Duerk, Alene Bertha

Duerk, Alene Bertha, 1920–2018, American rear admiral, b. Defiance, Ohio, grad. Toledo Hospital School of Nursing, 1941. Enlisting in the Navy Nurse Corps (1943), she was posted to naval hospitals in Portsmouth, Va., and Bethesda, Md., before serving on the hospital ship Benevolence (1945–46), which treated former prisoners of war after Japan surrendered. After her release from active service with the rank of lieutenant junior grade, she earned (1948) a B.S. in nursing from what is now Case Western Reserve Univ., then worked as a a nursing supervisor and instructor and joined the naval reserve. Recalled to active duty during the Korean War (1951), she became an instructor at the Naval Hospital Corps School, Portsmouth, Va., then held several educational and administrative positions. Promoted to captain (1967), she headed the Navy Nurse Corps (1970–74); with her promotion to rear admiral (1972) she became the first woman of flag rank. Duerk retired from the Navy in 1975, having modernized numerous naval medical practices and increased opportunities for naval nurses. She later served on the board of the Visiting Nurse Foundation and in other posts.

See E. McDoniel, Registered Nurse to Rear Admiral (2003).

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