Aleda E. Lutz

Aleda E. Lutz

Let it be known that it is with great respect and admiration that we honor Second Lieutenant Aleda E. Lutz, U.S. Army Air Corps, upon her induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. Lutz served a distinguished military career, including service during World War II. Indeed, her contribution to her country is a feat to which we all should aspire.

Aleda E. Lutz, of Freeland, Michigan, was born of German descent there on Tuesday, November 9, 1915. She graduated from Saginaw Arthur Hill High School in 1933 and from the Saginaw General Hospital School of Nursing in 1937. Lutz volunteered for the Army Nurse Corps on Tuesday, February 10, 1942 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

Aleda was initially stationed at the Selfridge Field station hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Lutz became an Air Evacuation Nurse and ordered to Morrison Field in Sarasota, Florida. She was promoted to First Lieutenant on Friday, December 17, 1943 and transferred to the 802nd Medial Air Evacuation Squadron, Army 12th Air Force. The unit went to North Africa as the first to deploy for overseas service. Aleda participated in six battle campaigns over a 20-month period. Lutz accompanied air combat missions and conducted all-weather medical evacuations in France, Italy and Tunisia. The 802nd flew C-47 cargo planes without the Red Cross insignia and were enemy targets. She flew four sorties one day onto the Anzio flight strip under German shell fire. Aleda died at the age of 28 near Saint-Chamond, Loire, France, on Wednesday, November 1, 1944, when her medevac flight crashed with no survivors, including 15 wounded soldiers, nine American and six German prisoners of war. Lutz was the first American woman to die during World War II. She was the most experienced flight nurse in the U.S. military service, with 196 sorties, 814 flight nurse combat hours and most patients transported (3,500), with none lost under her care. She was the only woman buried in the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in Draguigan, France. Aleda was the first Army nurse to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross issued posthumously by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lutz is the second highest decorated women in military history. Her memory lived on thru the “Aleda E. Lutz” U.S. Army hospital ship, “Aleda E. Lutz Nursing Award” (1945-1969), “Aleda E. Lutz American Legion Post 544,” C-47 named “Miss Nightingale III” and “Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center” the first named after a woman by Congressional Decree. Aleda was inducted into the Saginaw Hall of Fame in 1993, Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 2010.

Indeed, the patriotic contributions of Second Lieutenant Lutz must be recognized, as in all who have served the United States of America in this capacity. The personal sacrifice so selflessly offered by these brave men and women for the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must never be forgotten. Aleda Lutz embraced the essence of American heroism and should be recognized as a role model by all individuals.

In special tribute, therefore, we honor Second Lieutenant Lutz for her exemplary service to the United States of America, and to commemorate her induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.