Overdue Recognition for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2018

The United States Cadet Nurse Corps was a crucial organization in the war effort during World War II. At one time, they comprised 80% of the nurses in the United States as war called many nurses to the front and other women to other defense-minded industries. Yet, on their 75th anniversary, the Corps remains the only uniformed corp members in the war to not be recognized as Veterans.Overdue Recognition for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps

Learn more about the Cadet Nurse Corps and their efforts to be recognized as official United States Veterans.

Saving Lives at Home: WWII Cadet Nurse Corps

The U.S Cadet Nurse Corps was established in 1943 by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Corps was operational until 1948 with a goal of training a new nursing workforce to mitigate the shortage of nurses during World War II.

Many nurses were called overseas to military service, other women were serving in various ways to support the war effort, leaving civilian hospitals in the United States critically understaffed. By 1945, Cadet Nurses were providing 80% of the nursing care in hospitals throughout the United States.

Cadets went through a rigorous training program that packed 36 months of nurse training into 30 months. All expenses, including fees and tuition, were paid through the program and students were paid for their time as a cadet: $15 per month for the first nine months, $20 for the following 20 months, and $30 per month for the last six months of the program.

Overdue Recognition for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps

To this day, the Cadet Nurses are the only uniformed corp members in World War II to not be officially recognized as veterans. 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the dissolution of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and some are hoping it also marks the recognition of these dedicated nurses as United States Veterans.

There have been several bills in Congress that have advocated awarding Cadet Nurses status as Veterans. However, none have passed. The most current bill, H.R. 1168, the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act, was introduced in February of 2017 and has been sent to a military personnel subcommittee in late March. The bill would declare that any service as a member of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps between July 1, 1943 and December 31, 1948 would have been an active duty military member. If passed, the Department of Defense would issue an honorable discharge within one year to each person who served and whose service qualified them as a Veteran. The bill does not allow for retroactive benefits to be paid or awarded.

While the United States Congress is debating the issue, some states are considering passing their own legislation to honor the service of these women. Massachusetts State Senator Bruce Tarr is hopeful the federal bill will be passed. He says that is happy to work with state legislation and that, “We’re exploring our options for that right now.” He admits that while a state bill would be a good step in the right direction, “the primary driver of veterans benefits is the federal government.”

Written by Alissa Sauer

9 Responses to “Overdue Recognition for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps”

  1. My mother, Constance Niles (Boggs) was already in the Registered Nurses student program at Augusta (Maine) General Hospital by 1942. She came into the Cadet Nurse Corps by 1942. She worked many shifts at the local hospital following her graduation in 1945. Like many women, she married war veterans, had four children and worked as a Registered Nurse until she retired. It is a shame that our government still fails to adequately recognize her vital role in the war effort and the peace time that followed it.

    • Bill Bernhard says:

      My mother, June Horne, Joined the Cadet Nurse Corps in, I believe, 1942, somewhere in Maine. June l
      hailed from the Sanford area. She apparently used her service & "credits" to the Corps to propel her into nursing school, in upstate New York, in Syracuse. I would like to get additional information, but am not sure who I can contact. June has just passed, a week ago. I would like to cobby together a complete picture of my mother's service. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Regards !

  2. Phillip E. Koontz says:

    Amen! My Mother is 95 Years old as of April 2019 and served in the Cadet Nurse Corps from September 1943 after entering the RN program at The Ohio State University. She returned to being a civilian RN when Harry S. Truman declared that WWII was over. She retired at 90 Years of age as an RN and Doctor's Office Administrator. All Cadet Nurses should have full Veterans Benefits, but they are waiting until they all pass on to Eternity!

  3. mary faro says:

    My Aunt Mary Martin was a cadet nurse during wwII. I I would like to have something sent to her, recognizing this fact. She will be 99 on July 2, 2019. Her address is Kumquat Dr. Barefoot Bay, Florida.

  4. Helen Boni Fisher says:

    I was enrolled as a Cadet Nurse in 1945 At Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport CT. Graduated in 1948. Worked as a nurse until retiring in 1994. Three year hiatus for 3 children. Am now 92 and so proud of my professional career. I owe it all to the Corps. Today’s women should have that same opportunity minus the student loan burden so many carry.

    • Eileen DeGaetano says:

      Hi Helen - My name is Eileen DeGaetano. I am the daughter of a Cadet Nurse who like you is 92. We live in CT and have been organizing efforts here to advance the cause of obtaining recognition for the members of the US Cadet Nurse Corp. Please email me if you are interested in hearing about the work that is being done and the progress that has been made to date. Thank you for your service - My email address is [email address removed]

    • We are the Friends of the USCNC WWII, an advocacy group for passing federal legislation S997/HR2056 for Honorary Veteran Status for our WWII Cadet Nurses.
      We have legislation which has just passed in the House but not the Senate.
      Please go to our website for more information and email address. https://www.nursingandpublichealth.org/cadet-nurses.html
      Facebook: Friends of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps WWII

  5. Cynthia C Lyle says:

    My mother, Mildred (Smith) Conaty, of Southington, CT. joined the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1944 and graduated in 1948. She worked as an RN until her retirement in 1992. She is now 93 years old, and being in the corps is her proudest accomplishment, (other than her 3 daughters). Her family would love to see her and her fellow corps-women recognized for answering the call when their country needed them.

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