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Buried at Arlington

‘Women who stepped up were measured as citizens of the nation, not as women. This was a people’s war, and everyone was in it.’
‘Col. Oveta Culp Hobb
Alliene E. Ehalt got her wish and is now ‘in the best of company,’ in the words of singer Trace Adkins.
Ehalt had said just last summer that, despite her desire to be laid to rest in the famous Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, she might as well use a burial plot she owned in St. Joseph Cemetery in Corydon.
Ehalt’s niece, Beth Bostock of Corydon, recalled last week that Ehalt’s family told her that if she wanted to be buried in Arlington, they would make sure that happened when the time came.
‘Little did we know that the next month we would be making those arrangements,’ Bostock said.
Ehalt, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, died Aug. 5. She was 89.
Helen Rucker said her sister, a pediatric nurse, joined the military in 1945 because she wanted to help.
‘She was very patriotic,’ said Rucker, who lives in Weatherford, Texas, and is now the lone surviving child of the late Henry and Caroline Pressler Ehalt. They had six children.
Ehalt never married. She was appointed a second lieutenant on April 16, 1945 and assigned about three weeks later to Fort Knox (Ky.) Regional Hospital.
During her military career, Ehalt lived in Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Washington, Texas, Kansas, Hawaii and Colorado. Her overseas tours of duty included Japan, Korea and Germany.
‘She talked a lot about (her years in the service),’ said Rucker, adding that sometimes it was hard for Ehalt to verbalize what she experienced and saw, especially when it involved children.
When she was stationed in Korea, Ehalt had told family members how very cold it was there.
She also missed turnips.
‘I canned some turnips and sausage,’ Rucker said, ‘and carefully wrapped the glass jar and sent it to her.’
Amazingly, Ehalt received her sister’s gift in fine shape and had her craving quenched, at least temporarily.
Bostock remembers her aunt telling her that she had been consulted about her assignment in Korea in connection with M*A*S*H, which started as a book by Dr. Richard Hornberger. It was a fictional account of his years at the 8055 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea, that was made into a popular movie and later a hugely popular television show that aired for 11 years.
Ehalt retired in 1969 at the age of 54. Her interests included St. Joseph Catholic Church, where she was a member, the Ladies Guild of Mount Saint Francis Catholic Church, the American Red Cross, Easter Seals, and mental health programs.
Her burial in Arlington was the same day Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., was closed. Ehalt had reported to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in April 1954 and completed several courses there until December 1957.
During her military career, Ehalt was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Korean Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Twenty-five family members and friends attended Ehalt’s burial on Aug. 25. They came from Indiana, Kentucky and Texas. The funeral director at Arlington told Bostock when she returned to the cemetery later in the day that he was impressed with the number of people there for the service.
About 100 graveside services are conducted each week at Arlington, which was officially designated as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864. Each year, more than four million people visit the 200-acre site where John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are located.
Arlington National Cemetery’s Web site ( gives specific guidelines for burial there. Foremost is the requirement that former members of the Armed Forces must have honorably ended their last period of active duty.
‘There are so many graves there,’ Bostock said. ‘It’s such a honor to know someone you’re related to is so special to be buried there. It’s almost indescribable.’
Bostock’s aunt Rucker agreed. ‘It wasn’t too easy (attending the service). The funeral out there was hard. It was an emotional thing.’
Rucker said she missed getting her annual birthday card, on Aug. 21, from her older sister. The two women had sent the same card back and forth to each since 1943.
Ehalt’s family was pleased to realize her last wishes. And as it says in Adkins’ song ‘Arlington,’ she ‘ … can rest in peace … one of the chosen ones, (she) made it to Arlington.’