Lieutenant Irene DeCapua
United States Army
World War II
Shortly after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Irene DeCapua signed up to be an army flight nurse, one of only 40 women chosen to be part of the air evacuation service during World War II.
During her service, DeCapua and her team became enormously resourceful, learning things not taught in school or even in their rigorous Army Classes, such as carrying pipe cleaners to clear tracheotomy tubes on wounded soldiers to help with drainage. One of her missions included landing on the beaches of Normandy, three days after the invasion on June 6, 1944, to pick up patients and provide medical treatment while they were transported in C-47 military aircraft. Other times, she traveled with patients by sea through treacherous U-boat traffic or by rail, repeatedly attacked by air raids.
After the war, DeCapua called Upper Arlington home for nearly 30 years.
Lieutenant Cordelia E. Cook
First Lieutenant Cordelia E. Cook (also known as Betty Fillmore) wed Captain Harold L. Fillmore at Fort Thomas on March 27, 1919. A member of the Army Nurses Corps, Cook left for overseas duty just three days later without the opportunity to officially change to her married name.
While serving in the Presenzano sector in Italy between November 1943 – January 1944, Cook was wounded during the bombing of her field hospital and was therefore a recipient of a Purple Heart.
After sustaining her injuries, Cook continued to achieve an outstanding level of performance while nursing others back to health. For this, she was awarded the Bronze Star for “meritorious service in direct support of Italian combat operations.” (1)
It has been reported that Cook was the first woman both to receive the Bronze Star and to receive two such military awards.
After WWII, Cook did become Cordelia E. Fillmore, better known by her nickname Betty. She worked as a registered nurse at Doctors Hospital North for almost three decades. At age 77, she died at Arlington Court Nursing Home in north Arlington survived by her husband, daughter and two sons.