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The Army Nurse Corps in World War II
The nurses memorial is located on Corrigan Drive across from the horse stables.
More than 59,000 American nurses served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Nurses worked closer to the
front lines than they ever had before. Within the "chain of evacuation" established by the Army Medical Department
during the war, nurses served under fire in field hospitals and evacuation hospitals, on hospital trains and hospital
ships, and as flight nurses on medical transport planes. The skill and dedication of these nurses contributed to the
extremely low post-injury mortality rate among American military forces in every theater of the war. Overall, fewer than
4 percent of the American soldiers who received medical care in the field or underwent evacuation died from wounds or
The tremendous manpower needs faced by the United States during World War II created numerous new social and economic
opportunities for American women. Both society as a whole and the United States military found an increasing number of
roles for women. As large numbers of women entered industry and many of the professions for the first time, the need for
nurses clarified the status of the nursing profession. The Army reflected this changing attitude in June 1944 when it
granted its nurses officers' commissions and full retirement privileges, dependents' allowances, and equal pay. Moreover,
the government provided free education to nursing students between 1943 and 1948.
Military service took men and women from small towns and large cities across America and transported them
around the world. Their wartime experiences broadened their lives as well as their expectations. After the war, many
veterans, including nurses, took advantage of the increased educational opportunities provided for them by the government.
World War II changed American society irrevocably and redefined the status and opportunities of the professional nurse.
For more information, please visit The Army Nurse Corps.
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