The Lady
~Sharon Lane

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NamNews, 2-08, Pages 28-30, 8 Aug 1988
The following is from the AP and was found in the San Antonio Express News on 6-25-88

SUITLAND, Md.- The Vietnam War's messengers of death are inescapable at the National Archives.

The daily journals, the annual history of the Da Nang mortuary, the certificates of death, the records of things left behind - a peace medal, a Bible, tape cassettes - are abundant in the 12 million pages of Army documents recently made public.

Together, they chronicle the heavy toll paid by the 58,156 men and women who died in Vietnam.

The Da Nang mortuary report tells of processing the remains of 5,377 Americans in 1969 and notes that the number of casualties was generally higher in March through May of each year because of regular North Vietnamese and Viet Cong offensives.

The second entry in the daily staff journal of the 74th Medical Battalion at Chu Lai on June 8, 1969, brought the dreaded knock on the door back home in Canton Ohio, for Kay and John Lane.

DETAILED REPORT
"1. 0001 Journal opened.
2. 0550 Rocket attack 312th area. Resulted in the death of a nurse.
3. 0720 SFC Bailey called SP5 Ellafrits, 312th Evac on the casualty report on the death of 1LT Sharon A. Lane, N2337551, 238-38-3327, 312th Evac, as a result of attack at 0550 hrs..."

While it was morning in Vietnam, it was the previous evening in the United States because Saigon time is 11 hours ahead.

The Lanes heard sketchy details of the rocket attack on the evening news.

"Right after that came a knock on the door and we saw this Army car sitting in the driveway" Kay Lane, now 64 recalled in a telephone interview.

"When he (the Army Officer) came to the door, even before my husband got there, I asked 'Is she dead?` He said 'Yes`"

A piece of steel from a rocket that landed between Ward 4A and Ward 4B of the 312th Evacuation Hospital had ripped through Sharon Lane's aorta.

She bled to death less than a month before her 26th birthday, the first woman killed by hostile fire in Vietnam.

Among her last letters home, she wrote on June 4 1969, that her unit had just reached a milestone by treating its 10,000th patient since arriving in Vietnam the previous September.

She added: "Start 'nights' tomorrow so don't have to get up early tomorrow.   Nice thought. Still very quite around here. Haven't gotten mortared for a couple of weeks now..."

Four days later, she was dead.

She was awarded posthumously the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross.

A memorial statue of the nurse stands in the courtyard of Aultman Hospital in Canton, where she went to nursing school.

The hospital's Sharon Lane Women's Center is named in her honor.

Just the same, her mother said, Sharon would approve of none of this.

"She wasn't that kind of a person," Kay Lane said. "She just thought she was a nobody, you know, just an ordinary person, and everybody tries to make a hero out of her now."

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My Vietnam Related Websites:
button Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
button Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet

button Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
button Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
button All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
button Battle Dressing ~
button Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
button Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey
M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City
The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!

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Page last updated July 17, 2007