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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Jonita Ruth Bonham

Korean War

 
 
Jonita Ruth Bonham Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
1. Jonita Ruth Bonham Marker
Inscription.  Jonita Bonham was born on April 2, 1922 in Bennington, Oklahoma, After completing nursing school, she was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Medical Corps 1944-1945. She served both in the Philippines and Japan after World War II, and then returned to the United States, resigning from active military duty.

When the Korean War broke out, 2Lt Bonham rejoined the military as a 1Lt in the United States Air Force as a Flight Nurse. She was assigned to the 801st Air Medical Evacuation Squadron in Tachikawa, Japan, Bonham had 245 hours of medical flights under her belt when serving on a C-54 plane converted into a medical evacuation aircraft the evening of September 26, 1950. The aircraft stalled, descended, and slammed into the Sea of Japan one half mile from shore.

Lt Bonham was completely submerged in the aircraft but managed to fight her way to the surface. She held onto a floating barracks bag until she was able to grab a life raft rope. Lt Bonham stayed in the water, grabbing other survivors and guiding them to the rope. It was not until 17 of them were safe that she allowed herself to be pulled into
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one of two available rafts. She accomplished all this with a broken cheekbone, skull fracture, broken shoulder and a broken wrist. Though she was badly wounded, she took care of others before allowing herself to be rescued.

It took nine months of hospitalization before she fully recovered. Due to her heroic actions, she was the first military woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. Soon thereafter, she was promoted to Captain.
 
Erected 2021 by the Women's Veteran Memorial Advisory Committee.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Science & MedicineWar, KoreanWomen. In addition, it is included in the Valor in Aerial Operations series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 2, 1922.
 
Location. 30° 23.975′ N, 86° 35.532′ W. Marker is near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in Okaloosa County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 98 west of Pier Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Walton Beach FL 32548, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sharon Ann Lane (within shouting distance of this marker); Jacqueline Cochran (within shouting distance of this marker); Leigh Ann Hester (within shouting distance of this marker); Lenah Higbee (about 400
Jonita Ruth Bonham statue on left with marker on right. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
2. Jonita Ruth Bonham statue on left with marker on right.
The Choctawhatchee Bay can be seen in the background.
feet away, measured in a direct line); Naseema (about 400 feet away); Cathay Williams (about 500 feet away); Revolutionary War Patriots (about 600 feet away); Margaret Corbin (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Walton Beach.
 
More about this marker. Located behind the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center on Okaloosa Island and close to the Veterans Park Rookery. Parking is available at the Convention Center. The park features eight statues in honor of women who have sacrificed for our country as true patriots.
 
Also see . . .  Short history about Jonita Ruth Bonham from the Women Veterans Memorial website. (Submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Jonita Ruth Bonham statue sculpted by Jon Hair. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
3. Jonita Ruth Bonham statue sculpted by Jon Hair.
View of Women's Veteran Memorial dedication plaza. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
4. View of Women's Veteran Memorial dedication plaza.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 20, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 156 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Apr. 12, 2024