A Message from the Navy Surgeon General: Nurse Corps 109th Birthday

Official U.S. Navy photo
Official U.S. Navy photo

On behalf of the entire Navy Medicine family, it is my privilege and honor to congratulate our Navy Nurse Corps as they celebrate 109 years of service, providing superior care to our warfighters and their families around the world.

Since its establishment on May 13, 1908 with the “sacred twenty,” the Nurse Corps has un-waveringly answered the call of duty. The Nurse Corps’ steadfast commitment to their guiding principles of caring, compassion and competence has ensured Navy Medicine’s time-honored tradition of service to our Sailors, Marines and their families stationed around the world.

For 109 years, men and women of the Navy Nurse Corps have served selflessly as they cared for the ill and injured in austere environments and military treatment facilities. They cared for thousands of Navy and Marine Corps patients with Spanish flu in 1918. They rendered care to fellow prisoners of war in January of 1942 when captured by the imperial Japanese forces in the Philippines. And, they refused treatment until all injured service personnel had been treated for their wounds during a terrorist bomb explosion at the American officers’ quarters in Saigon in 1965. As fearless trailblazers, Navy nurses were the first military women to serve aboard a hospital ship (USS Relief) in 1921. Today they serve and lead in every facet of the military health system.

Over 4,000 strong today, Navy nurses are serving in operational, humanitarian, and traditional missions on the home front and abroad. These men and women are commanding military treatment facilities and research laboratories, leading health care innovation, policy, and practice, and providing high-quality value-based patient care in the ambulatory and inpatient care settings. Navy nurses are critical to our force health protection mission, promoting and restoring physical and mental health to ensure a fit and medically-ready force.

As we look to the future, I am encouraged and confident in Navy Medicine’s success knowing that Navy nurses are on the job and have the watch. You have earned the respect and gratitude of our nation and the countless Sailors, Marines, their families and honored retirees for whom you have provided skillful, selfless nursing care. To all Navy nurses who have served our nation, I salute you and wish you the very best for years to come. Happy 109th birthday! I am honored and privileged to serve with you!

Forrest Faison III, Navy Surgeon General