Last Surviving WWI Vet Drove Ambulances During - @ JEMS.com


Last Surviving WWI Vet Drove Ambulances During


 
 

Jennifer Berry | | Monday, March 30, 2009


When Frank Buckles lied about his age to a military recruiter to get into the U.S. Army, he didn't know he would be one of the first members of a new profession -- emergency medical services. He also didn't know he would eventually become the last-known surviving U.S. WWI veteran.

The 108-year-old, who celebrated a birthday on February 1, enlisted in the Army in 1917. Then he pestered his officers to be shipped overseas. Four months later, he was sent to Europe, where he volunteered to drive an ambulance but didn_t particularly enjoy it. "It was all right," he said in a written interview. "It was not a comfortable ride."

The Missouri native did not receive medical training and didn_t provide medical care. But he did go through training to drive the Ford ambulance. "[It was the] same training I had when I was driving a car, and I had been driving a car since I was 12 years old," he said.

Although he wasn't near the front lines, he did experience a brush with death due to illness. "I complained to the lieutenant that I was sleepy and very tired. He said, 'Just go in [the ambulance] and sleep there tonight,'" Buckles remembered. "I took the first bunk as I went in and talked to the man who was lying there. And, the next morning as I awakened, the fellow was dead." The man died of the Spanish flu.

Buckles says his experience driving an ambulance during WWI didn't make him want to join the EMS profession or become a medical provider. And he wasn't a fan of "Emergency!" in the 1970s, either.

Buckles, who lives on a family farm and grants limited interviews each month, is involved in the World War I Memorial Foundation, which focuses its efforts to create a national WWI memorial in Washington, D.C.

Related Links

Watch and listen to interviews of Buckles:Library of Congress Veterans History Web site

Learn about Buckles and the WWI Veterans Education Project:FrankBuckles.org

Support Buckles dream of a national WWI memorial:www.WWImemorial.org




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Vehicle Operations, History of EMS

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Injured in Philadelphia Collapse

Parapet wall falls through roof of store.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >