STANDING TALL

STANDING TALL

Although I gave my book on the only American World War II cemetery in The Netherlands ‘The Margraten Boys’ as title, I do mention that four of the more than eight thousand Americans buried in Margraten are women. Lieutenant Wilma Vinsant is one of them. All her life she was known as Dolly, apparently because of her petite frame and small size. But her physique belied a staunch determination. With her Texan parents, a doctor and nurse in the Rio Grande Valley, as role models, Dolly first obtained a degree in nursing in Galveston. Buoyed by the daring feats of Amelia Earhart, she then went on to train as a stewardess with Braniff Airways. When war broke out, the frail-looking girl from Texas volunteered for service in the military, completed a rigorous training in air evacuation, and in 1943 was part of the first class to graduate as flight nurses. In the months following D-Day, Dolly helped airlift badly wounded patients to hospitals in England. In 1945 she began to care for casualties on flights from deep inside Nazi Germany. In April, 28-year-old Dolly failed to return from one such flight when the Douglas C-47 Skytrain she traveled in crashed near the German town of Eschwege, leaving all aboard dead less than a month before the war in Europe came to an end.

2019-01-28T23:48:03+02:00