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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)
 

Lenah Higbee

World War I

 
 
Lenah Higbee Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
1. Lenah Higbee Marker
Inscription.  Ms. Higbee immigrated to the United States from Canada, completed her nursing training in 1899, and began working as a surgical nurse. She joined the United States Navy in 1908 as one of the original “Sacred Twenty," the nurses who started the Navy Nurse Corps. These nurses were the first females to serve in the United States Navy, but they were excluded from holding Navy rank. During her 14 years of service, she rose to become the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps. During her career, Ms. Higbee directed the evolution of the Navy Nurse Corps from infancy to permanence. Her recruitment efforts grew the Nurse Corps from 160 to 1550 nurses. She trained and managed thousands of nurses during World War I and the influenza pandemic of 1918. She lobbied for expanded healthcare for military dependents, helped expand the role of women nurses in military medicine, formalized the Navy nursing uniforms, created the Navy nurse corps insignia, and generally advanced the status of women in the military. For her efforts, she was awarded the Navy Cross in 1918. She was the first woman so recognized.

Higbee passed away in 1941 and was
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buried at Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband, Lt Col John Henley Higbee (USMC). Her impact on both the Navy Nurse Corps and the Surface Navy continues to be seen today.

In 1945, the Navy commissioned the USS Higbee, the first combat warship to be named for a female member of the U.S. Navy. The ship earned one battle star in World War II and seven battle stars in the Korean War. The "Leaping Lenah” screened carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland. The ship also helped clear Japanese mine fields. Following World War II, the USS Higbee made two peacetime Western Pacific cruises and continued to participate in fleet training exercises.
 
Erected 2021 by the Women's Veteran Memorial Advisory Committee.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Science & MedicineWar, World IWaterways & VesselsWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1899.
 
Location. 30° 23.921′ N, 86° 35.56′ W. Marker is near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in Okaloosa County. Marker is on Miracle Strip Parkway, SE (U.S. 98) west of Pier Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, 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. Naseema (within shouting distance of this marker);
Lenah Higbee Marker (Statue sculpted by Jon Hair). image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, February 19, 2022
2. Lenah Higbee Marker (Statue sculpted by Jon Hair).
Cathay Williams (within shouting distance of this marker); Jacqueline Cochran (within shouting distance of this marker); Leigh Ann Hester (within shouting distance of this marker); Revolutionary War Patriots (within shouting distance of this marker); Margaret Corbin (within shouting distance of this marker); Sharon Ann Lane (within shouting distance of this marker); Jonita Ruth Bonham (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). 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 . . .
1. Short history aboutLeah Higbee from the Women Veterans Memorial website. (Submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on Lenah Higbee. (Submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (May 18, 1874 – January 10, 1941) image. Click for full size.
Public domain
3. Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (May 18, 1874 – January 10, 1941)
 
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 189 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 20, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 23, 2024