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Carol Ann Drazba

Carol Ann Drazba

Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba (December 11, 1943 – February 18, 1966) was one of the first two American nurses killed in the Vietnam War. She was from Dunmore, Pennsylvania and died in a helicopter crash.[1]

Carol Ann Drazba
Drazba's nursing school photo, from the front page of the San Francisco Examiner, February 19, 1966.
BornDecember 11, 1943
Waterbury, Connecticut
DiedFebruary 18, 1966
Thua Thien province, South Vietnam
Cause of deathHelicopter crash
Known forOne of the first two American nurses to die in the Vietnam War


Drazba was born in Waterbury, Connecticut during World War II, the daughter of Joseph Drazba and Marcella Drazba. She graduated from Dunmore High School in 1961. She trained as a nurse at Scranton State General Hospital, graduating in 1964 as a registered nurse.[2]

In 1965, Drazba went to Vietnam with the Army Nurse Corps. She held the rank of second lieutenant, and served at the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon.[3] In February 1966, Drazba and another nurse, Elizabeth A. Jones, were among the seven American military personnel who died in a helicopter crash northeast of Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam,[4][5] when the helicopter hit electrical lines and burned.[6] Drazba and Jones were the first two American women to die in the Vietnam War.[7][8] Her remains were returned to the United States,[9] and buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Scranton, Pennsylvania.[10]

The Friends of the Forgotten and others pursued a posthumous Purple Heart decoration for Drazba in 2010. Their case rested on an alternative explanation for the helicopter's crash: if the helicopter was shot down instead of caught in wires, they suggested, Drazba's might be reclassified as a combat death, and qualify for a Purple Heart.[11]


A scholarship fund in Drazba's memory was established at Dunmore High School in 1966.[12] In 1967, a memorial plaque about Drazba was placed at the Scranton State General Hospital, where she trained.[13] Her name appears on Panel 05E, Line 046, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.;[14][15] she is one of the eight women nurses included in the Memorial's rolls.[16]

The Friends of the Forgotten erected a six-foot bronze statue in her honor in 2012,[17][18] at the Gino Merli Veterans' Center, on the site of her former hospital in Scranton.[10][19] The statue is surrounded by a space paved in bricks with dedication messages, an array of flags, and two polished stone benches, one dedicated to the four other Dunmore High School graduates lost in Vietnam, and one from the Friends of the Forgotten.[20]

In November 2019, Elizabeth Warren sponsored Senate Resolution 415, requesting that the U. S. Postmaster General issue a commemorative stamp series in honor of women veterans. Drazba was named in the text of the resolution, as one of the examples of the sacrifices women in military service have made in the history of the United States.[21]


  1. Workman, Renie (June 16, 2012). "Memorial Honors First Woman Killed in Vietnam". WNEP. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  2. "Dunmore Nurse Among Six Killed in Helicopter Crash Near Saigon". The Times-Tribune. 1966-02-19. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  3. Longo, Stephanie (2011-04-29). "Sacrifice Commemorated". The Times Leader. p. 10. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  4. "Copter Crash Kills 7; 2 Army Nurses Victims". The New York Times. February 20, 1966. p. 5 via ProQuest.
  5. "Copter Crash Near Saigon Kills 2 Nurses". Tampa Bay Times. 1966-02-20. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  6. Burke, Bob (1966-02-20). "Ill-Fated Dunmorean Hitched Copter Ride". p. 21. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  7. Kearney, Gar (1985-10-27). "Nurses Who Served in Viet Should Never Be Forgotten". The Times-Tribune. p. 27. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  8. "Two Army Nurses Killed in Vietnam Copter Crash". Dayton Daily News. 1966-02-20. p. 1. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  9. "Body of Nurse Killed in Viet Reaches Here". The Tribune. 1966-03-01. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  10. Strunk, Brianna; Bugda, Jayne Ann (2019-03-20). "Keeping the Legacy of Carol Ann Drazba Alive". PAhomepage. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  11. Baress, Cecilia (May 13, 2010). "Friends of Forgotten pursue Purple Heart for nurse killed in Vietnam". The Citizen's Voice. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  12. Burke, Bob (1966-02-27). "Fund Will Perpetuate Memory of Lt. Drazba". Scrantonian Tribune. p. 6. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  13. "Tribute Paid to Viet Nurse". Scrantonian Tribune. 1967-02-19. p. 21. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  14. "THE WALL OF FACES". Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  15. "2LT Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba, Dunmore, PA". The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  16. Stiehm, Judith (1996). It's Our Military Too: Women and the U.S Military. Temple University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4399-0147-2.
  17. "Commissioners present a proclamation to the family of 2nd Lieutenant Carol Ann Drazba". Lackawanna County. June 18, 2012. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  18. Hughes, Christopher J. (2012-01-08). "Drazba Memorial Moves to Sacred Ground". The Times Leader. p. 117. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  19. McGlynn, Don (2012-06-10). "One of a Kind Nurse". The Times Leader. p. 123. Retrieved 2020-02-21 via
  20. "2 LT Carol Ann Drazba, RN Historical Marker". Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  21. Warren, Elizabeth (2019-11-14). "Text - S.Res.415 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States Postal Service should issue a commemorative postage stamp series honoring women veterans of the Armed Forces and that the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee should recommend to the Postmaster General that such a stamp series be issued". Retrieved 2020-02-21.
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