Octavia M. Bridgwater

Octavia M. Bridgwater [sic]was one of Montana’s native daughters. One of the Tuskegee Army Nurses mentioned her as one of the older nurses. She was born to Samuel and Mamie Bridgwater on October 1, 1903 at Fort Harrison, Montana. Her father served in the Army with the 24th infantry, A Company, which was one of four Buffalo Soldier regiments. He also was a sergeant in the 12th infantry and was wounded in the Spanish-American War of 1898. She was a graduate of Helena High School in Montana. Bridgewater graduated from the Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City in 1930. During this period, Lincoln was one of two nursing schools in the North operating for blacks under a white administration. The other school was Harlem School of Nursing. She returned to Montana and worked as a registered nurse after her graduation. She was in the Army Nurse Corps from January 1, 1943 to November 29, 1945. During this period she was promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant She was a medical nurse on the base. She served on ward four which was the general medical ward and also became a head nurse. She returned to civilian life as a maternity nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana. She died on December 11, 1985 and was buried at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena, Montana.

( Information from the Independent Record, March 3, 2013, Helena Montana; Montana Historical Society website, http://mhs.mt.gov, including Montana Moments blog, Women in Military Service for America Memorial, Wings Over America base yearbook, Find a Grave)