Juel Ann Loughney
Captain, United States Navy
Wyoming Valley lost an illustrious daughter on July 10, 2009, with the passing of Juel Ann Loughney of Virginia Beach, Virginia. She held the rank of Captain at her retirement from active duty with 29 years of service as a U.S. Navy nurse, retiring in 1995.
Captain Loughney earned considerable recognition in two professions, both her nursing career and her almost three decades of service as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps.
One of nine children of the late John and Margaret Loughney of Pittston, she graduated from her parish high school, St. John's in Pittston with the Class of 1953, and received her nursing training at Pittston Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated with the Class of 1956. She then matriculated at College Misericordia, Dallas, where she received a bachelor's degree.
After graduating from what is now Misericordia University, Juel returned to her nursing alma mater as a staff nurse and a teacher with the credentials of bachelor's degree and registered nurse. She remained there for seven years after which she fulfilled a lifelong ambition to serve in the U. S. Navy. She entered the service as a lieutenant, but not before helping raise her two younger brothers.
Loughney was sworn in as Lieutenant Loughney in October 1966, thus beginning an illustrious career as a Navy nurse, fulfilling a lifelong ambition. She recalled that one of the greatest highlights of her life, besides becoming a nurse, was joining the Navy.
Her first naval duty was serving in the Naval Hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where she was introduced to the Navy and its medical system. It was there she learned skills which would help her advocate for patients and colleagues later in her career.
She recalled one of her responsibilities was detailing corpsmen to Vietnam which she considered heart breaking because the turnover was fast and furious, taking the young people right from corps school though they hardly knew their way around. In two months they were in Vietnam.
She received orders in 1968 to serve in Vietnam and was assigned to a hospital ship off the coast of Vietnam. She later served as Director of Nursing Service on the hospital ship USNS Comfort during the first Gulf War.
Captain Loughney also served the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C,. and as Director of Nursing Services at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She completed her naval career as Executive Officer and Acting Commanding Officer, Clinics Command, Newport. Rhode Island. At the time of her retirement in 1995, she was the most decorated nurse on active duty in the U. S. Navy, a service which brought her to serve on hospital ships in two wars.
On Saturday, May 3, 2008, her name was placed on the Wall of Honor at the Women in the Military Service of America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Captain Loughney was taken by surprise, having had no knowledge of the award and the presentation. The event was attended by family members as well as about 60 nurses who contributed to the plaque which was presented by General Vaughn, CEO of the Women's Memorial.
The 73-year-old retired Navy Captain had been fighting cancer for the past two years.
In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by brothers John F., Michael and Joseph and a sister, Margaret Mary. She is survived by her brothers and sister, Thomas, Gerald, Sister Carol, IHM, and Robert and her companion in life for 23 years, Margaret "Peg" Armstrong.
A celebration of Captain Loughney's life was
held at The Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A Funeral
Mass will be held November 19 at 12:45 p.m. at the Old Post Chapel, Fort
Myer, Arlington, Virginia, followed by a military procession to and burial
in Arlington National Cemetery. A luncheon will follow.
Born on July 24, 1935, in Pittston, Pennsylvania, Captain Loughney was a daughter of John and Margaret Loughney. Pittston is where she attended St. John the Evangelist High School, Class of 1953, Pittston Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1956, and College Misericordia in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
She was a staff nurse and nursing instructor at Pittston Hospital and School of Nursing until 1966. She then joined the Navy as a Lieutenant in the Navy Nurse Corps, serving on active duty for 29 years at a variety of duty stations, including wartime service on the hospital ship USS Sanctuary and Da Nang during the Vietnam War and as Director, Nursing Services on the hospital ship USNS Comfort during the first Gulf War.
Achieving the rank of Captain, she also served at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D.C., and as Director of Nursing Services at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and completed her naval career as Executive Officer and acting Commanding Officer, Clinics Command, Newport, Rhode Island, retiring from active duty in 1995.
In 2008, her name was placed on the Wall of Honor at the Women in the Military Service of America Memorial at Arlington Cemetery in a special ceremony in her honor.
In heaven, she has joined her parents; brothers John F., Michael, Joseph; and sister Margaret Mary.
She was accompanied through life and is survived by her brothers and sister Thomas, Gerald, Sr. Carol, IHM and Robert; loving sisters-in-law; nieces, nephews, friends and shipmates.
She is also survived by her companion in life for 23 years, Margaret “Peg” Armstrong.
Gathering for celebration of her life and viewing of video will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 23, 2009, at The Church of the Holy Family, 1279 North Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Memorial service will be held at the same location, Friday, July 24, 2009, at noon followed by a luncheon for all attendees.
Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, November 19, at 12:45 p.m. at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Arlington, Virginia, followed by military procession and burial in Arlington National Cemetery, with luncheon or reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations either to Navy Nurse Corps Association, P.O. Box 5983, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23471 (877-662-2674) or Vethouse Inc. (serving homeless veterans) P.O. Box 62963, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23466 (757-724-8614)
From Margaret Armstrong, Captain, Nurse Corps,
United States Navy Reserve (Retired): Juel was in Vietnam (USS Sanctuary
and Danang) and Desert Shield/Storm (Director of Nursing Services at the
National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda and on the hospital ship, Comfort).
She died from the after affects of a rare brain tumor caused by agent orange
and was the most decorated Navy nurse on active duty when she was retired.
Her nickname in the Pentagon was the "Irish Gladiator" because she never
gave up attempting to do what was right.
Posted: 11 October 2009