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    • Army Nurse Corps Celebrates 121 Years of Service


      Army nurses celebrate the Army Nurse Corps' birthday at Brooke Army Medical Center
      Photo: US Army

      Today, the United States marks the 121st birthday of the Army Nurse Corps. Congress enacted legislation establishing the Corps on February 2, 1901.

      This specialized corps of Commissioned Officers (66-series MOS) delivers nursing services in support of Army operations and other DOD activities. All members of the Army Nurse Corps are Registered Nurses (RN), educated and clinically trained in nursing.

      Over the course of its history, the Army Nurse Corps has served well. Working in Army hospitals, clinics, and combat stations, these skilled professionals bring patient care, comfort, and healing to millions of sick and wounded troops and others.

      For centuries, nurses have been working alongside American military forces, starting with the Revolution. During the Civil War, Army contract nurses helped to bring nursing into the modern era.

      Anna Maxwell, a pioneering Army nurse, was instrumental in convincing the Army and Congress to create the Army Nurse Corps in 1901.

      The first major conflict in which Army nurses were deployed was World War I. Over 20,000 ANC nurses were recruited and shipped to Europe in support of Allied campaigns against the Central Powers.


      Army nurses assist surgeons and anesthesiologists in the operating room at Hospital Unit No. 116, Aulnois-sous-Vertuzey, France, 1918.
      Photo: US Army

      Since that time, Army Nurses have worked in every major military conflict that the US has fought in. During World War II, the Army Nurse Corps expanded from 1,000 nurses to over 54,000. And nurses provided life-saving care to many thousands of wounded Soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

      One of the most decorated nurses in Army history is Colonel Ruby Bradley. Serving in World War II and the Korean War as a surgical nurse, she was captured with other US forces by the Japanese Army in the Philippines. Enduring over three years of imprisonment, she sacrificed her own rations to feed fellow Prisoners of War and starving local children. She always provided as much medical care as possible in the grim circumstances, and saved many lives in the process.

      This continued in Korea. During the Chinese offensive of November 1950, Colonel Bradley insisted on ensuring that all sick and wounded patients were evacuated before she was. She jumped on the last plane out of her station as Chinese forces began firing on the ambulance she had driven to the airstrip.


      Nurses of the 541st Forward Surgical Team (FST) (Airborne) assist in a patient assessment at Forward Operating Base Farah, Afghanistan, 2012.
      Photo: US Army

      Today, the Army has a number of skilled nurses with combat experience in the Global War on Terror. Always working to refine skill sets and provide lifesaving care on the battlefield and beyond, the Army Nurse Corps is ready to serve in an uncertain future.

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