May 17, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is cosponsoring bipartisan, bicameral legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the women nurses who served in WWII. The WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act would award Congress’ highest honor – the Congressional Gold Medal – to the nearly seventy-five thousand women who served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during the Second World War. The bill builds on Senator King’s efforts to honor and preserve the stories of America’s veterans, including through his Answering the Call interview series.
“From the Western Front to back stateside, America’s nurses in WWII saved countless lives and played an integral part of our victory over fascism,” said Senator King. “When America went to war, the brave, barrier-breaking women of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps heard the call and put their own lives on the line to defend our freedoms. These heroes are well deserving of a Congressional Gold Medal, and I hope this bill can help recognize their service, sacrifices, and patriotism.”
“Maine’s female World War II veterans felt the call of duty to serve their nation as strongly as their male counterparts did. In particular, their service as members of the U.S. Army and Navy Nurse Corps is a testament to the strength and bravery of these women,” David Richmond, Director of Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “Their work in field and evacuation hospitals, on hospital ships and trains, and as flight nurses on medical transport planes saved countless lives. They were also trailblazers for generations of women that followed them in all branches and specialties of military service.”
In 1935, prior to the start of World War II in December 1941, there were fewer than 600 U.S. Army Nurses and 1,700 U.S. Navy Nurses on active duty. By the time the war ended, more than 59,000 Army Nurses and 14,000 Navy Nurses had volunteered to serve. The bipartisan legislation, which is being introduced in the Senate and House, will award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the brave women who served in World War II as members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.
Representing a state with one of the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King has been a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. King has worked to honor and preserve the stories of America’s veterans with his Answering the Call interview series in partnership with the Library of Congress, and with the Honoring Purple Heart Recipients Act of 2022 that would honor and recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients. He also recently introduced the Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act, which would work to improve Department of Defense’s servicemember suicide prevention efforts, and has worked to improve the services for Maine veterans across the state, including at the Togus campus in Augusta.