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Katherine Rose Kreutzer

Submitted by: Mary Rohrer Dexter

Katherine Rose Kreutzer

Katherine Rose Kreutzer served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 3/1918 - 4/1919.

 

April of 1918 was rainy in Southwestern Ohio, with temperatures which ranged in the upper forties to lower fifties, as 30-year-old Katherine Rose Kreutzer arrived at Wilbur Wright Field, Fairborn, Ohio. Pulling her cape around her more closely while shivering in the biting wind, she stepped into a new juncture of her life. She was beginning her period as an Army Corps Nurse.

Wilbur Wright Field was a new base. The land had only been acquired one year prior to her arrival. The hospital building construction had started in July of 1917, but an adequate amount of additions to the original structure were not in place until March of 1918. During the construction phase, civilian workers and their families camped in the area, as were the teams of animals used in the construction work. Conditions were very unsanitary. The stench of many pit privies combined with large amounts of animal manure caused the area to become infested with flies and the drinking water became contaminated.

Luckily, after Katherine had been at the base a month, all these issues were resolved. The hospital did not have telephone service during the time frame she was at Wilbur Wright Field. In spite of the primitive conditions, Katherine immediately rolled up her sleeves alongside ten other nurses to care for the 353 soldiers who were in the hospital that month. Twenty of the young men were inflicted with communicable diseases which put these young women at risk, and twenty-five others had contracted venereal disease. The work was demanding and the shifts were long.

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