Retired Rear Adm. Alene Duerk spent her career in the Navy’s nursing corps, serving during three major wars and eventually rising to the Navy’s top nurse position. Duerk recalled feeling honored when she learned she’d become the Navy’s first female admiral. “I traveled a lot and made extensive trips, both here and overseas,” after being promoted to rear admiral, she said. “And whenever I visited naval hospitals and naval facilities, I tried to speak with the women serving in the Navy, and not just the nurses.