In Memory of
U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Flight Nurse Springfield, South Dakota
Bon Homme County

June 13, 1922 – December 22, 1952
Died in airplane crash in Korea

Virginia May McClure was born to Mr. and Mrs. Edgar McClure on June 13, 1922, in Tabor, Iowa, where she went to school until her last year of her high school, when she transferred to Springfield, South Dakota, where her father was the publisher of the paper. Virginia graduated in 1939 and then went to Southern State Teachers College for a year; after that she went to the school of nursing at Lutheran hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. Virginia graduated from the nursing school in 1943 with a degree in nursing and x-ray technology. Before she enlisted in the service, Virginia was employed in her field in Sioux City.

Virginia joined the Air Force nursing service in June of 1951. Lt. McClure was assigned to the hospital at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, then applied for overseas service, and was assigned to duty in the Far East, which allowed her to fulfill a dream becoming flight nurse. Lt. McClure was assigned to the 801st Airborne Evacuation Service and served as a flight nurse on a C-47 Skymaster transport stationed first at Kachikawn Air Base in Tokyo, then to Brady Air Base, southern Japan, before being flown to Korea for a 30-day temporary assignment on December 20, 1952. In a letter home, written December 21, the day before her death, she told of her arrival in Korea and described the nurses’ Quonset huts. Her assignment was to fly on the planes bringing the wounded from the forward areas back to the hospitals.

First Lieutenant Virginia May McClure was killed along with the eleven other occupants of their C-47 when it collided on the runway with a jet fighter plane on December 22, 1952, in South Korea. The body of Lt. McClure was returned to the United States and was buried next to her mother at Fontanelle Cemetery, Fontanelle, Iowa. One colleague remembered that Virginia was she was kind to everyone she met and was generous to all. A superior officer wrote, “…her eagerness, attention to duty, and personality were of the very best, and it was a pleasure to have her under my command.”

Lieutenant Virginia May McClure was awarded the Air Medal, Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota on May 11, 2004. American Battle Monuments Commission, SD National Guard Museum, and the January 1, 1953 issue of the Springfield Times provided information for this entry. No family contact made.