Veteran of the Week: Branson awarded Veteran of the Year
Published 9:27 am Monday, January 4, 2016
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Lt. Col. Ginger Branson, U.S. Army retired, was awarded the State of Alabama 2015 Governor’s Annual Alabama Veteran of the Year Award.
It was presented at the World Peace Luncheon to “Ginger Branson of Military Officers Association of America who has done most to foster the highest Ideals in Community Services, Membership, and our American Way of Life presented on Veteran’s day, November 11, by the governor of Alabama.”
“I was so honored,” said Branson. “I just never expected it. I was in Washington, D.C. with my brother when Tom Ruffing, president of the Military Officers of Alabama, called and told me I was elected unanimously. I burst into tears. This is the biggest honor I have ever had and will ever have! It just brings me to tears to think about it even today.”
Branson has just written a book, “Bend My Dogtags and Send Me Home,” about her experiences as the head MICU nurse at the 251st Evac Hospital in Desert Storm, available on Amazon.
“During the 16 weeks the 251st Evac Hospital was operational in Saudi Arabia, we admitted 2,250 patients, performed 428 major operative procedures the recorded 36,374 outpatient visits. We were told, unofficially, that we were the ‘busiest hospital in theater.’”
Her author’s bio states, “Virginia (Ginger) Branson, LTC-Ret joined the army in 1976 and retired in 2001. Some of her assignments were: Asst. Chief Nurse, 75th Field Hospital, Tuscaloosa; Head Nurse, Intermediate Care Unit, 75th Field Hospital; Staff Nurse, 341st Medical Battalion, Dallas, Texas; Staff Nurse 75th Field Hospital; Charge Nurse, Medical ICU, 251st Ecac Hospital, Saudi Arabia; Head Nurse, Intermediate Care Unit, 75th Combat Support Hospital, Tuscaloosa.
“Her military education included: Officers Advanced Course Command and General Staff College Hospital Administration.
“She graduated with over 1,000 hours in correspondence courses. She went on military medical missions in Panama, El Salvador and Paraguay usually in support of Special Forces.
“She is a member of the American Legion, VFW, Amvets, Blue Star Salute Foundation, Support Committee of Alabama National Cemetery. She volunteers with the Alabama Veterans Memorial Park and the V.A. Hospital in Birmingham.”
She recently volunteered with Wreaths Across America and attended the WAA Capital Statehouse Ceremony.