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John Ora Johnson

Submitted by: Kathleen Susanne Johnston {grand daughter}

John Ora Johnson 1

John Ora Johnson was born around 1898 or so. John Ora Johnson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


My grandmother, who insisted on being called John Ora, was part of the Emory University U.S. Army Unit that served from 1917-1919, principally in France.

She was enlisted during her nursing training by a Dr. Green, who said she was the best surgical nurse he had ever trained. It seems, from family legend, that she was rather too young to be in the U.S. Army as a nurse, but Dr. Green insisted, and she was shipped overseas via the Canadian Maritimes to escape German U Boats.

I have photos of her at this point and later. She is noted in the official history of the Emory Unit as R.n., a.n.c., and as having enlisted on April 15, 1918. She is listed in the history as available through address to the Davis-Fischer Santarium, in Atlanta, where she was a superintendent.

 In France, she was on the nursing staff of the Hospital Annex Mixte. Family history has it that she professionally and rather coolly comported herself on assignment in Burgundy or perhaps it was Bordeaux, surgically attending many wounded.

When the war ended, she traveled France for a time, then returned to the U.S. to take positions in the Tampa General Hospital, including as Head of Intensive Care there, then married my grandfather, Lester H Simon. She continued to serve as a veteran after service, including as commander.

She is buried in Tampa with full veteran honors. Which, I might add, was probably pretty unusual for a girl from Baxley GA. She knew she needed to serve, she served and this was during and after the war. She was truly a woman ahead of the times. And I believe women who served, before and after, such as my mother's mother, need to be recognized and elevated as part of our WW I history, now more than ever before.

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