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Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy Nurse Corps

Before United States' entry into World War II, following the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. Navy Nurses were serving around the world.  The nurses serving in the Philippines were caught in the Japanese thrust eastward and 11 nurses were captured by the Japanese in January 1941.  They were held at the Los Banos Interment Camp until being rescued in Februrary 1945.   On February 28, 1944, the Navy Nurse Corps was designated full military rank by Public Law 238.   Sue D. Dauser, the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps received a full commission in the rank of Captain, thereby becoming the first female in the Navy holding the rank.   In March 1945, Navy Flight Nurse, Ensign Jane Kendleigh became the first nurse to serve in a combat area when she arrived to assist the wounded Marines after the Battle for Iwo Jima.  

Other Resources:

NMUSN Women in the U.S. Navy Pamphlet

NHHC Women in the U.S. Navy Focus

NHHC Navy Nurses in the Philippines

Image:  80-G-K-13652:  U.S. Navy Nurse Indoctrination School, Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, October 1943.   Reviewing officers at a nurse's parade.  Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.