KIA Vietnam: Nurse Sharon Lane

Onlu nurse KIA Vietnam

In Canton, Ohio a 7-foot-tall monument stands in a courtyard outside of the Aultman School of Nursing. It’s topped by a life-size bronze statue of a young woman dressed in an Army uniform. Its base is inscribed with the names of 110 Stark County servicemen, and one woman, who died during the Vietnam War.

Sharon Lane, a first lieutenant, was killed June 8, 1969 when a rocket hit the 312th Evacuation Hospital’s Vietnamese ward in Chu Lai. She was 25.

Lane, a U.S. Army nurse, was the only American servicewoman killed by direct enemy fire during the Vietnam War.

Lane was born July 7, 1943, in Zanesville. She was raised in Stark County and graduated from Canton South High in 1961 and Aultman in 1965.

She took a job in the obstetrics unit at Aultman but didn’t like the work. So Lane switched to secretarial work, which she found tedious. She returned to nursing and joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserve in 1968.

Lane petitioned several times to go to Vietnam and in April 1969, the Army finally assigned her to the hospital in Chu Lai.

Some nurses and doctors didn’t want to tend to the Vietnamese civilians and prisoners of war in the hospital -- they didn’t want to assist the enemy -- but Lane volunteered for the job, said Patricia Powell, vice president of the Sharon Lane Memorial Chapter 199 of Vietnam Veterans of America.

The Canton-based organization is the only VVA branch named after a woman.

Lane was finishing up a night shift in the Vietnamese ward when the hospital was hit. She was killed instantly by shrapnel while trying to move patients to safety.

She is honored on the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C., Panel W23, Line 112


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