The Bayonet

Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012

World War II nurse dies at home

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Frances Kabler Nett, age 94 and a resident of Columbus, died Thursday, Nov. 29, at her home. A funeral mass was celebrated at the Maneuver Center of Excellence Main Post Chapel, on Monday, with Father George Gonzales officiating. Nett was born in Lynchburg, Va., on April 2, 1918. She was a member of Fort Benning’s Saint Maurice Parish.

Nett’s husband, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during World War II, retired Col. Robert Burton Nett, and their son, Dr. Robert B. Nett Jr., of San Antonio, preceded her in death. A member of the Army Nurse Corps in World War II, she served on active duty from Jan. 15, 1941, until July 18, 1945. Nett was stationed at Fort Monroe, Va.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Goose Bay, Labrador; Madigan General Hospital at Fort Lewis, Wash.; New Guinea; and on the island of Leyte, Philippine Islands.

On Leyte, she assisted in treating casualties from some of the heaviest front-line fighting in the Philippines, along with prisoners of war — among them other Army nurses — who had endured years of Japanese captivity.

Following World War II, no longer on active duty, she accompanied her husband on occupation duty in Beppu, Japan, where she volunteered to be on call 24 hours a day to support the understaffed hospital. She later served as a civilian nurse in the Kobe Base Hospital and participated in a number of programs to improve the training and technical skills of Army nurses.

During numerous post-war assignments in the United States and Europe, she was active in assisting officer candidates and young Army wives as they transitioned from civilian life to the Army’s social and professional environment, organizing functions to welcome them, instructing them in etiquette and serving as a helpful and sympathetic mentor when they sought her advice.

During her 94 years of life, Nett made many lasting and far-reaching contributions to those who came to know her. In the Netts’ overseas assignments, she exemplified the best of American home life and compassion and sought to apply her nursing skills wherever and whenever she saw an opportunity.

Her contributions to the professional development of the young officers who are the leaders of today’s Army are beyond measure.

It is no exaggeration to say that Frances K. Nett has left us better than she found us. Her military awards and decorations include the American Defense Medal, American Theater Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with 2 stars, and the Philippine Liberation Medal with 1 star.

She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Patti Nett of San Antonio; granddaughter Erica L. Rubalcaba and her husband Michael of San Antonio; and their daughter, her great granddaughter, Avery Grace; by her grandson Nicholas E. Nett of San Antonio; and Yvonne Randall and Helen McAnany of Las Vegas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to WoundedWarriorProject.org. Condolences may be offered at www.shcolumbus.com.

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