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  First aerospace nurse Rose Church (1922-2012)

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Author Topic:   First aerospace nurse Rose Church (1922-2012)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-09-2012 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rose B. Church-Gleason of Town and Country, Missouri, died on Nov. 2, 2012 at the age of 90, after a brief illness. She was best known as an early space pioneer from her days at McDonnell Douglas, where she worked as the first aerospace nurse to the Mercury and Gemini astronauts, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Mrs. Church — that was her professional name —answered a help-wanted ad in 1951 for an industrial nurse at McDonnell Aircraft and got the job.

Her duties put her in contact with the bosses, including the top boss: James S. McDonnell, known as “Mr. Mac.”

The company made fighter planes in its plant at Lambert Field. In 1959, it won a government contract to build the Mercury capsule, which was to be America’s first manned space vehicle.

The company advertised for an aerospace physician. Mrs. Church waited until she was in the executive suite giving a shot to Mr. Mac to bring up the subject.

“Where there’s a doctor, there’s always a nurse,” she said.

Mr. Mac replied: “Let me check on that.”

He did and told Mrs. Church that she would need additional training, including physiology and scuba diving.

Mrs. Church enrolled at Washington University night school and took scuba lessons at the YMCA in Brentwood. She became the nurse to the first seven astronauts while they trained at the McDonnell facility. She accompanied them on some trips to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

413 is in
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Fascinating backstory I was unaware of. Would be interested to see how she interacted with Dee O'Hara during the early days of NASA's manned program.

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