By Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan
On behalf of Navy Medicine, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Navy Nurse Corps on their birthday, celebrating 107 years of unwavering commitment and service to our Navy, Marine Corps, and Nation.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill establishing the Nurse Corps as a necessary and unique component of the Navy on May 13, 1908. Since its inception, the Nurse Corps has helped shape the history of the Navy and has personified Navy Medicine’s mission. The Nurse Corps has grown in number and prestige since the first nurses were assigned to Navy hospitals in ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, Brooklyn, New York, Mare Island, California, and Norfolk, Virginia.
During World War II, Navy nurses were taken as prisoners of war, and continued to function in their positions, showing the strength and resilience of a Navy nurse. These nurses cared for other prisoners in their camp, and will be forever remembered as the “Band of Angels.”
From those first nurses to over 4,000 Navy nurses today, the men and women of the Nurse Corps continue to protect the health and interests of our Sailors and Marines around the world.
Navy Medicine is honored to celebrate the birthday of such an honorable group of medical professionals. Our Nurse Corps officers fly with wounded from battle-torn areas; provide care in the fleet and on hospital ships; establish nursing schools, clinics, and small hospitals in remote areas of the world; and administer or command military treatment facilities worldwide. Navy nurses are professional scientists, researchers, teachers, providers and clinicians. They set the standard for military medicine, and continue to have a prominent place in our United States Navy.
On this day, we also recognize and honor the members of our Navy Nurse Corps who put themselves in harm’s way, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our Sailors and Marines throughout history.
Our Navy Nurse Corps is essential to our force health protection and readiness. These men and women ensure we have a healthy force, ready to protect and serve at a moment’s notice. They selflessly care for our Sailors, Marines, and their families, around the world, at home, and on the front lines, anytime, anywhere.
To the more than 4,000 active duty and reserve Nurse Corps personnel, I thank you for your service, sacrifice and dedication. Happy 107th birthday Navy Nurse Corps!
VADM Matthew L. Nathan
Surgeon General of the Navy