Women in Military Service













Army nurses rest after setting up their tent somewhere in southern France.
Credit:             Women’s Memorial Foundation





Nurse Corps

The Army Nurse Corps, established in 1901, and Navy Nurse Corps, established in 1908, sprang into action as nurses stationed in Pearl Harbor rushed to treat the wounded on shore and aboard hospital ships. At the time, the military included 8,000 nurses. By the end of the war, army nurses had grown to 59,000 and navy nurses to 11,000. 


Credit: USA Photo

Army nurse Ernestine Koranda instructs Army medics on the proper method of giving an injection, Queensland, Australia, 1942.

Some of the first prisoners of war (POWs) were military nurses and civilian civil servants who were stationed in the Philippines, which was then a U.S. territory.

Former Army Nurse Corps POWs from Bataan and Corregidor
freed after
three years imprisonment in Santo Tomas
Internment Camp in the Philippines, are on their way home
wearing new uniforms, February 1945

Credit: Army Nurse Corps Collection, Office of Medical
History, Office of the Army Surgeon General

Former Navy Nurse Corps POWs pose with Vice
Admiral Thomas C. Kincaid, Commander of the 7th Fleet
and Southwest Pacific Force, after their rescue from
Los Banos, 23 February 1945

Credit: US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Archives

Members of the Nurse Corps served in the United States and throughout the world wherever American soldiers were.  A serious shortage of military and civilian nurses throughout the war prompted continuing recruitment advertising.

Life magazine, 26 May 1941, emphasized the daily life of an Army nurse.

Credit: Women’s Memorial Foundation

Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation
Jergen's Lotion advertisement for nurses in The Saturday Evening Post, May 26, 1945, focused on women as caregivers on the job and at home.