Della J. Bassette

2nd Lt Della J. Bassette

Mencie Trotter, Class of 1940 and future instructor at the school, Louise Lomax, Class of 1942, and Della Bassette, Class of 1941, were three of the Tuskegee Army Nurses graduates of the St. Philip School of Nursing in Richmond, Virginia. The segregated school for black nurses operated from 1920 to 1962. It was part of the Medical College of Virginia which later became part of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond.

Della was also one of the 17 nurses pictured in the 1942 “Wings Over America” yearbook. As all nurses in the ANC, she too arrived as a second lieutenant at the base and served as a surgical nurse. By March 15, 1946, she had been promoted to first lieutenant and was transferred. First Lieutenant

Elizabeth Dozier wrote in a nursing article newsletter for LAAB in 1947 that Bassette was one of five nurses who reported to Lockbourne on May 3, 1946. She also wrote that Bassette married CPT John Branche, AC, and left the military. (1942 yearbook, LAAB nursing newsletter, March 15, 1947, station hospital roster)

Bottom row from left: Louise Lomax, Della Raney, Kathryn Bough, Dietitian, Elsie Wallace 2nd row from left: Mencie Trotter, Beatrice Hill, Octavia Bridgewater, Frances McCloud Third row from left: Ruth Carter, Ruth Speight, Elizabeth Dozier, Alice Binford Fourth from left: Della Bassett, Mary Rickards, Alice Dunkley, Ruth Faulkner, Naomi Bell
Tuskegee Army Nurse Lieutenant Della Bassette and Tuskegee Airman John Branche. 

Source: Tuskegee Airmen Nurses Project

Thank you to Pia Winters Jordan, Project Director of the Tuskegee Airmen Nurses Project, for sharing with us the incredible legacy of nurses who served alongside the Airmen. We are honored to feature their history and stories.  Be sure to visit the Tuskegee Airmen Nurses Project for more information!