Colonel Washington’s health career began in 1954 as a medical aidman with the rank of private, and his active service ended the first time in 1987, as the Acting Chief Nurse of William Beaumont Army Medical Center with the rank of colonel.
Washington earned a diploma in nursing from Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Maryland in Baltimore, and a Master of Science in Nursing from The Catholic University of America, also in Washington, D.C.
Washington’s career included many “firsts” of his gender, profession specialty, and race. Washington was the first male Army Nurse Corps officer to receive a commission in the Regular Army of the United States; the first black male Army Nurse Corps officer to be promoted to the rank of colonel; and the first black male nurse to be selected, attend, and receive certification for residency education at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Washington also served as a clinical instructor and skills supervisor in psychiatric nursing for the University Of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio: School Of Nursing; an assistant professor and adjunct faculty member for clinical pediatric nursing at Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University); an assistant professor at Howard University College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Health Sciences (now two separate schools, pharmacy, and nursing and allied health); and an assistant professor at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, among other academic endeavors.
Accolades received by Washington include the following: United States Legion of Merit, Three Meritorious Service Medals, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Order of Military Medical Merit, and an Expert Field Medical Badge.