of Clarkton, North Carolina, on Irene Clark Day. However, perhaps her highest honor came after her death when, in 1999, the US Army dedicated the Mildred I. Clark Health Clinic, the first building named in honor of a woman at Fort Bragg, NC.

 

  • Mrs. Margaret Willoughby of Bladin County was selected as the recipient of the BE-INvolved nursng award for 1970.  See the Tar Heel Nurse March, 1970 issue pages 12-13.
  • Oral history with Nurse Edith MacNeal Holmes of Bladen County. "Nurse Mac" was an outstanding public health nurse in NC in the 1930s and 1940s.