A Soldier's Story: Major Della H. Raney Jackson

Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson was born on January 10, 1912, in Suffolk Virginia. She moved to Durham North Carolina to attend nursing school at the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1937.

She continued to work at the Lincoln Hospital, including supervising the operating room while trying to get approval to enlist in the U.S.Army, which, because of the racial bias at the time, did not occur until April of 1941.

Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson was first assigned as the commander of the nurses of African descent at Fort Bragg, N.C. and was the first woman of African descent to hold a command position.

She moved in March 1942 to the Tuskegee Army Airfield and was promoted to Chief Nurse.  She continued to supervise nursing units throughout the war, and during the occupation of Japan, was deployed to a nursing unit there.

Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson retired from the U.S. Army in 1978.  She died on October 23, 1987, and rests in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 2012 the National Black Nurses Association and the Tuskegee Airman's Foundation started a scholarship in her name.