Mary Kathryn Hampton of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was born on 30 April 1920. She graduated from RJ Reynolds High School in 1937 and then entered North Carolina Baptist Hospital nurses’ training program in September 1938. She worked as a private duty nurse after graduation in 1941.
Hampton joined the Army Nurse Corps in June 1942 and was stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia. In July 1943 she attended overseas training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and then in Elkins, West Virginia. Hampton departed Fort Dix, New Jersey, aboard the SS Aquitania in November 1943 with other members of the 44th Evacuation Hospital. They arrived in Scotland and traveled to Maidenhead, England, where Hampton attended additional training for seven months, in preparation for D-Day.
Hampton crossed the English Channel on a landing craft and landed at Omaha Beach on 19 June 1944. The unit followed the front from Normandy to Malmedy, Belgium, during the fall of 1944. During the Battle of the Bulge, Hampton and the 44th Evac moved to Spa and Huy, Belgium, then onto Germany in February 1945. There they supported troops following the battle for Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen and the liberation of Nordhausen concentration camp. Following VE Day, Hampton spent time in France and Germany before returning home to North Carolina in October 1945.
Hampton studied nursing and worked at Duke University after the war. She later completed her master’s degree in nursing education at Columbia University and taught nursing at UNCG. During her long career in nursing, Hampton also worked at a VA Hospital in Texas, at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem and at various hospitals in Wilmington.