|Alene B. Duerk|
|Birth name||Alene Bertha Duerk|
March 29, 1920|
Defiance, Ohio, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||
|Commands held||Director, Nurse Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Legion of Merit|
Distinguished Alumni Award
Director of United Services Life Insurance Company|
Director of the Visiting Nurses Association and Foundation for Central Florida
Alene Bertha Duerk (born March 29, 1920) became the first female admiral in the U.S. Navy in 1972. She was also the director of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1970 to 1975. She is a 1974 recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award of Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
Early life and education
On January 23, 1943, she was appointed as an ensign in the Nurse Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve. After receiving her commission in 1943, she was assigned in March of that year as a Ward Nurse at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Virginia. In January 1944, she transferred, in a similar capacity, to the Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland and in May 1945 joined the USS Benevolence That vessel, anchored off Eniwetok, received the sick and wounded brought back from Third Fleet operations against Japan and later joined the Third Fleet for its last strikes against the enemy. After the cessation of hostilities, that hospital ship remained in Japanese waters, off Yokosuka, to assist in the processing of liberated Allied prisoners of war. The Benevolence returned to the United States with wounded servicemen in late 1945. Assigned in January 1946 to the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois, Durek continued duty there until June of that year, when she was released from active naval service.
She attended the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, from which she received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Ward Management and Teaching, Medical and Surgical Nursing, in 1948. Employed as Supervisor and Instructor, Medical Nursing, at Highland Park (Michigan) General Hospital, she remained there until 1951. While there, she joined a ready naval reserve unit in Detroit, Michigan, in 1948.
Ordered to return to active naval service, she reported in June 1951, as a ward nurse at the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia. Transferred in September 1951 to the Naval Hospital Corps School, Portsmouth, she was a Nursing Instructor there until October 1956, when she became Interservice Education Coordinatorat the Naval Horpital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From June 1958 to May 1961 she served as Nurse Programs Officer at the Naval Recruiting Station, Chicago, Illinois, after which she had duty as Charge Nurse at the U. S. Naval Station Hospital, Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. In April 1962 she was assigned as Assistant Chief Nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan.
During the period May 1963 to June 1965 she was the Senior Nurse Corps Officer at the Naval Station Dispensary, Long Beach, California. Following an assignment as Chief of the Nursing Branch at the Naval Hospital Corps School, San Diego, California, she reported in May 1966 as Assistant for Nurse Recruitment in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health and Medical), Washington, D. C. She remained there until May 1967, then had duty until February 1968 as Assistant Head of Medical Placement Liaison (Nurse Corps), Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department. She next returned to the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, where she became Director of the Navy Nurse Corps, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department.
Duerk retired in 1975.
Awards and decorations
- Legion of Merit
- Naval Reserve Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp
- National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
Duerk received the following honorary degrees:
- Doctor of Human Relations from Bowling Green University, 1973
- Doctor of Humanities from Marymount College of Arlington, Virginia, 1974
- Doctor of Science from Iowa Wesleyan College, 1975
- Doctor of Science from Medical College of Ohio, 1976.
In 2013 the University of Central Florida College of Nursing unveiled a bronze statue of Duerk, and it was put on display there. That university also offers the Rear Admiral Alene Duerk VNA Endowed Nursing Scholarship.
- Tiger. Female Hierarchies. Transaction Publishers. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-1-4128-2353-1.
- Richard Mayne (January 2000). The Language of Sailing. Taylor & Francis. pp. 5–. ISBN 978-1-57958-278-4.
- Defiance County Veterans Directory[permanent dead link]
- Official U S Navy Biography, Navy Office of Information, Biographies Branch (OI-O111), June 7, 1972
- "Navy Nurse Trailblazer Honored With Statue". UCF News – University of Central Florida Articles – Orlando, FL News.
- "Undergraduate Scholarships".
- Sterner, Doris M. (1997). In and Out of Harm's Way: A history of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. Seattle, WA: Peanut Butter Publishing. ISBN 0-89716-706-6.
- Godson, Susan H. (2001). Serving Proudly: A history of Women in the U.S. Navy. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-317-6.
- McDoniel, Estelle (2003). Registered Nurse to Rear Admiral. Eakin Press. ISBN 978-1-57168-766-1.
- Nurses and the U.S. Navy – Overview and Special Image Selection Naval Historical Center
- Biography at military.com
| Director, Navy Nurse Corps