• Abous us
  • Search database
  • Resources
  • Donate
  • Faq

Hannigan Katherine Dollason

Katherine Dollason Hannigan
Second Lieutenant
Serial Number:
United States Army Nurse Corps
Date of Death:
Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Katherine Dollason Hannigan was born February 13, 1913 in the rural countryside between Eutawville and Eutaw Springs, with four sisters and two brothers. Kate’s father was a blacksmith and well driller. She attended Eutawville public school and graduated after the tenth grade, which was all that was required in the mid 1930’s.

One of Kate’s sisters was a nurse so Kate left home to attend nursing school in Augusta, GA. After graduating, jobs, even in nursing, were scarce so, in 1937, she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps and completed her basic training at Ft. Fitzsimons located in Aurora, Colorado. After training, Dollason, like many young women, saw the Army as an adventure and sought assignment in the Philippine Islands where the military men and women billeted.

Katherine was one of the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor” – the US Army and Navy Nurse Corps women who served in the Battle of the Philippines in 1941-42. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, 11 Navy nurses, 66 army nurses, and 1 nurse-anesthetist were captured and imprisoned in and around Manila. They continued to serve as nurses in various POW camps until they were finally liberated in February 1945.

After the war, she was invited along with a nurse from each branch of the service that was at the prison camp, to appear on the Ed Sullivan TV show. Since Army Nurses were prohibited to marry at the time, the Ed Sullivan show provided escorts for them. Kate was paired with a 6’3” tall Irish American named Patrick Hannigan. After the show, they continued their relationship until they married. It was not until after the marriage that Kate found out her new husband worked for the CIA and was often called away on secret government operations.

Kate did not slow down after marriage. She was asked to start an Army Nursing school in Brazil and became the Head Nurse at the Valley Forge Hospital, then a military hospital near Philadelphia, PA. There, Kate would walk seven miles each day to ensure the patients were cared for.

Kate and her husband had a farm near Valley Forge, PA and another small cottage in Key Colony Beach, Florida, which was once used to store weapons for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

The fact that this CIA operation may have included Kate’s husband is often speculated. After Patrick died of cancer in 1990, Kate, now a Lieutenant Colonel, continued to travel from her Pennsylvania home in the summer and her Florida home in the winter until her death in March 10, 1991. Kate and her husband were given full military funerals and are both buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Source of information: