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Couzynse, Bernice (1919-1997) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Couzynse, Bernice (1919-1997)


Historical Note:

Lieutenant Colonel Bernice Ruth Couzynse was born October 11, 1919 in Michigan. In the fall of 1942 Couzynse completed her nursing education from Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids. With the outbreak of World War II and being raised in a military family, she naturally enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. She departed from the United States with a large medical convoy to North Africa. Once Couzynse and her team arrived, they were to set up a station hospital for the area.  She was trained to become a nurse anesthetist. Their next assignment was in Naples, Italy, and then moved on to a French evacuation hospital north of Florence. The hospital became a P.O.W. hospital for German soldiers. Her next assignment she was on the pacific coast, but once the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Courzynse finally got the opportunity to return to the United States.

Once back in America, she took on several assignments at different hospitals throughout the country. Ironically in 1953 Courzynse got the opportunity to go to Japan to work in a general hospital during the Korean War.  She eventually got promoted to head nurse on the women's ward for one year. She once again returned the States working at several hospitals.

By 1960 she was sent to Germany, working in the out-patient clinic and emergency room. She was temporally stationed in back in America before returning to Germany in 1965. Three days before her retirement, the army asked for her retention. She eventually accepted the army's request, and became the head nurse at William Beaumont Hospital in El Paso, Texas. Courzynse finally retired in 1971. Although retired, she continued to be active as a member of the American Legion, Grand Rapids Army and Navy Club, and Women Oversea Service League. Bernice Ruth Couzynse passed on October 20, 1997.






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