Photo: D'Youville College Archives
DYC to Dedicate Veterans Lounge to Alumna Who Died in Vietnam
Buffalo, New York – March 19, 2014 – D’Youville College will dedicate and rename its Student Veteran Lounge for one of its nursing graduates who died in Vietnam in 1967 while serving with the U.S. Army Nursing Corps. The ceremony will take place Wednesday, March 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Koessler Administration Building, 320 Porter Avenue, second floor.
The student lounge, adjacent to the Veterans Affairs Office, will be renamed The Captain Eleanor Grace Alexander Memorial Veterans Lounge. A bronze plaque will be unveiled at the ceremony.
Eleanor Grace Alexander, Class of 1961, was a Captain with the 85th Evacuation Hospital, 44th Medical Brigade, serving as an operating room nurse based in Qui Nhon. During a period of heavy fighting she volunteered for a temporary assignment at a military hospital at Pleiku to help treat heavy casualties from the Battle of Dak To, one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
Returning to her home base on a military aircraft with wounded soldiers the plane crashed into a mountainside due to low clouds, rain and limited visibility approximately five miles south of Qui Nhon. Everyone aboard the aircraft, 4 crew and 22 passengers died in the crash.
Benjamin Randle, director of the college Veterans Affairs Office, served in Vietnam as a Marine Corp Combat Officer the same time as Alexander and recalled the incident. “I was wounded and in the hospital waiting evacuation to the hospital ship when word arrived about the plane crash and that there was a female nurse aboard. That was unusual for a female to be “in country “and the crash was major news throughout the units,” he said.
“We are proud and honored to name our Veteran's Lounge for Eleanor Alexander.”
Following her graduation from D’Youville, the New Jersey native was on the staff of Our Lady of Victory Hospital and later left for a position at Madison Avenue Hospital in New York City to be near her family.
She had been a nurse for six years when she joined the Army and commissioned as a Captain. Prior to going to Vietnam, she was in charge of a training detachment at Fort Sam Houston.
Alexander was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously. She was 27 and one of eight nurses killed in the Vietnam War.
Her name is one of 58,272 on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington (Panel 31E, Line 008) and she is remembered on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood.
Currently, D’Youville has more than 400 veterans and dependents enrolled and is named Best College for veterans (2014) by Military Times Publications. The Veterans Affairs Office at D'Youville was created in 2009.
Benjamin L. Randle, Jr.
Director Veterans Affairs Office
Telephone: 716-829-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org