Sharon Ann Lane

A hero of the Vietnam War, Sharon Ann Lane was the only American nurse killed as a direct result of direct enemy fire in the Vietnam War.

Lane was born July 7, 1943, in Zanesville, Ohio. She graduated from Aultman Hospital School of Nursing in Canton in 1965, where she worked until May 1967, later attending Canton Business College.

She joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserve on April 18, 1968, and was sent to Vietnam a year later. She completed her training at Fort Sam Houston on June 14,1968, and reported for duty at the Army’s Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, just 3 days later. She worked there until 24 April 1969, when she reported to Travis Air Force Base, California, with orders sending her to Vietnam. First Lt. Lane arrived at the 312th Evacuation Hospital at Chu Lai on April 29, 1969. She was originally assigned to the Intensive Care Unit but was reassigned to the Vietnamese Ward. This work was often physically and emotionally challenging, yet Lane repeatedly declined transfers to another ward. She worked five days a week, twelve hours a day in Ward 4, and spent her off-duty time taking care of the most critically injured American soldiers in the Surgical ICU.

On the morning of June 8, 1969, the 312th Evacuation Hospital was struck by a salvo of 122mm rockets fired by the Viet Cong. One rocket struck between Wards 4A and 4B, killing two people and wounding another 27. Among the dead was Lane, who died instantly of fragmentation wounds to the chest. A memorial service was held in Chu Lai 10 June 1969 and a Catholic mass followed the next day.

For her service in Vietnam, she was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with “V” device, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Order of Vietnam Medal, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross (with Palm).

Date of Death / June 8, 1969 (1943-1969)