Veterans Day is an important time to honor our veterans of all services and thank them for their indispensable contributions to the safety and security of our nation. Their bravery and dedication to defending the country and creating peace in the world are commitments worthy of our gratitude.

In the history of valiant service such as this, however, there were noble, dedicated women who served during World War II who have not yet been recognized as veterans. These are the women of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps, who saved the country’s health care system from collapse after war was declared in December 1941.

Between 1943 and 1948, 124,065 women from every state were recruited, enlisted and served as cadet nurses. They pledged to serve for the duration of the war. These young women comprised the only all-female and racially integrated uniformed service called to duty.

When the Cadet Nurse Corps was created, it was declared: “The young women who become cadet nurses now will be prepared to serve the nation in both war and peace. It is the nation at war which calls them now.” Cadet nurses were deployed to military and civilian hospitals, Indian reservations and other essential facilities throughout the United States.

These women have been denied veteran status, although they provided a critical service of saving lives and mending the lives of servicemen and women and their families. After many years of failed legislation in Congress, efforts are intensifying to finally grant this honor and recognition to all those who served as cadet nurses in World War II.

They are among the last of the “greatest generation,” and they deserve to be recognized as veterans for their sacrifices during World War II. It is with gratitude and respect that we celebrate this Veterans Day and the 75th anniversary of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps.

Karen Johnson


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