Anna Mae Hays, a front-line nurse who was named the United States military’s first female general after serving in three wars — in the jungles of India during World War II, in Korea and in Vietnam — died on Monday in Washington. She was 97.
The cause was a heart attack, a niece, Doris A. Kressly, said.
General Hays, who grew up mostly in Pennsylvania as the daughter of Salvation Army officers, had enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She was shortly deployed to a field hospital in northeastern India, where she treated construction workers and Army engineers building a road to China, sometimes assisting in amputations.
In South Korea, she helped establish the first military hospital in the coastal city of Inchon, the scene of a decisive victory for United Nations forces in 1950.
During her three decades in the military, which culminated in her appointment to chief of the nurse corps, General Hays witnessed extraordinary medical advances, from the introduction of lifesaving antibiotics and painkillers to helicopter airlifts of wounded soldiers.