2LT Ellen Gertrude Ainsworth

2LT Ellen Gertrude Ainsworth

Glenwood City, St. Croix County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 16 Feb 1944 (aged 24)
Anzio, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Nettuno, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Plot Plot C Row 11 Grave 22
Memorial ID 56305958 View Source

Ref: History of the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King (Wisconsin)

The newest of the four member resident buildings, Ainsworth Hall, was built in 1993 and named in honor of Second Lieutenant Nurse Ellen G. Ainsworth. This building consists of four fl oors, has 205 beds, and a designated alzheimers/dementia unit with an enclosed courtyard.

Ellen Ainsworth was born March 9, 1919. She was a Glenwood City, Wisconsin resident and graduated from the Minneapolis Eitel Hospital School of Nursing in 1941 and in March of 1942, entered the U.S. Army Nurses Corps. Ellen served at the Station Hospital at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, until the end of the year when she was assigned to Fort Sam's 56th Evacuation Hospital in Houston, Texas. The hospital was soon sent to Bizerte, Tunisia, located in North Africa, and several weeks later was relocated to Anzio, Italy.

On February 10, 1944, while caring for patients in a hospital tent, Ellen was hit by enemy fire and died six days later at the age of 24. She was the only Wisconsin servicewoman killed in action during WWII. Ellen was awarded posthumously three medals: the Silver Star (the third highest award for bravery), the Purple Heart and the Red Cross Bronze medals.

According to the award citation, "Second Lieutenant Ainsworth was on duty in a hospital ward, while the area was being subjected to heavy enemy artillery shelling. One shell dropped within a few feet of the ward, its fragments piercing the tent in numerous places. Despite the extreme danger, she calmly directed the placing of (42) surgical patients on the ground to lessen the danger of further injury. By her disregard for her own safety and her calm assurance, she instilled confi dence in her assistants and her patients, thereby preventing serious panic and injury."

To commemorate her bravery, a health clinic at Fort Drum, New York, the American Legion Post in Glenwood City and a conference room at the Pentagon have also been dedicated to Ellen. She is buried at the U.S. Military Sicily Rome Cemetery, Nettuna, Italy.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
56th Evacuation Hospital
Date of Action: 10 February 1944
Second Lieutenant Ellen G. Ainsworth (ASN: N-732770), United States Army, was awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously) for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 56th Evacuation Hospital, in action at Anzio, Italy, on 10 February 1944. Second Lieutenant Ainsworth's gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for her own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon herself, her unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, 5th Army, General Orders No. 72 (1944)
Home of Record: Glenwood City, Wisconsin
View Cenotaph HERE.

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