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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse

MSTC Zach Kayser CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley

The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat

Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood

No matter how realistic the MSTC gets, however, it's likely quite tame in comparison to the experiences of its namesake Lt. Col. Hortense E McKay, 1910-1988, served in the Philippines during the Japanese invasion

As the American soldiers were forced into desperation after a siege cut off their supplies, conditions for the wounded began to deteriorate McKay braved through serving at the first US army hospital exposed to the open air since the Civil War

She avoided captivity by escaping from the island of Corregidor on a submarine just days before it fell to the Japanese She later returned to the Philippines to help care for nurses who had been prisoners but were liberated

Her brother Wallace McKay said if she could see the high-tech equipment in the MSTC, she would be as impressed as he was

"She'd be very pleased," he said

Being a nurse was Hortense's life ambition, Wallace said There were no nursing jobs during the Great Depression, so she took a job working as a volunteer at a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients

Although she was born in Fillmore County, Minnesota, McKay lived in the Brainerd area for much of her life A 1927 Brainerd High School graduate, she was inducted into the Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame in 2002

At Friday's dinner for the BHS Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame, Jack Mehaffey spoke to the crowd about McKay's honor at Camp Ripley

"She's a hero," Mehaffey said

The ceremonies on Sunday drew a crowd of more than 50 people, including Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, and retired Maj. Gen. Gerald Lang, head of the Memorialization Board

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or ZachKayser@brainerddispatch.com Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser

October 5, 2015
Zach Kayser, Brainerd Dispatch
Article source
http://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/3853516-minnesota-combat-medic-training-center-named-famous-wwii-nurse



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