Ethel Kovach Scott, 86, the fourth chief nurse of the U.S. Air Force, died July 30 of congestive heart failure at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.
Col. Scott, a Silver Spring resident, was instrumental in writing the first flight nurse manual which, with periodic revisions, still serves as the basic guide for flight nurses. She established the first course for aerospace nursing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, which prepares nurses to support the preflight and post-flight programs of the manned spaceflights.
Col. Scott was born in Yonkers, N.Y., and moved with her family to Michigan at a young age. She graduated from St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Detroit and entered military service at Chanute Field in Illinois in 1942. She was assigned to the first aeromedical evacuation unit to enter the South Pacific later that year. From her experience evacuating combat victims from the field, often under harrowing circumstances, she returned to the United States as instructor of the flight nurse course at the School of Aviation Medicine at Fort Rucker, Ala.
In 1955, she was made the officer responsible for the worldwide assignment of more than 3,000 nurses. Later, she was assigned to the Pentagon as deputy chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps. In 1960, she was assigned as command nurse for the Pacific Command and after three years returned to the Pentagon as chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps in 1963. She retired from the Air Force in 1968.
Col. Scott received her master's degree in nursing administration from Catholic University in the early 1970s.
After her military retirement, Col. Scott became a stockbroker and financial planner. She was a member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. She was also past president of the Fairfax County Business and Professional Women's Club and a recipient of its Woman of the Year award. She was director of the Air Force Nurse Corps Foundation and a charter member of the Aerospace Medical Association.
Col. Scott was a member and officer of many other military organizations, including the Military Order of the World Wars, the American Legion, the Society of Retired Air Force Nurses, the World War II Flight Nurses Association, the Military Order of the Carabao and the Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans.
Among her awards were the Legion of Merit and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Survivors include her husband of 37 years, retired Air Force Col. Winfield W. Scott of Silver Spring; a stepson, Roland C. Scott of Albuquerque; a stepdaughter, Sharon B. Drechsler of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and three grandchildren.