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Nurse who served at Palm Springs military hospital during World War II honored


A flyover by a C-47 Skytrain happened overhead while former army nurse Doris Howard waved from the patio at what was once Torney General Hospital, an army hospital which opened at the site in 1942.

After growing up in Wisconsin, Howard, at the age of 22, rode a train to Palm Springs.

She came to the city after enlisting in the Army. 

The army had just taken over the building, which was previously the landmark El Mirador Hotel.

Howard was the 7th nurse to arrive at the hospital, where soldiers wounded overseas were treated and rehabbed.

"It was a joy to do whatever you could to help them and they were very appreciative," said Howard. 

Torney General Hospital was a 1,300 bed facility which treated wounded soldiers until the war ended in 1945.

After serving at Torney General for a year,  Howard was eventually assigned to serve on board the USS Comfort.

The ship was struck by a kamikaze pilot while it carried soldiers wounded in the battle of Okinawa. 

Howard was seriously injured but continued to serve those on board, eventually earning several medals and commendations for her service.

"When the plane exploded there was some gas in it, and that is when i was injured and i spent the rest of the night sitting on the stool in the nurse's station," said Howard. 

Howard's visit, with her son bill, was her first trip back to the palm springs hospital in 78 years. 
The hospital is now Desert Regional Medical Center.

Administrators and staff there gave the veteran a warm welcome, and members of the city council honored the Reno resident with a special proclamation. 

"People just want to hear her stories.  She thinks oh my gosh, what's the big fuss about? She doesn't realize what a positive influence she has been," said Howard's son, Bill Howard. 


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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.


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