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"I was glad to serve. My father had served in World War I. My brother was in World War II in the Army Air Force. He said, 'If you’re going to join the service, join the Air Force.'" (Video Interview, 26:02)

   Mary L. Weiss Hester
Collection image
Mary Weiss Hester as a flight nurse, tending to a wounded patient aboard a C-47 [1953]
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Air Force
Unit: 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron (MAES); 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
Service Location: Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; Lowry AFB, Colorado; Montgomery, Alabama; Los Angeles, California; Tokyo, Japan; Korea; Forbes AFB, Kansas
Rank: First Lieutenant
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In 1950, Mary Weiss, who had never been more than 40 miles from her Indiana home, decided to join the Air Force, then recruiting students at her nursing school. Her desire to travel was fulfilled after she signed up for flight school and became a flight nurse, logging over 760 hours between Japan and Korea during her 14 months abroad. She also met her future husband, Kenneth Hester, in flight school, and they were married in Tokyo while still in the service.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (31 min.)
»Photo Album  (26 photos)
 Creative Works
»An image of a painting by Kenneth Hester of a sailor kissing a woman
 Official Documents
»Copy of Report of Separation for Mary Hester
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»Women of Four Wars
»Korean War
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Meeting her husband, Kenneth Hester, in flight school; her first time flying with casualties; a memorable New Year's Eve date. (02:36) Flight routines; foot problems among soldiers were quite common; continuing her romance; buying wedding rings in Tokyo; getting married twice. (06:06) Going back to Korea in 1997 to receive medals from the Korean government for her and her husband’s service in the war; noting how much the country had changed since they had been there. (01:32)
Attending regular reunions of the 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron; history of her family's military service; her brother telling stories of U.S. casualties during the occupation of Japan. (01:59)  

Home » Mary L. Weiss Hester
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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