Decorated WWII Nurse Shares Her Story

Marcella, 1944 and receiving the  Legion of Honor Award, 2004
Marcella, 1944 and receiving the Legion of Honor Award, 2004

Marcella LeBeau is keeping the history of World War II alive. She is a decorated war nurse who still shares her story today. She said, “War isn’t very pleasant. War is horrible, and I hope we never have another war like that again.”

LeBeau was a First Lieutenant Army Nurse working in a 1000-bed hospital tent during the war. “It was my great honor and my great privilege to be an army nurse during World War II – the satisfaction I have received from taking care of these soldiers during that time.”

She told a crowd about her experience, telling about the heroic acts and the horrors of war. LeBeau said, “I wanted them to know the sacrifices that were made by our soldiers. And some of the horrors that they saw and went through.”

One soldier she met in the hospital needed to have his legs amputated above the knee. Marcella was born and raised on the Cheyenne River Reservation as a member of the Sioux Tribe. The soldier she met also was from South Dakota. “He was a Native American from the Pine Ridge Reservation,” she said. Decades after he had been sent home, they got the opportunity to meet again.

LeBeau has worked everywhere from California to England to Belgium. She received the French Legion Medal of Honor and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

She prefers to deflect the attention from herself onto the soldiers. “Our soldiers were courageous, and they showed it in so many different ways – their own sacrifices and the sacrifices of their friends.”


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE