Korean War Legacy Project

Janice Feagin Britton

Bio

Janice Britton, after receiving her nursing degree, was encouraged by her father to join the military towards the end of World War II. Because of her interest in flying, she wanted assignment to the U.S. Army Air Corp, but at the time, they were not accepting nurses. After basic training, she worked with psychiatric patients who today would be considered suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Still desiring to fly, she finally received orders for training as an air nurse with the U.S. Army Air Corp. She spent the remainder of World War II in Japan. After World War II, she was stationed in the United States until the Korean War broke out when she was then sent to Korea. During her service in Korea, she helped evacuate injured soldiers to station hospitals. One highlight of her service was recognition as the first female service member to cross over the 38th Parallel. After her service in Korea and honorable discharge, she taught nursing at the college level, and at the age of seventy-eight, she volunteered for the United States Peace Corps, serving in Africa for two years.

Video Clips

Duties as a Wartime Flight Nurse

Janice Briton explains her role as a flight nurse during the Korean War. She describes how they used information about the patients to place them in the plane where they would receive the best care. She details how, because there were not good places to land, they took the smaller C-46 and C-47 planes that could only hold twenty to twenty-five patients. She adds that when they were able to access better landing strips, they flew in the C-54 which could carry twenty-eight soldiers. She recalls almost being surrounded by the Chinese at the Jangin (Chosin) Reservoir and how they loaded planes as full as possible to help evacuate as many people as possible.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,Front lines,North Koreans,Weapons

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First Nurse to Fly Over the 38th Parallel

Janice Briton recalls being featured in a newspaper article as the first nurse to fly over the 38th parallel. She admits she did nothing different than other nurses, and it was just by chance she was assigned to be on this particular flight. She did not regard her job as dangerous and reflects on knowing the U.S. Marines had secured the area before her flight. She shows pride in knowing she played a role in taking injured soldiers from a bad situation to a better one. She shares she knew her job was to go as close to the front lines as safely possible to evacuate wounded soldiers.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,Food,Front lines,North Koreans,Pride

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Experiences in Korea after World War II

Janice Britton discusses her time in Japan and Korea at the end of World War II, during which she helped transport patients from Korea to the station hospital in Japan. She marvels at the progress that has been made in Korea. She comments not the changes from the first time she went there, throughout her service during the Korean War, to modern day.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Making Sure Hungry Patients Had Food

Janice Briton remembers learning wounded soldiers had not eaten for a log time while waiting to evacuate wounded soldiers to Japan. She recalls going to the mess hall and telling them she needed food for her hungry patients. She remembers the mess hall did not have mess kits and how wounded soldiers used celery, with one soldier even using his toothbrush holder to eat. She recalls telling a soldier she was glad the meal was not a steak dinner since there were no knives. She recalls the soldier responding the meal was better than a steak dinner since he was so hungry.

Tags: Food,Front lines,Pride

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